Social Work didn’t always run in the blood of MSW student Romy Nuñes. It wasn’t until she spent three years working as a refugee case manager at Interfaith Ministries for Greater Houston that she was inspired to take her experience working with diverse populations in professional helping and pursue a career in social work.
After receiving her BSW from Texas Southern University, Nuñes decided she wanted to attend a private university in Texas, and landed on the Garland School of Social Work Houston Campus.
During her time thus far, Nuñes has capitalized on her graduate experience by investing in various campus involvement and leadership opportunities. She serves as the Houston MSW student representative of the Field Education Advisory Council (FEAC) and is also a member of the Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society.
While maintaining a high work ethic and producing high quality work academically, Nuñes has gleaned additional experience outside of the classroom. During her undergraduate time at Texas Southern University, she interned at the Alzheimer’s Association-Houston chapter.
“I learned psychoeducation about dementia and Alzheimer’s disease,” she said. “I was able to facilitate support groups and conduct care consultations with affected families.”
For her clinical placement, Nuñes interned at Texas Children’s Hospital where she worked directly with patients and families in the Heart Center. Both of these roles involved emotional support in a family setting, which is quite fitting for Nuñes as her family has played such an influential role in her own life.
Upon graduation, Nuñes would like to work in the realm of immigration policy as well gain more experience in a hospital setting, working with diverse families.
“I always credit my younger brother for my educational and social work journey,” she said. “Unfortunately, he is not here today; however, he has been my main motivator throughout all the difficulties and has made a lasting impact in my life.”
Though she is the recipient of the 2020 MSW Outstanding Student award, Nuñes admits that one of these challenges has been the academic rigor of the Garland School of Social Work.
“The curriculum has pushed me out of my comfort zone and challenged me to think critically,” she said.
As evidenced by the words of her professors and peers, she has persevered and made significant contributions to the School of Social Work.
“She is present and engaged during classes, she is always willing to volunteer to participate in role-plays, she works with her colleagues to assist them when they need volunteers [and] she participates on the FEAC,” one of her colleagues said.
Nuñes is also described as a natural social worker; one who is engaged in the learning process, seeks ways to be involved, is helpful and always finding new ways to make herself a better social worker.
One of these ways Nuñes intends to do this in the future is by working in the realm of immigration policy in addition to gaining more experience in a hospital setting and working with diverse families.
“I see myself becoming an LMSW, pursuing my doctorate, and eventually becoming an LCSW,” she said. “I aspire to work in Austin for immigration policy work and eventually join a private practice group.”
Nuñes said she was surprised when she learned about her selection as the MSW Outstanding Student.
“I believe everyone in my cohort was worthy of this award,” she said.
As a word of encouragement to any and all readers and as a depiction of something she has learned in her life, Nuñes shared this quote from Maya Angelou:
“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.”