Meet Jenna Espinosa

BSW Spirit of Social Work Award Winner of 2016

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Jenna Espinosa has wanted to become a social worker since she was in the seventh grade. Participating in a peer counseling program at her high school gave her some perspective into the field, and ever since, Jenna’s love for counseling has only grown.

“I loved helping people, but I knew helping doesn’t stop at passion,” Jenna said. “It needs skills and information, and I wanted to learn how to do that effectively.”

Jenna, a native of Hockington, Mass., came to Baylor wanting a change of scenery. Her mother, who graduated from Baylor, encouraged her to apply, and Jenna never regretted her decision to move to Texas. 

“I visited Baylor and the GSSW and just fell in love with it,” Jenna said. “After just one intro class, there was never a question of whether or not this was right for me.” 

Jenna’s interest, after focusing on poverty studies and social justice, lies in using her social work degree to work with marginalized populations. Her internship at the Salvation Army of Waco allowed her to interact with community members in need. Additionally, her passion for community development and assistance drove Jenna to go above and beyond the requirements of her supervisors.

“I helped develop a Christmas emergency program at the Salvation Army,” Jenna said. “I really think the GSSW helps you reconcile your own values and ethics in the context of social work.”

Jenna graduated in May and is continuing her education by pursuing her MSW and, eventually, she hopes to become a community developer in areas of high poverty. She says a big part of her desire to continue serving in this way is the encouragement and instruction she’s received from the GSSW faculty.

“The faculty are so approachable and easy to build relationships with,” Jenna said. “A few have been really instrumental in shaping my idea of social work and challenged me in ways I didn’t think I would be challenged.”

Jenna’s dreams of helping those in need through furthering her education have only flourished with the support of the community at the GSSW. She’s thankful for the opportunity to learn and work among people who desire to maintain relationships and share the learning experience together.