I obtained my MSW at UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare in 1987. While completing my program there I had the privilege of attending one of the first Intercambio sessions in Guadalajara, Mexico the summer of 1986 led by Joe Solis and Peter Manoleas. As a hybrid Latina (born in Brazil and raised in Mexico and the United States) and an immigrant, Intercambio provided me the opportunity to study with Mexican scholars and professionals, a much-needed counterpoint to my course work in Berkeley. Intercambio, was undoubtedly one of the most formative experiences of my graduate career.
I have worked in community mental health settings throughout the Bay Area since 1987. My areas of focus have been community mental health, youth, Latin@s and LGBTQ communities. I joined the UC Berkeley School of Social Welfare as a field consultant and lecturer in 2012. In that capacity, I oversee the placement of MSW students. I also teach: Introductory Practicum (SW 400), and a seminar on Field Integration (SW 400B), Brief Solution-Focused Therapy and Narrative Therapies for Vulnerable Populations and Brief Solution-Focused Therapy.
As I mentioned earlier, my Intercambio experience impacted me to the core, instilling in me a longing for collaboration and guidance with and from my Latin and Central American colleagues. In my opinion, we can learn a great deal from them regarding culturally-rooted interventions, outreach, and engagement techniques . When I joined the faculty at the School of Social Work, backed by the Latino Caucus, I lobbied hard to resurrect of the Intercambio program. Thanks to the support of Dean Edleson, Bob Teague and Greg Merrill, Intercambio is now a summer sessions class, SW272, and I have the privilege of being the lead instructor. Our first session was held last summer in Oaxaca, Mexico.
This program lives on thanks to the efforts of many. I am proud to carry on the legacy started by Joe Solis – and later on by Rafael Herrera, Peter Manoleas , Lupe Gallegos and Kurt Organista. I am indebted to my colleagues and all the others in Oaxaca who graciously welcomed us. I am grateful to my students who continually awe and inspire me.