Annual Social Work awards celebrate students and field instructors making an impact

Left to right: Jasmine Miles, Ulysses Arteaga, Vivian Garcia-Arnold

Summer 2022 is here, and with it comes the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work’s annual awards that recognize the contributions made by social work students to communities in South Florida.  

“Each year, we are amazed by the accomplishments of our students in their internships. This year is definitely not an exception,” said Jennifer Abeloff, associate director at the School of Social Work. “As the community has continued to have an increase in need and complexity due to COVID-19, our students’ determination to continue to serve our most vulnerable community members shows us what exceptional social workers they will be.”

Internships are a requirement in all social work programs, and students must meet the competencies and practice behaviors set forth by the school and accrediting body (CSWE) during their practicum. Through their internships, students take what they learn and apply it to the field under the supervision of MSW-level field instructors.

To be considered for an award, field instructors nominate bachelor’s and master’s students for the hard work and dedication they have demonstrated through their internships. Students are also welcome to nominate their field instructors for an award that celebrates the positive impact they’ve made on their overall internship experience.

What follows are the awardees who will be honored during the Annual Appreciation of FIU Field Instructors event taking place on Friday, May 20, 2022, at 9:30 a.m.

Student Intern Awards

Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) Student Intern of the Year

Jasmine Miles, BSSW Graduate Spring 2022

Nominator: Sandra Seymour Obas, LCSW, College Success Coach of Educate Tomorrow, Miami Dade College

“Jasmine’s academic and internship-related accomplishments are rivaled only by her personal strengths. She is highly self-motivated, demonstrates exceptional leadership skills and provides unmatched client care. Jasmine’s dominant feature is her outstanding work ethic that she approaches with diligence. Her integrity speaks volumes, she is willing to learn and is humble enough to receive feedback. She demonstrates professionalism and displays courteousness with everyone she encounters. I have had the pleasure of witnessing her growth in personal development and see her promise within this field.”

Master of Social Work (MSW) Generalist Student Intern of the Year

Vivian Garcia-Arnold, MSW I Student Spring 2022

Milagros Garcia, MSW Programs Director Thelma Gibson Health Initiative (TGHI)

“As an intern at Thelma Gibson Health Initiative, Vivian has gone above and beyond on a daily basis in serving our low-income, South Miami community residents. I sincerely have never worked with an intern or colleague that has shown as much dedication to her clients and passion for advocacy as Vivian does. She is a credit to our profession and will undoubtedly make significant contributions to the people and communities she serves in the future.” 

Advanced Clinical Master of Social Work (MSW) Student Intern of the Year

Margarette Mahotiere, MSW Graduate Spring 2022

Ryan Charles Roelans, LCSW-QS, MCAP, MSW, Assistant Chief Executive Officer of Better Way of Miami, Inc.

“She is an advocate for the clients through and through. Anytime that she disagrees with the course of treatment that has been chosen for the client, she is confident enough to speak up. Maggie is extremely open in regard to processing her issues in relation to the work and truly implements those new ideas, which can be seen in her day-to-day practice. She is directly responsible for my questioning of two different agency treatment protocols, which were ultimately changed due to her input.”

Field Instructor Awards

Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) Field Instructor of the Year

Ulysses Arteaga, L.C.S.W.

Team Manager, Miami-Dade County Community Action and Human Services Department, Family and Community Services Division, Wynwood Community Resource Center

Nominator: Gerlannda Antoine, BSSW Graduate Spring 2022

“I am delighted that the School of Social Work is recognizing field instructors for the amazing work they are doing to assist students and prepare them for any outcomes in the future. My field instructor met all of the criteria for this award, including the quality of supervision, availability to student interns, strong communication on performance, creativity in teaching, and more.” 

Advanced Clinical Master of Social Work (MSW) Field Instructor of the Year

Aned Willig (pictured far right) with her interns, including her nominator Gabriela Schetjman (pictured second from the left)

Aned Willig, MSW

Clinical Social Worker of Patient and Family Services, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital

Gabriela Schetjman, MSW Graduate Fall 2021

“Aned exemplifies social work values and ethics as she helps patients and families navigate through difficult medical decisions. Aned was supportive, and encouraging, guiding me through my time here. She has created an environment where I am able to bring what I have learned in the classroom to the internship.”

Master of Social Work (MSW) Generalist Field Instructor of the Year

Rocio Lopez, LCSW Rocío López, LCSW

School Social Worker M-DCPS, North ESE Service Center

Nominator: Philome Pierre-Noel, MSW Generalist Student Spring 2022

“[Ms. Rocio Lopez] is skilled, compassionate, open-minded, competent, and caring field instructor.”

Special Recognition Award

Ryan Roelans is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Qualified LCSW Supervisor with over 10 years of experience in the field of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. He holds a Master Certified Addictions Professional certificate and serves as the Assistant Chief Executive Officer at Better Way of Miami. A thoughtful leader and advocate, the FIU community is honored to have Roelans serve as a Field Educator, Liaison and Adjunct Professor within the School of Social Work.

Roelans has been described as an “exceptional field instructor that offers a safe environment for his students to feel comfortable enough to ask questions and voice concerns.”

The support offered by Roelans throughout the semester has been described as superb and made students’ internship experiences more enjoyable. Students describe him as “someone who not only loves to give back but enjoys learning from the newer generation.”