MSW Student Aims To Create Healthy School Environments

Lisa Origlio, WNMU MSW student & Nancy Kailing Memorial Scholarship recipient

© Western New Mexico University

“As part of the LGBTQ community, I know how confusing it can be to create a self-identity and how painful it is to be questioned and judged. As a future school social worker, my experiences and knowledge will help me create healthy school environments,” wrote Lisa Origlio, who received PFLAG Silver City’s Nancy Kailing Memorial Scholarship through the WNMU Foundation as a result of the essay this quote was excerpted from.

From Brighton, Colorado, Lisa has always worked with children so tried her hand at teaching. “It never really stuck for me,” she said.

Now seeking a master’s in social work, Lisa said that because she usually connected with kids who struggled emotionally, she explored careers in which should could help them. “I took a long time deciding on social work, and WNMU had everything I was looking for,” she said. “I’ve learned that social work is similar to teaching because a lot of it has to do with problem solving and using interventions. We keep track of their progress using the same strategies, and some of the terminology is the same as my education background.”

While her program is fully online, Lisa’s WNMU social work professors make her feel like she knows them. “I want to make it to Silver City someday and just sit with them,” she said. “I feel like I connect with the professors who go above and beyond in the same way I would in person.”

Lisa said that, at WNMU, diversity and culture are incorporated into all courses. “I’ve learned about people’s different experiences and how to apply culture using the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. People would think it’s a-scientific, but I’ve talked about culture and diversity in every class, which is cool because I’m really passionate about it.”

When her advisor posted about this WNMU Foundation scholarship, Lisa felt particularly enthusiastic. “Out of all the scholarships I applied for, the Nancy Kailing Memorial Scholarship was most fitting for my life, because I am part of that community. I was excited to be able to connect with an organization I could learn from,” she said.

The application asked her to not only discuss her personal experiences but also outline how to apply them as a school social worker. “I think I actually learned from writing that essay,” Lisa said, noting she can develop inclusive curriculum for kids of all ages and encourage children to look at civil rights as being not only about race but also beneficial for the LGBTQ community. “My plan is to work with students, teachers, and family members to promote safe environments, equality, and confidence.”

Submit Feedback