Mother of five, student of the year graduating from MSW program specializing in aging

Friday, May 04, 2018

A close bond with her family kept social work graduate student Lubia Gwak motivated to stay focused on her studies.

Gwak, who was named Student of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers Texas Chapter Fort Worth Branch, will graduate from the School of Social Work with a master’s degree in May.

She hopes to focus on the aging population with an emphasis on the Hispanic community.

“I am a huge advocate, and I’m not afraid to speak for people’s rights, especially the aging community,” she said.

Gwak said her Mexican-American background inspired her to get into social work, as this cultural upbringing spurred a respect for one’s elders. Studying social work with a specialty in aging felt like second nature to her. The university drew her interest with its strong academic reputation, as did the Master of Social Work Program’s diversity of specializations, from aging to mental health.

Moving from El Paso to the DFW area was an initial challenge, but UTA offered a lifetime opportunity to serve her community. She said having family be there for her helped make the transition easier.

As a first-generation college student, going through the system was initially difficult but campus staff helped guide her through the process of being a university student.

She felt compelled to represent her family, community and the people she serves through social work.

Gwak is a mother of five.



“The top ranked UTA School of Social Work has a strong academic reputation with amazing professors that prepared me to make meaningful contributions to my state and community.  I’m thrilled to have studied at UTA where my culture and diversity is celebrated and supported! Muchas Gracias UTA!”

-  Lubia Banda Gwak, MSW
    NASW-Texas Chapter/2018 Fort Worth Branch Student of the Year