UTA Student Earns Top Social Work Award

Tuesday, Aug 25, 2020 Valerie Hill

The North Texas branch of a professional Social Work organization has picked a UTA graduate student for one of its top awards.

Jasmine-GainesJasmine Gaines, who is pursuing a Masters in Social Work, will be presented with the MSW Student of the Year award by members of the North Central Texas-Fort Worth Area Branch of the National Association of Social Workers.

NASW members will present the award to Gaines during the organization’s annual banquet, which will be held at a yet-to-be-determined date, leaders said.

“It’s still a shocker,” Gaines said. “It’s like ‘What, me?’ I’m just in shock! I feel honored.”

Gaines is among two students and five professionals whom NASW will recognize for their outstanding contributions to the Social Work field and to the North Texas community.

The honorees also include Fort Worth Independent School Board member Quinton Phillips, Fort Worth ISD teacher Ernie Moran and longtime newspaper columnist, political news commentator and PBS radio host Bob Ray Sanders.

Gaines, whose academic concentration is in mental health and substance use treatment counseling, works with three- to five-year-old students as a behavioral interventionist at David Crockett Early Education School in the Grand Prairie Independent School District.

Much of her work, Gaines said, helps pre-school students to avoid classroom interruptions by choosing to manage their feelings and emotions.

“I will go into a classroom and model. I will go and sit with the child,” she says, adding that, ultimately, her students learn appropriate behaviors that allow them to remain in the classroom – as opposed to being removed - and to continue learning.

Gaines has worked for four years at the Grand Prairie pre-school campus. She works alongside the campus’ academic counselors and its leadership to involve parents in student success initiatives and to advocate for unique environments that promote her students’ social, emotional and academic well-being.

Since her arrival at Crockett, she has encouraged implementation of new programs for students with different needs. The campus also has created new policies for managing students with behavioral challenges.