Graduate Student Leadership Program

Overview 

The GSL program is designed to build community and connections between MSW students and strengthen the bond that students have with the School of Social Work by facilitating the exchange of accurate and timely information.  Each MSW student in the program is assigned to a GSL, a fellow student who has received extensive training on leadership, communication, and information on the School and MSW program. 

What do GSLs do? 

GSLs serve as advocates and communication facilitators for MSW students, fielding questions about all of aspects of the graduate experience, including advising, field, registration, orientation, scholarships, deadlines, program policies, and more.  They are able to track down accurate answers to questions quickly by reaching out directly to program administrators and connecting students to services and resources.  Students who reach out to their GSL with a question most often receive resolution to their presenting issue within minutes or hours of posing a question. 

How do I contact my GSL? 

Your GSL can be reached anytime via email or on MS Teams.  Your GSL will be reaching out to you at least once every two weeks to check in via email or Teams conference. If you are unsure of who your GSL is or have not received a response to your inquiry within 24 hours, please email MSW Interns Nicole Ferguson (Nicole.ferguson@mavs.uta.edu) or Julie Henderson (Julie.simmons2@mavs.uta.edu).

Fall 2021 GRADUATE STUDENT LEADERS

Yasmin Alzubi

Yasmin AlZubi

Hello! My name is Yasmin AlZubi, and this is my first year serving in the GSL Program! I received my bachelor’s in psychology from UTA and am now pursuing my MSW degree, specializing in Mental Health. After graduation, I plan to be a children’s mental health clinician. Interacting with and assisting children who have experienced trauma, abuse, and neurological disorders, has truly fashioned me into a determined advocate and reformer for children all around the world. I also hope I can eventually continue my research into a doctorate program where I can focus on the neuropsychology of violence on developing minds to advance clinical practice. Even though my desired population to work with is children, there is something special about assisting those within my own community. I am excited to encourage and empower you all as future social work professionals!

April Brewer

April Brewer

My name is April Brewer, and I am in my second semester in the MSW program as a Foundation student at UTA. It is a joy to me when helping others. I currently work in an Outpatient Psychiatry/Psychology clinic in the Dallas area where I basically do this for free so I was told to get my degree so I can benefit from it. My area of focus is Mental Health and Substance Abuse. My future plans once graduation is to pursue my LCSW and become an Adjunct Professor. I am excited and honored to be your Graduate Student Leader in this journey.

Diamon Clark

Diamon Clark

Hello! My name is Diamon (pronounced like the diamond ring) Clark and I am in my last semester in the MSW program. After graduation, I hope to obtain a career working with clients in the substance abuse/mental health field, in particularly the hospital setting. I currently work as a CPS caseworker and I have been with this agency for the past 3 ½ years. I have a lot of knowledge of working with children and families as well as many community resources. I really love my job. I am very passionate about helping others and I am always open to assist wherever I am needed. I am very excited to be your Graduate Student Leader. I am looking forward to the opportunity to connect with other students as well as support and advocate my MSW constituents!

Denise Draper

Denise Draper

This is my third semester serving as a GSL. I am excited to begin my advanced coursework in Mental Health/Substance Misuse this Fall. I worked in public school systems in Louisiana and Texas as a school psychologist for 15 years before deciding to stay home with my two children for several years. During that time of reflection, I felt a calling to professional social work and began the MSW program Fall 2020. I plan to work towards becoming an LCSW after graduating and work with survivors of trauma and their families. I developed a passion for advocacy and policy during my Foundation year and want to engage at the Micro and Macro levels of social work. I believe in the power of collective action and the important role that social workers play as agents of change in society. Outside of school, I enjoy listening to music (I have a playlist for every mood!) and exploring mindfulness meditation to unwind. It is an honor to serve my fellow students in my role as a GSL.

Nicole Ferguson

Nicole Ferguson

Hello! I am Nicole Ferguson, and this is my first year serving with GSL. I graduated with my bachelor’s in Psychology from UTA, and I’m currently in the MSW program here at UTA. I currently am a teacher and have experience mentoring young adults, and my goal is to work in the mental health field as a therapist. I’m super excited about being a member of GSL, and I can’t wait to help students like myself be successful in the program!

Jenny Hendricks

Jenny Hendricks

Hi, my name is Jenny Hendricks, and I am starting my advanced year in the MSW program here at UTA, with a focus in Mental Health and Substance abuse. I am new to the GSL program and am happy to be here to help! I am originally from Arkansas; this is where I earned my B.A in Applied Communication. I wanted to be a teacher for as long as I can remember but decided in the past couple of years that path is not for me. The more I have learned about Social Work, the more I know this is where I should have been long ago and will stay till I retire. I feel like I am leaning towards the micro practice hopefully with the V.A, however I feel like I will do something in the nonprofit world with aging out foster youth. Best wishes to all of you on this journey!

Stacie Hill

Stacie Hill

Hello! My name is Stacie Hill, I am in the MSW program and am a full-time student in my foundation year. I graduated from Texas Wesleyan University with a Bachelor's in Sociology. I am planning on pursuing the Community/Administrative track or the Aging track while at UTA. This is my first year as a Graduate Student Leader and I am looking forward to helping students navigate through the program and building a solid community of successful social workers.

Dinah Jones-Tate

Dinah Jones-Tate

Hello Mavs! My name is Dinah Jones-Tate (DJ for short). I am from Illinois where I received my Bachelor’s in Science with an emphasis in Family and Individual Development at Northern Illinois University, c/o 2018. I am now pursuing a dual degree and working towards my MSW specializing in mental health and M.Ed in educational leadership and policy studies, with an emphasis in higher education administration. After grad school, I plan to work within a university as a social worker and help freshmen who may struggle with adjusting to college life and those who are first generation college students like myself! I am excited to be given the opportunity to be your GSL and look forward to meeting you!

Ebonie Kinney

Ebonie Kinney

Hello fellow Mavericks! My name is Ebonie Kinney, and this is my first year serving as a Graduate Student Leader. As your GSL, you can expect authenticity, compassion and responsiveness. I accepted this role because I am passionate about connecting with students and being a voice for my constituents. My concentration in the MSW program is Direct Practice with Children and Families, and I will graduate in the Summer of 2022! I am a stay-at-home mom of five beautiful children, which I have found to be an incredibly rewarding experience. I have a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and initially pursued a career in mental health counseling as I was interested in helping others. In having a passion to help others, I later decided to pursue Social Work because I consider myself to be an advocate by nature. I feel this is my calling and I find great fulfillment in social work advocacy. After graduation, I plan to become a Licensed Social Worker and eventually obtain my LCSW. I am also passionate about working with families who struggle with substance misuse. In the near future, I plan to open a private practice that works to remove the stigma that exists for this population while implementing programs that treat the whole family as the client. After working in the field for a number of years, I plan to become a professor at UTA and bring my practice skills to the classroom! I look forward to serving my constituents and advocating on their behalf, as they navigate through the MSW program here at UTA. Please let me know how I can serve you!

Katherine Kitchens

Katherine Kitchens

Hello! My name is Katherine Kitchens (she/her/hers). I'm a Dallas native and an advanced MSW student, concentrating in Community and Administrative Practice (CAP). Fall 2021 is my third semester to serve as a GSL. I have a Bachelor's in Politics and had the incredible experience working as a middle school teacher in an urban Latinx community. That background contributed to my interest in community and macro social work. I'm currently a Graduate Research Assistant and am also working on my thesis, which focuses on residential segregation as an example of systemic racism and its effect on the health outcomes of communities of color. After completing my MSW, I hope to continue in UTA's doctoral program, researching the link between systemic racism and health and advocating for policy change. I look forward to serving my constituents as a Graduate Student Leader and working together to strengthen our community, building connections in the School of Social Work.

Rebecca Leach

Rebecca Leach

My name is Rebecca, but everyone calls me either Victoria or Tori (my middle name). I currently hold my Associates of Arts from TCC and my Bachelors of Social Work from UTA. After I obtain my MSW, I would also like to get my MPA, LMSW and eventually my LCSW. My goals are to either serve in a school setting or in program evaluation. I am the youngest of four siblings and am HUGE on family. God comes first! I grew up playing sports - basketball, volleyball, softball and powerlifting, I love watching and playing sports and felt like it built character and leadership skills within me that will last a lifetime. I am also a book worm and music connoisseur. My work background is in Parks and Recreation and Social Services with non-profits, I am currently a Center Supervisor for the City of Fort Worth and volunteer with a non-profit on Las Vegas Trail, part-time. I look forward to coming along side of you as your Graduate Student Leader to help you meet whatever needs or goals you may have. The are no limits to what you can achieve! #MavUp

Sofia Liserio

Sofia Liserio

I am in my last semester as an MSW student with a direct practice in aging. I obtained my BSW at UTA in 2019. My passion is hospice and long-term care social work due to being a proud part of the Sandwich Generation. As a new GSL, I am excited to provide all the support I can give to my fellow Mavericks!

Allyson Miles

Allyson Miles

I have been a Student Leader for several semester and I have always found creative ways to keep students connected and informed. I work hard to create a community between the students I support and build a bridge to connect them with the needed services on campus and even in the community. I am an online MSW student living in El Paso, Tx my specialty is in Aging. I plan to graduate in the summer of 2022 and hope to offer care to those living with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. When I am not working on schoolwork or supporting my constituents, I am working with my dog Nox, a German Shepard. She is not only a search and rescue dog but also in training for therapy. Our goal is to offer care and support to our community together!

Ashley Ordaz

Ashley Ordaz

Hi, my name is Ashley Ordaz. I am excited to serve as a GSL. I have a bachelor’s in family studies from TWU. I have experience in domestic violence shelters, older persons population, and small children ages 6 months to 6 years old. I lived in Germany for a little less than 2 years before starting my masters here at UTA. I hope to support and help other students reach their goals.

Craig Phillips

Craig Phillips

My name is Craig Phillips and I am in my final year at UTA. I am in the advanced standing mental health and substance abuse Master’s Program.  I went back to school at age 45 and I feel grateful to have had and hopefully continue to have this learning experience at UTA through to completion of my Master's Program. I chose Social Work as my degree path as it has been my passion to help others most of my life. I was a trained Addictions Counselor and had the opportunity to develop three treatment programs from scratch with some amazing people. Two of these were wilderness related programs in Utah and the other is a residential treatment center for Adolescents. I now want to further my academics so that I may own a Sober Living Environment with a required treatment modality and twelve commitment for those suffering from addiction. This will require an LCSW which I hope to obtain after graduation. I wish you all well in your educational and life-long endeavors!

Jessica Phillips

Jessica Phillips

Hello, my name is Jessica Phillips, and I am excited to transition from being a USL to now becoming a GSL. I have always had a calling to help others, and after becoming a government-certified hospice volunteer, I knew that working with the aging population was where I was meant to be. I am also the secretary/treasurer of the Gerontology Organization, and I am a full-time student, employee, and mother. I am excited to get the opportunity to help my fellow students stay informed and succeed here at UTA. Together we can do great things!

Natalie Rea

Natalie Rea

Hi, my name is Natalie Rea, I recently graduated from UTA’s School of Social Work undergraduate program. I am enrolled in the advanced standing accelerated MSW program with a concentration in direct practice, specializing in Mental Health and Substance Misuse. After I graduate with my masters, I plan on obtaining my clinical license to offer mental health resources to immigrant minors and their families. Apart from being a full-time student, I am a married mother of 3. In my free time I am usually at a sporting event for one of my 3 children, or at my church where I serve as a worship leader. I am excited to be your Graduate Student Leader and help my peers through the MSW program.

Stacey Roberson

Stacey Roberson

Hello Maverick Family! My name is Stacey Roberson, and this is my first semester of the dual MPA/MSW degree program. I am passionate about empowering others, innovation, and learning. During my social work field experience, I formed Good Works Social Service, a non-profit that will serve communities experiencing challenges. My graduate experience will equip me to develop solid strategic goals and objectives for my organization. In my free time, I enjoy power naps, listening to music, and laughing. I am thrilled to serve as a GSL and look forward to the interaction!

Deni Snyder

Deni Snyder

Deni will be a first year graduate student at UTA starting this fall. She graduated from The University of Texas Permian Basin with a bachelor’s in Psychology. It has been her dream to pursue a master’s degree in social work and has seized her opportunity. Her goal is to “give away what has been so freely given” to her. She is working to obtain her MSW and then work towards being a LCSW. She would like to work in the mental health field with people who have issues with alcohol and addiction. “I believe everyone deserves to lead a life of happiness. Providing reliable resources to help people with their mental health should be accessible to everyone regardless of race/gender/socio-economic status. I am ready to do my part to make this a reality”.

Sruthi Sundar

Sruthi Sundar

Hi, my name is Sruthi Sundar, and I am currently pursuing my MSW degree in Health and a certificate in Community Administrative Practice. I am truly passionate about increasing the amount of equitable patient care in our health system and helping to reduce health disparities. Apart from being a graduate student, I work as a research assistant for the School of Social Work, and as a student representative on the Health Cohort Curriculum Committee. I am excited to represent and advocate for your needs as a GSL!

Amelia Vu

Amelia Vu

Hello! My name is Amelia Vu and I have a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Business Foundations minor from the University of Houston. I am currently in my final semester in the MSW program with a concentration in Children and Families. After I complete my MSW, I want to pursue a career as either a Medical or Adoption Social Worker. This will be my third semester serving as a GSL and I am excited to assist my fellow peers as we take this Social Work journey together. Prior to entering the MSW program, I worked at a Mental Health Clinic and served as a Child Advocate and Group Facilitator at Bo’s Place, which provided me with valuable experiences and taught me important skills that I have used towards serving those in my community. I have also previously interned with a hospice agency which provided me with hands-on experience in providing support and care to my clients during their final stages of life. And I am currently interning with a foster care agency where I have obtained a deeper insight into the Child Welfare System. I will use the knowledge that I have gained to support my peers in their endeavors and help prepare them in serving their future clients.

Suri Zuniga

Suri Zuniga

Hello, my name is Suri Zuniga. This is my first semester in the MSW program and as a GSL. I graduated from UTA with my BSW in Spring of 2021. Growing up I was not sure what I wanted to do, but I knew that I wanted to help others. When I heard of social workers, I was truly amazed by all they do for people. As a DACA recipient, I know the importance of having someone guide you through a tough situation you know nothing about. Eventually, I would love to work with children in the immigration system and provide families with the resources to help make their situations easier. I am excited to be a GSL and help others enjoy their time here at UTA!

Contact Us

Diane B. Mitschke, PhD, MSW
Interim Director of Graduate Programs
dianemitschke@uta.edu