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 4 hours, please email MSW Interns Jose Yerena (jose.yerena@mavs.uta.edu) or Darline Bustos  (darline.bustos@mavs.uta.edu).

Fall 2020 Graduate Student Leaders

Darline Bustos

Darline Bustos

My name is Darline and I am a senior in the MSW program. After I graduate with my MSW I would like to work in a hospital. I am excited to be your Graduate Student Leader and look forward to helping my peers through their time as a MSW student.

Jennifer Canning

Jennifer Canning

Hi, my name is Jennifer Canning, and I am a BSW student at UTA. I am graduating this summer and will start the MSW program in the fall. I’m excited to pursue a career in social work, because it will allow me to do meaningful work in the community and help people in a variety of different settings. When I graduate, I’d like to work with children and teens, as well as those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. I look forward to serving as a USL this semester and having the opportunity to meet and support my fellow students.

Emily Costello

Emily Costello

My name is Emily Costello and I am in my second year of my MSW program in Mental Health and Substance Abuse. Prior to entering the field of social work, I was a music teacher, but my heart and past experiences led me to this profession, and I am never looking back. After graduation, I hope to find employment in a hospital setting and provide support for individuals who are suffering with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts and actions. As a GSL, my main focus is making distance students feel included, important, and valued. I want to be the person that everyone is comfortable voicing their concerns to.

Danielle Fork

Danielle Fork

I’ve had a heart for youth and community since I was a little girl. I chose to pursue my Masters Degree in Social Work so I can become a counselor for youth and families experiencing trauma. I'm a natural nurturer and here to help as a GSL

Anna Garcia

Anna Garcia

Hello! My name is Anna Garcia, and this is my second semester of the MSW program and my first semester as a GSL. I graduated in December 2019 with my Bachelor of Social Work degree, and one week after walking the stage, I became a first-time mother and had my beautiful daughter, who is my greatest blessing. During my time in the undergrad program, I was extensively involved as the Secretary of the Social Work Council, Leadership Honors Program, I am a Terry Foundation Scholarship recipient, and I graduated Summa Cum Laude. I am on the Mental Health and Substance Use track because after graduation, my ultimate goal is to get my LCSW and go into counseling. I look forward to serving as a Graduate Student Leader and help my fellow students in any way I can.

Faith Geiger

Faith Geiger

My name is Faith Geiger and I am an MSW student (Graduating Summer 2021). I recently completed my BSW at UTA and have been so impressed with the faculty and staff - everyone is in your corner! I am new to being a GSL, but my goal is to provide the same level of support I have received from staff and students to those who might need help in their journey at UTA. I don't have all the answers, but I will find them for you!

Shelitha Jones

Shelitha Jones

My name is Shelitha Jones; this is my first semester serving in the GSL Program. I received my Bachelor's in Social Work this fall from UTA. I am currently pursuing my MSW in Children and Families. I plan to get my LMSW and work with survivors of intimate partner violence and ultimately work as a Family Therapist. Advocacy is very important to me, so I would like to spend time, while earning my degree and working, doing as John Lewis said, "Getting into good trouble." I am looking forward to serving and supporting my constituents this semester through the GSL program.

Vidhya Krishnan

I am so excited to be part of the MSW program here at UT Arlington. I am a first-year student on the direct practice- health services track. After completing my degree, I hope to work on an interdisciplinary team as a patient advocate in a children hospital. I am excited to be a social worker so I can help children through some of the toughest moments in their lives. Go Mavs!

Ann Kuo

Ann Kuo

In gaining my Master’s Degree in Social Work I want to work to make a difference and to ensure that all standards are being met by everyone involved in a case, the clients we serve, and the communities we serve must all know that we are here because of them. Social Workers are humans and yes, we make mistakes, however, we cannot ever forget why we chose this career in the first place .... our clients and our communities we serve. We owe it to our clients every time they walk through a set of doors whether at a doctor' s office, hospital, their homes, schools, or our offices everything else is secondary at that moment and we must give our clients our full attention and let them know they matter to us” - Ann Kuo

Carolyn Mask-Oats

Carolyn Mask-Oats

Carolyn Mask-Oats is an altruistic MSW student who specializes in Children and Families. She is passionate, driven, and most importantly she seeks to empower others to be the best version of themselves.

Chrissy McKinnon

Chrissy McKinnon

Chrissy is in her second semester of the dual MSW/MBA program focusing on Mental Health and Community Administration. Her passions include research, policy, trauma and foster care.

Bethany Myres

Bethany Myres

Hello fellow Mavericks! I am so excited to be a GSL! My speciality within the MSW Program is Children and Families! I currently work for a local Pregnancy Center in the metroplex and LOVE it! Most of my free time is spent with family or spoiling my dog. I cannot wait to connect to more classmates and I wish you the best for your program!

Robin Otto

Robin Otto

Hi everyone! My name is Robin Otto, and I am a second-year MSW student and have decided to pursue a direct practice specialty in aging. I hope to combine the knowledge gained from the MSW program with my master’s degree in public policy to become an effective agent for change. I am excited about providing meaningful support to other students and serving as a valuable resource for my peers as they pursue their goals.

Kristi Parks

Hello! My name is Kristi J. Parks! I am proud to be a Maverick and part of this MSW Program. This year is off to a great start and I am excited to serve as a GSL. I work for Fresenius Kidney Care, North America where I am also completing my Foundation Year Field Placement. After graduation, I plan to work in the medical field. In my free time, I enjoy shopping and being around family and friends. I look forward to running this marathon with you!

Maura Wenk

Maura Wenk

My name is Maura Wenk and I’m excited to serve as a GSL this Fall semester 2020! I have a bachelor’s in social work from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and I’ve had experience working with the HIV positive population and survivors of domestic violence and human trafficking. My concentration is in CAP and I look forward to graduating this December – knock on wood! My hobbies include outdoor activities, discovering new music, learning languages, and spending time with my husband and two cats. As GSL, I’m here to support you in any way I can, and I look forward to connecting with you!

Shane Whisler

Shane Whisler

My primary careers to this point have been serving as a journalist and minister. The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) highly values social justice. Volunteer activities range from food pantry and community gardens to services for people on the street to ticket taking at an international film festival. Photography and making short films are a joy for me. I plan to be a counselor serving people based on their ability to pay as part of a larger organization or continue to achieve the LCSW level to provide that service on my own. My wife of 25 years and I have a menagerie of animals and most importantly, two daughters, one in college, one in high school. Plan to graduate in 2021.

Jose B. Yerena

Jose B. Yerena

My name is Jose B. Yerena. I am the MSW Program GSL Student Intern. I have a Bachelor’s in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice from the University of Texas at Brownsville. I am currently pursuing my MSW with a concentration in Community and Administrative Practice. Currently, I am a Licensed Child Placement Agency Administrator, and have over 15 years’ experience in child welfare, with 14 years being in administrative roles. I plan to utilize my MSW to further advance in my professional career, into a Chief Operating Officer role, where I can lead an organization and staff, and together make a significant difference in the lives of children who have been abused/neglected. It is my hope that every child in the conservatorship of the state of Texas, achieves permanency either through reunification with biological parents and/or relatives/fictive kin or through adoption. I look forward to serving my constituents as well as learn and grow together. Go Mavs!

Contact Us

Regina T. Praetorius, Ph.D., LMSW-AP

Director of Graduate Programs
rtpraetorius@uta.edu