Faces of Haviland: Jose Lopez

March 6, 2020

What were you doing before you came to Berkeley Social Welfare?

Before arriving at Berkeley, I worked for a couple of community nonprofits serving folks in San Francisco who struggled with homelessness, substance abuse, and mental illnesses in the Tenderloin, as well as the Mission District.

What motivated you to pursue an MSW?

As a first-generation Mexican-American, I have witnessed and been affected by social injustices throughout my life. My parents set an early example of the importance of always supporting my community, fighting for what is right, and doing anything I can to support people being targeted by the social injustices we faced. In alignment with my professional and personal experience, as well as my passion for serving others, the universe brought me to the MSW program at UC Berkeley.

Why did you choose Berkeley?

I chose Berkeley because I was looking for a program that emphasized the significance of having social work experience, not only for the students, but also for the instructors. Additionally, I wanted to be in a program that would support me in selecting and applying for the best field placement opportunity to achieve my learning objectives. It was also important to me that the program I attended be connected to and already supporting the communities I had been working with in the Bay Area.

What appealed to you about your concentration?

What was appealing about the Strengthening Organizations and Communities (SOC) concentration was the focus on macro level social work within the curriculum. What I have appreciated about this concentration is the flexibility it allowed me in taking classes and interning at field placements that have aspects of both micro and macro level social work.

What do you appreciate most about the programs here?

What I appreciate the most about the MSW program is learning with and from the students, staff, and instructors in the program; especially my colleagues in the SOC cohort and our field instructor, Andrea DuBrow. All of the experiences I have encountered while in this program have, in some shape or another, contributed to my social work practice.

What keeps you busy outside of Haviland Hall?

There are many things keeping me busy outside of Haviland Hall. Just to name a few, I try to be as involved in my field placement as much as possible and I am currently planning my wedding!