Elon Faculty and Students Present at Latino Social Work Organization Conference in Chicago

Human Service Studies (HSS) Faculty, Carmen Monico, and HSS undergraduate research students Meredith Berk and Alejandra Orellana-Portillo present at the 2014 Latino Social Work Organization held at the University of Illinois-Chicago this past weekend.   

They presented preliminary findings of an ongoing research on the knowledge and perceptions about human trafficking among Elon students, and discussed implications for college youth, and the Latino community in the United States.

About 250 social work practitioners and students, human service providers, and public service professionals from various states and academics from the United States and Canada participated in the 3-day conference of the Latino Social Work Organization (LSWO) held at University Center of the University of Illinois at Chicago on October 16-18, 2014.

The conference was offered as a continued education program, and a unique space for social/human services workers and scholars to network and mentor students aspiring or training in the profession. The theme infused throughout the conference was “La Familia” perspective, as most participants serve the Latino community. Elon faculty Carmen Monico was a plenary speaker during the opening of the conference which emphasized the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) faced by the profession when serving the Latino community. Monico and the Human Service Studies (HSS) students Meredith Berk and Alejandra Orellana-Porttillo delivered a joint presentation at a workshop titled Knowledge and Skills of Elon Students Surrounding Sex Trafficking and Labor Exploitation Issues: Implications for Human Trafficking Education and Prevention Among College and University Students and Implications for Latin@ Youth and their Families. Elon faculty and students present on their ongoing research on human trafficking, which has become not only a global social concern abroad but at home, as the number of reported “domestic” victims (U.S. citizens) is increasing, as opposed to the number of victims of foreign origin.

Monico was also the organizer and lead facilitator of a panel discussion on PhD education, where faculty participating in the Conference met with aspirant students, providing them with guidance and insights from their own experience of completing doctoral education in social work. The LSWO conference is an opportunity for practitioners to obtain continued education credits, and to network for better serving Latino community, which has become the faster growing minority in the United States. This event coincided with the Hispanic Heritage month, which is also celebrated across the country and at Elon University with a series of events organized by the Multicultural Center and El Centro.

Monico’s participation in this conference was supported by a grant of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (CATL). Berk and Orellana-Portillo were supported by Undergraduate Travel Grants to present on their ongoing undergraduate research this semester.

For more information on the LSWO and 2014 Conference: http://www.lswo2014.org/ 

Dr. Carmen Monico during Latino Social Work Organization Conference where she was a plenary speaker, workshop presenter, and panel discussion facilitator.
HSS students Meredith Berk (right) and Alejandra Orellana-Portillo (right) participating in the LSWO plenary session, and later co-presenting with Dr. Carmen Monico on their ongoing undergraduate research projects.
Dr. Carmen Monico (far right) networking with Latino social work students from the University of Michigan, with whom she later organized a workshop for mentoring aspirants to PhD programs in social work.Dr. Lorraine Gutierrez is the faculty advisor to the Univerty of Michigan students.