Social work

Celebrating the Terriel E. Cox Resilience Scholarship’s Inaugural Recipient

July 16, 2020

Through the Terriel E. Cox Resilience Scholarship, The Master of Social Work Program is fortunate in its opportunity to continue celebrating the work of MSW students. Neta-lee Noy, LCSW, graduated from the MSW Program in 2011, along with Terriel E. Cox, and produced the interview with the scholarship’s inaugural recipient below.

The Terriel E. Cox Resilience Scholarship award is open to both current graduate CSUN Master of Social Work students and incoming students admitted to the Master of Social Work Program. Terriel, a CSUN undergraduate and MSW Program alumna, was a fierce advocate for foster youth. Eligible students will have been part of the foster care system in their youth or impacted by the foster care system. Preference will be given to students who have an expressed desire to become an agent of change for foster youth.

Read the full interview with the Terriel E. Cox Resilience Scholarship’s inaugural recipient, Stefany Gonzalez, below.


photo of scholarship winner


In October 2019, Stefany Gonzalez became the inaugural recipient of the Terriel E. Cox Resilience Scholarship. I had the pleasure of speaking with her recently in order to share some of her story.

Miss Gonzalez was first impacted by the Foster Care system while interning for the Ventura County Office of Education. It was during this time assigned to the Special Population Unit that she developed a passion for helping emancipating Foster Youth pursue higher education. While helping fill out FAFSA and Chafee applications, Miss Gonzalez noticed the need for a significant shift in how Foster Youth are thought of and talked about.  She described to me her experiences of witnessing firsthand how often the potential of this population is dismissed and disregarded. Having gone through her own personal life struggles, she understood how much more resilient these Foster Youth had to be in order to visualize a future for themselves, a future that even the people meant to be advocating for them struggle to see.

Miss Gonzalez is not satisfied with being ordinary. Her desire for excellence is evident in the dedication, perseverance, and discipline she has displayed on her difficult journey to where she is today. As a 1st generation American and survivor of domestic abuse, she has had to navigate many institutional barriers to be in the position where she is now earning her Master in Social Work degree. Her work with the Ventura County Office of Education earned her a temporary employment contract which she says places her in the role of a mandated reported and gives her clearance to assist in deeper, more meaningful ways. She impressively navigates this alongside all her graduate school coursework and her most recent internship with an intensive substance abuse outpatient program.

She believes the key to working with Foster Youth, as well as other populations that have suffered some sort of trauma, is to create genuine bonds as most shy away from making connections. She plans to continue being a change agent for foster youth after graduation by implementing and providing access to programs, classes, and workshops that focus on “real life” life-skills such as resume writing, money management, and interview training just to name a few. She also wishes to gain experience within the criminal justice system as many of her clients are in and out of juvenile court system, particularly male minorities.

Miss Gonzalez believes the focus the CSUN MSW program puts on working within the urban community environment will best prepare her for the social justice work she intends to continue. She is thankful for this program and for the donors who funded the scholarship. If you are a current CSUN MSW candidate, or are accepted into an incoming class, and have your own story of being impacted in some way by the Foster Care System, you too might be eligible for the Terriel E. Cox Resilience Scholarship. Please reach out to the CSUN Social Work Department for more details on applying, or the CSUN Fund Development office to make a contribution for future recipients to benefit from.