Brittany Chenelle is a graduate student of the Master of Social Work Program at California State University, Northridge in her second year. Working from a background in film, her projects have been rooted in advocacy. Advocating for others would turn into a call to direct service. Brittany's own experiences with lack of resources and representation dedicated to mental health for marginalized communities inspired her to pursue Clinical Social Work. Throughout her work in the MSW Program and in the community, she has remained passionate about increasing awareness, discussion, and access surrounding the treatment of mental health in diverse and minority communities.
In the future, Brittany plans to continue her work in both clinical and international social work. She hopes to open her own private practice that is accessible to those communities that have been underserved. She also does work in Haiti with the nonprofit Community Health Initiative, Haiti and through the grassroots nonprofit she co-founded: Beautiful Hope for Haiti. Ultimately, Brittany hopes that her advocacy will contribute to destigmatizing mental health in the Black, Brown, and Muslim communities she is a part of and beyond.
Brittany was chosen by the Council on Social Work Education as a fellow of their Minority Fellowship Program. It is the goal of CSWE's Minority Fellowship Program to support graduate students in their work to reduce health disparities specific to substance abuse and mental illness in traditionally underrepresented and underserved minority communities. Brittany's accomplishment will give her access to the fellowship's enhanced trainings, conferences, and mentorship that aligns with her focus on mental illness and substance use disorders.
Natalie Villalobos is a second-year graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the California State University of Northridge. A lover of the outdoors and daughter of immigrant's, she is a first-generation Latinx college student who earned her bachelor's degree in Sociology from the University of California, Merced. Raised in the northeast San Fernando Valley, Natalie witnessed and experienced the disparities in the education system serving predominantly students of color. The lack of educational services, resources available in addition to the lack of access to mental health services for students of color motivated her to pursue careers in the world of social work. Prior to entering the social work program Natalie worked as a Family Advocate in the San Fernando Valley serving low-income families of color. In this role she provided intensive in-home case-management services completing psychosocial assessments to identify the family's strengths and needs to collaboratively create treatment objectives. This work continued to fuel Natalie's passion in working with marginalized groups who come from similar backgrounds as herself.
Natalie was selected by the American Psychological Association to be a fellow under their Interdisciplinary Minority Fellowship program. This program will provide her with support and training during her concentration year to support her post-graduate work with ethnic and racial minorities who have a mental or cooccurring mental and substance abuse. Aligned with her goals Natalie is excited to begin the fellowship and acquire knowledge that will aid her in her goal to reduce health disparities among ethnic minorities.