Welcome to field! My name is Valerie Luevano and I'm thrilled to be the Field Education Program Coordinator for the University of Nevada, Reno School of Social Work. Field is one of the most important courses you'll take as part of your graduate social work education. It's also one of the most anticipated.
Since I have a Bachelor's Degree in Biology, I entered the MSW program at the Foundation level and had a two years of field to complete. I spent my first year at the United Way of Northern Nevada and the Sierra, which was one of the few macro level placements at the time. My second placement was with the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. Through this internship I discovered medical social work was a perfect fit with my biology degree. After I graduated with my MSW, I was hired as the clinic coordinator and stayed there for six more years.
Shortly after graduation, I also started teaching part time with the School of Social Work. Perhaps not surprisingly, the first class I taught was field. I met so many incredible social workers while conducting mid-semester site visits. It was actually during a site visit that I learned Casa de Vida was looking for an Executive Director. I applied, was offered the position, and spent the next six years working diligently to start five new (and much needed) programs to support pregnant & parenting teens in our community.
During my time at Casa de Vida, I couldn't help but see the horrible effects of untreated trauma on the lives of our clients. So I made a hard decision and left the agency to start a nonprofit counseling practice for children exposed to trauma called Kids First Family Services. We were one of the first organizations to bring Child Parent Psychotherapy to our region. After 10 years the agency is still going strong and now serves as an LCSW clinical internship site.
After Kids First, I circled back to my first love - medical social work. I was hired as the Supervisor of Social Services for Renown Regional Medical Center and was promoted to Manager two years later. In that position, I had the privilege of leading forty of the kindest, smartest, hardest working social workers and chaplains I've ever known.
And that brings me to today. All in all, it was a 20 year journey that lead me to where I am now...working with all of you. I love social work. And I love working with students. Your enthusiasm for the field is inspiring and the best form of self-care for me. I look forward to seeing you progress through field and calling you my colleagues in a few short months. Please remember I'm here to support you and if there's ever anything I can do to help, please don't hesitate to ask. Welcome!