For Immediate Release
August 27, 2004
NASW Communications

NASW Foundation Announces Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarship Recipients for 2004-2005

Washington The National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) announces the 2004-2005 Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarship recipients.

The scholarships are awarded for one academic year to students who have demonstrated a commitment to working with, or have a special affinity with American Indian, Alaskan native, or Hispanic and Latino populations. These candidates have also demonstrated a commitment to working with public or voluntary non-profit agencies or local grassroots organizations. They are all MSW candidates.

This year's awardees include:
Emily Benson University of Minnesota

Ms. Benson has worked extensively with American Indian communities in Minnesota where she tutored young adults at the Division of Indian Work, advocated for families at the Ain Dah Yung (Our Home) shelterthe first of its kind in the nationby facilitating parenting groups, court advocacy, and assisting families with basic needs such as housing, education, and financial and employment needs.

Jessica Cassellius Augsburg College

Ms. Cassellius has lived in Cuidaad Valles, Mexico where she volunteered as a translator with medical and dental teams providing free care to indigenous people. She has also lived in Guadalajara , Mexico where she completed an internship at a women's drug and alcohol rehabilitation center. Most recently she traveled with a team to Mazatlan , Mexico where she used a mobile feeding unit to provide healthy meals for people. In Mazatlan , she also worked to build a group of volunteers who were to start community centers in those communities. Currently, Ms. Cassellius is the only bi-lingual employee at a non-profit agency in Minneapolis that provides emergency assistance with basic needs such as food, clothing, and financial assistance. Her personal experience living in a foreign country has allowed her to empathize and work better with the Hispanic population in Minneapolis .

Rocio Chavez University of Southern California

Ms. Chavez understands the importance of social work in the community. She has worked as a mentor to high-risk Latina girls where she discussed issues such as education, improving self-esteem, and avoiding peer pressure and risky behavior. Currently, she provides individual and group counseling, as well as crisis intervention in the Placentia Yorba Linda Unified School District . She also provides teacher consultations regarding students who are difficult to manage in the classroom. Being bilingual and bicultural makes her a strong asset in the school.

Emilia Jones University of California , Berkeley

Working with disenfranchised families comes naturally to Ms. Jones. Since an early age, she has been a volunteer, with her mother, to Project Open Handserving meals to people with HIV/AIDS in the San Francisco Bay area. It was this early exposure to grassroots community activism and the harsh realities of poverty, homelessness, and prostitution that has molded Ms. Jones career in social work. She has worked as a volunteer Spanish teacher at two inner city after-school programs, exposing predominantly African American children to a cross-cultural experience they might not have had otherwise. She has served as a coordinator at St. Vincent 's soup kitchen on weekendshelping plan, prepare, and distribute meals to the homeless, mainly immigrants from Mexico and Central America . Ms. Jones completed an internship at La Casa de las Madres, a residential shelter for battered women and children. She most recently worked as an Independent Life Skills Worker providing life skills lessons to more than 60 African American and Latino foster youth living in the Oakland inner city.

Katherine Koester Arizona State University

Ms. Koester has studied in Costa Rica , Israel , and India providing a variety of services for disenfranchised people in each of them. Through those experiences, she learned more than most people about different cultures and has a strong commitment to ending violence and oppression. Back in the U.S. , she works in a Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault program on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community where she facilitates two teen dating violence prevention groups. She is also actively involved with AWAREa non-profit organization which seeks to enhance the effectiveness of healing practitioners by providing opportunities for cross-cultural learning and exchange.

Marissa Nuvayestewa Washington University , St. Louis  

Ms. Vuvayestewa is a Hopi and Tewa Indian from the Hopi Reservation in Arizona . She is currently a member of the American Indian Student Organization at Washington University in St. Louis where she engages the community through events to help close the gap between social and cultural barriers that exist in society. She plans on using her learning experiences to address the needs of her community on the reservation. She also plans to be active in the political arena, empowering the tribal community through social change efforts, beginning with the tribal government and ending with the federal government.

The Gosnell Scholarship was established through a bequest of Consuelo Gosnell, a social work practitioner who was born in Ciudad Juarez , Mexico and died in Texas in 1987. Gosnell was a champion of civil and human rights and worked diligently to ameliorate conditions for critically under served American Indians and Latinos in the Southwest. Gosnell practiced for many years in federal agencies, including the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and the Bureau of Indian Affairs.

For more information about the NASW Foundation or educational scholarships, please contact NASWF via email at
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