News items about CalSWEC Alumni.

From Powwow Princess to Child Welfare Social Worker: Chamese Dempsey’s Journey of Self-Discovery and Empowerment

March 26, 2024

When Chamese Dempsey was an undergraduate at San Diego State University (SDSU), her mentor Tamara Strohauer encouraged her to apply for the Title IV-E Program. She hesitated. Memories of traumatic experiences surfaced from her childhood—many cousins and friends her age were rapidly being removed by the Child Protective Services and disappeared from the...

Justin Martinez: Always be open, honest, authentic, and proud to stand in your truth

October 1, 2023

“I don't regret my past. I'm thankful for it and that's not all of who I am,” says Justin Martinez, a California native, born and raised in Sacramento. One night when Justin was 15, his mom had to take him and his brothers and sister to a WEAVE safe house after their neighbors called the cops on his father. 36 hours later, the Child Protective Services (CPS) placed all four children into foster care in a house two blocks away from their home for one...

Fabiola Prieto-Martinez: A first-generation college graduate committed to protecting older adults from abuse in San Mateo County

May 12, 2023

Fabiola Prieto-Martinez grew up on a ranch in rural Mexico. She has fond memories of her time there playing with her forty three cousins. Her grandmother had sixteen children and the extended family all lived on the ranch. The rural town was idyllic but education was almost impossible due to lack of resources. Fabiola’s parents only had a second-grade education. When Fabiola was fourteen, she decided to move back to the United States to learn English and pursue a career. She is a first-generation college graduate and received her master’s degree from...

A conversation with Dr. Jennifer Pabustan-Claar

May 12, 2023

Dr. Jennifer Pabustan-Claar is currently the Managing Director for Riverside County’s Office of Integrated Services. She is responsible for coordinating the work of a multi-disciplinary leadership team to plan, implement, and evaluate the countywide Integrated Services Delivery Initiative for health and human services.

Previously, she was the Managing Director for the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS) for three years, where she oversaw operations and planning for human services in the nation’s tenth largest county. Dr. Pabustan-Claar also headed Riverside County’s Adults...

Gloria Musto: Be the person you needed when you were younger

February 3, 2023

Ayesha Siddiqi said: “Be the person you needed when you were younger.” Born in San Francisco, Gloria Musto had very little guidance and support growing up. During her teenage years, she experienced some of her worst times, including family, community and personal trauma. She wished she had someone in her life at that time to just ask her what was going on with her, how she was and what she needed. Now, working as a behavioral health clinician at the Alameda County Juvenile Hall, Gloria...

Devondra Rodgers: I have a lot of dreams and this is just the beginning!

October 17, 2022

Devondra Rodgers pursued her undergraduate degree at California State University, Los Angeles, and changed her major seven times. She wanted to help people with disabilities to function as contributing members of the society, and none of the majors seemed like a good fit. When a friend led her to the Rehabilitation Services department where they offered a unique program that focused on helping individuals with disabilities to function and lead...

Candace Watts: From Cultural Ambassador to 2022 Title IV-E Summit All-Star Student

April 18, 2022

Candace Watts is graduating from California State University, San Bernardino with a master’s in social work. A Title IV-E Program recipient, Candace chaired the Welcome Committee for the 2022 CalSWEC Title IV-E Summit and was voted this year's Title IV-E Summit All-Star student. She is currently completing her advanced-year internship in child welfare at...

Jennifer Lewis and her road to providing mental health services to US veterans

January 27, 2022

Jennifer Lewis is a Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Stipend Program alumna and received her MSW from UC Berkeley. She grew up in northern Minnesota and remembers filling school kits for Lutheran World Relief and volunteering at various organizations with her mom when growing up. While attending Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, she volunteered at a homeless shelter and completely fell in love with the population. “I never felt more comfortable than I did when I was volunteering there,” Jennifer recalls. “I felt immediate acceptance.” That experience put Jennifer on her path to seek a...

Alumni Stories Archive

September 19, 2017
This archive page provides a link to past alumni stories.

The Indigenous Experience selected for special recognition

September 27, 2021

The Indigenous Experience is an infographic presentation on the Indigenous people and their survival through historical trauma, marginalization, and systemic racism in the United States. Angelina Torres and Lucy Gahm have developed this project to bring awareness to the vibrant Native American culture and highlight the resiliency of Indigenous people, practicing...