Jessica Bravo, a Master of Social Work student in the UNC Charlotte College of Health and Human Services, is among the inaugural recipients of the Equity and Inclusion Student Award. Presented by the National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter, the award recognizes recipients for their commitment to incorporating and promoting equity and inclusion into their social work practice, their high academic achievement and leadership.
Bravo has extensive experience with social services, having been a bilingual income maintenance caseworker and a Spanish interpreter for child protective services, adult protective services, foster care, adoptions and kinship social work programs. She helped create a new agency partnership between the University’s Integrated Behavioral Health program and Care Ring to bring behavioral health services to underserved populations in the Charlotte area.
“Moving to the United States as an 11-year-old girl has influenced the person I am today and my career choice,” said Bravo. “As a Latinx and Spanish-speaking community member, I have experienced many of the barriers faced by this population. Working with the Hispanic community for more than eight years and being able to bridge the language barrier provided the motivation to return to school as a nontraditional student. My hopes are to make a significant impact for underserved populations and promote systematic equity and inclusion by advocating changes to public policy at the service level.”
In honoring Bravo, the chapter noted her commitment to promoting the mental health and well-being of the Latinx community and addressing barriers for individuals, programs and communities.
“We are extremely proud that Jessica has been recognized for her commitment to equity and inclusion in the field of social work,” said Brandon L. Wolfe, UNC Charlotte’s chief diversity officer. “Her efforts serve as an example of our institutional goal to ‘live our guiding commitments by leading in equity and engagement.’ It is my hope that as Jessica continues to lead, others are inspired to do so as well.”
The other recipients of the 2022 Equity and Inclusion Student Award are graduate student Bridgett Agbozo, UNC Chapel Hill; undergraduate students Nakyah McNeal and Marisa Tatum, UNC Wilmington; and graduate student John Moss, Johnson C. Smith University.