UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
Ana Gonzalez, social work major
New Position: Caseworker III for the Pathway of Hope Program at The Salvation Army in St. Paul
Hometown: Oakdale, Minn.
Ana Gonzalez, a social work major at UW-River Falls, will be giving back in a big way in her new role as a caseworker for The Salvation Army in St. Paul.
"I'll be in charge of a program called Pathway of Hope, a long-term case manager position where I'll be helping families overcome poverty and homelessness," said Ana. "The goal of the program is to focus on a family's strengths and raise hope by empowering them to overcome barriers one step at a time. I spent my senior year interning at The Salvation Army and quickly fell in love with all of the clients and amazing staff that I came into contact with. As soon as I heard that a position had opened up, I quickly applied."
How did UW-River Falls prepare you for your new career?
"The social work program equipped me with the knowledge and hands-on experience I needed before I went into the field. Between my peers and professors, I had such an amazing support system that I don't think I would have found anywhere else but here."
While attending UW-River Falls, did you have a particular class, faculty/staff member, or experience that was instrumental to your success?
"In the middle of my sophomore year I got really sick. I was later diagnosed with a life-threatening illness and actually had to drop out of school. I honestly did not believe that I would have ever come back. But all of my professors would routinely reach out with words of encouragement that compelled me to come back and finish what I started. All the staff and my amazing classmates in the social work program here at UW-River Falls pushed me to keep fighting and always encouraged me to do my best."
What one piece of advice would you have for an incoming freshman attending UW-River Falls?
"Put yourself out there! Talk to that random person sitting next to you in that class. That's how I found my life-long friends! Get involved on campus or start study groups in your classes. Build relationships with your professors and don't be afraid to ask for help or admit that you're struggling."