Building a professional social work network

Published: May 1, 2023

A group of four people wearing business attire stand close together inside a room with a grey curtain and window behind them.
Beatriz Soriano Luna (right) with (left to right): Dominique Culley '23, social work; Angelo McClain, former chief executive officer of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW); and Betsy Vourlekis, professor emeritus of social work and chair of the NASW Social Work Pioneer Committee. Photo courtesy of Soriano Luna.

Beatriz Soriano Luna

Degree: B.S., Social Work
Hometown: Montgomery County, MD
Post-grad plans: M.S.W., University of Maryland School of Social Work

A Universities of Shady Grove (USG) Kendall Scholar, Beatriz Soriano Luna has worked to develop the knowledge, skills, and network needed to serve as a successful clinical social worker and a leader in her field.

Soriano Luna came to UMBC ready to pursue a career in service after earning her associate’s degree at Montgomery College in American Sign Language. She found clinical social work the ideal path to meet her interests in child and family psychology and human rights. During her senior year, Soriano Luna earned a highly competitive internship for senior social work students at the Title IV-E Education for Public Child Welfare Program, a partnership the Maryland Department of Human Resources that prepares social work students for public child welfare practice. She will continue the internship as a graduate student.

While making the dean’s list every semester, working as a caretaker, and completing a field placement with the Prince George’s County Family Preservation Unit, Soriano Luna also supported fellow students. She mentored more than two dozen current students as a member of the UMBC at USG’s Peer Advisory Team. She has also helped organize and facilitate events to connect incoming students with resources offered at USG.

In the summer of 2022, she led the Social Work in Action summer program in collaboration with Katie Morris, Ph.D. ’21, language, literacy, and culture, and director of the social work undergraduate program at USG. She also volunteered in UMBC’s Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program which offers free tax return preparation assistance to low income households.

A person holds a baby pig outside of a building
Beatriz Soriano Luna at the USG student fair petting zoo. (Image courtesy of Soriano Luna)

Has there been a mentor or fellow student who influenced your time at UMBC?

M. Nicole Belfiore, clinical instructor of social work, has been an amazing Kendall Scholar mentor and teacher. I had to write a lot of research papers and Dr. Belfiore gave me a lot of feedback to improve my writing for a professional audience. Now I get a lot of compliments about my writing. She was also my research and policy instructor and introduced me to legislative action. I had no idea that social workers could have such an important role in influencing national policy. This realization was really crucial for me because there are a lot of legislative changes that I would like to see, particularly to protect children and adolescents.”

What has been the best part of your UMBC experience?

“The best part of my UMBC experience has been the social aspect of being a student. Since the minute I started, I’ve noticed that USG students are close knit. Everyone is friendly and knows each other. I really do appreciate that. I think that was extremely important coming out of the pandemic and switching from being online to being in person. As a result, I have made invaluable personal and professional networks and relationships with the UMBC faculty, professors, and peers.”

A person with a long trench coat stands in front of the Eiffel Tower
Beatriz Soriano Luna in Paris with friends from the Title IV-E Education for Public Child Welfare Program. (Image courtesy of Soriano Luna)

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