#NYU2016: Silver School Graduates Featured
Social Work’s Mónika Estrada Guzmán Fueled by Personal Odyssey
Mónika Estrada Guzmán came of age in a legal twilight in Los Angeles, living with her mother and grandfather as an undocumented immigrant from Guatemala.
But Estrada Guzmán's life is coming full circle as she graduates with a Master of Social Work, poised to begin a career as a clinical social worker focusing on immigrant youth and families.
As she recounts her journey to—and through—the Silver School of Social Work, tears stream down her cheeks, testifying to her appreciation of how far she has traveled to reach this milestone.
In 2014, shortly after finally gaining legal residency in the United States, Estrada Guzmán stood in Washington Square Park with her mother, a nanny whose own schooling had ended after high school but who always placed a premium on higher education for her daughter.
“She said, ‘I really can see you here. This is the school for you,’ ” Estrada Guzmán recalls.
In that moment, Estrada Guzmán, a graduate of California State University, Los Angeles, decided to leap into the Silver School’s rigorous classroom offerings and fieldwork opportunities, concentrating in clinical social work and studying, in part, in Puebla, Mexico, and Buenos Aires. There, she was part of a pioneering group of students studying abroad for a full semester and cocreated a student group called Breathing Room.
She also served in a Lower East Side high school, assisting Latino immigrants needing concrete services and social, emotional, and mental health support.
In her fieldwork, Estrada Guzmán quickly earned the respect of teenagers supremely challenged—as she once was—by the circumstances of the new immigrant.
“You shouldn’t let it define you or limit you,” she says. “It actually fueled me—to work harder and dream big.”
BS graduates Terrance Coffie, Alexis Jeudine Dyer, Esther Lee, and Adina Lichtman were featured in the video #NYU2016: "What I'll Miss."
From late nights in Bobst to the Washington Square dog park, find out what graduating NYUers will be saddest to leave behind.