Regina Wu, MSW ’23, Honored by CSWE for Advancing International Social Work
As a student in NYU’s MSW Program at Shanghai and New York, Regina Wu (they/them) 伍嘉嫣 (ta), MSW ’23, not only gained global experience and developed intercultural practice capacity but they also were a leading advocate for global justice, particularly concerning LGBTQ+ communities. For their contributions in advancing global social work, Regina has been selected to receive the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Partners in International Education Award.
In nominating Regina for the award, Professor Qingwen Xu, the Coordinator of the MSW Program at Shanghai and New York, praised their courage and initiative as a transgender and queer student. “Regina truly carried on the global social work mission—promoting fundamental and inalienable rights of all the people and challenging discrimination through changes made in the society and in social work practice.”
Creating Change On and Off Campus
While studying at NYU Shanghai during their first year in the program, Regina co-organized a university-wide screening of a documentary about a trans youth who survived conversion therapy in China, where LGBTQ+ people have no legal protections from discrimination. According to Dr. Xu, the event was a highlight of the campus’ Ally Week. Through their practicum placement at a public hospital in Shanghai, Regina worked with transgender and intersex people receiving gender-affirming care. There, said Dr. Xu, “they worked to bring the U.S. experiences to local social workers and colleagues and supported the development of a culture-informed service model to work with transgender patients and their families in China.”
Regina also served on NYU Shanghai’s Student Diversity Framework Task Force, bringing their social work perspective and values to that effort. They were a leader in both collecting data on community members’ experiences, reflections, and suggestions pertaining to diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus and in co-authoring and co-presenting the report of findings. “Regina’s deep involvement in various LGBTQ+ initiatives, providing support to student groups, and consultation and support for the development of LGBTQ+ inclusive policies and practices on campus and in the social work field,” said Dr. Xu, “has created positive change to be experienced by current and future students, social work clients and professionals in Shanghai”
Building Bridges and Elevating Others
During their final year of study at NYU’s Washington Square campus, Dr. Xu, said, “Regina continued to serve as a dedicated bridge builder between social work students across NYU’s global campuses—elevating the needs of the groups that are not always centered as part of the NYU community, including students in Shanghai, LGBTQ+ students, students of color, first generation college students, and international students.” Regina served as Social Justice and Diversity Representative for NYU Silver’s Graduate Student Association, was a member of the School’s Social Justice Praxis Committee, and co-organized a student-led affinity support group for Queer and Trans People of Color. In their practicum placement at the NYU LGBTQ+ Center, Regina provided advising and support to LGBTQ+ student groups and led the inaugural cohort of the Richie Jackson LGBTQ+ Service Fellowship, a program through which undergraduate students develop skills in LGBTQ+ advocacy, organizational leadership, programmatic development, and strategies for inclusive service.
“Regina is brave and a high energy self-starter who is not afraid to face challenges and new situations,” said Dr. Xu. “From what I have observed, it has taken both emotional upheaval and personal strengths for Regina to successfully complete all these things, and to get through the process from oppressive experience, to reflective learning, then taking actions and exceling to lead a way.”