“When I was younger, I didn’t like going to school” Osvaldo Luna mentioned. “But along the way, I’ve had teachers who made me love learning because it makes me a better human by helping me make choices based on facts and not just biases or values. personal.”
From an early age, Luna knew he wanted to help people, and he knew he wanted a college degree. Growing up in the border town of Yuma, the proud son of migrant farm workers, beginning his path to higher education at Arizona Western College (AWC) seemed like a natural starting point. They had a criminal justice program, so after high school he enrolled in AWC and graduated with an Associate of Arts degree in 2019. But while at AWC, he decided he was not interested in a career in criminal justice.
“Unfortunately, I didn’t know which program to follow, that is until I took an evening class at the AWC with Ruth WhistlerLuna said. “I took Dr. Whisler’s Introductory Social Work course and immediately fell in love with the material.”
During these classes, Luna learned that the same professor was also a full-time faculty member at NAU Yuma, in the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program.
“I asked her if I could apply for the program as I loved the subject she taught and felt the need to pursue a career in social work, so I applied and was accepted!”
The most memorable part of Luna’s experience was her faculty. Even before he was accepted into the BSW program at NAU Yuma, Whisler was guiding Luna through the process of applying and understanding his situation at the time.
“To this day, I consider Dr. Whisler a mentor because she was there for me when I needed her,” he said. “The same goes for the teacher Kara Ahearnwho has always helped me, especially when I have a bad case of impostor syndrome.
Ahearn recognized Luna’s talents and skills and helped him find an internship he was passionate about, allowing him to work with low-income agricultural worker populations through Campesinos Sin Fronteras.
“This non-profit organization is dedicated to serving members of low-income, migrant, and farming communities in Yuma County,” Ahearn said. “Luna’s personal experiences and passion for bettering her community have always been a driving force behind her success and dedication to the physical and emotional well-being of vulnerable populations along the US-Mexico border. is a source of inspiration.
Luna has worked with Campesinos Sin Fronteras for the better part of a year and has enjoyed the opportunity to serve low income families and agricultural workers just like her family.
“During my time at Campesinos I worked with adults, old people and young people,” he said. “I came to learn how to work with each group, learning some immigration laws, the effects of drug addiction and chronic disease. What I took away most from my stay at Campesinos Sin Fronteras were the friendships I made and the fact that I enjoy working with young people despite my initial reservations.
After graduation, Luna plans to go directly to the Master of Social Work (MSW) program offered at Yuma. Although he admits to feeling a little burnt out from school, he wants to finish his MSW as soon as possible so he can get out into the community to connect farm workers, children, and other underserved populations with resources. they need to lead a happy and successful life.
McKenzie McLoughlin | UAN communications
(928) 523-4789 | McKenzie.McLoughlin@nau.edu