Alumna’s Volunteer Experience Led to MSW

May 18, 2017

Luciana Quintanilha ‘16SW was a volunteer and advocate before she was a social worker.

What does your job entail?

As a social worker and family services manager for the City of Somerville, Massachusetts, I assist members of the community to secure housing, healthcare and legal services. Working as part of the city’s Health and Human Services Department I counsels clients facing a range of challenges, including homelessness, the transition from incarceration to society, and addiction recovery. I’m helping my clients to advocate for themselves to get the resources they need to succeed.

What brought you to Simmons?

I came to the field of social work as a career changer from the hotel industry. I am a native of Brazil who is fluent in Portuguese and Spanish, and I decided to pursue my MSW after volunteering as an advocate to help other women from Brazil navigate the U.S. court system and obtain social services. I enjoyed using my language advantage to advance immigrant rights but needed clinical experience to enter the field. I chose Simmons for its strong clinical focus, its collegial learning environment, and its commitment to social justice.

How did Simmons prepare you?

I received a rigorous, well-rounded education at Simmons and was the recipient of the Simmons School of Social Work’s Outstanding Competence in Multicultural Practice Award. I had a great education at Simmons. I now have this powerful network behind me, and I’m 150 percent happy with my career move.

Why is your job rewarding?

Every single day, I make sure that my clients feel like they have someone who cares, and that they are not a number on a case file. As a resident of Somerville, I particularly enjoy helping the city’s many Spanish- and Portuguese-speaking immigrants. By working together, we renew their sense of hope.