Becky Morales, MSSW ’03, is the recipient of the 2016 Charles I. Wright Distinguished Alumna Award presented by the School of Social Work and its alumni organization, the Social Work Alumni Network (SWAN).

Becky MoralesHometown: El Paso, Texas

Current position: Project coordinator for off-site services, Austin Child Guidance Center, Austin.

Most influential professor: Tammy Linseisen trained me to be the social worker that I am. I learned from her the importance of supervision, and that to best serve clients we have to learn about and challenge ourselves.

Memory from field: September 11 happened the morning that I was in my first field placement, with Child Protective Services. It was so raw. In many ways this set the tone in terms of how to be in the field – the professional use of self, and learning to process and manage your emotions to be most effective serving your clients.

Social work insight: Trust the process. I remember getting frustrated with this at school because I didn’t know what it meant. I wanted to know exactly how to help my client and what was the right thing to say. And then with time I could really make sense of it: the fact that you will learn from your clients, and they will tell you if you are asking the wrong questions. That’s the epitome of being client-centered.

Do you bleed burnt orange? I do! I sucked it all up when I was in graduate school, I had season tickets for football and everything. And beyond sports, the university is incredibly reputable and I had a very positive experience at the School of Social Work. I don’t know how I could not be proud of being a Longhorn.