Luke Kertcher, an MSSW student in the Administration and Policy Practice (APP) concentration at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work (SHS), has been selected as the recipient of the NASW TX Capital Area Branch’s Social Work Student of the Year award.

“As social workers, we deeply value individuals who demonstrate unwavering commitment to community service and exemplary leadership,” wrote Dr. Ashley Glover, the NLIC Interim State Chair, in a statement on behalf of the National Association of Social Workers, Texas Chapter. “[Luke’s] outstanding contributions to the community have not gone unnoticed, and we believe he deserves to be honored for his remarkable endeavors.”

In addition to exuberant academic achievements such as a 4.0 GPA, Kertcher has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to community service and extensive leadership. He is currently completing his final practicum at the University of Texas Charter School and has been recognized for his relational skills and cultural humility. Kertcher’s dedication to social work has also earned him the prestigious CSWE Minority Fellowship in 2023, emphasizing his contributions to underrepresented populations.

“As a standout student, Luke has provided significant service to the Steve Hicks School,” said Sarah Swords, associate dean of master’s programs at SHS. “Luke leaves a legacy of positive contributions at the Steve Hicks School, and we look forward to hearing about his future endeavors in social work.”

Throughout his time at SHS, Kertcher has immersed himself in various initiatives, including curriculum revision efforts, Macro Practice Awareness Day, and serving as a Dean’s Ambassador. His role as a graduate assistant for the Master’s Program involves managing data collection for CSWE, showcasing his commitment to advancing the field of social work through research and advocacy.

“I am incredibly humbled to have been recognized with this award,” said Kertcher. “I want to express my gratitude to my practicum instructor, Andrea Menchaca of the University of Texas Charter School System, and my graduate assistantship supervisors, Dean Sarah Swords and Marian Mahaffey, for their support and mentorship throughout my graduate school journey. I am so excited to begin my career as a social worker after graduation and apply the knowledge and skills that I’ve gained during my time at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work to support the success of our state’s K-12 students.”

Kertcher will receive his award on April 26 at the NASW Texas 2024 Awards Luncheon. At the event, in addition to Kertcher, SHS will be honored by former SHS colleague Dr. Ruth Fagan-Wilen, who will receive the NASW-TX Capital Area Lifetime Achievement Award.