Q&A with BSW Intern of the Year: Maddie Gonzales

July 5, 2022

Where are you from?
I am a Social Work major from San Antonio Texas!

When did you start begin classes at Baylor? Why did you choose Baylor social work?
I began classes at Baylor in August of 2018. I wanted to stay within Texas and was excited about the School of Social Work that Baylor had on campus as well as the opportunity to earn your MSW in 5 years!

Why did you choose social work? Would you say social work is your “calling”? If so, why?
After adopting my sister in 2017, I gained a love for counseling and an admiration for what social workers did for families and clients. I knew that I wanted to do for others what was done for me: comfort, aid, acknowledgment, and so much more. Every day through my classes here at the GSSW I felt affirmed in my choice of major. Not only was the content exciting but has encouraged me to find social work in all aspects of my life. The professors and peers that I have come alongside these four years have also added to my love of Social Work and my experience in growing through education. All have shown what social work is in every facet of living, whether it be through advocation, support of each other, new ideas or perspectives, and so much more. Social work has been such a blessing and constant within my time here at Baylor and I am excited for what is to come through obtaining my MSW.

Are you involved in any organizations at Baylor? If so, which ones?
I am involved in the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core (BIC) as well as Zeta Tau Alpha Sorority. With ZTA I have served on Recruitment Team for two years as both Points Chair and Matching Chair, Zeta’s Pie-A-Prez Committee as the Philanthropy Chair Assistant, and on Zeta’s Water Crush Committee.

Tell us what you are passionate about.
Do you have any populations you enjoy working with or would like to?

I am passionate about serving clients and pursuing success for all. I have worked with children mostly and am excited about the possible internship opportunity of working with adults while I am working towards my MSW.

Tell us about your internship/s, and what you have enjoyed about them (or learned from them).
This year I interned with Communities in Schools at the combined Indian Spring and Carver Middle School. I cannot speak on how much I have learned while serving these clients and campus. Pre-internship I prided myself on understanding diversity and client experiences, post-internship I can say that before, I had no idea. My clients and these students within the school live a life that is not easy. Every day I work with individuals on battling anxiety, social-emotional learning activities, anger management, behavioral aid, social service needs, and so much more. Middle school is already a tough time, and as these students figure out how to exist within these years, they are also being impacted systematically. From my time at CIS I have grown to challenge my biases: “foul-language” may only seem foul to me because I don’t hear it every day or within my personal household, fighting at first to me seemed as a way to start trouble but realistically to these students it is a way to prove loyalty and hold one's own. I have listened to stories from clients of instances I never imagined occurring to someone I know, especially so young. I have learned to be a listening ear and encouraging voice for this is often what clients need, to know someone is in their corner. I love walking the halls of the school and hearing “Hey Ms. Maddie”, knowing that I have made great relationships with my clients and other students. My hope is that as much as these individuals have given to me, I have also given back.

What does this award mean to you?
This award has been an encouragement to me and came very unexpected. This year has been tough and at times I have felt not capable or not impactful for clients, but this award has proven to me that I have made a difference. I am so grateful to my professor and peers for the constant love, listening, and advice that has been given as we processed internship this year.

What are your plans after graduation?
Post-graduation I will complete a summer internship and within the fall begin my classes for obtaining my MSW here at the Diana R. Garland School of Social Work!

Any advice for those coming after you?
Make friends with your cohort and professors!!! This may happen naturally with the nature and smaller size of the GSSW, but these individuals are so so so amazing. I cannot express how much the people of the school have contributed for my love of Baylor and social work itself. All embody the type of social worker and overall human I want to become.

What others have to say about Maddie:
"Maddie Gonzales began the year as 1 of 3 interns placed at Indian Spring Middle School. Indian Spring became the host site for students of Carver middle school who were displaced by the devastating summer fire. This year I have watched Maddie advocate for trauma-sensitive and antioppressive processes at a school that has been frenzied, understaffed, and at times frightened of the students served. Maddie advocated for dress code policy adjustments when she came to understand that some current expectations were potentially steeped in racist and classist notions. Additionally, she advocated for hallway policy changes per student requests, and she recognized and advocated the need for more equitable services for students in need of Spanish-speaking helping professionals. Maddie also advocated for fun, non-merit-based, morale-boosting opportunities for the multiple student bodies served on the Indian Spring campus, recognizing low morale, limited sense of agency, and age/stage desires of middle school students. She advocated for LGBTQIA acceptance with a middle school student who expressed homophobic views. Maddie carried a large caseload that involved assessing student needs, constructing mutually agreed upon goals (behavior/academic/attendance) providing and documenting intervention, and evaluating effectiveness with the CIS data collection system. Most importantly, I have seen a tremendous shift in Maddie's own growth and learning regarding rules, justice, and diverse perspectives. She has been teachable, shifting week to week as she grew in-depth and breadth. It is worth noting that she is the only intern who has made it to February which I think speaks, at least in part, to how challenging this setting has been."