Social Work in Action - Fall 2013

Featured Article

Book Review by Leticia Villarreal Sosa, PhD Leticia Brown in the Windy City:  Mexicans and Puerto Ricans in Postwar Chicagoby Lillia FernandezAs Chicago experiences an increasing Latino population, there is a need to respond to the current challenges such as access to social services, housing, and education. Addressing the needs of the Latino population starts with fully understanding their historical and local context, remembering as author Lilia Fernandez states, "that Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and other Latinos/as have been here longer than we realize" (p. 268). Cultural competency is not just about being "open" to other cultures; rather it begins with a meaningful understanding of the historical context of a group. Despite the longtime presence of Latinos in Chicago, few social workers know much about these groups, seeing Latinos primarily as recent arrivals in need of assimilation. Read more

Meet Jacob Lesniewski

New Assistant Professor


Jacob Lesniewski is an Assistant Professor at Dominican University's Graduate School of Social Work and one of the leaders of the West Side Collaborative.  He received his PhD in June 2013 from the University of Chicago's School of Social Service Administration. 

Dr. Lesniewski's academic and professional expertise is in the areas of organizing and advocacy for low-wage immigrant workers and families. His dissertation is ethnography of Arise Chicago Workers Center, where he served as an organizer.  

He has extensive experience working with families and communities in areas of civic engagement, voter registration, neighborhood development, community gardening, and community service.  He has held leadership positions promoting service learning in academia, running programs for families and children at a local church, organizing low-wage immigrant workers, working with youth in violence prevention programs, and engaging college undergraduates in community service.  

Jacob and Sarah live in the Galewood neighborhood of Chicago with their four children.  


Tell Us About You! We would like to feature our alums in the newsletter but need to know:  What type of work are you doing? What population are you working with? Tell us any twists or turns in your career path since graduation. Is social work what you thought it would be?  Have you developed new passions?  Have you lead workshops?  You get the picture. Oh, speaking of pictures we need pictures of you in action for our newsletter! The link below will take you to the form that you can fill out.

Already Have a Master's Degree?

Then check out our CWMF Certificate available to all professionals with a master's degree in the social service fields.

You will receive intense, personalized training with convenient, online course work - all taught by top faculty and military experts.

On completion, students will identify as professionals capable of working with the military, with critical competencies and skills:

  • Apply knowledge of human behavior and the social environment to service members, veterans and families
  • Advocate for social and economic equanimity, well being and appropriate service deliver for members of the military
  • Have the skills to engage, assess, intervene and evaluate individuals, groups, families, communities and organizations that work with members of the military and families.

This is the second cohort that has participated in Boot Camp at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin on September 5th.  Want to be in the next cohort?

Contact Kim Kick at 708-714-9321 or

By Reason of Sanity Ethics Training

Earn 3 CEU's

The Center for Professional Excellence will be presenting a staged reading of a new play acted out live by professional actors right before your very eyes.
When:  October 4, 2014
Where:  University Center in Grayslake
Time: 9:00-12:00
Cost: $20for Professionals and $10 for Students Following the 90-minute performance, there will be an hour-long breakout discussion led by a clinical social worker about the ethical issues and dilemmas that come up in the play. Some of these include: Oppression (current & historical); Domestic Violence; Diversity; Gender; Boundaries; Duty to Warn; Accountability... More Information

Healthcare Foundation of Northern Lake County (HFNLC)

Social Work Scholars program
Dominican University in partnership with University Center in Lake County is pleased to offer a limited number of scholarships for students completing the MSW program at University Center where Dominican's Lake County campus is located. The HFNLC scholars program will cover the student's tuition at Dominican University, Graduate School of Social Work MSW degree, contingent upon continued funding. Criteria for eligibility includes employment with an agency in Lake County that serves with the underrepresented population in Northern or Northeastern Lake County.  This includes the geographic area north of route 137 and east of route 45. More Information

Faculty in the News

Human Rights Delegation

Leticia Villarreal Sosa, assistant professor attended a human rights delegation sponsored by the Guatemalan Human Rights Commission.  During the week (August 11th - 18th, 2013), the delegation met with human rights defenders and survivors of genocide in Guatemala City, El Quiché, and other communities.  The week culminated with a visit to the U.S. Embassy in order to advocate for justice for genocide survivors, stop U.S. mining companies from illegally setting up open pit mining projects in Guatemalan communities, and to continue the ban on military aid to Guatemala.

"We are all La Puya!"  This was the delegation meeting with Yolanda Oqueli, human rights defender in La Puya, a community fighting for their water.  They have been in peaceful resistance successfully preventing a Canadian mining company from open pit mining in their community.  Yolanda Oqueli has survived an assassination attempt on her life for her work defending her community.   

Common Ground Found at the Mound

A cohort of Dominican graduate students recently spent four days in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin engaging in intergenerational activities with the Dominican sisters

Gerontology students in the Graduate School of Social Work undertook the summer trip to the Sinsinawa Mound with Julie Bach, assistant professor of social work and coordinator of the gerontology concentration, to discuss successful aging with the Sinsinawa Dominican sisters.

"As soon as we walked into the Mound, we could feel the passion and the commitment emitting from the sisters. There was an aura of care," said student Martha Bojan.

Students conducted interviews with the sisters about their lives and ministries. A common theme among students' responses was the warmth the sisters exhibited.

"I find it immensely inspiring that these women have dedicated their entire lives to serving their communities. They all started at such young ages, and even now they're still proclaiming the gospel," said student Theresa Pendergraff.

Designed to bring the two generations together, the students and sisters also worked on an art project to be displayed in the GSSW lounge at the Priory Campus. An additional intergenerational activity included watching the controversial movie Sister Act together.

"Many of the sisters mentioned wanting to be back in the parish-wanting to feel useful again," Bojan said. "But the love they've spread and the knowledge they've shared will never be discarded."

The trip provided the gerontology students with both an enriching real-life experience outside the classroom and a glimpse of Dominican's living history. Founded in 1901 by the Sinsinawa Dominicans (as St. Clara College in Sinsinawa, Wisconsin), the university originally was a women's college.

After a move to River Forest, two name changes and more than a century of history, Dominican still operates under the same fundamental values upheld by the sisters-rigorous education, a commitment to social justice and close mentoring of students to enable them to make a positive difference in the world.

"I wanted my students to see and get to know this amazing group of sisters who are in their eighties and nineties and who are far from falling apart," Bach said. "Now that they've seen how positive aging can be, they'll be better prepared for battle in our fight against ageism."

Contact: Julie Bach