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UNC Charlotte social work student named NASW-NC 2016 Presidents’ Award recipient

Thursday, January 21, 2016   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Valerie Arendt
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UNC Charlotte social work student named NASW-NC 2016 Presidents’ Award recipient

(Raleigh, NC) – The National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC) has named Aayla Alexander as the recipient of the 2016 NASW-NC Presidents’ Award for Master of Social Work (MSW) graduate student for the 2015-2016 academic year. Aayla Alexander is an outstanding graduate student in the Department of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC).

Ms. Alexander exhibits a dedication to the social work profession through her academic excellence, community involvement, and professional experience. The NASW-NC Presidents’ Award honors Aayla’s exceptional leadership skills and professional potential.

Originally from Fayetteville, Ms. Alexander has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Queens University of Charlotte. But it was her desire to become “a true advocate for those who do not have the ability, education or courage to stand up and speak for themselves,” that brought her to the field of social work. Ms. Alexander has demonstrated outstanding dedication to the profession of social work through her many accomplishments in the Department of Social Work at UNCC.

As founder and President of the UNCC chapter of Advocates for Change (a student led advocacy organization), Ms. Alexander collaborates with MSW students and various other campus and community organizations to “enhance the quality of life for oppressed and vulnerable populations through advocacy, human services delivery, and research.” Her recent work with Advocates for Change has focused on raising awareness and understanding for the Transgender community through collaboration with local LGBTQ agencies and community leaders.

Additionally, Ms. Alexander was selected as a Gerontology Assistant in the Gerontology Department at UNCC. There she worked to bridge the generation gap by teaching courses in technology and social media to senior citizens in the Charlotte area. Ms. Alexander says, “Although the project’s mission was to teach seniors, they taught me to how to be selfless, empathetic, and present in the process.” 

Ms. Alexander was recently selected as a student representative for the North Carolina Representative Beverly Earle’s Health Disparities Conference in 2016. She is currently preparing for a study abroad trip to Malawi, Africa with the UNC School of Social Work to work with non-governmental organizations to combat HIV and AIDS. After graduation, Ms. Alexander plans to work with the Peace Corps as a part of their Community Youth Empowerment Program.

Leigh Norwood is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at the UNC Charlotte Counseling Center, and is Ms. Alexander’s clinical supervisor. Ms. Norwood says, “Aayla Alexander is an amazing student, advocate and practitioner. She is destined to make exceptional contributions to the social work field!” 

Ms. Alexander will be honored at the 2016 NASW-NC Ethics Conference and Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, March 29, 2016 at the McKimmon Center in Raleigh.

The National Association of Social Workers North Carolina Chapter (NASW-NC) is a membership organization that promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers.  NASW-NC also seeks to enhance the effective functioning and well being of individuals, families and communities through its work and advocacy.


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