2014 Harriet Bloomfield Scholarship Winner
Gina L. Pearson
Gina Pearson brought her story to NASW-NJ during the Membership Celebration and Board Installation in September, 2013. Sharing a poem she wrote about her early years, “Reflections of a Shattered Childhood,” she held the audience’s attention throughout her tour of strife. By the age of seven, Gina had multiple foster care placements and, at fifteen, was placed in an adoptive home. Throughout these life experiences she encountered social workers and, while her initial impressions were not positive, she eventually decided that this was the profession she wanted to join.
Today, Gina has decided to work in the child welfare system and she believes that her history in foster and adoptive placements will help her to be a sensitive, caring social worker. She has experience working with Youth Advisory Boards and her present placement is at a School Based Youth Services site in New Brunswick. She would like to pursue a career working with teens who are “aging out” of the foster care system.
Gina expects to receive her MSW from Rutgers University and become a licensed social worker. She would then like to become a lawyer and work as a Law Guardian in the child welfare system. She also wants to get involved in creating policy changes in child welfare so that other young people do not face the same problems she encountered.
Gina will graduate from Rutgers in May 2014 with a BA in social work. She has maintained a 3.5 GPA while serving as a Youth Ambassador and research assistant with the Transitions for Youth program at the Rutgers School of Social Work Institute for Families. During the 2013-2014 academic year, Gina has been an intern in the Student Legal Services office at Rutgers; an assistant at the School Based Youth Services program in the New Brunswick Public Schools; and a Youth Relations Consultant in the Office of the Public Defender Law Guardian office. She has served as a Resident Assistant with the Rutgers Housing and Resident Life program. She was inducted into the National Society of Leadership and Success and the Chi Alpha Honor Society. She is also the current President of the Rutgers Nu Omicron Chapter of the Phi Alpha Honor Society.
Clearly, Gina’s dedication to excellence and her determination for a life based in social work values will ensure a promising career in child welfare and great success as a social work practitioner.
The New Jersey Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers proudly honors Gina Pearson with the 2014 Harriet Bloomfield Scholarship.