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ASU News: Social Work Grad Earns Statewide Internship Award

News from Angelo State University

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SAN ANGELO, TX (05/26/2021) Adolph "AJ" Garza of San Angelo, who graduated from Angelo State University on May 14 with his Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.) degree, has earned the 2020-21 World Changer Award from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services (DFPS) for his performance as an intern with the local office of Child Protective Services (CPS).

The World Changer Award is given to only one DFPS intern in the state of Texas each year. It recognizes the outstanding service of an intern who has volunteered for DFPS within the last year and who has demonstrated professionalism, taken initiative and works well as a team player. The intern has been instrumental in impacting the lives of children and families, and it is recognized that their internship will have an everlasting impact on the clients DFPS serves.

"We in the Department of Social Work were excited to hear about AJ being awarded the World Changer Award by CPS, but are not surprised," said Dr. Thomas Starkey, department chair. "During his time in the social work program, AJ has demonstrated the knowledge, values and skills that show he is and will be an excellent social worker. This award, while a wonderful achievement for AJ, makes the social work faculty feel good in knowing that we are teaching our students to be successful future social workers. Again, we as faculty could not be happier for AJ and know that whatever he chooses to pursue in life, he will be successful."

Garza completed his CPS internship during the 2020-21 academic year as part of his B.S.W. degree plan. His duties included:

  • Engagement, assessment and intervention on behalf of CPS clients

  • Proper documentation of cases and clients

  • DFPS policy reviews related to decision-making processes for CPS cases

  • Completion of DFPS and CPS training programs

He will also be recognized across the DFPS website and social media networks.

"I'm only as good as my support system," Garza said, "and this award should also be credited to the great faculty and staff at ASU and CPS, as well as my friends and family."

In addition to his regular studies and CPS internship, Garza served as the 2020-21 outreach officer for ASU's Student Social Work Association (SSWA). In that capacity, he engaged with the local community to create opportunities for SSWA members to help address community needs through outreach, fundraising and various events. Some of his specific efforts included:

  • Organizing SSWA students to paint the visitation rooms at the CPS facility

  • Organizing a donation drive on behalf of the Crisis Intervention Unit to provide supplies and resources for victims of domestic violence

  • Partnering with the Revive Barber Studio to raise over $600 to buy Christmas presents for children in CPS care through the CPS Hope Tree program

Garza will enter ASU's Master of Social Work (M.S.W.) degree program this fall.

For more information, contact Starkey at 325-486-6130 or


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