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Cal State LA social work major receives CSU Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement

September 16, 2022

Cal State LA News Service

CSU Trustee, Miquelle McCarthy.
Photo: Cal State LA social work major Miquelle McCarthy is one of 23 students statewide to receive the 2022 CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement. (Credit: J. Emilio Flores/Cal State LA)

Miquelle McCarthy, a social work major at Cal State LA, is passionate about serving others and working with young children. 

“The profound experience I have had while helping children through the first five years of life motivates me as I now pursue a career as a social worker in the child welfare system,” said the 29-year-old South Los Angeles resident.  

McCarthy is one of 23 students statewide to receive the 2022 California State University (CSU) Trustees’ Award for Outstanding Achievement. The award recognizes superior academic performance, exemplary community service and significant personal accomplishment. 

“I am grateful to receive this award,” said McCarthy, who turned her life around six years ago and is on her way to becoming the first in her family to achieve a college degree. “This scholarship will greatly help me finish my education.” 

McCarthy was honored on Sept. 13 with the top academic achievement award in the CSU system. She was awarded $7,000 and named a Michael A. and Debe Lucki Scholar. 

Reflecting on her adolescent years, McCarthy recalled struggling to adapt to two different homes as an only child of divorced parents. She suffered from anorexia and emotional distress, and later with substance abuse and domestic violence. 

Now, McCarthy is applying the knowledge gained and lessons learned from her troubled past to becoming an effective and compassionate social worker. 

“I look forward to contributing to the lives of people struggling and providing them strength and empowerment,” said McCarthy. “I know I will be able to relate to many of my clients; I have already seen this through some of the children I have worked with over the past decade.” 

While juggling between her studies at Santa Monica College and a part-time job as a nanny caring for young children, McCarthy was inspired to work in the field of social work.  

In June 2020, McCarthy completed an associate degree in psychology with honors and an Early Childhood Associate Teacher certificate. She then transferred to the social work program in the Rongxiang Xu College of Health and Human Services at Cal State LA.  

Since arriving at Cal State LA, McCarthy has excelled by achieving a 3.94 GPA and making the Dean’s List. She has been committed to giving back to the community, helping others who are striving to recover from substance abuse or addiction as she did. 

“Ms. McCarthy’s wonderful academic and personal accomplishments illustrate the power of education to end a generational cycle of substance abuse. Because of Ms. McCarthy’s deep commitment to helping others, I am certain that she will positively influence the trajectory of young lives as a social worker,” Cal State LA President William A. Covino said.  

This coming spring, McCarthy has her eyes set on graduating and earning a bachelor’s degree in social work. Her goal is to move on to pursue a Master of Social Work in order to become a licensed social worker. 

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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 26,000 students and has more than 250,000 distinguished alumni.

Cal State LA is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Fine Arts Complex, Pat Brown Institute for Public Affairs, Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center, Hydrogen Research and Fueling Facility, Billie Jean King Sports Complex and the TV, Film and Media Center. For more information, visit www.CalStateLA.edu.