Social Work grad Luis Enrique Loya hasn’t looked back since choosing CSU

Colorado State University School of Social Work fall 2021 BSW graduate Luis Enrique Loya is passionate about pursuing a career in clinical social work practice.

“He is always prepared for class and adds value to class discussion,” said social work instructor Shequeeta Hazard. “He is supportive to his peers, always positive, and willing to explore the unknown.”

Read more below in our interview with Loya about his experiences as a CSU student both on- and off-campus, applying skills and knowledge as an emerging social work professional.

Why choose CSU?

I came to CSU as a second option to enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps. CSU was the only school I applied to and I am so happy I chose this path.

colorado state university school of social work bsw graduate luis enrique loya
"I had three different majors before deciding on social work, and this one felt the most right out of all of them," said CSU School of Social Work outstanding grad Luis Enrique Loya, "while also feeling like a combination of everything I was looking for in the others I explored."

You explored other majors…what was different about Social Work?

The hands-on experience in CSU’s social work program, and learning about the developmental and social aspects of the clientele I would serve, is what intrigued me to stay. Plus I have always felt like a social worker in my life. My BSW is just like a formality!

What challenges have you overcome to get to graduation?

There were nothing but obstacles keeping me from graduating that I’m so proud of overcoming. The biggest being that my mom was hospitalized a couple times between my freshman and final year until she finally passed away summer 2021, making my last semester the hardest I’ve had to face. After a while I just focused on the individual days I had to get through, which was hard for me but worked very well.

Has anyone helped you overcome these obstacles and be successful in your major?

I know the biggest help was one of my former professors and current mentors: Dr. Patricia Vigil-Maestas. We had a powerful conversation one day in her office during work, which was so integral and crucial in the decisions I made afterward. She always kept tabs on me and I never knew about it until later, but I am very grateful for it. I also know I wouldn’t be at CSU if it wasn’t for my former boss, Connie Jaime-Lujan, who I am eternally grateful for.

What activities have you been most involved in?

I did do a few things: I joined Beta Gamma Nu, my fraternity, early on and did a lot of work and made good memories. I volunteered in the Poudre Valley Wildlife Restoration, CSU events like Fall Clean Up, Triunfo with El Centro, and Alternative Spring Break 2017 in Atlanta, GA. I also studied abroad in Barranquilla, Colombia in 2019. My work study kept me on my toes too, working with local high schools for the Colorado LDZ summer program at CSU, which I also staff every year.

What are some accomplishments you’re proud of during your time at CSU?

Running my fraternity’s Fall Ball event as the Philanthropy Chair in 2017 was a highlight. This event raises awareness and money for suicide prevention. The 2017 event is well-known now for being a very successful year. As someone who is passionate about mental health, this event has always been very special to me. Studying abroad was the peak of my education. It opened me up to the world, which is something I have always wanted.

What will you miss most about CSU?

I will definitely miss the social aspects. As a young adult, you cannot replace the connections and friends you make in the college experience. Also I appreciated the support CSU provides (financial, health, wellness, etc.) because I feel like this university does care about students in ways that other universities may not, and it was good to have that support throughout my time here.

What are your plans after graduating?

I plan to work in the state for the next three years to gain clinical experience, pay off debt, and save money to apply to a good graduate program. After I receive my MSW, I want to attain an LCSW to practice therapy, which will take another 2-3 years. By the time I am in my early 30’s I will be a licensed therapist in the state of Colorado and working toward owning a private practice.