Daniela Barrios Morello
Hometown: Barquisimeto, Venezuela
Major: Master of Social Work
Expected date of graduation: 2020
Daniela Barrios Morello is known as a leader and a scholar with a commitment to service. A native of Venezuela who came to the United States as an adult with limited English, Daniela has shown great resilience, ability, and decisiveness in overcoming any limitations she faced as a nontraditional student in a master’s program in English. She has a 3.93 GPA and is a graduate assistant for the online, bilingual Master of Social Work
Daniela has also found time for giving back extensively to the community. She has served as an after-school tutor for ESL elementary students, a volunteer Spanish teacher for elderly adults before they went in a mission trip to El Salvador, and as a board member for UNIDOS, a Wisconsin-based nonprofit agency dedicated to breaking the cycle of domestic violence.
Here, Daniela discusses how her study-abroad classes impacted her decision to pursue a mental health specialization.
What was the most meaningful volunteer, service, or student organization activity you’ve been involved in? How has it influenced you or shaped you as a person?
As part of the Migration Studies Program, this year I had the opportunity to take one class at the Arizona-Mexico border and two other classes in Mexico City. Witnessing the challenges of migrants and asylum seekers, as well as the institutions and organizations trying to serve them, has profoundly impacted me. In fact, it was after my visit to the border when I confirmed that my specialization needed to be mental health. Migrant families and asylum seekers are going through deeply traumatic experiences, and we need to be prepared to support them, not only on an individual level, but also through local, national, regional, and global initiatives.
What’s the most valuable lesson you’ve learned from your Jesuit education?
I have learned the importance of connecting learning, action, and reflection. It is wonderful to see theories coming to life as we use them to serve others. It is also important to reflect about how we serve, so we can keep growing and transforming, not only as professionals, but as human beings.
What do you hope to achieve after college, and how has Loyola prepared you?
My vision is to work with migrant and refugee communities both here in the United States and on a regional level. I would also like to support initiatives that can help alleviate the consequences of the devastating humanitarian crisis currently faced by my home country of Venezuela. In addition to covering immediate needs, I would like to be part of programs that encompass mental health services, education, and empowerment. I trust that what I have learned at Loyola, from professors, mentors, field placement supervisors, classmates, and experiential learning opportunities, will help guide my next steps as a professional social worker.