Mary Hernandez | Multicultural center



Hey! My name is Mary Hernandez and I was born and raised in Reno, Nevada. I grew up in one of the most underprivileged areas of Reno in a single parent family. I have attended several elementary schools in the area as I am used to English; Spanish has been my native language since my family immigrated from Mexico. I am a proud bilingual and Chicana. I attended Swope High School and am a proud graduate of Grizzly High School Galena.

As a first generation college graduate, my path to higher education began in elementary school when one of my high school teachers told us that he wanted each of his students to go to college or vocational school. I first set foot on this beautiful campus when I was in 6th grade and witnessed a speech by Dr. Sandra Rodriguez. It was a profound experience, since I first saw someone like me say that “if she can do it, then I can.” Dr. Rodriguez was referring to higher education, something I had never considered achievable up to this point. Dr. Rodriguez remains on campus as director of the Student Engagement Center and is now a professional colleague of mine whom I thank at every opportunity.

Representation matters and that has been my driving force. I began my academic career at the University of Nevada at Reno in 2004. My student journey was unique and I like to divide it into two different phases of my adult life. In the early years, I met some of the closest friends I have now, was part of the first Hispanic-founded sororities on campus (Kappa Delta Chi, Sorority Inc. “Kd-Chi”), met my current husband, and was mentor. some of the greatest professors and advisors on this campus. In 2007, I had to drop out of school to work full-time and help support my family while also helping raise my nieces and nephew. A full-time job led me to social work. Since then I haven’t looked back; I love community service!

After 10 years, I re-enrolled in the fall of 2017 and have been working towards my Bachelor of Social Work degree, which I completed in the spring of 2021. Shortly after graduation, I continued to study and entered graduate school. I received my MSW in the fall of 2022. My second return to campus was a rewarding experience and I can say that it’s never too late to finish what you started! Throughout my career as a social worker, I have interned with the Washoe County Social Services.

After graduating from BSW, I took a job as a Child Protective Services social worker during my graduate studies and completed my postgraduate internship. I completed an internship with Nevada Crisis Services as a Case Manager and Crisis Services Intern. Shortly after completing my MSW, I accepted my current position as Latinx Student Counseling and Development Coordinator.

Part of my social work toolbox includes work in mental health, crisis management, health care, health insurance, advocacy, child protection, and suicide prevention. My dedication and passion remains with my profession and in the field of mental health, especially clinical mental health as I aspire to become a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW). I have always wanted to give back to my university and work with college students, and I am glad that my path to higher education started a little earlier than I expected. I look forward to this role to continue working with undergraduate students, encouraging them to keep moving forward despite life’s challenges and preparing them for life after graduation!

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