New faculty spotlight: Sherina Saasa

Dr. Sherina Saasa, the newest Social Work faculty member, has spent her life improving the lives of others.

A social worker from the start

Growing up, Saasa looked up to her father and the work he did as an international social worker. Little did she know at the time that her own work and research as a social worker would bring her across the globe to Provo, UT.

Dr. Saasa’s practice and research interests branch from her experiences observing the poverty, oppression and social injustices that vulnerable populations and individuals experience, as well as from her own background as an African emigrant living in the United States.

More specifically, Saasa’s work focuses on inequality, poverty and mental health of underprivileged and vulnerable children in sub-Saharan Africa and that of African immigrant populations in the United States. The fact that there is so little research on African immigrants combined with her own experiences as an immigrant from Zambia only add to the purpose and importance of Saasa’s research.

Sharing goodness

In a time when issues of power and powerlessness are so apparent in politics, standing up for human rights and promoting societal change is needed everywhere.

Saasa promotes and implements these necessary societal changes through her nonprofit, the Crispin Mwakamui Memorial Foundation (CMMF), named after her father. The organization focuses on helping orphaned children living with relatives in impoverished conditions not only have better access to education but also succeed academically.

“My parents always emphasized the value of education,” shares Saasa. “I believe education has the power to change lives and countries for the better. With the non-profit, we do our part to improve the socio-economic and health trajectories of these children who are the future of Africa.”

Teaching with the Lord in mind

Saasa graduated from BYU with a master’s in social work in 2013, but she is very excited to return and teach social work practices with gospel principles.

“God is the greatest scientist, greatest engineer, and greatest social worker that ever lived; to leave him out of the classroom where these subjects are being taught would be such a disservice,” says Saasa. “I always thought that if I ever was to teach and be effective, it had to be in a place where the spirit was a big part of the learning process.”

Through her teaching, Saasa hopes to teach students to believe in themselves and to see and embrace their potential to be a force for good in the world.

 

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