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2020 Chapter Award Recipients

Social Worker of the Year

Lucy Berliner, MSW, LICSW

Lucy Berliner is very deserving of the Social Worker of the Year award from NASW-WA for her lifetime achievement in advocacy for effective interventions with victims of sexual assault. She has been an outstanding clinician, researcher, and advocate and was on the fore front in the development of programs for treatment of sexual assault and trauma since the 1970’s. 

Lucy Berliner, Director for the Harborview Abuse and Trauma Center, retired at the end of February 2020. Lucy has been with the Harborview Abuse and Trauma Center (HATC) since 1973 when the program was initially developed with the help of then SW Director Karil Klingbeil. Lucy began her work as an MSAW intern at the Harborview Emergency Department and then was hired as a social worker at HATC, then the Harborview Sexual Assault Center. Lucy became Director of HATC, in 2000 and is a Clinical Associate Professor at the UW School of Social Work and department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences. She has received numerous honors to include Outstanding Services in Victims Services NOVA Marjory Fry Award; The Lee Ann Miller Award through the WA State Children’s Justice Task Force; and the William Friedrich Memorial Award from the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children (APSAC). Ms. Berliner has published numerous  articles in peer-reviewed publications and is an international leader in the field of sexual assault and trauma.


Social Work Educator of the Year

Stephen T. Wilson, Ph.D., MSW

Stephen has been a stellar faculty at the UW SSW, since 1998.  He has mentored and supervised literally hundreds of students who have gone on to senior social work positions locally, nationally and globally.


Stephen has been an outstanding instructor at the SSW and has consistently been rated as one of the most effective and accomplished teachers.  In addition, Stephen has been deeply involved in the life of the school with faculty and students of color.  He has and continues to inspire and mentor all students and most especially African American Students.


Stephen is very engaged with the practice community and is an excellent role model, using his well-honed social work skills, knowledge and deep commitment to the profession to promote the highest ideals of the NASW.


This honor is long overdue and Stephen greatly deserve it!


Public Citizen of the Year

Representative Tina Orwall, MSW and Jennifer Stuber, Ph.D.

Tina Orwall and Jennifer Stuber are a dynamic team for the work that they have done together.


Through Dr. Stuber’s work at the University of Washington, she has conducted research and informed advocacy work to improve Washington State’s readiness to address the public health problem of suicide. She also co-founded Forefront, which focuses on suicide prevention policy, education, outreach and research. Since that time, Dr. Stuber and the Forefront team has engaged Washington State Legislators and leaders to reduce gun related deaths by suicide, and partnered with firearms dealers and pharmacists to promote suicide prevention efforts.


Tina Orwall serves in the Washington State Legislature. Over many years she has sponsored, and championed many legislative accomplishments including: Rape kit reform, anti-trafficking, the Foreclosure Fairness Act, compensation for those wrongly convicted, adoptee rights and suicide prevention. She also has 20 years of experience working in the public mental health system, which influences her daily work.


Prior to the opening of this year’s legislative session, Tina Orwall and Jennifer Stuber and others worked collaboratively to develop a number of bills to address suicide prevention. By using proven methods to inform legislation, this then moves out to the community as practice standards, and is adopted by professionals in the community. The work of these two professionals and their colleagues have affected and changed lives in the State of Washington.


Outstanding Recent Graduate

Thomas Essex, MSW

Tom Essex graduated from Eastern Washington University in 2017 with an MSW. After graduating he began supervision working towards his clinical license. He attended university while working full time at the King County Adult Diversion Court. He also completed his field placement while working full time.


During the beginning of supervision, Tom expressed to his supervisor that he had resisted getting his master’s degree for many years because he was unsure of the values of it. Now that he had his MSW he realized what his social work education meant and how he was able to bring more to his position at the drug court.


Tom is a skilled clinician, and understands the complexities of the system that his clients need to be able to access and negotiate in order to successfully exit drug court. He is a leader in his agency, and the community at large as he shares his knowledge of the intersection of mental health, substance use disorders, and the involvement of the legal system. Tom has been a presenter at the local and national level, including the Washington State Legislature.

Tom is an active member of the NASW-WA and recently joining the Legislative Action Committee.


Outstanding Student

Adela Yanez, MSW

Adela Yanez is a master of social work student at Walla Walla University.  Throughout her undergraduate and graduate education Adela has set the bar for excellence in leadership, scholarship, and practice.  As a BSW student she won an award for her exemplary performance in her field placement.  She was also president of the social work club.  As a graduate student Adela chaired the MLK and Peace Week planning committees coordinating a full week of activities, including a keynote event for over 1100 students and community members.  Adela is a quiet, composed, and thoughtful leader whose attention to detail, care for others, and dedication to social justice make her highly sought after and an example others aspire to.  She is exactly what the future of social work looks like and she gives our professional reason to be proud and hopeful about the future. 

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Taylene Watson President's Award

Wendy Hernandez

Wendy Hernandez trained as a social worker in her undergraduate career and then went on to a career in counseling followed by a law degree from Gonzaga University 2003 and eventually opened and her own law practice in Walla Walla, WA. After opening Hernandez Immigration Law her practice grew and she is now a treasured local resource for the greater region serving clients from all over the state of Washington.  She is especially appreciated for the education and training workshops she conducted after the initial travel and immigration policy changes the Trump administration initiated in 2017.  Her rural community is more knowledgeable about immigration law and Homeland Security policies and practices than before Wendy’s tireless education campaign.  She has helped thousands of families understand their rights and advocate for fair treatment and navigate the difficult US immigration process to permanent legal status. 

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