Katrina Ortiz in Social Work Lands Social Policy Internship


Katrina Ortiz

Las Vegas, N.M. ­– A New Mexico Highlands social work graduate student landed an internship aimed at helping develop social policy in New Mexico through the lens of global social justice.

Katrina Ortiz is a second-year Master of Social Work student at Highlands who will complete a fall 2018 and spring 2019 internship at the Santa Fe Council on International Relations.

“I am passionate about working with communities and leaders to develop policies that make the lives of parents, who work very hard to provide opportunities for their children, slightly easier,” Ortiz said. “My goal with this internship is to learn about developing social policy that is equitable and beneficial for the average person.”

The Santa Fe Council on International Relations is a nonpartisan nonprofit that welcomes international visitors and promotes education at the community, high school and college level on pressing global issues.

“The focus of my MSW program is leadership and administration so this practicum will be invaluable, especially in expanding my understanding of global issues. I’ll also have the opportunity to help implement a Journalism Under Fire summit for the public, and mentor high school students in international affairs and local issues,” said Ortiz, a Santa Fe resident.

Ortiz said the link for the journalism conference is www.sfcir.org/journalism-under-fire/

Beth Massaro, a social work professor at Highlands, recommended Ortiz for the Santa Fe Council on International Relations internship. In her capacity as the Highlands President’s Leadership Fellow in 2017 – 2018, Massaro served as a liaison between Highlands and the council.

Massaro said the Santa Fe Council on International Relations has a strong global social justice focus which closely aligns with social work.

“I recommended Katrina because she has a passion for creating change at the macro level, which for social work is policy and advocacy  – both things SFCIR is involved with,” Massaro said. “We need multiple generations addressing global issues and Katrina can be a bridge. I have no doubt she will be a great asset for the organization and I expect her to go on and do great things.”

Massaro said that Highlands is also looking for other ways to involve its students with the Santa Fe Council for International Relations initiatives.

“For instance, we plan to involve our Highlands students in the Journalism Under Fire summit Katrina is working with,” Massaro said.

Ortiz said Massaro has expanded her knowledge of how social workers have the power to change communities through policy development.

“Dr. Massaro ignited the fire in me to think nationally and globally about the big picture of social work, and how health and wellness relate to community programming and development,” Ortiz said. “She’s incredibly inspirational and pushes me to achieve things I didn’t think possible,” Ortiz said.



Ortiz said her internship at the Santa Fe Council on International Relations is closely tied to her career aspirations in social work.


“My long-term goal is to work with our New Mexico state senators and representatives and advocate for organizations that empower communities and provide a positive place for children, empowering them to be successful no matter what their circumstances are,” Ortiz said.