Gina is a 21-year veteran of the United States Air Force, has a Master’s degree in Organizational Management and is currently attending the University of Southern California for a Master’s degree in Social Work. With her degree she plans to work with children, youth and families to remove barriers to happy, healthy living. Most specifically, helping military connected families who suffer from anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
It was Gina’s experience with Leadership Tomorrow that led her to pursue social work. Throughout the nine-month program she was inspired by the passion and drive community leaders expressed in their efforts to affect change and enhance the quality of life for their community members.
Since enrolling in USC’s school of social work, Gina was appointed Co-Chair of the Military and Veteran Social Work Caucus. In that leadership role during her first year she led two very successful fundraising efforts to raise awareness and advocate for veterans, at risk girls, and women. She managed “Wreaths Across America” fundraising efforts to collect donations towards wreaths that were placed on veteran headstones during a national ceremony that remembers our fallen US veterans, honors those who serve, and teaches children the value of freedom. In an effort to address the needs of young girls and women in the community, Gina led a charity event called “Mardi Bra” using the timing of Mardi Gras as a vehicle to collect feminine hygiene products that were donated to five agencies in South Orange County who support the low income and homeless population.
Gina coauthored a chapter “Immigrant Veterans” in a military reference manual entitled, “The Civilian Lives of U.S. Veterans: Issues and Identities”. She will be 1 of 4 panelists at the November 2016 Council for Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Membership Conference to discuss Women in Combat: Implications for Social Work and the Delivery of Healthcare. Currently, she is working on another reference manual chapter entitled, “Active Duty Women: Historical Trends, Recent Developments, Current Conditions, and the Future”.