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Dr. Leticia Villareal Sosa, a professor of social work and associate dean of the College of Applied Social Sciences, is the 2022 recipient of Dominican University’s Sr. Mary Clemente Davlin, OP Diversity Leadership Award.

Sosa was presented with the honor during the 2022 Caritas Veritas Symposium’s Academic Convocation on Sept. 20. She was recognized for her efforts in transforming the field of social work both locally and around the world, said Precious Porras, vice president for diversity, equity and inclusion, who presented Sosa with the award.

“Dr. Sosa was selected by her colleagues for the work she has done to advance equity at DU, in the city and in the nation,” Porras said. “She has made significant contributions to the scholarship in her field of school social work and she amplifies voices for those who may be left out, like the Latina women in her current book.”

In her remarks, Porras called Sosa’s work “prolific,” noting the numerous book awards and honors she has received, as well as the work she has continued to do at Dominican for students and colleagues.

“She is an example of the ways that truth and love summon us to keep going,” Porras said.

In her speech, Sosa acknowledged Sr. Mary Clemente Davlin, calling her a “model for how to be in relationship and hear others’ pain.” She also credited “all the human rights warriors who have come before me and have sacrificed so much, including their safety and even their lives, for this work.”

A leader of equity and anti-racism work for professional organizations, Sosa, a licensed clinical social worker, provides professional development for clinicians, school social workers, faculty and other professionals in areas of trauma, ethics, truancy, cultural humility and inclusive education.

Internationally, Sosa oversaw and evaluated a pilot project in Azerbaijan to end the institutionalization of children, and the development of social work education in the country. More recently in Vietnam, her work focused on the development of school-based mental health services.

At Dominican University, Sosa was the recipient of a Spencer Grant for a project detailing immigrant youth experiences in school and the role of school social work. She was also awarded a grant from the New York Life Foundation to develop a new certificate in Culturally Informed Response to Grief and Loss for School-Based Professionals.

Established in 2003, the Sr. Mary Clemente Davlin, OP Diversity Leadership Award is presented annually to a member of the Dominican University community who has engaged in compassionate leadership in promoting inclusive excellence and creating a more just and humane world.

The late Sr. Clemente taught English from 1970 to 2005 and was known for her dedication to helping underrepresented students.