Skip to main content
Boston College School of Social Work
From the Blog:


PhD Candidate Addresses the Racialization of Latinos through Innovative Research

This past spring, BCSSW doctoral candidate Victor Figuereo was awarded the Pinderhughes Fellowship given annually to an outstanding African-American PhD student at the School. Victor is now in his third year at BCSSW, and is hard at work to earn his degree, expected in 2019, under the tutelage of mentor Rocío Calvo.  

From the Blog:


Rocío Calvo & the Latino Leadership Initiative Make Waves Across America

Newly tenured rising star Rocío Calvo continues to be in demand for her unique approach to promoting effective social work with systematically oppressed populations in higher education. 

From the Blog:
Image of Rocío Calvo and Yolanda Padilla

LLI Highlighted by CSWE

Yolanda Padilla, Director of the Center for Diversity and Social & Economic Justice at CSWE and Professor at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work, was on campus to meet with Associate Professor Rocío Calvo, and members of the LLI. Padilla highlighted the LLI as a model program for diversity education.  Read more on the Blog »

LLI Program Overview

Associate Professor Rocio Calvo, Boston College Graduate School of Social Work

Associate Professor
Rocio Calvo

Explains how the Latino Leadership Initiative bolsters students' linguistic and cultural competencies to work with Latino communities.
English »          Spanish »


Latino Leadership Initiative

The Latino Leadership Initiative (LLI) at the Boston College School of Social Work uses an asset-based approach in educating future social workers to work with Latinx* communities in the U.S. and abroad. The LLI also trains future social workers for self-advocacy and career development.  

The LLI’s curriculum is designed to bolster students’ cultural abilities and foster students’ understanding of the complexities Latinx populations face when accessing social services and in dealing with providers of care. All courses are taught in Spanish, a key cultural marker. The initiative also offers mentorship with regards to community engagement and research, while drawing on the “cultural way of knowing” of diverse Latinx communities. This approach serves to equip students with the tools they need to succeed professionally while forming an on-campus community that supports their academic success.

* Latinx is used to include the wide variety of gender identities within the Latinx  population.

Field Work + Courses

Field Education: The LLI works closely with agencies that serve Latinx communities across the region and other stakeholders in the Latinx network, including public schools and urban health centers as well as agencies that provide services such as family support, advocacy, and community organizing.

Courses: Foundation, method, and elective courses are taught in Spanish. LLI courses taught in Spanish carry the same credits as courses taught in English. Students interested in taking an LLI course in Spanish are required to pass a Spanish proficiency exam. Visit our website to learn more and view student testimonial videos regarding their LLI program experience and training.

Latinx Research Seminar

Less than six percent of Social Work faculty in the United States identify as Latinx, while only 18 Latinx doctoral students graduated with a PhD in Social Work in 2015. To support emerging Latinx scholars, the LLI established the Latinx Research Seminar. Doctoral students meet periodically to discuss their research with peers and faculty advisors while also strategizing, as future faculty, on how to navigate the tenure-track process after graduation.

Spencer Grant in Education Research

LLI Director Rocío Calvo, PhD, simultaneously gauges the success of the program to graduate Latino MSW degree holders, as well as their ability to secure the careers they aspire to following graduation. To complete this project, Calvo received a grant from the Spencer Foundation, an organization whose stated mission is to “investigate ways in which education, broadly conceived, can be improved around the world.” Preliminary results from her research show that an educational approach based on Latinx cultural assets provides students not only with the material resources to persevere in their programs until graduation (i.e. bilingual education, targeted curriculum, tailored mentorship), but also, and more importantly, with the symbolic resource of “belonging” in traditional institutions of higher education.


The LLI welcomes applicants that are proficient in oral Spanish, especially heritage Spanish learners that self-identify as Latinx.

For more information:
phone 617-552-0651