AnnaMarie Neal, A16

Annamarie Neal, a passionate advocate for social justice and an esteemed Licensed Social Worker (LSW) is making a profound impact in Colorado. Annamarie, who earned her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) from Colorado State University Pueblo, reflects on pivotal moments, transformative experiences, and the invaluable education that set the stage for her remarkable career.

Memorable Experience and Impact on Career:

During her time at CSU Pueblo, Annamarie encountered a defining moment that continues to shape her perspective on equity and inclusiveness. Engaged in the Social Work program, a professor presented Dr. Keith Mark’s “Doll Test,” leaving an indelible impression on Annamarie. This experience heightened her awareness of the challenges faced by marginalized populations and reinforced the critical importance of inclusiveness and equity in the pursuit of social justice.

Preparation for Current Role and Career Path:

Annamarie attributes a significant portion of her success to CSU Pueblo, emphasizing how her BSW provided her with a comprehensive skillset and knowledge base. The university instilled in her a passion for lifelong learning, a quality she values in her pursuit of positive, high-quality impacts on clients, communities, and larger systems. Currently enrolled in a Doctorate program, Annamarie serves as the Director of Colorado’s Safe Babies for Illuminate Colorado, overseeing impactful programs like the Best for Babies initiative and the Safe Baby Court Team.

Proud Initiatives and Projects:

Annamarie’s proudest achievement post-graduation is the launch of the Colorado infant and toddler court program. Originating in Pueblo in 2018, she now directs the program, which is expanding statewide. Her efforts extend beyond direct service, involving the development of a state-level group of decision-makers to influence policies and practices, ultimately strengthening families throughout Colorado.

Staying Connected to the Thunderwolf Community:

Actively involved in the Thunderwolf community, Annamarie serves as an adjunct professor and supervisor for Social Work interns in field placements. This engagement allows her to contribute to the university through mentorship, coaching, and relationship building. By staying connected, she not only supports students but also continues to learn from their diverse backgrounds and experiences, fostering a reciprocal relationship that enriches both her and the students.

What advice would you give to a current student and recent graduate?

I would tell students to find their drive and aim high in their studies. CSU Pueblo provides an opportunity for a high-quality education that can set you apart in your field. Please take advantage of that opportunity, and give it your best effort.

Annamarie Neal exemplifies the Thunderwolf spirit, embodying the values of equity, inclusiveness, and lifelong learning that define CSU Pueblo. Her commitment to creating positive change in the lives of infants, toddlers, and families showcases the profound impact a CSU Pueblo education can have on shaping leaders dedicated to making a difference in the world.

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