Mālō ‘e lelei!
As you may have seen already, my name is ‘Aloisia Suliafu (Sia for short), and I am the
newest member of the Whitney Barrell Counseling team! I’m so excited to be completing my MSW internship here and working alongside such excellent therapists
and my clients. Hopefully, by the time you have finished reading this, you feel that you’ve gotten to know me a bit more than just reading my bio.
I grew up on the West side of Salt Lake in West Valley and am incredibly family-oriented, as my parents come from large families. I love being able to spend as much time with my loved ones as I can get. My parents immigrated to the U.S. from the
tiny island kingdom of Tonga and built their life together here in Utah. With that, I am incredibly proud of my Tongan heritage and will talk anyone’s ear off about it if they are willing to listen. Being a first-generation American and a first-generation college student has impacted my life more than I thought. I’ve hit many obstacles along the way, but I
am grateful for them because I wouldn’t be in the position that I am in today.
Often, I get asked, “Why Social Work?”. Since I was a young girl, I have always loved
helping others, explicitly ensuring their needs are met. As I’ve grown, I thought of
becoming a teacher and even a dentist. My journey in dentistry was so profound that I
even graduated High School as a dental assistant through a program offered in my
school district. I even secured a job at a local dentist's office. As an undeclared student,
I attended my first-year orientation at the U for my undergraduate degree. As I was
walking around and learning more about different majors, I saw a sign that read, “Social
Work”, and it was as if a light bulb had lit up in my brain. I learned more about the major
from my orientation leader and have fallen in love with social work ever since. In May
2022, I graduated with my Bachelor of Social Work degree with a minor in Ethnic
Studies. I am completing my MSW degree through the University of Utah and am
expected to graduate in 2023 (so soon, I know!!).
With most of my background being work with youth such as elementary through
high-school-aged students, I find those are clients with whom I work well. I’ve worked
with foster youth in the past, helping them navigate their journey through school and the
processes that come with higher education. I also enjoy educating and working with
diverse populations, especially Pacific Islander youth. I hope to de-stigmatize mental
health within family systems and become a resource for learning and applying to higher
education. In doing so, I want to be able to advocate for my clients and those in my
community to the fullest of my ability. Resources as such were not readily available to
me growing up, so I hope to be able to help as many people as I can.
Hopefully, this blog post can tell you a bit more about me. I’m so excited to be
communicating with you all via this blog! Until next time :)