The Consensus Organizing Center (COC) is thrilled to announce the 2014-2015 recipient of the Ernest and Betty Singer Scholarship, Kayla Alsagoff. While honoring the late Ernest and Betty Singer, the purpose of the scholarship is to provide monetary support for students enrolled in the Community Development/Administration track of the Masters of Social Work program at San Diego State University (SDSU) and seed their initial work in community practice.
Kayla Alsagoff is originally from northern California and grew up in a small town called Cameron Park. Kayla moved to San Diego to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from SDSU. After graduating in May 2013, Kayla immediately continued on to SDSU’s Masters of Social Work program where she will graduate this May.
Kayla’s community development internship experience includes working at the San Diego Military Family Collaborative helping reduce duplication of services and ensure a smoother referral system for military families needing services across San Diego County as well as co-coordinating a free county-wide resource fair inside the Reuben H. Fleet Science Center to increase access to resources for military families. She also created a peer-to-peer mentoring program in the SDSU School of Social Work in response to the students’ increasing need for more peer support and guidance during their time in the Social Work MSW program.
Currently, Kayla is working with youth at Serra High School in an attempt to improve diversity and acceptance through a student run campaign based on the strengths of multiculturalism. Using models from community organizing, Kayla conducted interviews with students at Serra, the result showing a need for more culturally sensitive student leaders on the campus. She worked with the school to develop a core group of students and teacher allies to identify stakeholders and their self-interest to maximize the impact of their student diversity group and build more social capital between students and faculty.
Kayla hopes to continue her work as a community organizer after graduation, working in communities to increase social capital and social justice by building leaders across the county. One day she hopes to create her own non-profit community organizing center focusing on underserved communities in San Diego.
The COC is extremely proud of the accomplishments of Kayla Alsagoff. When speaking about our newest scholar, Executive Director Jessica Robinson said, “Kayla has shown persistence and tenacity in all of her community lead projects this year. When faced with barriers Kayla thinks about what can still be done, rather than what is delaying or prohibiting progress. Kayla’s commitment to her work and interest in each of the program’s components has made all of us at the COC proud to call her part of our team.”