Kelly Ha

Kelly is a student graduating from the School of Social Work’s Master of Social Work Program. In the nomination for this award, Dr. Nina Heller (Professor and Dean at the School of Social Work) wrote, “she is an excellent example of the kind of social worker we hope to educate. She is skillful, knowledgeable, lives her values, and makes enormous contributions to our communities and the field.”

Kelly is the first person in her family to obtain an education above middle school. Her many achievements including being a UNiDAYS 2021 Student Woman of the Year Finalist, Protect Our Pack Fellow, and recipient of the Frank V. Carvollo Scholarship, Robert T. Kenney Graduate Scholarship, and Class of 1944 Scholarship. Additionally, she received a highly sought-after internship at Connecticut Children’s and participated in UConn Health’s Urban Services Track. Within the Graduate Student Organization, Kelly has served as a Social Media Specialist, PEERS Co-Chair, and IGFP Concentration Chair.

Being first generation Vietnamese American and having experienced COVID-19 related xenophobia, she became involved with the #IAmNotAVirus campaign as Manager, public voice, and leader of the mental health and allyship initiatives. Her outstanding dedication to this campaign led her to be featured on the front page of the Hartford Courant.

She has further addressed anti-Asian discrimination through speaking engagements at Northeastern University, University of Connecticut, and Kenyon College. Kelly has said this work shows her the capacity of her own strength and resilience. Post-graduation, Kelly will continue to work on #IAmNotAVirus, work in a pediatric hospital, and then become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with the ultimate goal of establishing a private practice focusing on BIPOC populations.