Will serve on Texas chapter’s board of directors

  Friday, September 8, 2023
  Alumni, Around Campus

By Matthew Cavazos

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – SEPT. 8, 2023 – Astrid Gandaria, LMSW, a lecturer at the UTRGV School of Social Work, has been elected as the Region 11 representative to the Board of Directors of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Texas Chapter.

NASW Region 11 consists of 19 counties from Webb to Aransas, and south to Hidalgo and Cameron.

“I am honored to have been elected to the Board of NASW, Texas Chapter, and I am extremely thankful for the opportunity to work with and learn from NASW leaders,” Gandaria said.

Her responsibilities as a NASW Texas Board Member include:

  • Representing the chapter and the profession in the community with local, state and federal political leaders and/or deans or directors of schools of social work.
  • Representing regional membership concerns to the full board.

At UTRGV, Gandaria currently teaches a combination of four undergraduate and graduate courses, and concurrently is pursuing a Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership at UTRGV.

“As a current faculty member of the UTRGV School of Social Work, I am responsible for leading and inspiring my students to follow ethical principles that emanate from the NASW social work’s core values of service, social justice, dignity and worth of the person, importance of human relationships, integrity and competence,” she said.

Gandaria earned a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Science in Social Work at UTRGV legacy institution UT Pan American. She said she hopes to use this new leadership opportunity as a model for her students, a way to show them what can be accomplished in social work.

“I hope this allows me to inspire my students to break barriers and lead for lasting success with compassion in the social work field they are called to serve,” she said. 

Since joining the NASW in 2012, Gandaria has attended professional development workshops, asked for a different perspective on particular cases from NASW members, and attended NASW, Lower Rio Grande Valley Branch networking events.

“Being around professional social workers from other fields has exposed me to different perspectives, which has positively contributed to the services I deliver, my personal and professional growth,” she said.

In 2018, Gandaria was named Social Worker of the Year for the NASW, Lower Rio Grande Valley Branch.

“It is a great privilege to serve and represent the social work profession, UTRGV, and the Rio Grande Valley community,” Gandaria said.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.