Retiring professor reflects on teaching, career in social work


Samantha Carrizal / Hilltop Views

Professor Anna Escamilla sits in her office in Doyle Hall. She plans to retire at the end of the academic year.

Anna Escamilla never assumed she would develop a passion for teaching. She always knew that she wanted to fight injustice and help others in ways that she never wasn’t growing up. But, teaching? Despite coming from a family of teachers, not once did it cross her mind.

It wasn’t until she got her masters in social work that  her thought process changed. After having supervised and guided students completing internships at different agencies for social work programs, Escamilla  found her new calling.

“I loved it,” Escamilla said.“I loved helping students to understand how social work is really done and how to deal with a difficult client. That was so exciting to me that I decided to do it as a full time job.”.

Since then, Escamilla carried on with her careers in teaching and social work. She taught graduate students at the University of Texas before quitting to earn her doctorate, and jumped right back into teaching shortly after she finished. Eventually, she closed her part-time private practice and landed at St. Edward’s, where she is an associate professor and program director for social work.. After 12 years, she  is now completing her final semester.

“I love that I can excite students in a way they never thought about and guide them in areas they weren’t aware of,” Escamilla said.

For Escamilla, her students are her biggest achievement. Being able to see them accomplish their goals makes the responsibilities of being program director worthwhile. Even so, Escamilla isn’t one to boast on the rest of her accomplishments, such as co-founding Austin’s first Waterloo Counseling Center, which is now going on its 35th year of existence. Instead, she takes greater pride in her “education and willingness to work hard,” traits she credits in  climbing her way to the top.

“I’ve just succeeded at my job through the years,” Escamilla said, reflecting upon  her career. “I never was a Road scholar or anything like that. Just a hard worker.”