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Innovative Community Engagement with Vulnerable Populations in Los Angeles

Program Objectives and Details

Los Angeles Skyline during dusk

This course provides an interdisciplinary framework for increasing multicultural awareness with the goals of improved decision-making in practice, policy advocacy, and advocacy related to social justice issues affecting vulnerable populations. After completing this course, the student will be able to:

1. Describe how social and political dynamics impact the efficacy of community responses for those considered vulnerable and disadvantaged.

2. Analyze core elements of innovative services and their impact on the daily functioning and well-being of vulnerable clients.

3. Develop an action-oriented advocacy plan to alleviate the impact of social justice issues on those considered vulnerable.

This hybrid, service-learning, Study-in-America course will require students to identify, examine, and critically analyze social service programs in Central Texas and Los Angeles, California which provide services to vulnerable populations (persons experiencing poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, criminal justice issues, etc). Students will have an opportunity to interact and engage with organizations in Los Angeles, CA., that have developed innovative strategies for social problems. The field experience will offer students a unique experience of meeting with experts who have lead national and worldwide efforts in the field of social justice training/advocacy, gang rehabilitation, policy development, and violence prevention.

Admission is selective, and space is limited. Program is subject to change and pending approval from the Texas State Board of Regents.


Summer 2022 Term: July 5 - August 5, 2022

Program Travel: July 10, 2022 - July 16, 2022

Orientation Meetings: TBD

Course Meetings: Meets regularly during summer 2022

Required: Six-Day Field Learning Experience in Los Angeles, California

Course Options

SOWK 4300K  Innovative Community Engagement with Vulnerable Populations CRN 52354

Important:  To ensure your place in this program, you must complete the program application and then receive approval from Lea Velez.

Tuition and Program Fee

3 Hours (1 Course) Undergraduate


The course tuition and program fee will be billed and paid through SBS Billing and Payment.

Additional Program Fee

The additional program fee includes the cost for group meals, lodging, on-site transportation between field locations and the University of Southern California, and admission fees: $975

Important Note: Airfare, personal meals, transportation between LAX and the University of Southern California, and personal expenses are not included in the Program Fee. 

Drops and Refunds

All university policies regarding installments, course drops, and refunds apply to all billed and paid tuition and program fees.

Important COVID-19 Information

All participants in Texas State Study in America programs adhere to the health guidelines in the Texas State University Roadmap, including the Health and Safety Measures and Student Roadmap page. The guidelines provided for protecting health and safety on campus also apply to field locations and travel in this Study in America program.

The field/travel portion of the program is subject to change and/or cancellation. If the field portion of the program is canceled, Study in America, in collaboration with the academic departments and program providers, will make every effort to develop online, virtual field experiences as alternatives to the field/travel experiences. If instruction continues with virtual field experiences, Texas State Study in America will refund or discount the additional program fee (not course tuition).

Texas State will not be able to provide refunds for canceled airline tickets, nor purchase new return airline tickets, should students be required to return home earlier than originally planned. Students are strongly encouraged to purchase flexible and fully refundable tickets as well as Cancellation For Any Reason (CFAR) travel insurance.

Los Angeles Requirements

All participants are required to comply with Los Angeles City Ordinance, which states that masks are required in public transportation facilities, in specific indoor locations, and on public transportation. Vaccinations are not generally required indoors, although individual venues may require vaccination. Visit the County of Los Angeles Public Health web page for more information.

University of Southern California Requirements

Currently, the University of of Southern California does not require vaccination or masks to enter campus. Visit the USC Covid-19 Resource Center for updates.

Japanese American National Museum Requirements

Masks are recommended for all visitors regardless of vaccination status. Visit the JANM Plan Your Visit webpage for more information.

Applying to the Program - Applications Now Closed

  1. Complete and submit the program application
  2. Complete and submit the Approval Request to Travel during an Ongoing Pandemic form immediately after submitting the program application
  3. Receive approval from Ms. Velez and the Office of Distance and Extended Learning
  4. Register for your program's courses

Registering for Courses

Once approved and after submitting the required information, you must register for your course through the Student Information System/Catsweb during the regular university registration period.

For more information about the content of the course/program, please contact Lea Velez.

For questions about applying/registering, please contact the Office of Distance and Extended Learning.