Army social worker sets sights on citizenship, career as Navy officer

| February 15, 2013 | 0 Comments
Malika Moretti, wife of Sgt. 1st Class Christian Moretti, NCOIC, Soldier Readiness Processing Site, USAHC-SB, became an American citizen, Jan. 22. Currently a licensed clinical social worker associate in TAMC's Department of Social Work, Moretti hopes to commission into the Navy and continue to help military families in need. (Courtesy photo)

Malika Moretti, wife of Sgt. 1st Class Christian Moretti, NCOIC, Soldier Readiness Processing Site, USAHC-SB, became an American citizen, Jan. 22. Currently a licensed clinical social worker associate in TAMC’s Department of Social Work, Moretti hopes to commission into the Navy and continue to help military families in need. (Courtesy photo)

Staff Sgt. Terrance Bandy
Tripler Army Medical Center Public Affairs

It was only a few years ago that Malika Moretti took steps to change her life.

In 2012, the former stay-at-home mother finished grad school, and in January of this year she reached her dream of becoming an American citizen.

Now, she’s on her way to reaching another goal of becoming a Navy officer.

Born in Poland and raised in Denmark and Germany, Moretti moved to the United States in 2001 to follow her heart and husband, Sgt. 1st Class Christian Moretti, Soldier Readiness Processing Site noncommissioned officer in charge, U.S. Army Health Clinic-Schofield Barracks.

After serving her country by supporting her husband’s military career and caring for their two children, Aiden and Maya, Moretti followed the advice of a friend and started college in 2007.

She earned a Bachelor of Science in psychology and a Master of Social Work over the next six years.

Having put in her dues as a military spouse, Moretti continued to show her unwavering support for the armed forces by choosing a military concentration while working toward her master’s degree from the University of Southern California.

Because of her concentration and desire to work in the military community, USC assisted with placing Moretti at Tripler Army Medical Center for one of her required field assignments.

According to USC’s Master of Social Work Virtual Academic Center, field education is an integral part of the curriculum, providing students hands-on opportunities to observe and participate in learning about clients, agencies and communities relevant to their emerging skills.

“I wanted to do something that allowed me to work with people and not be restrained behind a desk,” Moretti said.

She found her niche in Tripler’s Department of Social Work. Currently working as a licensed clinical social worker associate, Moretti, along with others from the Family Advocate Program, is embedded with U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii’s Directorate of Emergency Services’ military police station at Schofield Barracks.

Moretti participates in the Schofield Barracks Military Police Initiative Program, which aims to reach at-risk families at the time of an incident and allows responders, such as Moretti, to assist families in finding better solutions to domestic unrest in a timely manner.

And while no one could claim she was unpatriotic, Moretti still wasn’t technically an American.

“I felt very American, but not being a U.S. citizen was different,” said Moretti who, as a Soldier’s spouse, was a permanent resident and had a green card.

“I knew that there was something missing,” she added.

Moretti said the oath of allegiance with 39 other immigrants, Jan. 22, becoming a citizen three months after she started the process.

So what’s next on Moretti’s to-do list? Becoming a Navy officer. She hopes to continue being a social worker and helping service members and families in need.

According to Moretti, the Navy has a “great” program that allows recent Master of Social Work graduates to work on their licensing hours as a clinical social worker associate without prior military service.

“My heart has always been with the Navy,” Moretti explained. “My great-grandfather served in the German navy during World War I.”

If all goes according to plan, Moretti will begin the next chapter of her life as a Navy officer before the year’s end.

 

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