Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication

Nicoletti-Martinez named National Social Worker of the Year



Kimber J. Nicoletti-Martínez, Purdue University’s director of Multicultural Efforts to end Sexual Assault (MESA) has been named National Social Worker of the Year. The award, given by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), will be presented June 22 in Washington, D.C., during the organization's national award ceremony.

"The Social Worker of the Year Award honors a member of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) who exemplifies the best of the profession's values and achievements through specific accomplishments. In honoring the Social Worker of the Year, NASW highlights superb accomplishments in the practice of social work," according the NASW website.

Nicoletti-Martínez is being recognized for her leadership in the field of social work in advocating for social justice for migrant farm workers and working to end child sexual abuse and sexual violence, according to the nomination application submitted by the NASW-Indiana Chapter.

Nicoletti-Martínez has dedicated her 20-plus years of social work practice to ending sexual violence across the life span in farm worker, Latin American immigrant and other marginalized populations. In 2008, Nicoletti-Martínez founded MESA in the Agricultural Sciences Education and Communication Department (ASEC) at Purdue and serves as the director. MESA is a statewide effort to prevent sexual violence and child sexual abuse in Indiana that also has projects in California and Arizona.

Nicoletti-Martínez created the first farm worker child sexual abuse prevention effort in the United States. She is also a founding member of Alianza Nacional de Campesinas (National Farm Worker Women Alliance). Nicoletti-Martínez has served in various leadership positions including as former chair of the advisory council for the National Sexual Violence Resource Center; faculty member for the Advocacy Learning Center at Praxis International; and former president of the Purdue Latino Faculty and Staff Association (LaFaSA). She is also a member of the National Association of Social Work and the Indiana Migrant/Seasonal Farm Worker Coalition.

Nicoletti-Martínez was recognized by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as the first sexual violence prevention advocate specifically focused on migrant farm-worker communities. Nicoletti-Martínez was awarded the 2017 Indiana Social Worker of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers-Indiana Chapter. She also received the 2013 Woman of Distinction Award from the YWCA of Greater Lafayette for leadership and work with Latin American immigrant and farm worker communities.

Nicoletti-Martínez earned her master's in social work at Indiana University and bachelor's degree in sociology from Purdue. She is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Indiana.