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Community Action and Social Change Commencement 2023

Letter from the Dean

Dear CASC Graduates,

Congratulations! Today we gather to celebrate your graduation and the successful completion of Community Action and Social Change (CASC), the School of Social Work’s undergraduate minor. We are so proud of your dedication and accomplishments!

As students from colleges and schools across the university, you have enriched our School through your diversity of intellectual pursuits, and we have been inspired by your energy, enthusiasm and commitment. We are so grateful that you are part of our Michigan Social Work Community.

The skills you’ve learned in your pursuit of the minor will provide you with a strong foundation for a lifetime of service and community engagement, no matter where your future takes you. You have worked together to raise awareness of important social issues and have inspired others to create positive change. And while your undergraduate career has come to a close, I remind you that education is a lifelong endeavor: I encourage you to keep listening and learning.

On behalf of the School of Social Work, I wish you every success as you go out to make the change you want to see in the world. We look forward to following your journey.

Go Blue!

Beth Angell
Dean and Phillip Fellin Collegiate Professor of Social Work

Letter from Director

Katie Richards-Schuster

Dear CASC Class of 2023,

Congratulations on your graduation! What an accomplishment! The CASC team is immensely proud of all that you have accomplished during your time with us. As an interdisciplinary minor, you have had the unique opportunity to engage with diverse perspectives and ideas from almost every school and college, and over 50 different majors. Through your participation in CASC classes, you have built relationships, engaged in deep discussions, and developed action projects that are making a positive impact.

Your contributions to campus and community work have been truly inspiring. You have spent countless hours facilitating dialogues, pushing for new opportunities, and challenging injustices. You have not only pushed yourself, but also your colleagues and the campus community, to engage more deeply with social justice and work towards creating a better world for all.

Graduation is an exciting time for reflection on your accomplishments, but it is also a time to think about the future. At CASC, we want you to view this as a new beginning and to consider how you will continue to use what you have learned to make a difference in the communities you will be joining. As you may remember from your SW 305 class, "community" and "CASC" are both nouns and verbs. They are not just things, but also require action to develop and grow. We encourage you to think about how you will continue to CASC and use your learning, experiences, friendships, and relationships with faculty to launch your future work.

We are excited to see where your journey will take you and the powerful work you will continue to do in the diverse communities that make up CASC. We want you to know that we are here for you in any way we can, for as long as we can. You are now part of the CASC community, which includes those who have come before you and those who will come after you. As an alumni network of over 1100 people, we are always stronger together.

Once again, congratulations on your graduation, and we look forward to seeing all that you will accomplish in the future. Enjoy today, take on tomorrow, and GO CASC and GO BLUE!


Katie Richards-Schuster
Director of Undergraduate Minor Programs

Graduation Program

Friday, April 28

  • Check-in
    12:30 - 1:00 PM
    School of Social Work Building – lower level, atrium
  • Opening Land Acknowledgement
    1:00 - 1:05 PM
    Abigail Eiler, Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work
  • Welcome
    1:05 - 1:10 PM
    Beth Angell
    Dean and Phillip Fellin Collegiate
    Professor of Social Work
  • Opening Remarks
    Katie Richards-Schuster, Director of Undergraduate Minor Programs and Associate Professor of Social Work
  • Student Keynote Speech
    Kayla Tate, CASC Graduating Student
  • Graduation Keynote
    Amber Williams, MSW ’16, PhD Student, U-M School of Education
  • CASC Graduate Procession
    Katie Richards-Schuster, Abigail Eiler and Joe Galura
  • Closing
    Diana Seales, Assistant Director of CASC
  • CASC Graduate Reception
    Immediately following ceremony
    ECC (room 1840) & outside courtyard seating

CASC Keynotes

Amber Williams, MSW '16 Former CASC Assistant Director and current doctoral student, U-M School of Education

Amber Williams

Amber Williams, MSW ‘16, is a third-year doctoral student in the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education program at the U-M School of Education. Her focus is on academic affairs and student development, with a research interest in how antiracism and critical race pedagogies promote racial consciousness in graduate social work education. Before pursuing her doctoral training, Williams worked in various capacities in student and academic affairs. She also taught as a lecturer and worked as staff in the CASC Minor Program. As a doctoral student, Williams’ research has expanded to include social justice education through dialogic facilitation and student leadership development through campus activism, multicultural affairs, and service learning. She is also exploring innovative academic and co-curricular initiatives that foster student engagement in community organizing and social justice.

Williams is deeply passionate about social work education and socialization in the profession, as well as contemporary campus-based activism and the role of student leaders in transforming higher education. In addition to her doctoral studies, she teaches part-time as a lecturer in the School of Social Work and CASC Minor program. Her courses focus on themes related to social justice education and interdisciplinary theoretical approaches to social change. Williams’ diverse experiences and expertise make her a valuable member of the academic community.

Kayla Tate CASC Graduating Student

Kayla Tate

Kayla Tate is a driven and enthusiastic individual, known for her hardworking nature and dedication to helping under-resourced and disenfranchised communities. Tate is graduating with a degree in creative writing and the CASC minor. She is a well-rounded individual with an adaptable mindset and exceptional leadership skills.

Throughout her academic career, Tate has been actively involved in organizing events and initiatives aimed at meeting the needs of marginalized communities. Her passion for making a positive impact in the lives of others is reflected in her academic achievements and extracurricular activities.

Tate is excited to share her experiences and offer words of encouragement to the class of 2023. At today’s commencement, she will be reading a poem that she created as part of her capstone project, showcasing her talent for creative expression and her commitment to social justice. Her inspiring words and unwavering dedication to her passions make her a valued member of the CASC community.

CASC Faculty & Staff

Katie Richards-Schuster Director of Undergraduate Minor Programs and Associate Professor of Social Work

Katie Richards-Schuster

Katie Richards-Schuster, AM, PhD, is an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She received her doctorate in Social Work and Sociology from the University of Michigan and her AM from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.

Her research focuses on understanding the strategies and approaches for engaging young people in communities, the contexts and environments that facilitate youth engagement across settings, and the impact of youth participation in creating community change. She is a leading scholar in using participatory research and evaluation approaches with young people and communities. She has written multiple peer-review articles and book chapters and has led community-engaged and national projects focused on youth participation. She has presented on youth participation in national and international conferences and co-chairs the Youth Focused Evaluation group within the American Evaluation Association.

Abigail Eiler Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work

Abigail Eiler

Abigail Eiler, MSW '06, is a licensed clinical social worker and educator with more than 15 years of experience working in tribal and non-tribal communities across the country and in Canada. In 2014, Eiler started as a Lecturer at the School of Social Work and joined the governing faculty in May 2018 as a Clinical Assistant Professor. She teaches various interpersonal practice courses to MSW and PhD students, and provides instruction in the school’s Community Action and Social Change Undergraduate Minor. She deeply values teaching about social justice and implementing its principles into her clinical practice. She utilizes an anti-racist framework and makes intentional strides to address Privilege, Oppression, Diversity and Social Justice (PODS) theories, research and practice central to her social work pedagogy.

Eiler played an active role in the implementation of the Behavioral Health Collaborative Care program in the Department of Family Medicine’s Ambulatory Care Unit at Michigan Medicine and brings that experience into the Interpersonal Practice in Integrated Health, Mental Health, & Substance Abuse Pathway.

Joseph Galura CASC Undergraduate Minor Program Advisor and Adjunct Lecturer in Social Work, School of Social Work

Joseph A. Galura

Joseph Galura is an advisor/lecturer for the undergraduate minor in Community Action and Social Change. He also is a lecturer in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and has developed, implemented and taught service-learning courses in Sociology (Project Community), Education (LUCY: The Lives of Urban Children and Youth), and American Culture (Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies).

His classes, projects and publications draw on work in criminal justice, chemical dependency, community organization, urban schooling and the Filipino American community. He is the former Director of Project Community: Sociology 389/325, as well as the founding editor of the OCSL Press, the publication arm of the Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning at the University of Michigan.

Diana WasaAnung’gokwe Seales CASC Assistant Director and LEO Adjunct Lecturer in Social Work, School of Social Work

Diana WasaAnung’gokwe Seales

Diana WasaAnung’gokwe Seales is a seasoned advocate for environmental justice with a wealth of experience in project management and community organizing. Her work centers around building alliances between environmental organizations, communities and advocacy groups to address environmental health and justice concerns. Seales has honed her skills in grassroots community organizing and been instrumental in establishing several non-profit institutions.

In addition to her advocacy work, Seales is deeply committed to researching various environmental and social issues. Her research interests include exploring Indigenous perspectives on climate change and resistance, as well as grassroots innovations and Indigenous futurism. Through her multifaceted work, Seales is dedicated to promoting environmental justice, empowering communities, and advancing social and ecological well-being.

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