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School of Social Work Spring 2019 Commencement

Keynote by Amy Good CEO, Alternatives For Girls

Amy Good

Amy Good has more than 35 years of experience managing and directing human services programs serving children and families in Detroit.

Under her leadership, Alternatives For Girls has grown from a volunteer-led project to a full-service agency serving homeless and high-risk girls and young women – along with their families – through street outreach, emergency shelter, transition to independent living and prevention services. Good served as a gubernatorial appointee on the Michigan Committee on Juvenile Justice (2004 – 2017) and currently serves on the Goodwill Industries of Greater Detroit Board of Directors. She is also a member of the Michigan Chapter of the International Women’s Forum. Her awards include Oprah Winfrey’s Use Your Life award (accompanied by $100,000 for a capital campaign), the United Way Community Services’ Executive Director of the Year award, Leadership Detroit’s Leadership Challenge award, and the National Council of Jewish Women Josephine S. Weiner Award for Community Service. She was awarded the University of Michigan School of Social Work Distinguished Alumni award in 2014. Alternatives For Girls received Crain’s Best Managed Non-Profit award in 2017.

She earned both her BA in Psychology and an MSW from the University of Michigan.

Read Amy's speech

Student Speaker Shih-Ya Chang MSW '19

Shih-Ya Chang

Shih-Ya Chang was born in Taipei, Taiwan to parents who were fearless and compassionate organizers. When she was nine years old, her family moved to Shanghai, China to support a local community. During her senior year in high school, a family friend experienced great turmoil due to governmental policy; this incident confirmed Chang’s desire to devote her life to serving others and improving social systems.

When Chang was in college she was introduced to social work. She searched online, found U-M, and applied. Over the past 20 months, Chang has had the opportunity to work for the Associate Dean for Educational Programs, the Office of Global Activities, the Office of Student Services as a student mentor, and the University’s International Center as a peer advisor. Her field placements were at the International House Ann Arbor and the Washtenaw County Office of Community and Economic Development. She has worked alongside amazing fellow students in the Student Union and Global Social Work Student Association. She also received funding for overseas projects in Beijing, China; Bradford, U.K.; and Azores, Portugal. Chang’s experience allowed her to encounter different perspectives and find common ground.

Chang believes that as a social worker her work is to advocate for social justice that leads to a healthy society – where all members participate, and their stories are heard, valued, and included. To Chang, social justice is carried out when all of these stories are peacefully interwoven together to create a perfect tapestry.

Student Speaker Mitch Paradise MSW '19

Mitch Paradise

Mitch Paradise is a radical, fat, queer social worker from the south suburbs of Chicago. They are graduating with a focus on Interpersonal Practice and Mental Health, centering their practice in queer, anti-racist, body positive and feminist theories. Co-creating safe, affirming spaces for the LGBTQIA+ community drives their social work practice.

Paradise earned their undergraduate degree from DePaul University in the history of art and architecture and continues to incorporate art and creativity into their therapeutic practice. Prior to starting the program, Paradise worked with multiple organizations in Chicago dedicated to serving persons experiencing homelessness, criminalization and prejudice, including the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law, Illinois Safe School Alliance, the Transformative Justice Law Project, and the Night Ministry.

Paradise has continued their advocacy efforts at the School of Social Work as a graduate student staff assistant in the Office of Student Services, as well as held leadership positions in the Showing Up For Racial Justice U-M Chapter, Queer Advocacy Coalition, and Social Justice Arts Collective. Most recently, Paradise was selected as the NASW Student of the Year and delivered the keynote presentation for the School of Social Work Student Symposium titled, “Let’s Get Queered: Sexual Health Education for a New Generation.” After graduation, they plan on returning to Chicago and pursuing a career providing mental health services.

Read Mitch's speech

Joint PhD in Social Work and Social Science Graduates

The Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Social Science is an interdepartmental program in the Horace H. Rackham School of Graduate Studies at the University of Michigan. It awards a joint PhD degree in Social Work and one of five social science disciplines: anthropology, economics, political science, psychology or sociology. It accepted the first students in 1957 and was the first program of its kind in the country. The Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Social Science at the University of Michigan is broadly acknowledged as one of the finest interdisciplinary programs in the world.

Nkemka Anyiwo

PhD Social Work & Psychology

“We gon' be alright”: Racism, Media, and the Sociopolitical Development of Black Youth

Dissertation Committee: Daphne Watkins, Stephanie Rowley (co-chairs), Katie Richards-Schuster, Monique Ward

Rachel Burrage

PhD Social Work and Psychology

Trauma, Loss, Resilience, and Resistance in the Beauval Indian Residential School

Dissertation Committee: Joseph Gone, Sandra Momper (co-chairs), Donna Nagata, Karen Staller

John Doering-White

PhD Social Work and Anthropology

In the Shadow of the Beast: Violence and Dignity along the Central American Migrant Trail

Dissertation Committee: Laura Lein, Jason De León (co-chairs), Jorge Delva, Reuben Miller, Andrew Shryock

Charity Hoffman

PhD Social Work and Sociology

The 21st Century Mother: How New Moms Navigate Work, Family and Struggle to Have it All

Dissertation Committee: Karin Martin, Katie Richards- Schuster (co-chairs), Fatma Muge Goceck, Mary Ruffolo

Huiyun Kim

PhD Social Work and Sociology

Housing Insecurity and Low-Income Housing Policy in the United States

Dissertation Committee: Kristin Seefeldt, Sara Burgard (co-chairs), Rachel Best, Richard Tolman, Lang Deng

Min Hee Kim

PhD Social Work and Sociology

Geographic Distribution of Aging and Health-Related Resources in Urban Neighborhoods: Implications for Health Care Delivery to Community -Dwelling Older Adults with Physical and/or Cognitive Impairment

Dissertation Committee: Ruth Dunkle, Sara Burgard (co-chairs), Philippa Clarke, Emily Nicklett, Sandra Levitsky, Joseph Himle

Rick Rodems

PhD Social Work and Sociology

Hidden Hardship: Three Essays on Poverty and Material Welfare in the United States

Dissertation Committee: Fabian Pfeffer, H. Luke Shaefer (co-chairs), Sandra Danziger, Greta Krippner

Pinghui Wu

PhD Social Work and Economics

Demand Shocks, Shift in Welfare Regime, and the Well-being of Workers and Their families

Dissertation Committee: Luke Schaefer, Dominick Bartelme (co-chairs), Sandra Danziger, Charles Brown, John Bound

Commencement Resources

Photos from the Ceremony

View the Spring 2019 commencement gallery on Flickr

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