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School of Social Work Spring 2022 Commencement

April 30, 2 PM ET

Power Center
121 Fletcher Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109

Event Details Directions to the Power Center

Health & Safety

  • Commencement will operate in conjunction with the current University masking policy allowing masks to be optional.
  • All students, faculty, and staff must complete the ResponsiBLUE screening prior to entering campus buildings.
  • Guests must complete the ResponsiBlue guest screening.

The School of Social Work Commencement will be held in-person. MSW Graduates must register their guests planning to attend SSW Commencement via the link sent to them. Registration is required. An event registration confirmation is required to enter the Power Center auditorium. Please email ssw.oss@umich.edu with any questions.

The SSW Commencement will be livestreamed on this page and on the front page of the U-M School of Social Work website.

Congratulations 2022 Graduates!

Letter from the Dean

Dear Graduates,

Congratulations on your commencement! You have demonstrated hard work, commitment and an unshakable dedication to fighting for social justice and creating a better world.

You have earned your MSW during difficult and historic times, requiring focus, tenacity and determination. Your academic efforts and success have prepared you to become skilled and effective leaders, prepared to face the challenges of our field.

University of Michigan social work graduates have a reputation for their expertise, dedication and achievement. They lead the field as policymakers, agency directors and foundation leaders, and they improve lives as accomplished and effective social workers. Today you join me and 16,000+ alumni, and we look forward to hearing how you apply your talents for the good of people and communities.

Graduates, you are the leaders and best. You are effective, practiced professionals and leaders who know how to take a stand, address injustice and engage the community. On behalf of the Michigan Social Work community, I wish you every success as you reach out, raise hope and change society.

Go Blue,

Joseph Himle MSW ‘84, PhD ‘95
Interim Dean and Howard V. Brabson Collegiate Professor of Social Work

Speakers

Keynote Speaker Stephanie Chang, MSW ’14 Senator, Michigan State Senate

Stephanie Chang

Senator Stephanie Chang, the first Asian American woman to be elected to the Michigan Legislature, worked as a community organizer in Detroit for nearly a decade before serving two terms in the Michigan House of Representatives.

She served as state director for NextGen Climate Michigan, alumni engagement and evaluation coordinator for the Center for Progressive Leadership in Michigan, deputy director for the Campaign for Justice and as an organizer for Michigan United/One United Michigan. She also worked as a community engagement coordinator for the James and Grace Lee Boggs School and assistant to Grace Lee Boggs, an activist, writer and speaker.

The senator is a co-founder and past president of Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote-Michigan and she served as a mentor with the Detroit Asian Youth Project.

In the Statehouse, Chang led the way on air quality protection, education, criminal justice reforms, improving economic opportunities and affordable, safe drinking water. She passed bipartisan legislation on a range of issues including female genital mutilation, nitrous oxide “whip-its,” reentry services for wrongfully convicted individuals who were exonerated and more. She quickly earned her colleagues’ respect and was named chair of the Progressive Women’s Caucus in her second term. She also served on the leadership team for the House Democratic Caucus both terms and was a co-founder of the Asian Pacific American Legislative Caucus.

Chang earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s degrees in public policy and social work from the University of Michigan.

Student Speaker Alyssa Cozad MSW Degree Candidate

Alyssa Cozad

Alyssa Cozad (she/her) grew up in Bay City, Michigan and attended Delta College and Saginaw Valley State University. During her undergraduate education, she had the privilege of supporting youth and young adults as a peer mentor, tutor, trauma-informed camp counselor and K-12 art educator. After earning her Bachelor of Arts in Art Education in 2016, Cozad followed her passion for supporting students to Ann Arbor to work as an academic advisor at the Penny W. Stamps School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan.

Cozad’s desire to learn more about creating spaces of connection and belonging brought her to the School of Social Work to pursue her MSW. As a Freud Fellow, Cozad worked with the Office of Field Education to advance positive internship experiences for LGBTQ+ interns. In collaboration with a U-M social work alumna, she presented to the Washtenaw County Public Defender’s Office on inclusive criminal defense practices with LGBTQ+ clients. Her internship with the Residential College and the Association of Social Workers in Higher Education provided her opportunities to explore the impact of social work in building supportive student communities.

Upon graduation, Cozad hopes to continue to uplift the work of social workers in higher education and explore her clinical interests in promoting inclusive and comprehensive sexual health programs, and creating affirming spaces for LGBTQS+ populations.

Student Speaker Christina Parker MSW Degree Candidate

Christina Parker

Christina Parker (Ze/zir) is a Political Social Work 2022 graduate and a California native who graduated from California State University San Bernardino with a Bachelor of Arts in Arabic Language, Culture, and Literature in 2018. Parker has been in service for over a decade to diverse communities who experienced the foster care system, juvenile justice system and houselessness.

Parker’s advocacy and passion for system change started with California Youth Connection (CYC), a foster youth-led organization that empowers communities to use policy, legislation and advocacy to progress system change. Ze had the honor of working on California’s Foster Youth Bill of Rights (AB175) which includes allowing LGBTQIAS+ youth in care to be placed in gender-affirming facilities and have the right to be called by their chosen name and identified pronouns. Parker has also trained thousands of professionals in effective advocacy, and used zir art in spoken word and photography to empower and explore complex topics. Parker has impacted millions through zir’s social media company, Everything College, which helps bridge the gap between accessibility and higher education by sharing important information on policies and resources with students.

Parker has used the knowledge gained at U-M to create a digital conference on May 28, which highlights the unique and complicated experiences of students who come from foster care and best practices to increase graduation outcomes.

Commencement Program

Photos from the Ceremony

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