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School of Social Work Winter 2020 Commencement

Commencement Live Stream

Congratulations 2020 Graduates!

Letter from the Dean

Dear Graduates,

Congratulations on your commencement! As you move into your social work career, please know that the faculty and leadership of our school are proud of your dedication, your achievements and your resiliency.

During the pandemic your lives were turned upside down. While you have endured uncertainty, loss and despair, you have also developed skills to manage adversity and uncertainty, to address rapid fire change and to help those without a voice be heard. You have lived your social work values by showing compassion, by standing up to challenge stigmas and prejudice of all kinds, by supporting and building community, and by promoting health equity.

This is not the graduation that any of us could have imagined a year ago. While we can’t celebrate face to face, know that you hold a special place in our hearts.

Winter 2020 graduates, you have earned respect, gratitude and admiration from the Michigan Social Work community and the university. You are the leaders and best, and we are confident that you are fully prepared to take on the challenges facing our world. You have demonstrated your tenacity, compassion and willingness to fight and lead to ensure better futures for every member of our local and global communities.

Stay Safe and Go Blue,
Lynn Videka
Dean and Carol T. Mowbray Collegiate Professor of Social Work


Keynote Speaker Tonya Mosley National Public Radio, Co-host, Here & Now

Tonya Mosley

Tonya Mosley is the co-host of NPR’s Here & Now, the podcast Truth Be Told and NPR’s Film Club. Her mission driven journalism is focused on bringing context, understanding and empathy to listeners about the world around us.

Before becoming a host, Mosley was a television anchor, reporter and producer for several outlets including KQED in San Francisco where she served as a senior editor, leading a team of journalists covering the impacts of technology as well as a correspondent for Al Jazeera America and KING 5 in Seattle, Washington.

In 2015, Tonya was awarded a John S. Knight Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University where she co-created a workshop for journalists on the impacts of implicit bias, and co-wrote a Belgian/American experimental study on the effects of protest coverage. Tonya has won several national awards for her work, most recently an Emmy Award in 2016 for her televised piece "Beyond Ferguson.”

Student Speaker Irene Routté MSW Degree Candidate

Irene Routté

Irene Routté is graduating with a concentration in Community Organizing and Community and Social Systems. As a student she participated in Associate of Black Social Work Students, Black Radical Healing Pathways and was the School’s steward to the Graduate Employees Union. Routté worked at Congress of Communities in Southwest Detroit for her field work, helping to manage their youth leadership program and Building Sustainable Neighborhoods Program. Prior to coming to U-M, Routté managed the Service and Social Justice Leadership Program at the University of Portland. She also worked for many years as a case manager with unaccompanied refugee youth in both NYC and Boston. Irene has her master’s in the Anthropology of Religion from Harvard Divinity School and a bachelor’s in the study of Religion and African American Studies from Princeton University. She will continue here at U-M pursuing her PhD in the Joint Program in Social Work and Anthropology, focusing on forced migration, refugee resettlement and youth engagement.

Student Speaker Briana Tetsch MSW Degree Candidate

Briana Tetsch

Briana Tetsch is originally from Los Angeles, CA. She received her Bachelor of Science from Mount St. Mary’s University, Los Angeles and is receiving her Master of Social Work with concentrations in Social Policy and Community Social Systems. She is a first generation Mexican-Colombian American and the first to receive a graduate degree in her immediate family.

Tetsch has worked tirelessly to fulfill our field’s commitment to the promotion of social justice. From joining the movement towards a new economy with worker cooperatives, to working on criminal justice reform with the State Appellate Defender Office, to supporting racial and health equity work during this pandemic with the Washtenaw County Health Department, Tetsch has worked to bring social work to many non-traditional settings. Moreover, her passion for politics and prompting policy change led her to provide leadership for the School in numerous ways. She was elected to serve as president of the Student Union, she supported the planning of the Campaign School for Social Workers training conference and provided student leadership for the Big Ten Voter Challenge, just to name a few. In recognition of her work, Tetsch was named the 2020 NASW Student of the Year.

After graduation, Tetsch plans to continue supporting social change efforts in the Washtenaw County community.

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