The Child Welfare Student Association visited the Michigan state capitol on April 25 to mark National Child Abuse Prevention Month. The students listened to inspirational speakers, networked with legislators and took a tour of the capitol building.
MicroMasters student and returned Peace Corps volunteer Shannon Lynn Carter has received a Weiser Emerging Democracies Fellowship for Incoming Graduate Students. Emerging Democracies Fellowships are awarded to exceptional incoming graduate students who focus their work on emerging democracies, past or present.
“It aligned with everything I had done as Youth Development Volunteer serving in Ukraine. I went into the Peace Corps knowing I wanted to develop as a person. I knew I had to go through something very difficult. I did not expect that, in the process, I would receive the Weiser Fellowship. I am extremely grateful now to be working for causes greater than I could have ever imagined and doing something that I feel is so meaningful. And I am grateful to be completing my second master's at the U-M School of Social Work.”
Carter served in Ukraine from September 2017 to when she was evacuated in March 2020 due to Covid-19. From Flint, Michigan, she took advantage of the statewide lockdown to complete our online MicroMasters program in under 12 weeks and deferred until she completed her first master's in Project Management at the Peace Studies and International Development Center at the University of Bradford Rotary Peace Center, England. She will start her MSW on campus in the fall with the intention of returning to Ukraine post-war.
“What's happening in Ukraine is horrific,” she says. “My Ukrainian friends live-stream it. They don't know if they're going to make it the next day. Paired with my Cyrillic linguistic skills and graduate-level credentials of social work and project management, I will be equipped with the tools to return to Ukraine and continue building on the democratic ideology that had originally inspired the creation of the U.S Peace Corps in the 1960s.”
Apart from receiving the Weiser Emerging Democracies Fellowship, Carter has also received the Paul D. Coverdell Fellowship, Rotary Peace Fellowship, and the Bill Huntly Fellowship.
The Association of Black Social Work Students (ABSWS) has received the Michigan Difference Professional Organization of the Year Award.
“ABSWS has an ongoing presence at the University of Michigan and to continue the legacy, it is critical that their accomplishments be recognized,” said Clinical Assistant Professor Daicia Price. “ABSWS has been an integral part of preparing for new accreditation requirements that involve anti-racism and social justice as a necessary part of the graduate curriculum. One of the amazing things about this group is that they have been using the curriculum and professional competencies to engage in and implement their strategic plan. They have been intentional about building collaborative networks and been creative and innovative about ways to combine the professional and social experience of social workers.”
The current ABSWS officers include:
Faculty Member: Associate Professor Cristina Bares
Community Partner: Kartav Patel, Manager of Youth Services, Southwest Economic Services
Faculty Member: Assistant Professor Ashley Cureton
Community Partner: Shadin Adityeh, Director of Employment and Economic Empowerment Programs, Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County and Detroit
Faculty Member: Lecturer Maureen Okasinski
Community Partner: Rose Gorman, Executive Director, The Tuxedo Project
Faculty Member: Associate Professor Beth Glover Reed
Partner: Angela Gabridge, Executive Director, Sage Metro Detroit
MSW/MPH student Brandon Bond was recognized as a 2022 George Orley Student Mental Health Advocate. Bond is a mental health advocate on a global scale. His diverse education background and international experience ignites his passion for helping organizations and policy makers take a humanitarian, equitable and culturally-inclusive approach to mental healthcare. The George Orley Student Mental Health Advocate Award recognizes outstanding student leadership in the area of campus mental health.
MSW/MPH student Brandon Bond is one of just two students named to the U-M Presidential search committee. Throughout his time at U-M, Bond has served in various leadership roles to advocate for student interests including the VP of Student Life Advisory Board, Dean of Students Advisory Board, Office of Enrollment Management Advisory Board, Advancing Public Safety at U-M Task Force, and President of the Public Health Student Assembly. He is dedicated to ensuring that the diversity of student needs is reflected in the selection of the next U-M President.
"Considering that this is such a huge undertaking, which will impact the future of the University of Michigan and our overall community, my hope is that our community will become and remain active in the search process! A few of ways our community can contribute and advocate are to 1) nominate a potential Presidential candidate through the executive search firm portal, 2) attend a virtual listening session to provide input on their expectations for the new president and perspectives about the ideal candidate profile, and 3) stay informed on the process by staying up to date via the Regents website."
Bond received his undergraduate degree from U-M with a double major in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience (BCN) and International Studies, and a minor in CASC — the School’s Community Action and Social Change undergraduate minor. In a 2020 interview in Ongoing, Bond said
MSW students Deena Etter, Madeline Loss, Courtney Marsden and Nevo Polonsky have been selected to the Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) Program. Administered by the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, the program attracts outstanding graduate students who have a commitment to excellence in leadership and management of public policies and programs.
MSW student Bryant Hepp is part of an interdisciplinary team that has been awarded $60,000 in funding through the Dow Distinguished Awards competition. The team’s project, “Greening Low-Income, Self-Managed Housing Projects in Brazil,” will implement schematic designs at a designated self-managed housing site. Activities will include planting trees, protecting water springs and creeks, installing educational signage, pathways throughout areas of permanent protection, and construction of communal spaces (pavilions) with pervious surfaces.
U-M’s Dow Distinguished Awards are designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration and engaged learning at the graduate level.
Joint PhD student Charles Williams II is the subject of a new “This is Michigan” video, which chronicles the emergency response program Williams spearheaded during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. The School of Social Work partnered with the Historic King Solomon Baptist Church in Detroit, where Williams is the pastor, to care for those in the community who were hit hard by the shutdown. School of Social Work students worked emergency hotlines, manned food banks and conducted wellness checks. Entitled “Caring Throughout Crisis,” the video also features Professor Trina Shanks.
Brittney Barros, dual MSW and MPP student, will brief Congress this week on the Protecting Sibling Relationships in Foster Care Act, legislation which Barros developed as a 2018 intern with the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI). Barros speaks this Thursday, November 4, 2021 at 1 PM. Register to watch the livestream of the briefing.
While current federal law requires states to make a reasonable effort to place siblings together in the foster care system, a majority of siblings are separated. This bill would authorize the Department of Health & Human Services to establish a pilot program to develop foster care programs designed specifically for sibling groups with large numbers, wide age ranges and complex needs.
"Sibling bonds are truly one of a kind. They entail some of the darkest secrets and impeccable loving memories, share valuable life lessons and are the longest-lasting relationships of a lifetime," said Barros. "Siblings bleed the same blood together, cry the same tears together, and fulfill life's destiny together. They are each other's best friends, shoulders to cry on and truly shape life's adversities and achievements. Foster youth deserve this one-of-a-kind bond which should not be taken by a broken system."
Barros speaks from her own lived experience: she was separated from her siblings for more than six years. During her internship with the CCAI, Barros worked on policy reports. "One of my recommendations about keeping siblings together was copied right into the language of the bill," she said. "I took my trials and trauma and turned it into testimony."
"Siblings are the longest relationship of a lifetime and, as social workers, we talk about the importance of human relationships. Those are core values in our [National Association of Social Workers] Code of Ethics and they are core values of mine."
Barros has a BSW from Eastern Michigan University and is pursuing a joint MSW and MPP at the University of Michigan. "I really wanted to go into social work specifically because I had a foster care worker that didn't treat me well. She did everything that we learn in social work school not to do, and she actually fueled my fire to be a social worker, and be the social worker that I never got to have."
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