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Promotion? New Grandchild? Published a book? Honored with an award? You can share your news and updates with fellow alumni in the Class Notes section of the SSW website.

  • Claudette Grinnell-Davis, PhD '14

    Claudette Grinnell-Davis, PhD, MS, MSW has received a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Policies for Action program to study the implementation and impact of the 2015 Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) statute. Dr. Grinnell-Davis, an assistant professor in the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work at OU-Tulsa, will serve as the principal investigator for the grant, in conjunction with community partners Nebraska Indian Child Welfare Coalition, LLC. & Nebraska Appleseed. This research grant is the first step in understanding how best to support Indigenous communities in Nebraska in restoring balance within their communities and generating collaborative strategies to heal the historical trauma that has disrupted tribal communities there for over 150 years.
  • Andrea Brand, MSW '94

    Andrea Brand has recently published her first book, Stop Sweating & Start Talking - How to Make Sex Chats with Your Kids Easier Than You Think. With the goal of empowering tweens and teens to make intentional decisions based on facts, Andrea helps parents overcome their fears and barriers to having informative sex conversations with their kids. Given the inconsistencies in sex education that is offered in the U.S. school system, kids need a trusted resource for accurate information.This book encourages and helps parents have ongoing, developmentally appropriate, scientifically accurate, sex positive conversations and offers practical tools and tips to help get the ball rolling.
  • Melissa Mendez, MSW '01

    Melissa Mendez has worked the past 20 years in the field of infant and early childhood mental health. Melissa spent the first five years of her career with Head Start programs in Jackson County, Michigan and then moved to Connecticut in 2006 to work as an Early Childhood Consultant at Wheeler Clinic. Melissa is currently Director of Early Childhood Programs at Wheeler and is also a part-time Professor of Child and Family Clinical Practice in the MSW program at Southern Connecticut State University. Melissa served as President of the CT-Association for Infant Mental Health Health from 2015-2018 and is still active with the work of CT-AIMH. Melissa authored, illustrated, and published several children's books in 2020 that are focused on children's social emotional health and development.
  • Violeta Donawa, MSW '19

    In fall 2019, Violeta earned her MSW from the University of Michigan School of Social Work with a focus on Interpersonal Practice and African-Centered Social Work. Since bridging her Master’s in Sociology (‘14), community-care based experience with healing justice, and her most recent accomplishments in Social Work, Violeta prioritizes working on health and healing strategies and interventions in clinical and macro-level settings. Violeta currently holds two transformative social work positions. First, she is a clinical therapist at Integrative Empowerment Group, PLLC in Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, MI where she works with many clients of multiple-marginalized identities and supports clients across a number of presenting needs including but not limited to racialized stress and trauma, gender identity expression, LGBQQ+ issues, anxiety and depression, sexualized violence and complex trauma. As a kink-aware therapist, she is also trained to work with clients through a sex therapy informed lens. Violeta is also a macro-level Mental Health Therapist at The Firecracker Foundation which is based in Lansing, MI. As part of The Firecracker Foundation, she co-leads digital project and initiatives that work to uphold the holistic mental health needs of survivors of sexual violence and the communities that support them. In addition to this work, she has served as a board member of the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network and as a partner to Healing by Choice! Detroit. In 2020, Violeta was featured on Lindsay Bryan-Povin’s podcast, Mind Money Balance, addressing the importance of spirituality and rest in the quest for financial wellness. More recently, she is one of a select group of poets with work featured in the Untold Stories of Liberation and Love Anthology, "Ypsi on My Mind," which is a publication that centers women of Color stories in Ypsilanti, MI. Violeta passed her ABSW exam in Spring 2021. More information on her work can be found here: www.violetadonawa.com.
  • Matt Bouse, MSW '19

    Matt Bouse, MSW '19 recently completed an hour-long documentary about the 2011 earthquake and tsunami that occurred in northeastern Japan. The film focuses on how a natural disaster impacts survivors’ mental health and how community bonds and strong social support can create resilience after a tragedy. It also discusses the important role that socioeconomic factors play in disaster recovery and mental wellness. This project began life as part of a Global Independent Study that Matt completed through the School of Social Work's Office of Global Activities. The full film can be found online. Matt also presented on this topic at the 2021 NASW-Michigan Meeting of the Profession Conference.
  • Harlena Reed, MSW '06

    Harlena Reed, JD, LCSW LMSW is excited about her new role as LCA Deputy Director for the State of New Mexico. Ms. Reed will oversee the Children Youth and Families Department (CYFD) Licensing and Certification Authority Bureau monitoring health, safety, supervision and quality of care for licensed facilities throughout the State of New Mexico, She will support and monitor compliance with the Kevin S. Settlement Agreement and CYFD's Family First Prevention Services Act Strategic Plan.
  • Andrew Horning, MSW '97

    Andrew just recently released Grappling: White Men's Journey from Fragile to Agile. Be a agent of change or a victim of progress. How to use courage and compassion to support change inside of us, between us, and around us.
  • Allessia Owens-King, MSW '03

    Allessia earned tenure and promotion to Associate Professor at Salisbury University School of Social Work (effective August 11, 2021). In a time when colleges and universities are closing, and some institutions are discontinuing the tenure process, she is fortunate to have a measure of professional success and stability.
  • Jazmine Wells, MSW '20

    Jazmine concentrated in Interpersonal Practice and Mental Health and currently works as a Mitigation Specialist/Social Worker at SADO—Michigan’s award-winning statewide indigent appellate defense provider. Jazmine works on the Juvenile Lifer Unit where she collaborates with attorneys and clients to develop strategy for new sentence hearings. She represents individuals who were unconstitutionally sentenced to life without parole for crimes they committed as children and who are now entitled to new sentences and eligible for an opportunity for release. Jazmine also started a new service-learning partnership between SADO and Project Outreach’s Juvenile and Criminal Justice section, which is an undergraduate service learning course housed within the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychology in the College of Literature, Science and Arts.
  • Andrea Watkins, MSW '05

    Andrea Watkins was honored to have been profiled in her hometown newspaper, the Monroe Evening News (Monroe, MI) for her career in international social work in which her MSW degree from the University of Michigan served as the foundation: https://eu.monroenews.com/story/news/history/2021/02/24/andrea-watkins-moro-making-difference-across-pond/4555307001/
  • Remeta Hicks-Montgomery, MSW '20

    Remeta Hicks-Montgomery has recently been appointed as the Service Director of Detroit Action and she has worked diligently to relaunch the community organization's community services. These services include: ID/Birth Record - This program provides low and no-income Detroiters with access to ID and birth records. Mutual Aid - This program provides cash assistance to low and no-income Detroiters financially impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Job Readiness/Career Exploration - This program provides job readiness and career exploration services to employment-insecure Detroiters. Remeta's work has been recognized on a statewide and global level with the Detroit Free Press covering the relaunch and Blavity News, the #1 Black Millennial publication, publishing her op-ed about her experience relaunching these services while starting a new role in an organization that had a heavy impact on flipping Michigan blue. The op-ed can be found here: https://blavity.com/covid-has-dried-up-many-resources-but-well-always-find-a-way-to-help-our-community?category1=opinion
  • Alice Gates, MSW '07, PhD '11

    This year, Alice received one national and one regional award, the Council on Social Work Education Early Career Faculty Award: https://cswe.org/About-CSWE/Awards/2020-Awardees/Dr-2020-Awardee2 as well as the Pacific Sociological Association "Distinguished Contributions to Sociological Praxis" Award: https://www.pacificsoc.org/psa-news/psa-awards
  • Robin Martz, MSW '03

    U.S. Embassy Kigali, Robin Martz, MPH, MSW, is the director of USAID - US Agency for International Development Rwanda Health Office. Robin earned Master's degrees in Public Health and Social Work from the University of Michigan and brings an incredible range of public health experience from all around the world. Robin has worked on maternal and child health in Laos, polio in Afghanistan, HIV in Haiti, and emerging pandemic threats in Thailand and Cambodia. Robin was a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger and has advised the World Bank, United Nations Population Fund, and Save the Children. In Rwanda, she manages a team of 22 experts with an annual budget of nearly $80 million providing comprehensive support to the country's public health initiatives.
  • Brittney Williams, MSW '17

    Brittney M. Williams (LSA '16, MSW '17) became the first Public Defender Social Worker hired in the near 50-year history of the Washtenaw County Public Defender's Office. She is tasked with building and leading the Public Defender Social Work Division; and will create a Social Work Internship Program in collaboration with local institutions as part of her efforts. Ms. Williams also accepted a part-time instructor role in the University's School of Social Work.
  • Lindsay Bryan-Podvin, MSW '11

    Lindsay Bryan-Podvin, owner and founder of Mind Money Balance, is a financial therapist who started her career in the field of mental health treatment and advocacy. As the first financial therapist in Michigan, she combines financial literacy with the emotional and psychological side of money. She always had an interest in mental health and found an even greater love working at the intersection of mental health and money. She is a published author of the Plutus-nominated book "The Financial Anxiety Solution," which helps people work through their anxiety when it comes to engaging with their money. She loves speaking on the emotional and psychological side of money and in addition to hosting the "Mind Money Balance" podcast, she's been a guest on over fifty podcasts. She's been featured in publications including C|Net, Next Advisor by Time, ReWire by PBS, Allure, Bustle, and more. She has a degree in sociology from Michigan State University, and her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Michigan. Lindsay lives with her partner and their dog in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
  • Monica Rich-McLaurin, MSW '10

    In November 2020, Monica was appointed chairwoman of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) National Ethics Committee, where she is charged with assuring the ethical integrity of the social work profession by participating in professional reviews where ethical violations have been alleged, as well as assisting in the revision of the NASW Code of Ethics and Professional Review Manual to reflect current practice. Monica has also served as chairwoman and secretary of the NASW-Michigan Chapter Ethics Committee and has participated in mediation and adjudication hearings on the state and national levels.
  • Jyotsna Mody, MSW '68

    I graduated nearly 52 years back but does not look like that long when going through the memory lane. I am glad to announce that I wrote my first book titled "Management Solutions for Non- Profits", this year during the Covid lockdown. The book aims to give simple solutions to the complex problems of Non-Profit organizations governance.
  • Amanda Bosworth, MSW '09

    Amanda Bosworth, MSW '09, graduated from Cornell University in May 2020 with her PhD in History. Her dissertation, entitled "After 'Walrussia': American, Russian, Canadian, and Japanese Fur Seals between Empires, 1867-1911," explores transnational maritime, human-animal, and indigenous-imperial relations in the North Pacific region. In November 2020, Amanda married Igor Shirnin in St. Petersburg, Russia, to become Amanda Shirnina. The couple lives in St. Petersburg.
  • Florence Alexander, MSW '19

    After graduation from the U-M School of Social Work, Florence joined as an Electoral Justice Project Fellow for the Movement for Black Lives creating the Black the Vote campaign to organize, art, activism, voting education, and people's assemblies and as a Policy and Data Science Specialist at One Love Global, Lansing. Florence helped organize the The People's Black National Convention and served as an ambassador to talk about issues facing Black Communities. "The U-M School of Social Work provided me with many opportunities, such as serving as a National Community Scholar and being able to travel to Boston to create curriculum so we could see ourselves in what we learn. I was able to work in the DEI Office as a Program Assistant and organize events at school and outside of Ann Arbor. Through the Policy/Evaluation track I learned about policy memos and briefs, found amazing mentors that still guide me, and serve communities." Florence is dedicated to racial justice, inclusion, amplifying voices that have been historically marginalized, and working towards a transformative society that values all of humanity.
  • Marilyn (LeVee Miller) Broka, MSW '67

    At the age of 80 am enjoying retirement and not searching for new activities. Picking raspberries and trimming shrubs, weeding flower beds and looking for space to plant a few new bulbs for spring bloom. Last year I married a classmate whom I have known since we started kindergarten together 76 years ago. Our spouses had both passed away and our shared childhood experiences made for comfortable re-acquaintance facilitated by our annual class reunions. We are living in Idaho, where my husband has a son and family.

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