School of Social Work News

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Diversity Spotlight: Rabbi Simon Stratford

Diversity Spotlight: Rabbi Simon Stratford

January 26, 2024 - Emily Jodway

Simon Stratford is a proud alumnus of the College of Social Science and currently serves as the Associate Rabbi and Director of Lifelong Learning at Temple Sholom in Cincinnati, Ohio. While at Michigan State, Stratford earned a degree in Social Work and completed a minor in Jewish Studies through the Serling Institute. He is being honored as part of Holocaust Remembrance Day for his community efforts to educate and enrich the lives of Jewish individuals and family through prayer, ritual and togetherness.

Social Work students look to unmask how the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic affected immigrant women in Detroit

Social Work students look to unmask how the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic affected immigrant women in Detroit

January 16, 2024 - Brandon Drain

The Provost’s Undergraduate Research Initiative (PURI) grant allows College of Social Science undergraduate students a unique opportunity to conduct transformative research – either one-on-one with a tenured faculty member, or part of a research team. This is a university-wide effort – spearheaded by The Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Office at MSU – to provide all undergraduate students opportunities to engage in research, or creative activity throughout their education, regardless of their academic discipline or academic abilities. This year, the School of Social Work had three of its undergraduate students receive the award: Breanne Sandstorm, Jasmine Zavala Gonzalez, and Yasmen Alsuraimi.

2023 PURI grant recipient: Breanne Sandstorm

2023 PURI grant recipient: Breanne Sandstorm

December 20, 2023 - Brandon Drain

The Provost’s Undergraduate Research Initiative (PURI) grant allows College of Social Science undergraduate students a unique opportunity to conduct transformative research – either one-on-one with a tenured faculty member, or part of a research team. This is a university-wide effort – spearheaded by The Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity Office at MSU – to provide all undergraduate students opportunities to engage in research, or creative activity throughout their education, regardless of their academic discipline or academic abilities. This year, the School of Social Work had three of its undergraduate students receive the award: Breanne Sandstorm, Jasmine Zavala Gonzalez, and Yasmen Alsuraimi.

Feeding the future: How an MSU Social Work student is fighting to end food insecurity on campus

Feeding the future: How an MSU Social Work student is fighting to end food insecurity on campus

November 10, 2023 - Brandon Drain

Today’s college students face a gauntlet of obstacles in their day-to-day lives. Managing classes, study sessions, part-times jobs and career planning. They do this all while trying to maintain a social life and juggling personal interests. Yet, for some, an even more daunting hurdle looms: food insecurity; the condition of not having access to sufficient food, or food of an adequate quality, to meet one's basic needs.

Empathy meets analytics: Bridging data, humanity and leadership in Chicago’s heartbeat

Empathy meets analytics: Bridging data, humanity and leadership in Chicago’s heartbeat

November 6, 2023 - Brandon Drain

In the heart of Chicago, where ambition and resilience intertwine, Dave Koch stands as a testament to how academic foundations can inspire community revolutions.

Empowering the future: MSU’s new era in African American research

Empowering the future: MSU’s new era in African American research

October 16, 2023 - Brandon Drain

Since its inception in 1997, the Michigan Center for Urban African American Aging Research (MCUAAAR) has stood as a beacon for transformative research dedicated to the health and vitality of older African Americans. This collaborative platform unites three of Michigan’s top academic institutions: The University of Michigan, Wayne State University, and since 2018, welcoming Michigan State University into its fold.

Carla A. Pfeffer selected in the MSU Community Engaged Research Fellows Program

Carla A. Pfeffer selected in the MSU Community Engaged Research Fellows Program

May 30, 2023 - Brandon Drain

MSU School of Social Work Associate Professor, Carla A. Pfeffer, has been chosen for participation in the 2023-24 Community Engaged Research Fellows Program -- a landmark achievement reflecting her commitment to advancing community-engaged research.

MSU Social Work student creates web platform to connect non-profits with corporate giving programs

MSU Social Work student creates web platform to connect non-profits with corporate giving programs

May 9, 2023 - Brandon Drain

Michigan State University School of Social Work MSW student , James Rawson, has embarked on a project to connect non-profit organizations with corporate community giving programs. Rawson's project aims to create a centralized web-based platform that will make it easier for non-profits to identify and access funding opportunities in the mid-Michigan area.

Aubree Montie: The College of Social Science 2023 Matt Hansen Support Staff Award winner

Aubree Montie: The College of Social Science 2023 Matt Hansen Support Staff Award winner

May 1, 2023 - Brandon Drain

Aubree Montie, a member of the MSU School of Social Work, has been named the recipient of the College of Social Science Matt Hansen Support Staff Award. This award recognizes exemplary contributions of support staff members to the College and was first granted in 2020.

Michigan State University alumni creates library to foster education and break the cycle of poverty in Namibia

Michigan State University alumni creates library to foster education and break the cycle of poverty in Namibia

April 25, 2023 - Brandon Drain

Auguste Shikongo, an alumna of Michigan State University's School of Social Work, is on a mission to bring literacy and education to her home country of Namibia.

Heather McCauley: The College of Social Science 2023 Outstanding Teacher Award winner

Heather McCauley: The College of Social Science 2023 Outstanding Teacher Award winner

April 12, 2023 - Brandon Drain

The College of Social Science awarded Heather McCauley, ScD, with the 2023 Outstanding Teacher Award. This award recognizes a current faculty member in the College who takes pride in and is committed to quality teaching, and who demonstrates substantial, continuing involvement in undergraduate education. Nominations are submitted by chairs and directors with input from current students.

The undertones of racism: MSU professor proposes a nuanced perspective on race that he hopes will unify the world

The undertones of racism: MSU professor proposes a nuanced perspective on race that he hopes will unify the world

March 21, 2023 - Brandon Drain

One of the most prominent, empirically-based forms of evidence on racism can be linked to the oppression of dark-skinned races, according to Dr. Ronald E. Hall, professor at Michigan State University. This association of complexion and oppression, defined as colorism, has been dubbed a taboo subject of research in academia – which has led to, “A literature void that exceeds the context of traditional local race categories to permeate global borders,” Hall said.

Dean’s Research Associate Kendall Morris seeks to reduce community violence in Black communities within Detroit

Dean’s Research Associate Kendall Morris seeks to reduce community violence in Black communities within Detroit

January 24, 2023 - Brandon Drain

There are many underlying issues that plague Black communities. These range from economic deprivation, outright poverty, cyclical crime, systemic racism and more. However, none of those issues have the immediate and long-lasting impact as community violence – an issue that rips families apart, reshapes neighborhoods and communities, and creates a rippling effect from generation to generation, ensnaring families to relive traumas of the past.

Social Work in action: MSU MSW alum Q & A

Social Work in action: MSU MSW alum Q & A

January 18, 2023 - Brandon Drain

Brian Philson is a MSW alumnus who is now the president-elect of 2023 Board of Directors of the Association of Social Work Boards and is the president and CEO of Highfields, an $8.5 million human services nonprofit serving 11 counties in Michigan

MSU alumnus works towards bettering Native American communities and reflects on his career cultivation

MSU alumnus works towards bettering Native American communities and reflects on his career cultivation

January 11, 2023 - Brandon Drain

Deep within the heart of every social worker is the undying passion, drive and determination to help and advocate for others – regardless of the size and magnitude of the task. For Austin Lowes, his time at MSU strengthened this passion and helped focus and direct it on a broader level than micro-level social work.

Reconnecting the disconnected: MSU researchers work to combat social isolation and loneliness in older adults while bridging the gap in the digital divide

Reconnecting the disconnected: MSU researchers work to combat social isolation and loneliness in older adults while bridging the gap in the digital divide

December 21, 2022 - Brandon Drain

Throughout the United States, there are older adults living alone, at risk of social isolation and emotional loneliness. One such group are recipients of home-delivered-meals, often delivered by Meals-on-Wheels programs operated by local community agencies.

MSU School of Social Work research team seeks to create equitable dementia care support to ethnic minorities in rural communities

MSU School of Social Work research team seeks to create equitable dementia care support to ethnic minorities in rural communities

December 15, 2022 - Brandon Drain

In-home dementia care provides those in need with the comfort, safety and assurance needed to properly age-in-place -- while being surrounded by their loved ones. Yet, this ideal reality for dementia patients runs into barriers.

Better Serving Combat Veterans

Better Serving Combat Veterans

November 9, 2022

MSU’s Combat Veterans Certificate Program is the first of its kind and immerses students in military life and culture to better understand veterans they will work to help

MSU Social Work Associate Professors Smith-Darden & McCauley Receive $100,000 from the CDC for a Documentary Film on Community-Level Violence Prevention

MSU Social Work Associate Professors Smith-Darden & McCauley Receive $100,000 from the CDC for a Documentary Film on Community-Level Violence Prevention

August 31, 2022

MSU Social Work Associate Professors Smith-Darden & McCauley Receive $100,000 from the CDC for a Documentary Film on Community-Level Violence Prevention.

PhD Student Jennifer Hirsch wins Poster Award at 2022 SWHPN General Assembly

PhD Student Jennifer Hirsch wins Poster Award at 2022 SWHPN General Assembly

July 27, 2022

PhD Student Jennifer Hirsch wins Poster Award at 2022 Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network General Assembly.

Consortium on Sexual and Gender Minority Health grants its first Graduate Student Research Award

Consortium on Sexual and Gender Minority Health grants its first Graduate Student Research Award

June 21, 2022 - Karessa Weir

MSU Social Work PhD student Lucas Prieto (he/him) has won the inaugural Graduate Student Research Award presented by the Consortium on Sexual and Gender Minority (SGM) Health.

Anna Maria Santiago named to Habitat for Humanity International Affordable Housing and Homeownership Research Advisory Council

Anna Maria Santiago named to Habitat for Humanity International Affordable Housing and Homeownership Research Advisory Council

June 6, 2022

Anna Maria Santiago named to Habitat for Humanity International Affordable Housing and Homeownership Research Advisory Council.

Social Work Major Emily Cohen Graduates with Perfect 4.0 GPA

Social Work Major Emily Cohen Graduates with Perfect 4.0 GPA

May 4, 2022

BASW and Honors College student Emily Cohen graduates with perfect 4.0 GPA over her entire MSU academic career.

Research Spotlight Podcast with Hyunkag Cho

Research Spotlight Podcast with Hyunkag Cho

April 18, 2022

In this installment of our Research Spotlight podcasts, Dr. Angie Kennedy talks to Dr. Hyunkag Cho about his recent study, Concurrent Intimate Partner Violence: Survivor Health and Help-Seeking.

NASW-MI Students of the Year

NASW-MI Students of the Year

April 8, 2022

BASW student, Emily Cohen, and MSW student, Sterling Bentley, were named the National Association of Social Workers, Michigan chapter, students of the year from Michigan State University.

Pilar Horner named President of Influencing Social Policy

Pilar Horner named President of Influencing Social Policy

March 1, 2022

Pilar Horner was recently named President of the non-profit organization Influencing Social Policy.

Michele Brock and Laura Hall discuss YELL in new Research Spotlight

Michele Brock and Laura Hall discuss YELL in new Research Spotlight

February 28, 2022

Michele Brock and Laura Hall discuss Youth Engaged in Leading and Learning (YELL) in new Research Spotlight podcast with Angie Kennedy.

Steven Lindquist inducted into South Dakota Hall of Fame

Steven Lindquist inducted into South Dakota Hall of Fame

February 24, 2022

MSW alumni Steven Lindquist was inducted into South Dakota Hall of Fame acknowledging his career in behavioral health.

Honoring Robert Little, A Spartan, Social Work Leader and Pioneer

Honoring Robert Little, A Spartan, Social Work Leader and Pioneer

February 21, 2022

Robert Little was an inspirational social work professor whose stories about leadership and life challenged social work students to address and challenge racism. The brother of Malcolm X, Robert Little, reflected his family’s commitment to social justice and advancing the well-being of the African American community and family.

Monica Villareal Receives the MSU GenCen Community Engagement Inspiration Award

Monica Villareal Receives the MSU GenCen Community Engagement Inspiration Award

February 17, 2022

Monica Villareal received her Master of Social Work degree with a specialization in Organizational and Community Leadership from Michigan State University and has since joined the faculty in the School of Social Work. Recently, Ms. Villareal received the MSU GenCen Community Engagement Inspiration Award for her tireless efforts serving her community of Flint, Michigan.

A spark worth igniting: How two MSU social scientists united in the fight against violence

A spark worth igniting: How two MSU social scientists united in the fight against violence

January 7, 2022 - Liz Schondelmayer

Each of us has something we are passionate about, as well as the capacity to create meaningful change as individuals - but when we connect with like-minded people who share our convictions and drive to make a difference, that's when the magic is amplified.

Continuing Education Director Gina Tremonti Gembel Receives CIEG Grant

Continuing Education Director Gina Tremonti Gembel Receives CIEG Grant

December 14, 2021

Continuing Education Director Gina Tremonti Gembel received a Creating Inclusive Excellence Grants (CIEG) at Michigan State University grant from the Office of Inclusion and Intercultural Initiatives.

Students Present Projects in Digital Scholarship Lab 360 Room

Students Present Projects in Digital Scholarship Lab 360 Room

December 8, 2021

In the Digital Scholarship Lab 360 Room, social work seniors presented websites they created in SW 420: Social Work and Social Policy II on topics from the insufficiency of heroin treatment programs to immigration issues at the border.

Combat Veterans Certificate 5 Year Anniversary

Combat Veterans Certificate 5 Year Anniversary

December 2, 2021

The award-winning first class in the Combat Veterans Certificate, Embracing the Stories of War, has reached an important five-year milestone. 

Chiquita Whittington named FAME Director

Chiquita Whittington named FAME Director

November 10, 2021

Chiquita Whittington named FAME Director

Research Spotlight Podcast Introduced

Research Spotlight Podcast Introduced

November 4, 2021

In October, the School of Social Work introduced the Research Spotlight podcast. Dr. Angie Kennedy, Associate Director for Research, interviewed Dr. Ashlee Barnes-Lee, a community psychologist and Dean’s Research Associate, about her research project, Combating the School-to-Prison Pipeline with Restorative Practices: A Mixed Methods Approach.

Anna Maria Santiago Receives the Association for Community Organization and Social Action 2021 Career Achievement Award

Anna Maria Santiago Receives the Association for Community Organization and Social Action 2021 Career Achievement Award

November 3, 2021

Dr. Anna Maria Santiago, Professor in the School of Social Work and Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies, College of Social Science, has been chosen as the recipient of the Association for Community Organization and Social Action (ACOSA) 2021 Career Achievement Award.

MSU Social Work receives full approval for School Social Worker instruction

MSU Social Work receives full approval for School Social Worker instruction

October 28, 2021

The Michigan State University School of Social Work has received full approval from the Michigan Department of Education to provide School Social Worker preparatory instruction. The requirements can be met through our Continuing Education program for social workers that already have a Master of Social Work degree or through our MSW program for our current students.

Michigan State University School of Social Work and partner agencies receive $2.5 million federal grant

Michigan State University School of Social Work and partner agencies receive $2.5 million federal grant

October 27, 2021

Michigan State University School of Social Work and partner agencies receive $2.5 million federal grant to implement new program to help kinship caregivers and foster parents provide best practices for children in foster care.

Elder Fraud Abuse Prevention Research Conducted in Manistee County

Elder Fraud Abuse Prevention Research Conducted in Manistee County

October 4, 2021

Dr. Fei Sun, a Professor in the School of Social Work at Michigan State University with the assistance of Social Work Doctoral Candidate Lucas Prieto and the rest of their team are providing the education, support, and skills needed to address risk factors for financial abuse of persons with dementia or mild cognitive decline living in the community.

MSU Social Work faculty McCauley and Smith-Darden receive a $1.6 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focused on the primary prevention of child sexual abuse

MSU Social Work faculty McCauley and Smith-Darden receive a $1.6 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention focused on the primary prevention of child sexual abuse

September 24, 2021

Dr. Heather McCauley and Dr. Joanne Smith-Darden of the Michigan State University School of Social Work are Principal Investigators of a newly awarded $1.6 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Over four years, McCauley and Smith-Darden aim to strengthen the evidence base regarding the primary prevention of child sexual abuse through a community-engaged research partnership with Traverse Bay Children's Advocacy Center (TBCAC).

Jamie Kynn and Hannah Boyke receive research grant from the Center for Institutional Courage

Jamie Kynn and Hannah Boyke receive research grant from the Center for Institutional Courage

September 14, 2021

Jamie Kynn and Hannah Boyke, PhD students in the School of Social Work, have been awarded a research grant from the Center for Institutional Courage.

Text-based communications effective in supporting sexual assault survivors

Text-based communications effective in supporting sexual assault survivors

August 26, 2021 - Caroline Brooks

Only 16% of college student sexual assault survivors seek support through existing college channels. To expand access to services while providing guidance on how campuses nationwide can provide them, a team from Michigan State University launched and measured the use of a novel text-based communication service.

Dr. Carla A. Pfeffer is the new Director of the MSU Consortium for Sexual and Gender Minority Health

Dr. Carla A. Pfeffer is the new Director of the MSU Consortium for Sexual and Gender Minority Health

August 24, 2021

Dr. Carla A. Pfeffer is the new Director of the MSU Consortium for Sexual and Gender Minority Health.

Angie Kennedy Receives NIMHD Grant

Angie Kennedy Receives NIMHD Grant

August 18, 2021

Dr. Angie Kennedy and colleagues were recently awarded a research grant from the National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities.

Diversity Champion: Michele Brock

Diversity Champion: Michele Brock

August 10, 2021

Michele Brock is the Community Programs Director for the MSU School of Social Work. Describing her work as social justice in action, Michele oversees five of the school's social service programs: Chance at Childhood , Continuing Education , FAME , the Kinship Care Resource Center and Veterinary Social Work Services .

Social work training meets virtual reality

Social work training meets virtual reality

April 13, 2021 - Gary Anderson, PhD

To improve training, MSU School of Social Work engaged in a virtual reality training pilot project. Using a 23-minute virtual home visit, with real people and voice-activated conversations, trainees interviewed a mother, her boyfriend, and her 7-year-old daughter to assess risk of abuse and neglect.

Dr. Joanne Riebschleger honored for her outstanding research

Dr. Joanne Riebschleger honored for her outstanding research

April 7, 2021

The Associated Students of Michigan State University (ASMSU) honored Dr. Joanne Riebschleger with the 2021 Outstanding Research Award.

Professional Social Worker Panel

Professional Social Worker Panel

March 21, 2021

To celebrate National Social Work Month, the MSU School of Social Work invites you to learn from and connect with four essential social workers across various professional areas.

Student Spotlight with Alexandra Etzin

Student Spotlight with Alexandra Etzin

March 5, 2021

What led you to the MSW program at Michigan State? I received my BA in Social Relations and Policy with an additional major in Psychology from MSU in 2019. When looking into graduate school I realized that Social Work is the perfect blend of my two undergrad majors. Getting an MSW would allow me to be a therapist (which is what I ultimately wanted) while also furthering my knowledge on social issues and policy work. I looked into MSU’s program, learned about the EBTT certificate program, and it seemed like a perfect match!

Shavonna Green awarded Commendation for Excellence in Community Engagement Scholarship

Shavonna Green awarded Commendation for Excellence in Community Engagement Scholarship

February 17, 2021

Shavonna Green, a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program, recently received the MSU Commendation for Excellence in Community Engagement Scholarship for her work on “Criminal Justice Reform: Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration.”

Cheryl Williams-Hecksel awarded Distinguished Academic Staff Award for 2021

Cheryl Williams-Hecksel awarded Distinguished Academic Staff Award for 2021

February 3, 2021

The MSU School of Social Work is thrilled to announce that Cheryl Williams-Hecksel, Senior Clinical Instructor in the School since 2003, has been awarded the Michigan State University Distinguished Academic Staff Award for 2021.

Kathryn Irish Awarded Hazel and Karen Kiser Endowed Scholarship

Kathryn Irish Awarded Hazel and Karen Kiser Endowed Scholarship

January 18, 2021

Kathryn Irish Awarded Hazel and Karen Kiser Endowed Scholarship Fund for Returning Adult Students