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Faculty and Staff
Diane Beckerle O'Brien
Lois Pierce (Director)
Student Social Work Association
BSW student Madeline Stroder on a mission trip in Jinja, Uganda. The trip was through a non-profit organization "Hearts and Hope", which Mrs. Stroder (Madeline's mother) helped start.
Madeline proudly wore her Student Social Work Association t-shirt to the village one day (see photo), and it served as a great conversation starter, as it prompted many questions about being a social worker in America.
June 2015 was Madeline's fourth trip to Uganda. Her description of the experience - "This is my 4th trip and I am totally in love with this place and these people!"
Congratulations to our BSW and MSW May 2015 Graduates!
Shawntelle Fisher, who graduated this May (2015) with a minor in social work, is a recipient of the Olin Scholarship at Washington University. She will be pursuing a joint MSW/Divinity degree there in the fall.
Below is a link to Shawntelle's recent interview on St. Louis on the Air, which features her fascinating journey to becoming the founder of Soulfisher Ministries and a UMSL honors graduate.
Erin recently accepted a position with the Federal Public Defender in Phoenix, AZ. Erin will be working as a full time investigator advocating for clients who received the a death sentence in the Capital Habeas Unit. Erin feels - "it will be a great way to use my MSW and make a difference where it can really count!" Congratulations again to Erin!!
MSW student Erin Land was awarded for her presentation on Older Immigrant Populations - Emerging Health Care Issues, Challenges, and Utilization at the Graduate School Research Fair April 2015. She was the only master's student to be awarded under the Social Sciences, Humanities, and Education category.
Erin will graduate this August with MSW Family Practice concentration and a NPML certificate. Congratulations Erin!
Incoming MSW students (Fall 2015), Jaunequa Henderson, Japhnee Hibart, and Laura Kirkley have been selected to receive a Graduate School "I Chose UMSL" Master's Degree Scholarship. This is a merit-based award that represents special recognition for outstanding UMSL undergraduate students.
Congratulations to Jaunequa, Japhnee, and Laura! Best of success in our MSW program!
UMSL School of Social Work Day of Giving
After the burning and looting that occurred after the release of the grand jury’s decision last Monday, students at the School of Social Work wanted to get together to talk and to do something for the community. The result was a “Day of Giving” in Ferguson on Friday, November 28. More than 20 students, friends and family gathered to work on several projects organized by Dr. Kristen Wagner, who was assisted by the Student Social Work Association. Our Day of Giving was a small way for us to help Ferguson begin its recovery and to begin processing what had happened in the past week.
One planned opportunity was to help the Ferguson Library staff get its shelves back in order. This seemed strange at first, but because the Library has been a safe place for children and families, particularly when schools have closed recently, its staff has not had time to reshelf books, DVDs, and CDs. On Friday the library was packed, and our work allowed the staff to respond to numerous queries and to continue their programming for Ferguson residents. The Library has been active in community building and is planning other resources for children and families. We hope this will become a longer-term relationship as new programs are developed for the community.
Students also helped paint boarded up businesses providing hope for community building efforts. At one of the paint sites, we were approached by a business owner who, with tears in his eyes, thanked us for our efforts and expressed his hope for Ferguson’s future. At that same site, three young boys hung out for a bit to see what we were doing. They talked about what it was like to be living in the community during the protests, seeing the tanks roll in, and being afraid the fires would reach their home. The boys walked down the road for a short time and came back, enthusiastically reporting that the tanks were gone and stores were beginning to open. They joined our painting efforts, stood back to look at their work and quietly state, “That’s better… that’s much better.”
Thanks to everyone who joined us. Small acts of kindness can go a long way.
School of Social Work Students, and Dr. Kristen Wagner, Who Gave Their Service to Ferguson!
BSW Alumni - Awarded a Grant
Alexandra Barth, a BSW student who graduated in May 2014, received a grant of $2,500 to put towards a fitness circuit on the playground of an elementary school in Kentucky. She developed this grant proposal in her spring SW4350 class to help the school district where she did her undergraduate practicum get this grant. The funding is from CSX Transportation, Kellogg Company, the Kellogg’s Corporate Citizenship Fund, and Action for Healthy Kids.
Alexa began the MSSW program at the University of Louisville fall 2014.
- "I must say I would not have had the success I have experienced if it were not for my fantastic professors, the field education staff and my invaluable BSW advisor at the UMSL School of Social Work. Each one of you have given me a solid base from which to leap into the professional world and continue on with my Master's program at University of Louisville. Each and everyday I use what I have learned at UMSL in either my studies, my personal or professional life. Thank you again for all your support." Warmest regards, Alexa Brath
- As a non-traditional student, my experience in the Master of Social Work Program at UMSL was everything I hoped. My interactions with the professors, staff, and fellow classmates were incredibly enlightening. The atmosphere was supportive in many ways. I am proud to say I am confident that the educational foundation that I have acquired will last throughout my social work career. In addition, I feel an overwhelming sense of joy knowing that I have become part of a lifelong network of professional people. If anyone asked whether I would recommend the program to prospective students, I would answer, "Yes without a doubt." Anonymous
- I am a former BSW student and just wanted to say hello. I am currently working as a behavioral health supervisor and also in private practice. While at UMSL, I worked to organize our Student Social Work Association with your (Dr. Lois Pierce) help. I am glad to I always remember our positive interactions and what a great experience I had in the BSW program. Sincerely, Shannon Oesch