Author Archives: admin

Congratulations to Dr. Camille R. Quinn who is celebrating an impressive amount of research much of which impacts African American youth. Her work has also been picked up by a variety of news outlets and websites from around the country. See below for highlights and links.

Recent research from Quinn’s reveals that:
• Caregivers’ trauma may filter down to younger generations and specifically trigger PTSD among Black girls in the juvenile justice system. Read more.
• Black teens and young adults living in public housing are a “hidden population” when it comes to suicide prevention efforts. Read more.

Additionally, just a remarkable, Dr. Quinn:
• Was reappointed to the Governor’s Council on Juvenile Justice. Her term began on January 29, 2021, and will end on October 31, 2023.
• Provided written testimony in support of SB256, which passed.
• Moderated and shared remarks during a live, national virtual session on Girls in the Juvenile Justice System called “Conversations on the Road to Unlocked” in May prior to the “Unlocked” national conference in October 2021 in Philadelphia, PA.
• Worked with CSW PhD candidates Oliver Beer and Rebecca Phillips to publish an article examining stress, coping strategies and health outcomes among social workers in Ohio. Read more.
• Hosted “Do More, Do It Now,” a presentation focused on Black girls and young women in the juvenile justice system and part of the Kirwan Institute’s bi-weekly forum series.
Link: https://bit.ly/2MZ1ld7
• Served on a special panel of experts discussing the HBO documentary, “True Justice,” which highlights the work of Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative.

For more information on Quinn, click here.

Congratulations to PhD candidate Erica Pence who has been selected for the 2021 cohort of the Doctoral Student Policy Forum through the Council on Social Work Education, Society for Social Work and Research, and Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work.

Pence was among a competitive pool of applicants and  chosen by the selection committee because of her exceptional skills, experience, and enthusiasm for developing policy skills.

To learn more about Pence, click here.

The College of Social Work is pleased to announce its new Age-Friendly Innovation Center (AFIC).

The mission of AFIC is to innovate with older adults through research, education and engagement to ensure inclusion and build resiliency to make communities more age-friendly. This will be achieved through collaborating with Ohio State interdisciplinary faculty, students and community partners.

Building off five years of progress, the AFIC will continue to prioritize the contributions of older residents to improve social, built and health environments that support livability for people of all ages and abilities. The new center will be located at Rev1 Labs, 1275 Kinnear Road and will be celebrated in an upcoming event.

For more information about the work of age-friendly, click here or contact Director Katie White at white.3073@osu.edu

The Ohio State University College of Social Work is in solidarity with transgender and gender diverse children, adolescents, and adults. As social workers and scholars, we promote social justice for vulnerable populations through high-quality research and evidence-based practice. Read the full statement from the college.

Congratulations to PhD student Cherrie Park who has been selected as The Ohio State University’s only student representative on the Association on Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGESW) Board.

AGESW is the only national gerontological social work organization in the United States. Park was chosen amidst a wide number of talented PhD students, including those from the University of Michigan and University of Southern California. 

AGESW is best known for overseeing the Journal of Gerontological Social Work, Hartford Pre-Dissertation Scholars Awards, and its annual awards given during the Gerontological Society of America conference.

Park’s participation on the board will not only be significant for her professional development but will also be a great opportunity for the College of Social Work.

For more information about Park, click here.

Congratulations to alumnus Joe Ingram (MSW ’20) and MSW student Demondre Peak (left) who were both featured in the latest spring Ohio State Alumni Magazine on page 36.

In the article, Ingram discusses the important impact the university’s Young Scholars Program played in his school and personal life. The program influenced him to establish Men of Our H.O.O.D., a development series for underrepresented high school boys that seeks to normalize literacy and emphasizes education as an important pillar of development and growth at the early transition phase of boyhood to manhood. Last year, Ingram was named a “graduate student to watch” by Ohio State’s Office of Student Life before he graduated.

Peak, in addition to acknowledging the Young Scholars Program’s positive influence, also discusses his leadership in Men of Our H.O.O.D., and the opportunity to give often overlooked Black males the tools they need to be successful before and during college. Imparting wisdom and life skills to young men who might otherwise not have these resources available is a primary focus of the series.

Peak and Ingram met through the Young Scholars Program and are both first generation college students.

To check out the complete story, read the PDF or online version.

 

Congratulations to Dr. Alan Davis whose recently published research shows the impact psychedelic drugs may have in several areas.

Who may benefit most from psychedelics used in therapy?

In March, Davis published research showing that patients who are open to new experiences and willing to surrender to the unknown may benefit most from psychedelics used as therapy for mental health disorders. The study can be viewed online in the journal ACS Pharmacology & Translational Science.

To read the complete press release, click here.

Davis’ research was picked up by multiple news sources including News Medical, Science Daily, Medical Xpress, Mirage News and Newswise.

One psychedelic experience may lessen trauma of racial injustice

Late last year, Davis’ also published new research showing that just one positive experience on a psychedelic drug may help reduce the lasting trauma of racial injustice in Black, Indigenous and people of color. The study can be viewed online in the journal Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy.

To read the press release, click here.

Davis’ research was picked up in several news sources including The New York Post, Whole Foods, ANI: South Asia’s leading multimedia news agency reaching Canada and India, Yahoo!, British news outlet DailyMail.com and The College Fix.

To learn more about Davis, click here.

Among some of our country’s most vulnerable, and marginalized, populations are New Americans. Specific to central Ohio, our immigrant and refugee residents are essential to the diversity and vitality of the city and remain critical to the social and economic development we all desire for our community.  That said, there are severe gaps in the resources available to serve these individuals.

To address this need, as well as the needs of Ohio State’s student population of New Americans, the College of Social Work developed the New American Scholarship in 2020. This scholarship is awarded to a College of Social Work undergraduate or graduate student who is willing to make a commitment to work with New American communities in Central Ohio.

The College of Social Work was proud to award the scholarship to two students in 2020: Jhuma Acharya and Fatoumata Bah. Both demonstrate a lifelong commitment to social work and a strong desire to cultivate supportive environments for refugees and immigrants in central Ohio and beyond.

Jhuma Acharya

Jhuma Acharya came to the United States in 2010 after spending 20 years living in a refugee camp in Nepal. At the young age of 14, after realizing he could use his time to make an impact, he began teaching younger children in the camp.  After obtaining his Bachelor’s in Zoology and a Master of Science from University in Nepal, he moved to the United States in 2011, settling in Columbus in 2012, where he began working for a refugee program at Community Refugee and Immigration Services (CRIS).

“I can correlate my pain on my refugee journey with other refugees I work with”

In 2019, Jhuma was accepted into the Master of Social Work Program at Ohio State. While completing his program, he has continued his work in the community, frequently acting as a translator between residents and community programs in his spare time. As a Board Member for the Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio, Jhuma has spent his time finding solutions to barriers in education, healthcare, transportation and more. For Jhuma, 2020 also meant supporting individuals through the COVID-19 pandemic and working tirelessly on voter education and registration.

In addition to school and his work in the community, Jhuma has a family of his own to provide for. After contemplating the financial stress of managing it all, Jhuma had decided to take a break from school. Then came the news that he had been awarded the New American Scholarship from the College of Social Work.

“Living with an hourly work salary and going to school is hard to manage financially. This helps me to literally put dinner on the table. I can take care of my son and family needs.” Jhuma noted, reflecting on his gratitude for the scholarship. “If this scholarship was not offered, I was planning to take a break. It made my dream come true I can graduate in time. I graduate in May. I’m so thankful for the donors and college for making this scholarship available to me.”

After graduation in May, Jhuma plans to pursue a PhD in Social Work, with the ultimate goal of researching how to create environments for refugees that will allow for healthier lives overall.

“I also want to be able to provide a donation back to the college. It is a miracle for me and to be a recipient of this award is the best thing.”


Fatoumata Bah

Fatoumata Bah immigrated to the United States from Guinea when she was just five years old. At 19, she’s now enrolled in the 4+1 program at the College of Social Work where she plans to earn both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees. As a fairly new student, Fatoumata has remained exceptionally engaged and is a member of the Anti-Human Trafficking Club, a Global Ambassador, an honors student, and an International Affairs Scholars.

Fatoumata reflected on her CSW experience, “I like how the college is very inclusive, but they take it a step further than the other departments because of the profession. They are always head of the game when it comes to human rights and inclusivity.”

While passionate about helping others navigate trauma, Fatoumata is also hoping to use her degree to help educate New Americans, and even those in her home country, about mental wellness.

“We don’t have any words to describe mental illness in my native language. The only word that even comes close is ‘crazy’. So, when I tried to explain my anxiety to my parents they didn’t understand. I want to bring awareness to this problem so that others within my community can recognize and get help for their mental health concerns without feeling shame.”

Being awarded the scholarship has been instrumental to Fatoumata’s academic and professional goals, allowing her the time to focus on internships that are more aligned with social work interests.

“I am really thankful that I got [the scholarship] and I definitely want to give more of my time towards immigrant populations. I went through the whole college application process by myself and my stress got to the point where I had a nervous breakdown.”

After obtaining her MSW, Fatoumata wants to attend medical school to become an OBGYN. From there, her ultimate goal is to return to her community Guinea and open up a clinic for women that prioritizes physical and mental wellness.

Since its charter nearly 50 years ago, The Social Work Alumni Society has remained committed to uplifting the goals and missions of The Ohio State University and College of Social Work, while also providing opportunities for alumni fellowship and support.

Current president, DaVonti’ Haynes (MSW, 2018), who began serving on the Executive Committee during his first year in the MSW program, is not only deeply passionate about The College of Social Work but also fiercely committed to growing the scope and legacy of the Alumni Society.

“Our greatest achievement has always been the scholarship that we give out to current social work students every year,” Haynes reflected, “but I also know how critical it is for students to be able to network and really see the wide range of professional spaces social work alumni end up working in.”

For social work students, membership in the Alumni Society is automatic upon graduation. That said, Haynes encourages alumni to sign-up for the Elite Stillman Membership, which is available to anybody who makes a $25 donation to the CSW Fund. Elite members not only receive special invitations to alumni and networking events, but they are also granted two free Continuation Education Training Sessions (CEU’s).

“If you are a licensed social worker you have to have a certain amount of CEU credits, and so to get two free is a great opportunity. This is something you would typically have to pay for.” Haynes said, reflecting on the benefits of membership.

Beyond networking, for Haynes being an engaged alumnus also means giving back to the Ohio State scholarships and programs that were instrumental to his success as a student.

“As a current student and also a donor, the programs I give back to are ones that I personally benefited from. I know how much I got out of it and how much it helped me on my journey. Being able to give back to students is something I’m personally interested in, but it’s also kind of our world as social workers.” Haynes noted.

“I also don’t know if a lot of donors know the vast amount of funds that exist at Ohio State and within the College.”

As a full-time employee and third year Ph.D. candidate, Haynes is more than familiar with the stressors that come with working in the social work field. Nevertheless, he feels strongly that engagement with organizations like The Alumni Society are worth the investment of time and effort.

“We’re actively recruiting. The Board is open to all alumni regardless of whether you are a recent graduate or not. It’s not only a great way to connect back to the College, but it’s also an educational experience to be able to work closely with and learn from so many CSW alumni from over the years.”

Despite the pandemic, the Executive Committee remains optimistic about where the Alumni Society will go in 2021. In addition to increasing and diversifying board membership, Haynes is also hopeful that Ohio State’s 2021 Homecoming Celebration can become an exciting opportunity to recruit new members.

Thinking of his peers in the field and the challenges that lie ahead, Haynes offered one piece of advice that (unintentionally) demonstrates another unspoken benefit of Alumni Society membership: a supportive-home base for social workers committed to tackling the most overwhelming and complex problems our society has to offer.

“Be interruptible: be flexible and willing to have your normal plan be interrupted – learn to be okay with going with the flow.”

To learn more about The Social Work Alumni Society or to become an Elite Stillman Member, visit https://csw.osu.edu/alumni-giving/alumni-society/.

Nearly 40 years ago in Newark, New Jersey, four young black men made a pact that despite any life obstacles and challenges, they would all become doctors. This agreement became the basis for The Pact, a book chronicling their journey from high school to medical school graduation.

Just over three years ago in Columbus, six recent graduates and Ohio State Young Scholars, made a similar promise: that they would become successful no matter what life threw their way. One of those men was Joe Ingram (MSW, 2020) – two-time graduate of Ohio State and Co-Founder/Co-Executive Director of Men of Our H.O.O.D.

Shortly after graduating with his MSW, Ingram and his Co-Founder/Co-Executive Director Demondre Peak (current MSW student) sat down to have an informal discussion about their life experiences and the gaps in support that exist for young black boys. Out of this conversation – Men of Our H.O.O.D. (Helping Ourselves Obtain Dignity) was born.

Rooted in group dialogue, book discussions and experiential learning, Men of Our H.O.O.D. was officially launched in July of 2020. The program is aimed at engaging high-school freshmen, with plans for them to grow with the curriculum until graduation. Weekly facilitated conversations, centered on a specific book, take place for 10 weeks. During this time program leaders will prioritize the following: critical thinking and analysis, normalizing literacy, identity development, cultural awareness and empathy, leadership development and educational access.

Ingram and Peak also plan to implement monthly experiential learning and travel, to higher education institutions and trade schools, giving youth the opportunity to explore a variety of professional tracks post-graduation. The pilot cohort, and freshmen students, will begin with a group discussion of The Pact, a story that aims to be both relatable and inspiring to many of the program participants.

While still fairly new, both Ingram and Peak have a clear long-term vision for the organization. Reflecting on the goals, Peak said, “I want to see us developing a pipeline of taking young men who are in a school system that doesn’t support their success, to achieving post-secondary success or education.”

Ingram’s vision for his students is similar: “My biggest thing is cultivating graduates who know where they are going in their next steps. I also want to see at least 90% of our participants graduate from high school.”

While meaningful, this work is not without its challenges. Many young black men, especially those in poverty, are faced with a myriad of challenges on the daily basis. From food insecurity to neighborhood violence and trauma, the student’s environments play a tremendous role in their ability to think critically about their future, especially in the long-term. Nevertheless, Ingram and Peak are prepared for the challenges of this work:

“I had to recall my own story and remember the times when I had to learn the hard way because I wasn’t in a place to be able to accept the lesson. In those moments I just have to step back and self-reflect. Not to give up on them because people didn’t give up on me. That one moment where somebody does realize that something I did or said finally clicked, outweighs all of the challenging moments.” – Ingram noted, reflecting on his own challenges as an adolescent.

Despite the obstacles, both are proud to share that the program has already seen success.

“One week we were talking about trauma and how when you are surrounded by trauma you normalize it. It was an incredible moment to see them really internalize it and realize that hearing gunshots and neighborhood violence is not what they should be experiencing.” Peak shared, “They are being taught that the trauma is not normal.”

Although challenging, both Ingram and Peak remain fiercely committed to the growth of Men Of Our H.O.O.D. and young men they work with, likening their mission to a domino effect that is sure to effect all of us in the future.

“Our slogan is ‘Changing Lives One Book at A Time’,” stated Ingram.” This is for our next generation of leaders. It’s our responsibility. I wanted somebody to be that for me and my generation. If they see me wanting to make a change, they will want to make a similar change. It’s a domino effect after that.”

Within the next year or two, Ingram and Peak hope to grow the program into multiple schools – and even hire facilitators that can deeply engage with the students on a regular basis. For now, they are always welcoming donations, whether its books, supplies or monetary support. Peak and Ingram also hope to continue raising awareness about the organization and need in Columbus.

Those seeking to learn more about Men of Our H.O.O.D. can https://menofourhood.wixsite.com/lifechangers.

After over two decades of retirement, Dr. Beverly G. Toomey (MSW, 1974 and PhD, 1977), College of Social Work Professor Emeritus, remains deeply passionate about social change and education, especially for students aiming to open doors for the most vulnerable groups in our world.

“Understanding who people are and where they come from is so important”

After obtaining her bachelor’s degree in Psychology and starting a family, Dr. Toomey began working at Ohio State in the Business School, which housed the social work curriculum at the time. With initial plans to take graduate courses in psychology, her engagement with the college inspired her to pursue social work courses. In 1977, she obtained her Ph.D. in social work and began teaching at the university, with an interest and passion for social mobility.

Post-retirement, Dr. Toomey maintains her commitment to advancing the human condition, prioritizing vulnerable and marginalized groups in her volunteer and philanthropic endeavors. Most recently, Dr. Toomey was among the first donors for the College of Social Work’s New American Scholarship, awarded to a College of Social Work student who is willing to make a commitment to work with New American communities in Central Ohio.

Drawing on personal experience, Dr. Toomey reflected on her passion for supporting New Americans: “All four of my grandparents were immigrants from Europe. I grew up with a grandfather who couldn’t read and write and a grandmother who learned English from the newspaper. Two other grandparents had a little bit of education. I saw what happened when you are from another country and you don’t know the language.”

More than anything, when it comes to true social change, Dr. Toomey places a strong emphasis on understanding who people are and where they come from.

“It’s hard to make your way if you’re not well-situated economically, but it makes it harder when there are cultural differences. I think it’s very important to continue helping people make it – especially the ones that are new to our country. Let them know they are welcome. They aren’t outsiders who need to be ‘let in’. “

Dr. Toomey currently resides outside of Washington D.C., where she enjoys spending quality time with her daughter and family in the area.

Congratulations to MSWII student Kaitlynn Harrell and BSSW student Tyler Michaels. Both work as interns at NASW Ohio and were recently featured in its alumni magazine.

 

Did you know that March doubles as Social Work Month and Women’s History Month? Celebrate with us as we note just a few of the many contributions of both social workers and women.

Example slide from slideshow

View the slideshow!

Congratulations to the following students who were featured in NASW-Ohio’s winter 2021 magazine (pictured top left to right):

  • MSWII student Tipoko Martine Kabore. She is a member of the NASW Ohio chapter Student Advisory Council.
  • BSSW student Nuurah Parsons. Nuurah serves as Undergraduate Student Government Vice Chair of Justice & Equity and is a Morrill Scholar with Distinction.
  • BSSW student Caroline MacNeill who is a political science and social work double major and served a fellowship with Ohio League of Women Voters.
  • MSWII student Jack Brandl who works with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion’s Morrill Scholarship Program and the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio.

Did you know that...

This year, the College of Social Work is celebrating the many products invented or redesigned by Black people. From the dust pan, hair brush and ice cream scooper, to the mailbox, traffic light, and curtain rod, the significant inventions of Black people have impacted the world. Take a look to see what you know and can learn.

View the slideshow

View the slideshow!

As the new year approaches, so does anxiety around what it may hold, especially as we continue to deal with the uncertainty of COVID19, and now the rollout of vaccines.

Will the new year be as disruptive as 2020? When can we stop wearing masks and social distancing? Will jobs return and small businesses rebound? Now add the usual heavy weight of expectations for a new start and unrealistic resolutions, and you’re dealing with even more stress. Whatever the new year ushers in, stress will certainly be on the list.
College of Social Work senior community lecturer Kelley Breidigan, MSW, LISW-S (MSW ’09), spoke with The Columbus Dispatch and ABC6-TV about ways to cope with both New Year’s and holiday stress. Breidigan has nine years of undergraduate and graduate classroom experience and is a seasoned mental health professional.

Read the story.

Listen here.

Kenshawn Simmons

Congratulations to MSW student Kenshawn Simmons (BSSW ’20) who is highlighted in the winter issue of the Ohio State Alumni Magazine where he discusses his adjustment to online classes, self-care and the importance of not giving up or giving in to negativity.

Click here for link.

Click here for PDF.

 

 

Congratulations to PhD student Yitong Xin who is the recipient of NASW-Ohio’s Virtual 2020 Annual Conference Research Presentation award for her talk on “The acceptability of non-abstinent treatment interventions among clinical social workers in the United States.”

Xin’s talk is based on a 2019 proposal awarded by the Drug Enforcement and Policy Center’s Drug Policy Research Grant Program at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Dr. Alan Davis served as the proposal’s principal investigator and Xin as co-investigator. They were awarded the maximum $10,000 award.

Click here for the proposal summary found under the 2019 listings.

For more information about Xin, click here.

For more information about Davis, click here.

 

 

Xin, Yitong

Davis, Alan, Ph.D.

You won’t want to miss the college’s new Social Change podcast spinoff, Bry & Bold, dedicated to amplifying community voices, issues and conversations that need to be heard. Host Bryanna Stigger (left) discusses with Dr. Camille R. Quinn the importance of allyship, what being an ally really means, concepts of equity, and much more during this podcast premiere. Stigger serves as the college’s MSW outreach program coordinator.

Listen HERE and watch for more podcasts coming your way soon!

For previous Social Change podcasts, click here.

Hear why Alumna Jessica Camacho (BSSW ’19), BSSW student Demondre Peak, Dr. Keith Warren and Lisa Durham, Assistant Dean of Strategic Initiatives and Community Engagement, VOTE.

In a special #SCPodcast conversation, Drs. Njeri Kagotho, Sharvari Karandikar (she/her/hers) and Arati Maleku join Advocacy Director Steve David to offer a look at their first voting experience as new citizens, the election’s impact on our collective future, and more.
http://csw.osu.edu/about/social-change-podcast/

Just about everything has changed with COVID-19—even the way you get your CSW alumni magazine, The Stillman!

Click here for a PDF.

Click here to visit the web page.

Issue highlights include:
• A curriculum reformed
• Social work dean chairs university task force
• NASW leads a profession
• Stepping up and out during chaos
• How are parents coping during COVID-19?


CSW PhD student Raven Lynch and alums DaVonti Haynes (‘18) and Danielle Smith (BSSW ’08, MSW/MPA ’10) joined tens of thousands of protesters attending the March on Washington held August 27 and 28. Their advocacy helped lead the way for change and a future that offers real equity.

(Photo: Danielle Smith and sister Breann Smith,upper left; Raven Lynch and friend Beth Roseman,bottom left; DaVonti Haynes, right)

Congratulations to Dr. Holly Dabelko-Schoeny who recently made two splashes in the media. Dabelko-Schoeny was featured on WOSU/NPR’s All Sides with Ann Fisher radio show discussing issues related to aging, ageism and how that is reflected in policymaking. Her team-written, op-ed piece was also published in the Star Tribune, identifying Adult Day Service as essential and in crisis.

Missed the show? Click here.
Interested in reading the column? Click here.
Learn more about Dr. Holly Dabelko-Schoeny here.

MSW students Janel Engberg and Jeffrey Glitt recently represented the college when they spoke to WBNS 10TV about the critical roles social workers are playing during COVID19. Special thanks to Age-Friendly Columbus and Franklin County’s Katie White and Marisa Sheldon and alumna Christine Happel (CRC) for making cameo appearances to discuss their role in assisting the elderly as well.

Chris and Preston McMurryThe Ohio State University College of Social Work is pleased to announce the establishment of the Donna Theresa and Preston V. McMurry Jr. Scholarship Fund, effective February 2020. The scholarship supports social work students who make a commitment to support survivors of domestic violence. The first scholarship was awarded this spring to MSW student Lucy Hennon for the 2020–21 academic year.

“I plan to use my coursework and training to further educate myself on direct support for victims and survivors through inclusive, trauma-informed and survivor-led approaches,” says Hennon. “I feel immensely privileged and fortunate to be selected as a scholarship recipient and want to express my gratitude and excitement to Preston McMurry, Jr. and the College of Social Work.”

McMurry (BSSW ’60) established the Donna Theresa and Preston McMurry, Jr. Scholarship Fund to create an immediate impact on furthering the pool of social workers who commit to working in the field of domestic violence by supporting their education.

Endowing this scholarship is McMurry’s latest investment in responding to domestic violence and is the product of his decades long commitment to survivors of violence.

In 1992, McMurry established Theresa’s Fund, a private family foundation that has raised over $49,000,000 to combat child abuse and family violence in Arizona. In August 2014, Preston and his son, Chris, launched DomesticShelters.org, an innovative and comprehensive online platform focused on persons threatened by family violence and those who are supporting them. As the first searchable online database of resources for persons experiencing domestic violence, DomesticShelters.org has had a profound impact. The website now averages 3,000,000 visits annually and has a wealth of resources and support. The College of Social Work is highly supportive of DomesticShelters.org and will continue to partner with the McMurrys to further engage its faculty and students, and to help advance the impact of the important program.

“My father started his work on domestic violence by creating Theresa’s Fund around 1990, almost three decades ago, when domestic violence wasn’t yet a public conversation,” says Chris. “He’s always sought innovative ideas that mix raising awareness with his soft spot for young people and successful futures.”

Domestic violence is often a silent problem. Victims are fearful of retribution and experience shame and embarrassment due to their situation, all of which makes it difficult to seek help. During the current COVID-19 crisis, reports of domestic violence to public safety officials has sky-rocketed as has the number of visits to domestic violence websites and calls to hotlines. Stay-at-home orders, economic losses and other factors lead to increased stress and sometimes additional violence. As the world continues to enter circumstances it has never before experienced, new spikes in domestic violence may likely continue.

Preston McMurry, of Phoenix, is also founder of the McMurry Scholar Athlete Citizenship Award, which started in 2008 to honor student-athletes with a minimum 3.0 GPA and who performed significant community service. He made his first substantial philanthropic commitment to the college in 2008.

In 1984, he created one of the largest privately owned marketing firms in the nation, McMurry, Inc.—the only company in the U.S. to be selected by the San Francisco-based Great Place to Work Institute, as one of the ten best places to work, eight years in a row.

In reflecting upon this gift and McMurry’s career, Dean Tom Gregoire observed, “I have great affection and gratitude for Preston McMurry, and I consider him a friend and a mentor. Preston’s entire career has been informed by a deep commitment to values we hold dear as social workers, and to action on behalf of others.”

Congratulations U.S. Marine Corps veteran and BSSW student Tom Wike who has been named a 2020 Tillman Military Scholar. Wike is a senior with plans to earn his MSW. He is one of 60 scholars selected from thousands of applicants by the Pat Tillman Foundation for the prestigious award.
In recognition of their service and leadership potential, the new class of Tillman Scholars will receive scholarship funding to pursue higher education and continue their service in the fields of healthcare, business, law, public service, STEM, education and the humanities.

Read more about Wike here.

Click here for the news release.

On June 15, 2020, the College of Social Work hosted a student forum to discuss the outpouring of global support for the end of racial violence, systemic racism, and the dismantling of oppressive systems. The purpose of the forum was to hear from our students, learn what they need from us, and as a social work community, collectively decide our action steps.

Nearly 100 people consisting of students, faculty and staff participated in the forum where a robust discussion of social work’s role in dismantling racism was took place.

A co-facilitated student and faculty panel tackled tough questions and challenged the audience to join in conversation that pushed comfort levels and that led to impassioned ideas. The forum was framed by four main questions:

1. How are you personally experiencing this moment (i.e., the murder of and violence against African Americans and Black people; and the global reaction to these occurrences)?

2. What is the action that should occur to dismantle racialized violence, systemic racism, and oppressive systems?

3. What do you need or what would you like to see as it relates to the College of Social Work’s role in dismantling

4. What makes them hopeful about the moment and the future?

CSW student leaders Crystal Vincent (master’s student), Raven Lynch (doctoral student), and Sly Worthy Jr. (undergraduate student) were joined by faculty facilitator Dr. Michelle Kaiser, and Advocacy Director Steve David, to lead the audience in a spirited brainstorming session that produced action themes related to infusing anti-racism content throughout the social work curriculum, greater community engagement and advocacy, and a host of other strategies that rest in broad-based coalition building.

Resoundingly, the student forum participants expressed that racism can be conquered and that we are experiencing a global awakening in which diverse partnerships and like-minded individuals, committed to this important work will usher in lasting change.

Jennie Babcock

Congratulations to our own Jennie Babcock for receiving The Ohio State University’s 2020 Distinguished Staff Award. This award annually honors 12 individuals for their outstanding achievements, service, leadership and dedication to the university and is the highest honor bestowed upon staff since its inception in 1984.

In 2004, Jennie joined the college as a field education coordinator and in 2009, she was promoted to her current position as undergraduate program director where she became the first staff member to assume that role. Under Jennie’s leadership, undergraduate enrollment has tripled, the program has transformed into one of the fastest growing at the university, and it is recognized as one of the largest in the nation.

During her career, Jennie has worked diligently to expand the undergraduate program to the four regional campuses, worked hand-in-hand with the college’s educational technology experts to monitor and revise courses, and developed an honors program identified by the associate provost and director of Honors and Scholars as a model for what the university is trying to achieve. Additionally, Jennie has helped redesign the general education curriculum, lead a university team to develop an interdisciplinary minor on substance misuse in the college, recently launched an interdisciplinary minor on child abuse and neglect, served on a statewide committee to address accreditation requirements for transfer credit across Ohio institutions, and the college’s annual scholarship committee.

And yet with all of these significant accomplishments, it’s the students Jennie impacts most. CSW students would probably be surprised to learn of all of Jennie’s administrative responsibilities because they think of her as always available and as a go-to person when they need assistance. Across the five campuses, the college has over 700 undergraduate students enrolled. And while it’s likely not true, it seems from the college’s vantage point that Jennie might not just know all of them, but be clearly aware of their goals, needs and aspirations. Jennie has mastered the skillful balance of both caring for and supporting them, while also holding them accountable. It is hard to imagine anyone more dedicated to students and their educational success.

As these impressive examples illustrate, Jennie’s accomplishments reflect consistent demonstration of many of the university values including collaboration, excellence,
accountability, innovation, empathy and compassion and leadership. It’s easy to imagine that an award acknowledging the most distinguished members of the university staff would be even more complete and representative with Jennie Babcock as a recipient. Please feel free to offer Jennie your personal congratulations via email or in person when we are all together again.

More than 5,100 people tuned into the College of Social Work’s first virtual celebration of its 2020 graduates on Friday, May 8, at 6 p.m. The Evening of Recognition was live-streamed and interactive, including live tweets to and from students, families, friends, college staff and faculty as well a message from Dean Tom Gregoire.

From Germany to Egypt, and as far away as Pakistan to India, people from all over the world including the United States watched and participated by sending 2020 CSW graduates off in grand style. A record number of more than 600 people remarked and sent well wishes via Twitter, along with another 1,000 reactions, including likes, hearts, cares and more.

Solving the distance problem is nothing new for the college. For years, it has allowed loved ones from across the country or ocean join the on-campus graduation celebration via live stream and Twitter. This year, it applied learned lessons and adhered to social distancing guidelines to host this special event for its graduates and their families.

Background: The college is known for its live-streamed graduation ceremony allowing faraway guests from all over the United States and world to watch their graduating family and friends be recognized, receive honors and walk the stage. Previously, onlookers, both via a live feed and in person, tweeted shout outs and well wishes to graduates on a 12 x 16-foot screen displayed above the stage in Mershon Auditorium on Ohio State’s campus.

The ceremony, unofficially themed “Look out world, here comes help!” is a perfect blend of celebration, technology and social media at their best.

To view this year’s virtual Evening of Recognition, click here.