Category Archives: Student Spotlight

Some students were new to Columbus. Others were new to Ohio State. And they were all new to the College of Social Work. This year’s orientation brought students, faculty and staff together to share and receive information, meet, make connections and get off to a strong start to the school year!


A group of nearly 50 people represented the college at this year’s Columbus Pride Parade. CSW Students, friends, faculty, staff and alumni joined Brutus Buckeye and more than a half million supporters at Pride 2017. Many CSW participants wore Pride T-shirts and ball caps to further demonstrate their support and shared carrying a CSW Pride banner. Check out the video!


More than 450 College of Social Work graduates and their families and friends packed out Ohio State’s Mershon Auditorium on Friday, May 5, for the college’s annual Evening of Recognition, an event honoring social work graduates. Momentum soared during the ceremony as students were honored with yellow roses, awards and live tweet shouts and well wishes displayed on a 12 x 16-foot screen displayed above the auditorium stage.

Two days later, the graduates received their degrees during The Ohio State University’s Spring Commencement. A record breaking 11,734 Ohio State students earned degrees and more than half of them participated in the ceremony. Ohio State is one of the few universities where all graduates participate in a single ceremony, and where each graduate gets his or her diploma at the ceremony.

College’s Graduation Ceremony: A Unique Blend of Technology and Tradition

No one wants to miss a loved one’s graduation, but what if you’re on the other side of the country or across the ocean? The College of Social Work solves that problem for those faraway guests wishing to attend its annual  pre-commencement ceremony known as the Evening of Recognition. With a perfect blend of celebration, technology and social media, the college streams the event live so guests from all over the United States can watch their graduating family and friends be recognized, receive honors and walk the stage.

This year, the event drew nearly 150 guests. They watched from Argentina and Canada, as well as from 25 states outside of Ohio, including Hawaii. Onlookers, both via the live feed and in person, were invited to tweet shout outs and well wishes to the graduates on a 12 x 16-foot screen displayed above the stage in Mershon Auditorium on Ohio State’s campus. Just as in years past, the event went viral on Twitter.

The college, known for being technology-forward, added live streaming and tweeting during the ceremony several years ago.  The ceremony, unofficially themed “Look out world, here comes help!” is a perfect blend of celebration, technology and social media at their best.

Watch this traditional, cutting-edge way of celebrating College of Social Work graduates.

    • Pictured (front row, l to r): Erica Magier, Samantha Bork, Shannan Swaim, Bethany Hill, Courtney Kren. (Back row, l to r): Katie Simpson, Laine Kolesar, Andrew Rielinger, Cory Roth. Not pictured: Ellen Williams, Samantha Larason.

Congratulations to the following BSSW Students who showcased their research at Ohio State’s 2017 Richard J. and Martha D. Denman Undergraduate Research Forum.  Special recognition goes to Ellen Williams who received first place in her category.

This year marks the highest number of BSSW students to participate in the Denman at Ohio State. The variety in their research ranged from social reaction to prisoners in the community and eating behaviors of college students, to grandmothers raising grandchildren and barriers to meditation.

The students were celebrated and recognized at an Honors Dinner on April 24.

Presenters and their research titles:

  • Samantha Bork: “Barriers to Meditation”; will graduate with Honors Research Distinction
  • Bethany Hill: “The Effects of Deployment on Military Family Roles”; will graduate with Honors Research Distinction
  • Laine Kolesar: “Breaking Down the Barriers to Academic Achievement: Middle School Students”; will graduate with Honors Research Distinction
  • Courtney Kren: “Student Perceptions of Campus Safety and Physical/Sexual Assault at The Ohio State University”; will graduate with Honors Research Distinction
  • Samantha Larason: “Social Reaction: Experiences of Former Prisoners and Perceptions of Community Members”; will graduate with Research Distinction
  • Erica Magier: “Eating Behaviors of First Year Students: Transitioning from High School to College”; will graduate with Honors Research Distinction
  • Andy Rielinger: “Suffering in Silence: Examining Society’s Perception of Intimate Partner Violence”; will graduate with Honors Research Distinction
    Cory Roth: “Describing the Geographic Distribution of Patients Seen at the Columbus Free Clinic”; will graduate with Honors Research Distinction
    Katie Simpson: “Caregiver Resilience in Complex, Chronic Care”; will graduate with Honors Research Distinction
  • Shannan Swaim: “Am I My Child’s Keeper? Grandmothers’ Relationships with Their Children While They Act as Primary Caregivers to their Grandchildren”; will graduate with Honors Research Distinction
  • Ellen Williams: “The Impact of Sport-Based Positive Youth Development Programs in Enhancing Social Competencies Among At-Risk Youth“; Category: Family Dynamics Within Complex Community and Educational Systems; graduates in 2018

For more information about the Denman, click here.

DaVonti’ Haynes

Nearly 400 Ohio high school students attended A Day in the Life of a Buckeye, created by a social work student five years ago. Organized and created by MSW student DaVonti’ Haynes, A Day in the Life of a Buckeye gives sophomores and juniors from inner-city and Appalachian area high schools a chance to see what college is really like.

Stacy Song


Haynes was inspired to host the event as an Ohio State undergraduate student when he recognized a need to attract more low-income and rural high schools. He partnered with LeRoy Ricksy Jr., an undergraduate criminology and criminal justice student.


Both have received Ohio State’s 2017 Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award, which recognizes up to five recipients for extraordinary efforts.

The college’s Stacy Song, BSSW Academic Counselor and Staff Assistant, participated in the event by speaking to students about the many facets of a social work career and the program at Ohio State. This year’s event was held on March 22, 2017.

News Coverage:

The Lantern

What types of job opportunities are available at Nationwide Children’s Hospital? Is there a difference between domestic violence and intimate partner violence? How early should you arrive before an interview?

Answers to these questions and more are just a small sample of what a group of students learned during their visit to The Center for Family Safety and Healing at Nationwide Children’s Hospital on Tuesday, February 21.  College of Social Work students spent a half-day at the center as part of the colleges’ new Learning Journey Program. This unique and engaging program is designed for social work students and pre-majors to tour an agency, discover its mission and meet social workers in that agency to get a better sense of what they do on a daily basis.

At this destination, students toured the facility, listened to an overview about the center and heard invaluable information from human resources recruiters and consultants. A panel, comprised of center coordinators and managers, a psychologist and a Franklin County Prosecutors Office representative, also discussed their roles and how they work together.

“Participating in the Learning Journey was a wonderful experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it,” says Marsha A. Cuveilje, a BSSW student at the college. “It exposed me and the other students attending to the many facets of social work practice and the variety of careers that are available in our field.”

This Learning Journey marks the second visit of its kind. The first was held in October 2016.

For more information about future CSW Learning Journey destinations, contact

On Saturday, January 21, 2017, about a million people of all ages, gender expressions, sexual orientations, nationalities, abilities, races and religions united at the Women’s March in Washington, D.C., following the presidential inauguration. College of Social Work faculty, staff, friends, alumni and students were among the protesters and many also participated around the country and in their hometowns.

College of Social Work BSSW students (l to r) Alyssa Wischmann, Ellen Williams and Caroline Filbrun traveled to Washington to stand up for women’s rights. They became a part of history in the process.

“I attended the march not only to advocate for my own rights, but for the rights of all women,” said Filbrun. “I wrote Audre Lorde’s quote ‘I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own’ on my poster because I feel that it captures the essence of my beliefs as a woman and as a social work student.”

Surrounded by hundreds of thousands of empathetic, compassionate and like-minded women, Filbrun said she marched toward a future in which sex/gender is neither an impediment nor an advantage.

Social Work’s Dean Tom Gregoire comments on the meaningfulness of the march and appreciation for those who participated in it:

This weekend, many CSW faculty, staff, friends and alumni participated in the Women’s March on Washington in D.C., as well as in their own hometowns. Thank you for your advocacy, your courage and your passion in reinforcing to our country the vast commitment to an equitable and kind society that actually does exist among so many Americans.

The events of the last few months have shocked many, but have also served to wake up our country to both continuing and newly emerging threats to people living in poverty, women, people of color, the LGBTQ community, persons from different countries and religions and our entire planet. Your presence invited to the national conversation many good people who have never before reflected upon the plight of the vulnerable.

We are all our best selves when we are in service of others. It is a very generous thing you do when you speak up for others. There are many out there who don’t know you, or what you are doing this weekend. But they will live better, eventually, because of you.

Watch this video from the Women’s March!

Congratulations to doctoral student Donna Ruch who is the recipient of the 2017 Society for Social Work and Research Doctoral Fellows Award. Ruch’s dissertation proposal is entitled “The Implications of Attorney Representation on Juvenile Justice Decisions Leading to the Disproportionate Incarceration of African-American Male Youth.”

SSWR judged Ruch’s research to be most deserving of this prestigious award, recognizing the significance of the problem addressed in her research, the rigor of the analysis and its contribution to knowledge in social work and social welfare. Ruch will be honored for her achievement at the 2017 SSWR Annual Conference in New Orleans in January.

For more information about Ruch, click here.

2015-16-webbio-BatesCongratulations to PhD student Samantha Bates who has been accepted to serve on the 2016-17 Society for Social Work Research Doctoral Student Task Force.

The Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Doctoral Student Task force was created  to ensure that doctoral students’ needs, interests, and priorities are accurately reflected in SSWR doctoral student programming. The task force reflects the diversity of social work doctoral students, their research areas, and their institutions.

For more information about Bates, click here.

EmilyCongratulations to MSW student Emily Hanlon who has been accepted into the 2016-17 Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Minority Fellowship Program’s Youth Master’s Student Cohort. This fellowship for advanced social work master’s students is funded by a grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It offers financial and other supports to direct-practice focused students who are committed to providing mental health services to at-risk children, adolescents and young adults ages 16–25 in under served minority communities.

Hanlon’s field placement is at The Buckeye Ranch, a mental health agency that provides family centered treatment to children and adolescents. The training provided by the fellowship will help her provide culturally competent services to the families she works with in community-based programs. Hanlon is interested in evidence-based interventions for family therapy and trauma-informed care.