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Valuable connections

Valuable connections

November 3, 2023

It’s not what you know, it’s who you know. The old adage holds true for Aidyn Iachini (MSW ’10), Annahita Ball, (PhD ’12, MSW ’08), Samantha Bates (PhD ’18) and Tasha Childs (MSW ’19).

For more than a decade the four have been students, doctoral candidates, professors and colleagues. They navigated research questions through their degree programs. Now they share tips on managing work-life balance in their faculty roles at different institutions.

Aidyn Iachini, who started at Ohio State in sports management, worked as a research assistant for Dr. Dawn Anderson-Butcher, professor in the College of Social Work and director of the Community and Youth Development Institute (CAYCI).

Recognizing that social work combined her interests in sport and mental health, Iachini decided to pursue her MSW. During her graduate studies she met Annahita Ball, who also was a research assistant in CAYCI.

“I was inspired by that work,” says Ball, who was interested in improving mental health in schools. Ball accepted a faculty position at Louisiana State University after completing her doctorate. She now is an associate professor in the School of Social Work at the University at Buffalo. Iachini took a position in the College of Social Work at the University of South Carolina.

Samantha Bates attended Louisiana State for her bachelor’s degree in psychology and her MSW. Her favorite professor was Annahita Ball, who recommended that Bates go to Ohio State for her doctoral degree. Bates took the advice. She then taught for three years at Texas Christian University before returning to Ohio State to lead programs in CAYCI.

The daughter of a football coach, Bates loves sport and what it can do to help kids. “School success is measured not just in test scores, but also in making school a place where kids want to go and want to learn,” she says.

Dr. Tasha Childs (MSW 2019) started at Ohio State in biology. She learned about opportunities in social work when she had Anderson-Butcher as a professor. Childs completed her master’s degree and worked in CAYCI alongside Bates.

At a research conference, Anderson-Butcher introduced Childs to Iachini. The two hit it off, recognizing similar research interests. Childs attended the University of South Carolina to complete her doctorate with Iachini. She started as an assistant professor at the University of Missouri in the fall of 2023.

Along with their enduring ties and their love of all things Buckeye, the four colleagues care about training the next generation of scholars who will continue to help schools succeed.


Read more stories like this in the Stillman Magazine