Fall 2020

December 14, 2020
DSW Student and alumni Professional Notes

Below are some of the many presentations, publications and other professional notes shared by our DSW community this fall:

DSW student Monique Apple served as a Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) board member, Executive Committee member, and Audit Committee member. Monique also served as an Indigenous Tribal Social Work Educators Association governing board member. Additionally, Monique presented “Integrating Indigenous Values Systems into Social Work Curriculum: Lakota Social Work Education Session” at the CSWE 2020 Annual Program Meeting. Monique was awarded the American Indian College Fund Mellon Graduate Hours Fellowship and the American Indian Graduate Center Special Higher Education Fellowship.


Ben Bencomo, DSW ’19, was named to New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan-Grisham’s Racial Justice Council, beginning in July of 2020. Dr. Bencomo is also a member of the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Council on Racial, Ethnic and Cultural Diversity (CRECD) and co-presented with four other members of the CRECD at the 2020 CSWE Virtual Annual Program Meeting. The title of their session was “Antiracism: Learning from Social Work's History and Planning for the Future.” Dr. Bencomo is currently an assistant professor in the Facundo Valdez School of Social Work at New Mexico Highlands University.


A portion of DSW student Hillary Cole's dissertation will be published in the Journal of Religion and Spirituality in Social Work: Social Thought. Her article, “Intersecting Social Work Practice, Education, and Spirituality: A Conceptual Model,” was accepted for publication in the fall of 2020. She is grateful to her advisor for her mentorship, her instructors for their guidance, and her cohort mates and family for their steadfast love and support.


Rebecca E Coleman, DSW ’17, is serving as the co-chair for the Council on the Role and Status of Women (CORSW) with the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE).


Shannon Cousineau, DSW ’18, published an article online at Social Work Today about the experience of being a social worker and a caregiver.


DSW student Luis Curiel published an article in Journal of Sociology and Social Work: L. O. & Ashley, W (2020). Team teaming in social work education: A pedagogical approach to modeling inclusion. Journal of Sociology & Social Work, (8)1, 8-18. https://doi.org/10.15640/jssw.v8n1a2

Luis has also submitted a manuscript for publication: Curiel, L. O. (2020). Interracial team teaching: A pedagogical approach to dismantling white supremacy in social work education. Advances in Social Work. School of Social Work, University of St. Thomas.

Luis also led a conference workshop at the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) 66th Annual Program Meeting: “Bridging to promote equitable and inclusive academic and field education success.” Additionally, Luis participated on a panel at the same Annual Program Meeting: “Diversity, equity, & inclusion: MFP perspectives as students and faculty.”

Finally, Luis was selected to serve on the Advisory Board for the Social Work Coalition for Anti-Racist Educators (SWCAREs) and was awarded a fellowship for the 2020-2021 academic year from the Council on Social Work Education, Minority Fellowship Program.


Quincy Dinnerson, DSW ’18, published multiple articles, including:

Dr. Dinnerson also gave multiple presentations, including:

  • Dinnerson, Q (2019). “Factors that Hinder African-American Males from Completing Their Graduate Social Work (MSW) Degree” The 17th Annual International Males of Color Empowerment and Retention Educational Conference JV Educational Consultants
  • Dinnerson, Q (2019). “A Guide to Support Site-Supervision of BSW & MSW students” NCSSWA Conference

Additionally, Dr. Dinnerson has another article is in progress: Dinnerson, Q, Lane, T, Neely-Goodwin, S, Williamson-Ashe, S & Nevels, B. (2020) “Strengthening Community Partnerships: Preparing Social Work Students for the Profession.” The Field Educator, Practice Digest Section.


Angela Goins, DSW ’18, wrote an article with two colleagues that was accepted for publication in a special issue edition of the Journal of Human Rights and Social Work: Smith, D.S., Goins, A., Savani, S. (Accepted Oct. 2020). A look in the mirror: Unveiling human rights issues within social work education. Journal of Human Rights and Social Work.

Dr. Goins, the only faculty member teaching aging content in her college, also just submitted proposed curriculum for a gero-certificate program sponsored by the Social Work program at the University of Houston-Downtown. She hopes to launch the program in fall 2021.

The dean of Dr. Goin’s program named Dr. Goin the director and co-founder of the Collaboratory on Aging Resources and Education (CARE), an initiative under the College of Public Service. Dr. Going developed this initiative with an external aging expert to offer outreach and resources to the community of older adults in Houston. CARE, in collaboration with the gero-certificate, will work to educate students on how to develop skills and knowledge to work with older adults.


Marshelia Harris, DSW ’17, participated in the Indiana University town hall on racial disparities in June 2020 and became a member of the Indiana University Pandemic Committee in July 2020. Dr. Harris was promoted to BSW program director in August 2020. Dr. Harris facilitated six webinar workshops for the 30th Annual Forum on Child Abuse and Neglect.


DSW student Shelita Jackson presented “Identity Matters: Exploring relational health with faculty of color in social work education” at the National Association of Social Workers-PA. Shelita also presented a workshop, “Cultivating Belonging and Well-Being for social work students in the classroom” at the National Association of Christian Social Workers virtual conference.


Mallory Knipe, DSW ’20, published an article in Journal of Teaching in Social Work: Knipe, M. (2020). Promoting critical consciousness in undergraduate social work classrooms. Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 40(4), 372-384. https://doi-org.ezproxy.stthomas.edu/10.1080/08841233.2020.1790471

Dr. Knipe was also appointed to the National Steering Committee for the Social Welfare Action Alliance.


DSW student Sara Koeferl is a co-principal investigator for a $2.2 million Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant. The primary objective of the grant is to create a certificate training program for students from all disciplines to learn about the impact of opioid use and substance use disorders on individuals and their families. Students must complete a three-credit course, online training modules and an experiential learning placement in order to complete the certificate process. The grant covers the cost of the course and learning modules and students receive a $5,000 living stipend for participating in the grant. This is a four-year grant with a goal of educating 200 students throughout the four years.


Cindy Locklear, DSW ’17, helped secure funding to expand the DWI Treatment Court in Robeson, NC, into an Adult Drug Treatment Court program. Dr. Locklear, who serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Social Work at UNC-Pembroke, also helped the school earn a grant that will provide financial assistance for students seeking master’s degree in social work at UNC-Pembroke.  


DSW student Kate McClernon-Chaffin served as Co-PI for the Social Justice Initiative at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and secured a voter registration grant as part of a partnership with UConn, CUNY, Harvard and Keeda Haynes of Free Hearts.

Kate served as the Chair of the Council on Social Work Edcuation (CSWE) Virtual Annual Program Meeting connect session for the Council on the Role of Women in Social Work, as well as on the Feminist Networking Breakfast Committee.


Leah Prussia, DSW ’19, helped launch a national cohort of 26 social work experts, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, who will apply a futures lens in studying some of the world’s greatest challenges, from social media to climate change.


Rachael Richter, DSW ’19, will be presenting "Using Technology to Enhance Policy Advocacy Education" at the 2021 virtual Social Work Distance Education conference in April 2021. Her article, "Reflections of an Online Social Work Professor: Illuminating an Alternative Pedagogy," which was originally published in the Journal of Teaching in Social Work in 2019, is also included in "Online and Distance Social Work Education: Current Practice and Future Trends" edited by Paul A. Kurzman & Melissa B. Littlefield and published in 2020.


DSW student Latisha Simmons accepted an adjunct position at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, teaching the Child Welfare I class in the fall and the Child Welfare II class in the spring. Latisha was promoted to manager of the CHOICES – a long-term services and support program for the elderly and disabled population at BlueCross BlueShield Tennessee.


DSW student, ZaDonna Slay, presented the following topics at the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) 66th Annual Program Meeting:

  • “Unmasking the Psychological Impacts of Structural Challenges Confronting Black Women Faculty”
  • “Stepping into the Borderlands: Anti-oppression Dialogues Grounded in Critical Race Theory” (co-presenting with colleagues)

DSW student, Beth Young, published an article in Southern Medical Journal: Alemu, B. T., Olayinka, O., Young, B., Pressley-Byrd, D., Tate, T., Baydoun, H. A (2020). Patient and Hospital Characteristics of Newborns Diagnosed with Neonatal Withdrawal Syndrome. Southern Medical Journal, 113 (9), 392-398. doi://10.14423/SMJ.0000000000001130.

Beth also presented a poster at the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) 66th Annual Program Meeting: “Decreasing Stigma by Addressing Student Attitudes Toward Addictive Disorders.”