NASW Foundation News


Foundation Scholarship And Fellowship News


The NASW Foundation is pleased to announce and celebrate its 2018-2019 scholarship and fellowship award recipients. Through a competitive application process, the scholarship and fellowship recipients are selected based on evidence of commitment, leadership, achievement, and financial need. The Foundation recognizes financial support can be a determining factor in making a social work career possible and is proud to continue its longstanding history – since 1991 – of providing financial support to social work students. 


The Foundation is the largest provider of Master’s of Social Work scholarships and fellowships for social work doctoral candidates for applicants from any Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accredited social work program. Through these awards, the Foundation supports emerging social work leaders who are making, and will continue to make, significant contributions to the social work profession, as well as the individuals, families, and communities they serve.  


The Foundation scholarship and fellowship awards are funded through the generosity of individual contributions and community foundations.  Tax-deductible donations from our friends and supporters help to make a significant impact in the lives of social work students who are committed to helping others and giving back to their communities. 

 

With a generous 2014 grant award from the New York Community Trust Robert and Ellen Popper Scholarship Fund, the NASW Foundation is pleased to partner with the Council on Social Work Education to administer Social Work HEALS - Social Work Healthcare Education and Leadership Scholars. The grant objective is to strengthen delivery of health care services in the United States by advancing education and training of health care social workers. 

 

Five doctoral fellowships, including one NASW Foundation Jane B. Aron Doctoral Fellowship - as well as supplemental funding for the Foundation's existing Verne LaMarr Lyons Memorial MSW Scholarship program - will be awarded annually, during the five-year funding period. 

 

The 2018-2019 scholarship and fellowship award recipients are:

 

Jane B. Aron Doctoral Fellowship


Margaret Mary Downey, MSW, University of California (UC) – Berkeley

Dissertation: 

Animating the Social Determinants of Health

Impact Statement: 

This award will greatly enhance my ability to complete a research project that will address pressing questions in health-related social work policy and practice. The professional development support that accompanies this award is also essential in helping me gain the skills to successfully complete my doctoral program and research portfolio!

Bio:

Margaret Mary Downey is a Doctoral Candidate in UC Berkeley's School of Social Welfare, where she also completed her Masters of Social Work. She was a 2016 UC Human Rights Center Fellow. She received her BA from Temple University in 2010. Prior to attending graduate school, she practiced as a birth and abortion doula in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (HUP) and Planned Parenthood of Southeastern Pennsylvania, respectively. During this time she also served as a research specialist with the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine on several National Institutes of Health-funded projects in partnership with the Philadelphia Departments of Education and Public Welfare, supporting teachers and community-based clinicians in implementing evidence-based mental health services. Her current research interests are reproductive and maternal-child health and justice and the political economy of health.  


Social Work HEALS Doctoral Fellowship


Deborah Moon, University of Kansas

Dissertation: 

Preventing Adverse Childhood Experiences Through Trauma-Informed Integrated Primary Care: A Realist Evaluation

Impact Statement: 

The Social Work HEALS Doctoral Fellowship is a channel for public recognition for my dedication to advance healthcare education and leadership in social work. Additionally, the fellowship will open up opportunities to network and collaborate with like-minded scholars and students in the field.

 

Alexandra Morshed, MS, Washington University of St. Louis

Dissertation: 

Rolling Back Social Policies: Examination of Patterns and  Predictors of Obesity Policy Dismantling

Impact Statement: 

It will allow me to examine my research topic in more depth and rigor and ensure my results are well disseminated to practitioners. 

Bio:  

Alexandra B. Morshed is a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) Pre-Doctoral Fellow in the Social Work Program at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research agenda centers on the intersection of obesity prevention, translation of evidence into policy and practice, and systems science methods. Her dissertation work examines the patterns and predictors of dismantling of obesity-related policies. She also contributes to several translational science projects, which include research on the dissemination of evidence to policymakers, advocates, and practitioners, as well as efforts to increase translational research capacity among Washington University investigators. Her obesity prevention research deals with policy- and environment-related determinants of healthy eating and physical activity. She earned a Master of Science degree from Wageningen University in the Netherlands and Bachelor of Arts degree from The George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs..   

 

Meghan Romanelli, New York University

Dissertation: 

How do LGB help-seekers reach mental health treatment, interact with service providers, and use informal care options? An examination of health care access and mental health outcomes among LGB adolescents and adults.

Impact Statement: 

The Social Work HEALS Doctoral Fellowship will allow me to focus on executing a strong dissertation study design and support the rapid dissemination of findings, which will hopefully contribute to improving the health and well-being of LGBTQ communities. In addition, the opportunity to attend conferences and trainings will help build my knowledge and skills as a researcher and expand the professional network on whom I can rely for support.

Bio:

Meghan Romanelli is currently a PhD candidate at the New York University Silver School of Social Work and a Pre-Doctoral Research Scientist at the McSilver Institute for Poverty Policy and Research. As a doctoral student at Silver and researcher at McSilver, Meghan’s work focuses on health and mental health disparities among LGBTQ communities, and primarily how disparities develop through the mechanism of forgone care or restricted engagement in care. Because many LGBTQ people cannot access formal treatment settings due to social-structural barriers, Meghan is also interested the strengths and informal care networks that LGBTQ communities harness to attain or maintain wellness. Meghan’s prior research has been published in Administration and Policy in Mental Health and Mental Health Services Research and the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry.


Roger Wong, MSW, MPH, Washington University of St. Louis 

Dissertation: 

This study explores the relationship between Alzheimer’s disease risk and engagement in three particular lifestyle behaviors: physical activity, cigarette smoking, and social contact. What is the influence of lifestyle behaviors on the differential risk for Alzheimer’s disease between White and African American older adults?

Impact Statement: 

This award enables me to purchase software and technology to analyze data for my dissertation towards my doctoral degree.

Bio:

Roger Wong grew up in Long Island, New York and earned his Bachelor of Science in Neurobiology and Behavior from Cornell University in 2012. For his graduate training, he enrolled in the Master of Social Work (MSW) and Master of Public Health (MPH) dual degree program at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, and received his degrees in 2015. Shortly after, Mr. Wong was admitted into the PhD program at the Brown School, where he currently teaches MSW and MPH courses on Research Methods and Systematic Reviews. For his dissertation research, he is investigating the relationship between lifestyle behaviors (e.g. physical activity, substance use, and social contacts) and racial differences in Alzheimer’s disease risk. His dissertation chair is Dr. Nancy Morrow-Howell.


Eileen Blackey Doctoral Fellowship


Jon D. Phillips, LSW, University of Denver, Graduate School of Social Work

Dissertation: 

Working Together to Achieve Safe and Timely Reunification: A Mixed-Methods Study of Interprofessional Collaboration in Child Welfare.

Impact Statement: 

This award will pay for costs associated with my dissertation (e.g. research assistants, statistical consultation, and software). In doing so, it will help me complete my dissertation in a more timely manner.

Bio:

Jon D. Phillips is a doctoral candidate at the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver. He has extensive practice and research experience related to the child welfare system. Mr. Phillips was first exposed to the child welfare population when he joined the Kempe Children’s Center’s Fostering Healthy Futures Program as a therapeutic mentor for children in foster care. He subsequently worked for child protective services for six years, holding several positions, including caseworker, interagency liaison, and supervisor. After learning first-hand about the inner workings of the child welfare system, he returned to school to earn his PhD, so that he may conduct research and develop interventions to help improve its functioning and performance. His current research examines how the quality of collaboration between professionals working on the frontlines of the child welfare system (i.e., inter-professional collaboration) impacts child, family, and professional well-being. For his dissertation, Mr. Phillips is conducting a mixed methods study that explores if and how inter-professional collaboration relates to the safe and timely reunification of children placed in foster care.


Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial Scholarship


Danny Carroll, Indiana University

Impact Statement: 

As a husband and father of two, every penny counts. This award will aid my family to not have to take out more loans to cover my education. 

Bio:

I am expected to graduate May 2019. I am working with Kids First Adoption in Indianapolis, Indiana focusing on international adoption at the macro-level. Countries of interest include the Dominican Republic and Burundi. I am hoping to enter a PhD program in Social Work. I have a desire to teach the next generation of social workers as well as research social service management. I also want to continue to work with the Latino population.

 

Turquoise Devereaux, Arizona State University

Impact Statement: 

This scholarship will help funding my MSW in Policy, Administration and Community Practice so I can give back to my community by creating safe spaces where Native American populations have equal access to education. 

Bio:

Turquoise Devereaux is a first generation descendant of the Salish and Blackfeet tribes and is from the Flathead Indian Reservation in Western Montana. She graduated with her Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree from the University of Montana. She has experience in community organizing through data analysis and dissemination pertaining to Native American student experiences, and education on historical and intergenerational trauma. Since receiving her Bachelor degree, Turquoise has worked at American Indian Student Services and TRIO-Upward Bound at the University of Montana where she helped Native American, low income, and first generation college and high school students to be successful in higher education through advocacy, mentorship, and resource referral. Turquoise received a Diversity Leadership Award during her undergraduate work and the Indian Support Staff of the Year Award from Montana Indian Education Association for 2017. She currently is in a one year, accelerated Masters of Social Work Program focusing on Policy, Administration, and Community Practice at Arizona State University (ASU) and will be graduating in May 2019. She will be interning with Morning Star Leaders and will be working within communities to inform them of the education systems serving their children, as well as help create safe learning environments for Native American students in an urban setting and a tribal community. Turquoise plans to continue similar macro-level social work for her career in order to ensure equal access to education for Native American populations.


Maybeth Gomez, University of Illinois 

Impact Statement: 

This award came at the right time, right when I am experiencing family and financial difficulties, but I refused to stop going to school. It was very unexpected, but a beautiful surprise! Besides making it easier to pay for the tuition, this award will also contribute to my motivation in continuing my education. 

Bio:

I, Maybeth Lorena Gomez, am a proud Dreamer whom recently graduated from Northeastern Illinois University. I graduated with a major in Social Work and a minor in Psychology. I am currently waiting anxiously for my MSW Program to begin at the University of Illinois at Chicago Jane Addams College of Social Work. I will be entering as an Advanced Standing Student and will be part of the Jane Addams Child Welfare Traineeship Project. My field placement will take place at the Children's Home and Aid in the Foster Care Area. I will have the opportunity to work with families and youth in need of services and support. With assistance, I will also be determining the best interest and safety of youth in state wardship. Following graduation, I aspire to work for a child welfare agency to develop more knowledge of the profession and later be able to open a nonprofit organization that would benefit youth-at-risk, especially undocumented Hispanic youth, the way I benefited from a program when I was a child. "What you get by achieving your goals is not as important as what you become by achieving your goals." - Henry David Thoreau


Cindy Hernandez, University of California (UC) – Berkeley 

Impact Statement: 

This award will allow me to pursue my goal of obtaining my masters degree in social work and becoming a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. It will allow me to focus on my education and relieve some of the financial strain.


Stephany Mejia, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill 

Impact Statement

Allows me to continue to have an impact on the local Latinx community, and continue to mentor fellow first generation college students.

Bio:

Stephany Mejia is a rising second-year graduate student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work. Her first-year placement was with Juntos North Carolina, a nonprofit that supports Latinx high school students and families while they make their way through the U.S. education system and prepare for higher education. As part of her end of year gift, she assisted with the publishing of a bilingual book titled “The Roots of Our People: From One World to Another, Juntos!” in which her students expressed their experiences as children of immigrants and Latinx students in North Carolina. This year, she is placed with El Futuro, a local mental health clinic. El Futuro is a bilingual mental health clinic that supports Latinx immigrant families through evidence-based interventions. As part of her work, she will work at the walk-in clinic, managing her own caseload and re-engaging the client population. Following graduation, she plans to work towards her LCSW and work with Spanish speaking populations, as well as LGBTQ, immigrant and refugee folks.


Hector Miramontes, California State University – San Marcoso 

Impact Statement: 

Pursuing my masters degree, while working two part time jobs and doing my internship has strained the amount of time I can dedicate to my studies. By receiving this scholarship it will allow me to meet my basic needs and devote myself to my education.

Bio:

Hector Miramontes was a prior gang affiliate, until fatherhood compelled him to reform his life. The announcement of his daughter’s birth, 18 years ago, inspired him to persevere and overcome all the obstacles he faced. He endured the impacts of drugs and violence on an impoverished community, much like the youth he has dedicated himself to serving. In 2010, he graduated from California State San Marcos in completion of his Bachelor of Arts degree in Human Development, with an emphasis in Child Services. His diligence is highlighted by his accomplishment of making the Deans’ List, while concurrently working two part-time jobs and parenting his daughter. Hector is a man of purpose; his convictions take precedence in his life. For the last nine years he has worked in nonprofit agencies where he has been devoted to providing services for underserved populations through mentorship, counseling, and collaborative case management. Currently placed at North County Lifeline, he extends his passion of promoting the advancement of individuals who are viewed as being “at-risk,” facilitating psycho-educational groups, individual and family therapy, parenting classes, individual and interdisciplinary group supervision, collaborative case management, and a variety of workshops. Challenging the perceptions of their aptitude and trajectory, he empowers them to recognize their true potential. He has returned to his alma mater in pursuit of his Masters of Social Work degree. Upon confirmation of this degree, his ambition is to become a school social worker. His priority is to channel his education and experiences into effecting a meaningful change in the environments directly impact youth.


Nancy Ramirez Hernandez, California State University – Los Angeles

Impact Statement: 

It will allow me to focus more on my academics instead of my financial situation. 

Bio:

This Fall 2018, I will start my second and last year of my MSW program. This year, I will be an intern at the Greater Los Angeles Veterans Affairs. My duties will consist of providing services for veterans with addictions, such as alcohol and drugs, as well as mental health treatment. Following graduation, I want to remain working with the veterans population.


Lillian Saldana, California State University – Los Angeles

Impact Statement: 

This scholarship relieves stress to pay for tuition and worry over being able to continue the program.

Bio:

Lilian obtained her degree in Psychology with a minor in Nonviolence studies. She is currently a student in her second year of the MSW Program at California State University, Los Angeles. She has always been passionate to work with the undocumented population. As an undergraduate she was involved in several grassroots organizing efforts, advocating for undocumented students. As she moves into her second year in the program she will be an intern in a hospital in Los Angeles, California. During her time there, Lilian will work with a multi-ethnic population in several rotations assisting in discharge planning and other services. After graduation Lilian seeks to continue her work with marginalized communities.


Samantha Steinmetz, University of Chicago

Impact Statement

With my degree in social work, my goal is to develop mental health facilities on Native American Reservations throughout the United States. 

Bio:

My name is Samantha Steinmetz, and for the last six years I have worked with a nonprofit organization, Simply Smiles, that works on the Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe Reservation in South Dakota. In the fall of 2018, I will begin my graduate program at the University of Chicago’s Social Service Administration Program. This year I will not have a field placement as I have accepted an internship at the Obama Foundation, as I start my graduate degree. I will have a field placement in the second and third year of my program. After I receive my degree in Social Services Administration, I am most interested in working with tribal communities to develop mental health facilities on Native American Reservations throughout the United States. 


Sara Zavaleta, University of Texas at Austin 

Impact Statement: 

Thank you to the NASW Foundation for awarding me the Consuelo W. Gosnell Memorial MSW Scholarship. The award will greatly aid my efforts to work with Latinx populations. As a daughter of Salvadoran immigrants, I will continue contributing to the collective work to heal our communities.

Bio:

Sara Zavaleta is a first-generation Salvadoran and fourth-year dual masters candidate in the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies and the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. Prior to her graduate studies, she graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2013 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and a minor in Spanish. Sara looks forward to providing counseling services in English and Spanish once she is placed in her final field placement for the Spring 2018 semester. After graduation, she plans to work as a clinical social worker with Latinx populations, especially with folks from Central America. Sara is driven to work with individuals and families who have socio-behavioral issues stemming from, or exacerbated by, trauma regarding immigration, racism, gender-based violence, violence against queer, or trans folks, and other issues.


Verne LaMarr Lyons


Kianna Goodwin, University of Wisconsin – Madison 

Impact Statement: 

Receiving this award is an honor and it has a significant impact on my work in mental health supporting black women. This award is not only acknowledgement, but financial support in this work. 

Bio:

My name is Kianna Goodwin and I am a rising advanced practice MSW focusing on mental health at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I decided to pursue my degree after several years of working in crisis intervention as an advocate for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence in Madison. Before that, I lived abroad for three years in Vietnam, India, and China. One of my most memorable experiences was doing research on laws and protections for women and minorities experiencing violence and discrimination with a nonprofit that focused on participatory media in Goa, India. My second-year advanced placement will be at Anesis Center for Marriage and Family Therapy. Although I will be working largely with families, I will also have the opportunity to incorporate my strong victim services skills into my work with survivors of trauma in our teen and prisoner re-entry program groups. I am passionate about contemplative research and practice, harm-reduction, and social justice. I look forward to integrating these passions into my clinical practice in the future.


Leigh Greene, Case Western Reserve University

Impact Statement: 

Receiving a scholarship award of any kind is a blessing, however, to receive such a prestigious award as the Verne LaMarr Lyons Memorial Scholarship is truly an honor. This award has given me confirmation to continue my work to help inform, educate and empower the African American community to eliminate barriers to health care.


Change Kwesele, University of Michigan

Impact Statement: 

Opportunities to network at different conferences including the NASW Conference. 

Bio:

Change (pronounced 'Chong-ay') will be entering her final semester as an MSW student in the fall of 2018. Before graduate school she completed a White House Internship and U.S. Fulbright Program to Zambia. After the completion of her MSW program, Change will continue with her studies as a doctoral student in the Joint Social Work and Psychology Program at the University of Michigan. Change is interested in pursuing a post-MSW fellowship to strengthen her interpersonal practice skills with older youth and college students. At her field placement with Girls Group she has had the opportunity to work with various programs including the organization's Middle School, High School, and the College Prep programs. In these different programs she assists with executing lesson plans, developing relevant activities and events, and engaging with students and their parents. Her goal is to support the work of Girls Group to encourage the young women holistically (in their academics, health, and wellbeing). When she is not at Girls Group or in the classroom Change enjoys photography, writing, dancing, traveling, and just being creative.


Ayanna Robinson, New York University

Impact Statement: 

With the assistance of the scholarship I can continue to advocate for those who are unable to be heard and empower clients to become their best selves. 

Bio:

Ayanna has two years of case management experience working for Equitas Health (formerly AIDS Resource Center). The LGBTQ organization focuses on comprehensive care. Ayanna works alongside medical providers and behavioral health specialists forming a team model of care to address the full needs of patients. In addition to concentrated medical care, focus is also placed on HIV/STI prevention and advocacy specifically within the African-American and other marginalized communities. As of Fall 2018, Ayanna will begin the Advanced Standing MSW program at New York University. In addition to her studies, she will be completing field placement at New York University Langone Hospital in the department of Inpatient Medicine.  At New York University Langone, Ayanna will gain experience as a discharge planner, connecting clients to resources following their hospital stay. Following graduation Ayanna would like to work in the Mental Health field and advocate in changing the perception of seeking mental health specifically in minority communities. 

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