NAHIPSW Staff


Ashley Blanchard

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Ashley Blanchard is an advanced standing Policy Practice student at the University of Connecticut, School of Social Work. Her passion for policy stems from a strong interest in homelessness advocacy and international social welfare.

Ashley graduated magna cum laude with a BSW from Florida Gulf Coast University in Fort Myers, Florida. While she pursed her undergraduate degree, Ashley was President of Phi Alpha, Omicron Iota Chapter, the National Honor Society for Social Workers. Ashley also served as a member of the Lee County Homeless Coalition, and facilitated in organizing community collaboration, planning, and advocacy.

Ashley spent her senior BSW year as an intern for the Community Cooperative Ministries Incorporated (CCMI) in Cape Coral, FL. As an administrative intern, she facilitated program evaluations, organized collective action for large systems change within a nonprofit administration, and assisted in executing community events aimed at the reduction of homelessness and food instability.

Currently, Ashley is interning at the NAHIPSW and is responsible for coordinating the Annual UConn SSW Research Exhibition, as well as assisting Dr. Shannon Lane with the study of political social workers in Connecticut. She is also leading the collaboration with the Armenia Social Work Project and the Jane Addams Electoral Reform Forum. Ashley is serving as the NAHIPSW liaison to the both the CT NASW and the Women’s Campaign School at Yale.

Bethany Brockmeyer

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Bethany Brockmeyer is a second year Policy Practice student with a strong interest in human rights in state and federal actions as well as opportunities for women.

She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Connecticut in English, and a Masters’ in Educational Leadership also from UConn. Bethany has taught and designed educational programs for non-traditional settings, unemployed welfare recipients, Adult Learning Programs for GED, job training, college preparation, and technical training programs including Workplace Literacy programs for manufacturing businesses. Bethany has taught introductory writing skills through research writing at Manchester Community College.

Bethany’s first field placement was with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal in the Hartford office. She worked on constituent issues involving women and the military. One project involved gathering information regarding current plans in Connecticut to create a Returning Veterans’ Domestic Abuse Community Pilot Program, which seeks to intervene with domestic and family violence issues, especially those related to combat trauma.

Her projects the NAHIPSW include coordinating the Fall 2013 Macro Foundation Practice Presentations, serving as co-coordinator for the 18th Annual Campaign School in April, 2014, reorganizing the Political Papers section on the website, assisting with the Fund Raising Campaign, and preparing an article for publication on voting as a human right. She will oversee the next phases of the on-going study of political social workers. She will act as the liaison to the Connecticut League of Women Voters.

Alessandra Burgett

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Alessandra Burgett is a second year MSW Policy Practice student and resident of New Britain, CT. She earned her B.S. in Child Development and Family Studies at Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2011. In pursuit of this degree Alessandra completed a one semester internship with the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services. Following the completion of her undergraduate degree Alessandra took a position teaching preschool before relocating to Connecticut.

Alessandra’s first year field placement was with the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF), a non-profit dedicated to advancing women’s rights and opportunities through advocacy, research, and legal education. While at CWEALF Alessandra had the opportunity to track legislation, write testimony for public hearings, blog about current issues, and produce a report commissioned by the Office of Workforce Competitiveness. Following the conclusion of her field placement Alessandra took a position within CWEALF as their Summer Program and Policy Associate. While working in this position she generated position papers, newsletters, and reports for both the Campaign for a Working Connecticut and CWEALF’s Generating Girls’ Opportunities program.

As a second year Policy Practice intern at the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work (NAHIPSW) Alessandra will be playing a key role in transition planning, website updates, social media, and coordinating training/ staff development opportunities. Alessandra will further serve as the Institute’s liaison with the Keep the Promise Coalition and the Coalition for Choice. In addition she will be completing some of her field work hours assisting a program committee at the General Assembly.

Alessandra is keenly interested in social policy, particularly as it concerns poverty and oppression. She hopes to someday assist in improving social policy at the Federal level.

Miraya Jackson

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Miraya Jackson is a graduate student with a concentration in Policy Practice. Miraya was born and raised in Goldsboro, North Carolina. She later moved to Bowie, Maryland to continue her Bachelors of Science degree at Bowie State University. Miraya has interned for RIMS Center for Enrichment & Development, a mental health clinic in Landover, MD, where she provided case management to clients.

She has volunteered with the Britthaven of Kinston nursing home in Kinston, NC where she assisted in individual therapy, group therapy, and everyday living activities. Miraya has also volunteered at Camp C.A.L.M Summer Feeding Program in Raeford, NC where she was youth advisor. There she served as an advisor to children who were having problems adjusting with other children.

Miraya is currently an intern for The Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work where she is working on projects such as Voter Registration, MSW Recruitment, and The Armenian Student Travel project.

The issues in which Miraya has interest in are education, poverty, military veterans, international social issues, human rights, and homelessness. She hopes to receive the opportunity to experience working on Capitol Hill as a lobbyist after she finishes her MSW degree. Miraya would like to open her own firm lobbying for human rights in the near future.

Krystal Rich

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Krystal Rich is a second year MSW student with a concentration in Policy Practice. Prior to coming to UConn, Krystal obtained her BA in Psychology from Central Connecticut State University in May of 2010. During her time at Central, Krystal participated in a number of committees whose work primarily focused on creating policies to address interpersonal violence and issues affecting women and children. These involvements t led her to the Policy Practice Concentration at UConn.

For her first field experience, Krystal was placed at the Connecticut Women’s Education and Legal Fund (CWEALF) in Hartford. There she was able to immerse herself in several different learning opportunities that included, research, program evaluation, participation in a Fairfield County Assessment, testifying, and the opportunity to collaborate with several outside agencies that had a common mission. At CWEALF, Krystal enjoyed being involved with the legislative process and became increasingly interested in learning more about political social work. This experience is what led her to the Nancy A Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work (NAHIPSW).

Currently at the NAHIPSW, Krystal will be involved in coordinating the 18th Annual Campaign School, creating and disseminating informational sheets on this years’ legislative priorities, as well as researching what different community groups are doing to address the issue of voter suppression. She will also be responsible for putting together the 2013/2014 Annual Report. Lastly, Krystal will serve as a liaison to the CT Chapter of NASW.

MSW Students at the Capital

MSW Students at the Capital