Month: January 2022

Alumni Spotlight: Lady Mendoza

Name, Profession Title and Employer (agency, organization, institution, etc., if applicable), SSW Class & Concentration

Lady Mendoza, Deputy Chief of Staff, Office of Mayor Luke A. Bronin, City of Hartford, Class of 2017, Policy Practice

Lady Mendoza

 

  1. Brief description about your career path (how you ended up where you are). 

I originally wanted to become an elementary school teacher. After a few years in the field I realized I wanted to pursue a career in helping others more broadly which is why I started looking at social work programs. My first glimpse into politics was through my job at the Hartford Mayor’s office, I started off doing constituent work and was given an opportunity to assist on legislative matters during the legislative session. I found the work challenging but interesting and knew then that I wanted policy practice to be my concentration. I interned at the Humphreys institute my first year and sought out an internship at the office of policy and management my second year. Through my internship, I got an in depth look at legislative work from the state perspective and was later offered a full time job with Governor Malloy’s office in 2018. I went on to continue this work with Governor Lamont’s administration and am now back with the City of Hartford.

 

  1. Why did you choose social work as a profession?

I chose to pursue a social work education to gain a better understanding of macro social work in the context of policy making.

 

  1. What is your favorite memory from your time interning at the Humphreys Institute?

My favorite memory of my time interning at the Humphreys Institute was planning and executing the campaign school. It was a lot of work in the weeks leading up to the event but it was also rewarding to see how many folks who had an interest in political social work attended the campaign school from different schools.

I’m most proud of the legislation I worked on with my colleagues that have now become law. From changes to treatment of incarcerated persons, to offshore wind, every piece of legislation takes an incredible amount of effort to make it to the finish line but seeing a bill you’ve worked on become a public act is an accomplishment I will always remember and cherish.

 

  1. What impact has your UConn social work education had on your life?

I’ve gained amazing friendships and connections through the UConn School of Social work which have not only added to my professional life but to my personal life as well.

 

Celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Nancy A. Humphreys (1938-2019)

Nancy A. Humphreys will always be remembered as a pioneering social work educator and leader. She initiated a national effort to modernize the social work profession, helping to establish a new vision of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) emphasizing the role of social work in policy and politics. She supported and encouraged generations of social workers and women to be leaders in organizations and elected office.

Nancy earned an MSW from the University of Southern California, while working for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services, where she rose from a direct services worker to assistant program deputy and staff development administrator. After completing a DSW from UCLA (1975) she taught at USC, UCLA, California State University, LA, and California Polytechnic University, Pomona.

While still in California she played a crucial role in bringing 16 chapters of California NASW together into one statewide chapter, then served as its first president. She was elected the second woman and youngest person as president of the national NASW, and led the initiative to revise the Code of Ethics and to end discrimination against LGBT communities.

Despite women being the majority of NASW’s membership, men had dominated leadership positions. Humphreys advocated for equality and making gender a permanent part of the organization’s affirmative action plan. She appointed the first female editor of Social Work journal, created the first women’s conference in social work, and was appointed by President Jimmy Carter as a member of his National Advisory Committee on Women’s Issues, the only social worker.

After leaving California she taught at Rutgers University Graduate School of Social Work and became an Associate Dean, then moved to Michigan State University School of Social Work to assume the Directorship. While there she began to teach a course on women’s issues at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work, in Washington University. In 1987 she became the Dean of the University of Connecticut School of Social Work where she worked until she stepped down and established the Institute for Political Social Work Practice, later renamed as the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work. While dean she helped spearhead the establishment of social work in the country of Armenia.

As the director of the Institute, she worked tirelessly to promote social workers becoming central to the political arena and establishing Political Social Work as a legitimate practice specialty. She also created the first social work campaign school, and encouraged students to strive for leadership positions in all aspects of politics and policy.

Nancy Humphreys was appointed to numerous statewide and national boards throughout her career. While in New Jersey she was appointed by the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court as one of the three public members to the court’s committee on Professional Legal Ethics. The Governor of Michigan appointed her as a member of the Blue-Ribbon Committee on Welfare Reform, as well as having served as a gubernatorial appointee and elected Chair of the Michigan Department of Social Services Advisory Council.

She served on the American Public Welfare Association, National Conference of Social Welfare, and was a past Vice President of the Council of Social Work Education. She was a member of the board of the Journal of Women and Aging.

After moving to Connecticut, she served as a board member of the Connecticut Association of Human Services, the Capital Area United Way, The statewide United Way Strategic Planning Committee and a member of the Simsbury Human Rights Committee. She was a “next friend” of one of the children in the Juan F. v. O’Neill lawsuit which resulted in the Department of Children and Families Consent Decree.

She also served as the spokesperson for the Connecticut Coalition for Children, and was appointed by the Chief Justice of the State Supreme Court and elected as the founding chair of the Parenting Education Advisory Committee. She chaired NASW’s Political Action Committee, and NASW’s National Committee on Legislation and Government Relations.

In 2003, she was given a Lifetime Achievement Award from NASW. This recognition was added to many awards, and certificates of recognition for her service to the profession and those populations social workers serve including New Jersey’s Social Worker of the Year (1981), Distinguished Alumnus from USC Graduate School of Social Work, Distinguished Social Worker by the Connecticut Chapter of NASW (1992) and was a awarded an honorary Doctorate from Yerevan State University of Armenia. She was later inducted into the California Social Work Hall of Distinction in 2015.

Student Spotlight: Sarah Miller

 

 

  1. Name, SSW Class & Concentration

Sarah Miller, MSW Class of 2022, Concentration in Policy Practice

 

 

  1. Which came first – your interest in politics or interest in social work? In other words, did a desire to be involved in politics inspire you to pursue a degree in social work or did your pursuit of a social work degree inspire you to get involved in politics?

Social work practice and politics are inextricably linked for me. I have always been involved in efforts to improve my community and learned to work on political campaigns and lobby elected officials as integral components of this process. If we are honest about root causes and determined to find systemic solutions rather than solely treat symptoms, politics is necessary. So while I was politically involved long before deciding to pursue a social work degree, I found my way into politics as a tool for advancing social work goals.Sarah Miller headshot

  1. What made you decide to run for office?

My district in New Haven has high needs and struggled with representation for over a decade. Four prior alders either resigned mid-term or were largely absent. As an engaged community member, I saw the impact of this absence accrue in the form of missed funding, misdrawn maps, and diminished power. For years, I was encouraged to run but resisted taking on the time commitment and diverting focus from my specific interests to broader citywide concerns. Yet at the moment, we have a few major, time-sensitive projects that need political support to make it over the finish line, including a critical redevelopment project on our main street, the distribution of ARPA dollars, and redistricting. I decided to run now so as not to risk letting these opportunities slip by, as has occurred in the past.

 

  1. What are your future career aspirations?

I edited academic books at Yale University Press for fifteen years before making a career shift in the summer of 2020. During those years, my volunteer community work slowly took on a large role in my life. Perhaps because of the organic way in which I came into social work, I have clear aspirations for my practice but not career goals per se. All of my community work is directed toward cultivating a holistic system of support for young people in our city. In addition to serving on the New Haven Board of Alders, I work as the Manager of Strategy and Planning for Clifford Beers, which is the oldest outpatient mental health clinic in the United States and provides wraparound services for children and families. This professional role lives on the same continuum as my political work and pursuit of a social work degree; and I’ll continue to pursue political and professional opportunities to position my efforts for maximum impact.

 

  1. Do you feel serving in public office will help you in the social work profession or vice versa (or both)?

Public office is a social work profession, utilizing both micro and macro skills. There is an enormous amount of 1:1 work with constituents, advocates, and officials. Ideally, public office is about translating those conversations into policy that resolves problems, rights inequities, and expands opportunities.

 

  1. What is the accomplishment you are most proud of in your time at UConn School of Social Work?

During my first year field placement with Connecticut Voices for Children, I authored the 2021 State of Early Childhood, a survey report that the organization published periodically for nearly twenty years, and which I previously studied and admired. It took on special importance amidst the historic disruption to Connecticut’s system of early care and education due to COVID-19, and was especially relevant to me as I navigated these challenges with my own two children while writing.

Student Spotlight: Madison González

Madison's headshot

 

 

  1. Name, SSW Class & Concentration

Madison González, I am on the two-year track – set to graduate by May 2023, my concentration is IGFP.

 

  1. Which came first – your interest in politics or interest in social work? In other words, did a desire to be involved in politics inspire you to pursue a degree in social work or did your pursuit of a social work degree inspire you to get involved in politics?

For me, the two thought processes were different! I was interested in running for local office during the pandemic, but a few months prior I decided to pursue social work. I wasn’t sure what my career path would look like yet, but I liked working with children as much as I liked advocating in my community. I would say I decided both almost around the same time. The decisions haven’t influenced each other but the outcomes of both have been important to my development as a student and social worker.

 

  1. What made you decide to run for office?

During summer of 2020, I was motivated to organize Black Lives Matter rallies and marches in my town. Several surrounding towns were showing support, and I felt as though South Windsor needed to show the same solidarity. I worked with young residents and graduates from the school system to raise awareness about the injustices happening outside of our small community. I was able to work very closely with our mayor and was interested in the opportunity to work on the policy side of some of these issues. One of the items we focused on in our advocacy was education and curriculum in our schools. I was particularly attracted to the Board of Education for this reason. After some inquiring and following up with my local Democratic Town Committee, I was able to be nominated and voted to run on a slate by caucus!

 

  1. What are your future career aspirations?

I love the clinical work that I do; at this point I am pursuing a career as a school social worker. My goal is to also advocate for equitable policy that will impact the children and families I work with.

 

  1. Do you feel serving in public office will help you in the social work profession or vice versa (or both)?

I certainly believe that my work in the field will be impacting the way I serve as a public official. My field placement this year is in an alternative education program in Hartford, and it has been interesting to see the differences between districts. I also like to hear from administration and teachers. While I can’t assume that each situation is the same, I do recognize the extreme stress school staff is under during the pandemic, and especially with new variants emerging frequently.

 

  1. What is the accomplishment you are most proud of in your time at UConn School of Social Work?

My first semester of grad school I worked to run and win a campaign. I was entering a higher level of education, while starting an internship, working, and reaching out to the community. Everyone was so supportive, and I was able to finish my semester with straight As. It was an incredibly stressful yet rewarding experience.

 

Confronting Fear and Anger

Jelan Agnew, LCSWRegister Now for CE programs now

Thursday, February 24, 2022
1 pm – 3 pm
2 CEC

$40 – UConn SSW Alumni and Current Field Instructors
$50 – All Others

Webinar link will be emailed when your registration is complete.

Step away from trauma responses and move toward responses based on alignment. Transition from fight, flight, and freeze to acknowledge (observe and describe), surrender, and be. Participants will explore the function of anger and fear, and how to use the momentum of intense emotion to achieve goals. Trainer Jelan Agnew will use a trauma-informed and culturally competent lens, with a focus on mindfulness and guided meditation, to help clinicians and clients confront fear and anger.

Participants in this webinar will:

  • examine how we manage intense emotions and learn skills to increase our ability to manage our feelings
  • learn how trauma may play a role in the way we experience these emotions
  • learn how to use the concept of “Observe and Describe” – Where do I feel Fear in my body? Where do I feel Anger in my body?
  • use the “momentum of the emotion” to increase effectiveness in achieving goals

“Good Trouble” at School: A Call to Action for School Social Workers

Tanya Bulls, DSW, LCSWRegister Now for CE programs now
Christine Limone, PhD, LCSW

Monday, February 21, 2022
2 pm – 4 pm
2 CEC

$40 – UConn SSW Alumni and Current Field Instructors
$50 – All Others

Webinar link will be emailed when your registration is complete.

School social workers don’t always receive discipline-specific clinical supervision in their school setting. The lack of supervision is inconsistent with known best practices of the social work profession. It is time for school social workers to examine the social conditions, policies, and practices within the school setting that contribute to this inequity and advocate for the specialized field of school social work with the same tenacity and persistence as civil rights leaders. This interactive webinar will explain how this came to be and the resulting consequences. In addition, Dr. Tanya Bulls and Dr. Christine Limone will provide tools to empower participants to advocate for change in their home districts.

This webinar is intended for experienced and new school social workers, principals, and building administrators. Upon completion, participants will:

  • understand this phenomenon and its impact on the field of school social work
  • engage in activities to practice how to get into “Good Trouble” for themselves and the students they serve
  • be empowered with tools to advocate for organizational change in their districts

Drs. Ann Marie Garran, Lisa Werkmeister Rozas, Release Latest Edition of Racism in the United States: Implications for the Helping Professions

Drs. Ann Marie Garran, Lisa Werkmeister Rozas, Release Latest Edition of Racism in the United States: Implications for the Helping Professions

UConn School of Social Work faculty members Dr. Ann Marie Garran and Dr. Lisa Werkmeister Rozas recently published the third edition of Racism in the United States: Implications for the Helping Professions.

Originally published in 2008 and co-authored by Dr. Ann Marie Garran and Dr. Joshua Miller (Smith College), this text explored the historical context of racism as well as institutional racism present in the United States today. The authors conveyed that human service professionals must confront racism on two fronts: the racism outside of themselves as well as the racism within. 

The third and newest edition, published in December 2021, uses coloniality and other critical theories as a conceptual framework to analyze all levels of racism: structural, personal, interpersonal, professional, and cultural. It features the contributions of a new team of authors and scholars; new conceptual and theoretical material; a new chapter on immigration racism and updated content to reflect how racism and white supremacy are manifested today; and new content on the impact of racism on economics, technology, and environmental degradation; expanded sections on slavery; current political manifestations of racism and much more.

Read more about the third edition here.