Social Work Newsletter 2018-19

News from the UMD Department of Social Work 2018-19

Promoting Human Well-Being, Advancing Social Justice and Pursuing Culturally Responsive Practice

Welcome to our first e-newsletter! We're excited to share with you the exciting work that is taking place in the UMD Department of Social Work. Please explore the links below and see what we have been up to!

Student News

Charlie Bouverette

Charlie Bouverette, MSW student, is one of 12 graduate students in the University of Minnesota system to receive a Professional Education Diversity Fellowship during the 2018-19 year. Charlie also received a clinical scholarship from a federal grant awarded to UMD to support MSW students entering clinical practice in rural or medically underserved communities.  Awards such these help us to recruit students of the highest caliber.  Please read more about Charlie's amazing story.


UMD Social Work major Claire Desautels

BSW student, Claire Desautels, is traveling to Poland in May through a UMD Study Abroad Program to learn how survivors cope with trauma and rebuild their lives. Please read more about Claire's upcoming journey.



open car trunk filled with plastic bags of clothing

The BSW Student Association held a clothing drive in November and was able to collect a total of 10 garbage bags full of clothing that went to Safe Haven, the Damiano, and Denfeld School! Students were happy that they were able to give back to the community.


Faculty News

Shawyn Lee

Read about Dr. Shawyn Lee's work as a critical adoption scholar, which incorporates archival research, critical pedagogy and intersectional identity politics based on Shawyn's personal experiences as a queer Korean adoptee.





Leah Cleeland

Dr. Leah Cleeland is involved on the ground floor with an exciting community initiative: the South St. Louis County Veterans Court that was recently awarded a Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance grant. The grant will allow the court to expand their services to foster rehabilitation and reduce recidivism for court involved veterans with substance use and mental health issues. Leah will be involved in conducting an evaluation of the initiative.



Wendy Anderson and Jennifer McCleary will lead a trip to New Zealand in 2020, immersing students in the culture and context of child welfare and youth development with indigenous communities. Learn more about this trip.  

Alumni News

Rick & Dianna Smith

Rick Smith (BSW, 1985) received the Minnesota Indian Education Association Lifetime Achievement Award for his "outstanding leadership, contributions, and lifelong dedication to Indian education." Read about Rick's exceptional career


Pam Johnson

Congratulations to Pam Johnson (MSW, 1994) who was awarded the 9th annual Outstanding MSW Field Supervisor and Civic Engagement Award this fall! Pam received the award at our annual field supervisor training event. Read the press release here.



Elizabeth Siebenaler & Laura Brandt
Kylee Pass, Christine Empanger, Emily Hall, & Mikayla Winkels

Over 40 alumni, faculty and staff gathered in October, 2018 for our annual alumni lunch during the St. Louis County Health and Human Services Conference. It was wonderful to see everyone. See more photos and read about what folks are doing.


Sue Kirby

Sue Kirby (MSW, 1991) attended the College of Education and Human Services Professions 2018 annual Honors and Awards Ceremony. Sue and her family established the Peggy L. Scheller Memorial Scholarship in 1997 to honor Sue's sister who passed away in 1995 as a result of an automobile accident. It is the family's hope that Peggy's memory will live on through the work that scholarship recipients' provide to those they serve in rural communities. This year the award recipient was MSW student, Shawayne FolkesContribute to the Peggy L. Scheller Memorial Fund

Tim Mowbray

We were pleased to be able to award a new scholarship this year, the Tim and Sue Mowbray scholarship. This award was established by Tim (MSW, 1976) and Sue (former Department and UMD staff member) because they have witnessed the positive effect that can come from education. The award recipient this year was Amanda NeuContribute to the Tim and Sue Mowbray Scholarship


Contribute to UMD Social Work

Annual ICWA Conference

Lynn Brave Heart

As a part of the Title IV-E Child Welfare Scholar Program at UMD, scholars have the opportunity to attend the Annual ICWA Conference in Hinckley. This annual conference is hosted by the Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare Studies, and the theme this year was ICWA in Minnesota: Moving Forward Together. This opportunity allows scholars a chance to enhance their learning outside of classroom time and field placements, as well as time to connect with other workers in the field. The conference draws child welfare workers and policymakers from around the state in both tribal and public child welfare. This year's conference started with a presentation about the state of ICWA in Minnesota, and included speakers such as Laurie York, Charlene Day-Castro, Yvonne Barrett, Tami Decoteau, Esther Anne and Penthea Burns. Tami Decoteau's presentation, entitled "Historical Trauma and Healing", addressed how healing historical trauma can be supported through a clinical lens. A viewing of the film "Dawnland" was then followed up by discussion around possibilities for truth, healing and change in Minnesota. Learn more about the child welfare scholars program.