December 2015

Wishing you the happiest of holidays and a joyful 2016 from the
University of Illinois School of Social Work.
Providing International Internship Opportunities

The SSW Field Education Office offered the second round of international internships in Cape Town, South Africa in 2015. After a careful selection process, MSW student Ashley Smith, was offered an internship at one of many Akeso units, an inpatient, psychiatric facility, focusing on the treatment of addictions. Akeso has several mental health facilities providing specialized psychiatric services on an inpatient basis.

"Ashley has done an incredible job representing our School abroad," says Hellen McDonald, Ashley's field liaison. "She has made sound, thought-provoking, cross-cultural comparisons about outpatient mental health service delivery in the United States versus inpatient, treatment service delivery in South Africa. Some of these differences and similarities were specific to concepts such as client-centered approaches versus therapist or clinic-centered approaches. For example, in South Africa, Ashley pointed out that the treatment team is not worried about billing but rather more concerned about client needs and progress in treatment. During her domestic internship at an outpatient mental health center in a rural, American community, Ashley noted that billing had to be top priority in order for the center's doors to remain open." 

Field Instructor, Mark Gardener, has repeatedly indicated that Ashley has been a "gift to our program, our team, and our clients."
SSW Alumna Receives 2016 Society for Social Work and Research Outstanding Social Work Doctoral Dissertation Award
Megan Paceley, PhD 2015, was named the recipient of the 2016 Society for Social Work and Research Outstanding Social Work Doctoral Dissertation Award for her dissertation entitled "Social and Community Support Among Nonmetropolitan Gender and Sexual Minority Youth: A Mixed Methods Study." Paceley's research was judged by members of the Society to be most deserving of this prestigious award. In conferring the award, the Society recognizes the significance of the problem addressed in her research, the rigor of the analysis and its contribution to knowledge in social work and social welfare. 

Megan is set to receive her award on January 16, 2016 at the SSWR Annual Conference in Washington, DC. 
MSW Student Receives Scholarship from the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois
Diego Espino, MSW student, has been awarded a scholarship from the National Federation of the Blind of Illinois. The 3 winners receive a scholarship and their fee paid for the annual National Federation of the Blind of Illinois Convention. The amount they win will be made known during the convention, which will be held in Naperville. The criteria for being awarded the scholarships are based on academic excellence and service to the community, and all applicants must be a legally blind resident of Illinois who is enrolled full-time in an accredited graduate college or university program. Although Diego is excited to be chosen as a recipient of one of the scholarships, he is more excited to be attending the convention for the first time. He is hoping to meet great mentors and wants to continue to be involved with this organization as he pursues his professional aspirations. 

Read more about the scholarship here.
18,950 Hours of Community Service, and Growing

The Community Learning Lab (CLL) has expanded greatly since it began in the Fall of 2013. Since it's inception, CLL has provided 18,950 hours of service and this semester alone has partnered with 70 agencies (100% increase from last semester) and 23 different classes/student groups, resulting in over 2,800 hours of service to the community.
Some CLL matches include:a student-led recruitment plan to locate mentors for the Big Brother Big Sisters agency, students hosting monthly birthday parties for residents at the domestic violence center with Courage Connection, students assisting with fundraising needs for the Wesley Food Pantry, students identifying and applying for grants for the Regional Office of Education #9, and so much more!

CLL is currently accepting community project proposals for next semester. Please visit our website for more information on how to submit a project. Feel free to share this information with anyone you may know that can benefit from the Community Learning Lab.

Happy Holidays!
Providing International Internship Opportunities
SSW Alumna Receives 2016 SSWR Award
MSW Student Receives Scholarship from NFBI
18,950 Hours of Community Service, and Growing