Month: March 2012

Stacey Violante Cote MSW ’00, JD ’01 Named 40 Under 40 by Connecticut Magazine

Stacey Cote, now director of the Teen Legal Advocacy Clinic at The Center for Children’s Advocacy in Hartford, has been with the center for 10 years. She advocates for teens struggling against tremendous odds—neglect, abuse, homelessness—helping to improve their lives. She is also the lead attorney for the Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Project, where she works tirelessly to protect newcomers from perils such as homelessness and sex trafficking. Cote also chairs the Connecticut Team for Runaway and Homeless Youth.

Stacey Violante Cote, MSW '00, JD '01
She was instrumental in helping pass legislation that requires police to notify the Department of Children and Families when they arrest a youth involved in prostitution. (One in three runaways is lured into sex trafficking within 48 hours of leaving home.)

This article appeared in the March 2012 issue of Connecticut Magazine

Kelsey Nepote MSW ’11 Senior Governance Associate at NASW

Kelsey Nepote MSW ’11 a policy practice graduate, was recently hired as the Senior Governance Associate at the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) in Washington, DC.

Kelsey Nepote, MSW '11

In this position, Kelsey works closely with the national Board of Directors, President, Executive Director, and National Committee on Nominations and Leadership Identification (NCNLI) performing a variety of tasks. Specifically, she assists in day to day Association business, administrating National leadership appointments and elections, and preparing for Board meetings. While working with NCNLI, Kelsey provides logistical support to the committee to assist in their efforts of developing a well-qualified, diverse election slate for the Association. Kelsey also works on a variety of projects within the NASW Executive Office including the 2012 National Conference Restoring Hope: The Power of Social Work.

Dr. Lisa Werkmeister Rozas Receives 2012 Women of Color Recognition Award

Dr. Werkmeister Rozas has received the 2012 Women of Color Recognition Award from UConn Women’s Center for outstanding contributions to the University and for Excellence in Leadership, Achievement and Service. She is widely recognized for her expertise on cultural competence, pedagogy and diversity, and health disparities.

Dr. Lisa Werkmeister Rozas

Her research primarily focuses on issues of race, racism, discrimination, power and privilege, issues of identity and their effects on individuals and society; the effects of racism and discrimination on access to health and mental health care, cultural competence/systems of service delivery, and cross-racial dialogue.

Dr. Werkmeister Rozas is well-regarded as an educator, researcher, and scholar and has numerous appointments and memberships on national, state, local and professional committees. She is the current Chair of the Council on Social Work Education’s Council on Racial and Ethnic Diversity and a member of the Commission on Diversity and Social and Economic Justice. She serves on the Advisory Board of the UConn Center of Latin American and Caribbean Studies, the State of CT Judicial System, Parent Education Programming Committee, and CLARO (Connecticut Latinas/Latinos Achieving Rights and Opportunity). She is a member of the CT Anti-Racist Alliance and Connecticut Latinas/Latinos Achieving Rights and Opportunity; and a reviewer for the Journal of Equity and Excellence in Education.

As a committed and caring educator, Dr. Werkmeister Rozas is dedicated to growing the number of social work educators of color and encourages promising students of color to pursue their doctoral degree. She assists in the recruitment, retention, and mentorship of Latin@ students and works closely with Latin@ students through the SSW Latin American Student Organization.

Breaking Barriers, Giving Back

Rollin Williams grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during a time of racial turmoil in the city. Despite this, it remains a place of happy memories for him, where the bright, ambitious boy became a violin soloist in his high school orchestra, valedictorian of his senior class and the Oklahoma state typewriting champion.

Rollin Williams
Rollin Williams

He left Tulsa for Howard University in Washington, D.C., then served in the Army during World War II, using his typewriting skills to move up to personnel sergeant major. He eventually earned his master’s degree in Social Work from Boston University. UConn discovered him while he was employed as an assistant chief social worker at Norwich Hospital in Norwich, Conn. And in 1957, he was hired as a full-time assistant professor in the School of Social Work, becoming the first African-American professor to work at UConn.

“After I arrived at UConn, I received requests from five different schools of social work because they wanted black professors,” he says. “Affirmative action laws had been passed. But I said no, I wouldn’t take those jobs, because UConn took me when it didn’t have to.”

He spent many happy years at the University, as a professor, running admissions for a while, and as an interim dean. In appreciation, he has bequeathed a significant portion of his estate to UConn. A warm and engaging man whose storytelling abilities rival his affability, he keeps in touch with many of his former students, and treasures his memories of UConn. He also continues to embrace his love of music, founding the Connecticut Early Music Society, and collecting 208 complete operas on compact disc.

“Everything that happened to me was serendipity – being in the right place at the right time,” he says. “And I always had a feeling of gratitude toward UConn. UConn has been better to me than anybody else.”

From the UConn Foundation’s e-newsletter, Our Moment (February 2012)