Month: April 2020

Alumni Call to Action

Things will be unconventional this year for our SSW graduates, but we still want to shower them with love and welcome them as UConn SSW Alumni. We’re soliciting well wishes from the SSW community for our graduating class of 2020. If you’d like to submit content, please keep videos to under 1 minute and 30 seconds and text to under 250 characters. Content will be posted on the School of Social Work website, although we may not be able to use all the content submitted. You can use you phones to create the video and send pictures along with the text. Please send your well wishes to Abigail Jackson at by Friday, May 8th. If you have any questions, please reach out to Abigail directly.

Student Spotlight: Kelly Ha

Alumna Kelly Ha with the #iamnotavirus campaignKelly Ha is a first year UConn Masters of Social Work student in the Individuals, Groups, and Family Practice concentration as well as a student in the Certificate in Foundations of Public Health program. She is the first one to attend college in her family, her advocacy work and want to address inter-generational trauma are an homage to her immigrant Vietnamese family sacrifices for her to have a better life. As an aspiring Medical Social Worker, Kelly will be doing her 2nd year placement at Connecticut Children’s. Kelly is incredibly involved as she chairs two positions in the Graduate Student Organization as the Social Media Specialist and PEERS Co-Chair. She is also involved with UConn Health’s Urban Service Track where she is able to work in an interdisciplinary team to serve under served communities.

As the Campaign Manager for #IAmNotAVirus, Kelly has helped branch the campaign worldwide to countries such as Brazil, Canada, and Vietnam. She leads the social media team and works to bring mental health into the mission. The campaign serves to bring awareness to the anti-Asian violence that has been rising due to COVID-19. As a healthcare worker, Kelly has already been working in the front lines to battle this virus. Now she is dedicating this battle to dispel racism and advocating for community. The mission of the campaign is for a world where compassion, kindness, and allyship prevails.

A Letter from Dean Heller

Dear SSW alumni colleagues,

I write to you from my home office where I am continuing to carry on the critical missions of the school. Like many of you, the SSW, our faculty, staff, and students are adjusting to a new normal in the wake of the COVID-19 public health crisis. I am happy to report that the migration of our courses to a fully online format, has gone reasonably well, with the support of many of the departments at UConn. We made the difficult decision to withdraw our students from field education settings, due to our concern for their safety. Fortunately, we require a higher number of field education hours than our accrediting body, which means all students will be able to graduate on time. I am enormously grateful to our faculty, staff, and students who have made this transition with grace and hard work, supporting each other as a virtual community. We are planning a virtual commemoration for graduating students and will look forward to welcoming the class of 2020 back to campus in the fall, as alumni, for a celebratory event.

That said, I am aware of the economic and health challenges for our community, all of you, and importantly, the communities and people you serve. Many of you are on the front lines of this epidemic and I reach out to you in appreciation of all you are doing, while trying to stem the tide of the primary and secondary effects of this disease. As you are all painfully aware, the health disparities for many of our communities are staggering. While we were all aware these exist, this current crisis has put these in bold relief. This presents a moment for social work – a call to action – as we continue to identify, study and advocate for sweeping structural changes. In the meantime, we must reach out to others with kindness, help and professional expertise.

I wish each of you and your loved ones, good health, resiliency and sustaining social supports. Social workers have a vital role to play in this national emergency and its aftermath. We need you. So, please take good care of yourselves and each other. We look forward to engaging with you as we emerge from this crisis.

Best wishes,