Month: April 2021

Engaging Youth in Foster Care

This webinar provides at least 1 hour of content on cultural competence.

Qur-an Webb, MSW and colleagues from Welcome 2 Reality Register now for CE programs

Mon, April 25, 2022
5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

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

Webinar link will be emailed when your registration is complete.

Children who enter the child welfare system face many obstacles and challenges. When they are separated from their families and place in foster care, their willingness to trust and make positive connections can be extremely difficult. This training will discuss how to improve engagement with youth in foster care of all ages, races, and sexual orientations and gender identities. We will explore risk and resilience factors emphasizing the importance of strength based-solution focused strategies to support and engage these individuals.

Spring 2021 Scholarship Recipients

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the School of Social Work is able to offer a number of scholarship opportunities to our BSW, MSW, and Ph.D. students each academic year. These scholarships not only help students meet their financial obligations but also  recognize their academic achievements and contributions to the social work profession. Congratulations to our scholarship recipients!

BSW Award

Raymond and Mary Borecki Buck Endowed Scholarship Fund

Mary Borecki Buck is an UConn School of Social Work alumna committed to supporting the education of future generations of social workers. This scholarship, created by Mary and her late husband, Raymond, will provide financial support to a student enrolled in the Bachelor of Social Work program.

Gianella Gutierrez

Gianella Gutierrez

Attending and paying for school for the last year has been very difficult due to unfortunate circumstances and the pandemic. With this scholarship, I am able to place more focus on my education and future goals without worrying about working extra hours at work. Without the financial burden, I can focus on graduating as a BSW student at UConn and eventually getting my MSW in clinical social work. After achieving this goal of mine, I hope to work in an organization or state department that focuses on child welfare. This passion of working with children grew during my volunteer work at the Boys & Girls club where I volunteer as a teacher assistant.

MSW Awards

Dr. Albert Alissi School of Social Work Scholarship Fund

This scholarship was established in memory of Dr. Albert S. Alissi, faculty emeritus, to provide financial assistance to a student conducting group work practice.

Natasha Whyte

Natasha Whyte, Individuals, Groups, and Families concentration

As a first-generation college student, it is an honor to be the recipient of the Dr. Albert Alissi School of Social Work Scholarship Fund. Thank you for your kindness and generosity, especially during these challenging times. Your scholarship has alleviated my financial burden and allowed me to pursue my goal of becoming a school social worker. I look forward to providing children and adolescents with the social and emotional support necessary for academic success and upward mobility. While doing so, I will never forget the knowledge and skills that the University of Connecticut provided me with. I cannot wait to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others. Thank you again for your support.

Albert Brown Jr. Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to a student currently conducting their field placement at the UConn Counseling & Mental Health Services.

Nancy White, Individuals, Groups, and Families Concentration

Thank you so much for the scholarship! During this academic year I worked at the Student Health and Wellness mental health program as a practicum student. This experience allowed me to see how integral it is for staff to be working towards the common goal of student health and wellness. I learned so much from the students that I worked with and I am grateful for the experience.

After graduation I will be working as an outpatient therapist at a community mental health practice in Scranton, Pennsylvania. The clients will be from all backgrounds, ages, conditions. I look forward to being able to contribute to my community by helping people with managing their mental health conditions.

Donna Millette-Fridge Scholarship

This scholarship was established in memory of Donna Millette-Fridge by the School of Social Work in recognition of her commitment to helping the mentally ill become self-sufficient.

Amanda Brenner

Amanda Brenner, Policy Practice concentration

Thank you so, so much for awarding me a Donna Millette-Fridge Scholarship. I would like you to know that I honor her memory and the opportunities she is giving me today. I am equally passionate about work with those with mental illness. I have spent my entire year writing and testifying on mental health policy for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I hope to focus directly on mental health advocacy after graduation, perhaps on the national level. I will bring my UConn education and my lived experience along with me and a great respect and tribute to Donna in whose name I now work.

Esther R. Pahl Fellowship for Social Work Excellence

Esther Pahl is a 1952 graduate of the School of Social Work. She credits her UConn social work education for her long and meaningful career caring for others. She established this scholarship to provide meaningful support to a student in need with an interest in working in a mental health setting.

Mackenna Jacovich

Mackenna Jacovich, Individuals, Groups, and Families concentration

Your thoughtful contribution to my education is very much appreciated. Seeing my own story and work so far in social work as worthy of such a reward has really helped me realize my worth as a future social worker. In my field experience with Emergency Mobile Psychiatric Services (EMPS), I worked with children experiencing suicidal ideations or who had recently attempted suicide. Providing a safe place for these children to tell their stories and express their feelings without judgment has been such a rewarding and fulfilling experience. I hope to continue my work in this area and provide best treatment practices to children and adolescents at risk of suicide. Thank you again for your gracious fellowship.

Frank V. Carollo Scholarship Fund

Mr. Frank Carollo was a 1953 graduate of the UConn School of Social Work who worked part-time while attaining his education. He established this scholarship to assist students who find it necessary to work to supplement their living expenses while attending school.

Katherine Mcmullan, Policy Practice concentration

Melissa Keilty

Melissa Keilty, Policy Practice concentration

Your generosity has been a privilege and an honor to receive. This scholarship will aid in the beginning of my career by providing a sense of calm in the calamity that is being a youth of this day and age. My academic goals include finishing my Master of Social Work and someday pursuing a Doctorate. I selected a degree in social work for its abundant usefulness in a wide array of fields, for its application in various personal and systemic contexts, and for its value-based conceptions. I am a devout participant within various causes which advance justice in human and ecological systems. Your donation helps me maintain my ability to be flexible and gives me encouragement that my hard work is noticed, and appreciated.

Lexie Soja

Lexie Soja, Individuals, Groups, and Families concentration

Thank you for your generosity in awarding me this scholarship. This additional support will alleviate some of the financial demands that can be difficult to prioritize when having to maintain a full academic course load. My goal is to pursue a career in medical social work. I hope to continue working with and advocating for vulnerable populations who are disproportionately impacted due to healthcare disparities. I will forever be grateful for the support that allowed me to continue my education and forward my career.

Charmain Yun

Charmain Yun, Community Organizing concentration

What an honor. Thank you so much for your generosity and support of social work students. I have been working part time and fulfilling full time school requirements over this past year. It has been so fulfilling, but as you can imagine, also tiring. Your scholarship doesn’t just help financially but also serves as an affirmation to the work that I have been doing. It’s been a hard year for so many, especially the clients and people we serve. The pandemic only highlights the disparities in our society. I plan to use my Masters in Social Work in the work of equality, systematic change, and advocacy for the people I serve.

Ivor J. Echols Endowment Fund

Friends and colleagues of the late Dr. Ivor J. Echols, faculty member and prominent member of the African American community, established this award in her honor on her retirement.

Jada Hines

Jada Hines, Individuals, Groups, and Families concentration

I would like to thank my donor for their generosity, as well as those that have selected me for this scholarship. As a teenager I felt as though I had to manage my mental health alone. I knew I wanted to be a social worker so no child would feel as alone as I once did. My goal is to become a school social worker that is present and available for all students, regardless of if they appear to need social services or not. I want students to know who I am and what I can do for them before my assistance is even needed. UConn has given me the opportunity to become more confident in myself and what I can achieve in the future, which is something I will always be grateful for.

Karen Kellerman and Peter Arakas Fellowship in Social Work

Karen Kellerman and Peter Arakas are both proud graduates of the UConn School of Social Work. They created this scholarship to provide financial support for MSW students.

Celina Fernández-Ayala

Celina Fernández-Ayala, Community Organizing concentration

Thank you for your generosity! The scholarship provides much needed financial support during these uncertain times. I decided to pursue an MSW out of my commitment to social justice, especially in Black and Brown communities in my hometown in New Haven, CT. As a Mexi-Rican, I witness disparities in nearly every aspect of Black and Brown life and am committed to working alongside my community to transform society. My career goals include opening my own non-profit that provides traditional social services, but also functions as a space for Black and Brown artists, dancers, singers, writers, and actors. In fact, I dance salsa and sing classical music in my rare spare time.

Mary Porter Wright and John Wright Fellowship in Social Work

Mary Porter Wright is an alumna from UConn School of Social Work.

Lilianna Rubio

Lillianna Rubio, Individuals, Groups, and Families concentration

I can't thank you enough for your generosity. Having gone from full-time to part-time due to the pandemic, this scholarship has given me the peace, and financial relief, that I needed to continue my studies and graduate on track for the summer. I chose to complete my degree in social work as a way to not only give back and provide an opportunity that I was once provided as a foster child, but also to fight for human rights and help give a voice and empower the powerless. I hope to one day provide therapeutic services to young children as well as immigrant and refugee families.

Mary Ellen and John D. Killeen Master of Social Work Scholarship Fund

Mary Ellen Killeen is a School of Social Work graduate who established this fund to provide financial support for students enrolled in the Master’s of Social Work program.

Briee Preston

Briee Preston, Individuals, Groups, and Families concentration

I want to say I am extremely grateful for being chosen for this scholarship award. I have never been awarded a scholarship, so this means so much to me. This scholarship truly helps with my financial situation as I continue to struggle to get through. The pandemic has not made life easy for me, and I constantly face making financial sacrifices. My most recent concerns have been school finances, so again this is a complete blessing. Thank you for your generosity and for considering me; I truly appreciate it.

Miriam Silverman Memorial Scholarship

The Miriam Silverman Memorial Scholarship was established in her memory by her husband and friends to provide financial support to students in need.

Shalamiesha Gilbert

Shalamiesha Gilbert, Individuals, Groups, and Families concentration

Thank you for your generosity in your donation that has helped make my goal of achieving an MSW. It took me many years to finally apply to Graduate School and when the pandemic hit and my family’s income decreased, I wasn't sure if this was the right time to move forward with school. I decided to proceed despite the financial hurdles, and this scholarship will help ease my financial burden. I have always felt deep satisfaction through volunteer work and activism. In the back of my mind I knew I wanted to help others, but was unsure how to turn it into a career. Social work is my opportunity to turn my love of helping people into a career.

Murry Shapiro Endowed Scholarship Fund

Paul Shapiro, a retired assistant attorney general and former Mayor of Mansfield, Connecticut, established the Murry Shapiro Scholarship in memory of his late father, a former member of the Group Work faculty who taught at the School of Social Work.

Gina Squitieri

Gina Squitieri, Individuals, Groups, and Families concentration

I have endured numerous struggles throughout my lifetime and being a recipient of this scholarship reinforces the fact that other individuals recognize my hard work and resilience through it all. I have accepted an internship as a social work intern at UConn’s hospital in the ICU, fulfilling the main objective I set out for when I applied to this program. Words cannot express how grateful I am to be able to make a difference next semester in the lives of individuals whose health is in critical care and you supported me through this. There are not enough thank yous in the world to express my gratitude.

Nancy Tarr Berdon Fund

The family of Nancy Tarr Berdon established this award in memory of Tarr Berdon, a noted professional social worker in the New Haven area committed to working with the poor.

Ashante Malone, Individuals, Groups, and Families concentration

I am beyond grateful to have been chosen as a recipient of the Nancy Tarr Berdon scholarship. After completing the Master's Program at UConn, I will remain at the Department of Children and Families where I am currently employed and plan to transition to a social worker. I chose to further my education after being employed by DCF for several years. I am limited in how much I can directly assist families with my current role and I had such a desire to do more and that prompted my decision to return to school.


Holly Savitsky, Individuals, Groups, and Families concentration

Thank you most sincerely for your generous scholarship. For a student like me, a single mother who has spent most of her life in poverty, scholarships are life changing. In the social work field there’s so much to learn, so many important details that help us understand how to best help people. In the future, I plan to work for a nonprofit agency. I’d like to do outreach work to people who struggle with barriers to care such as chronic homelessness, substance misuse, disabilities, and mental illness. I’d also like to include activism in my work, since the systemic ways in which people are being oppressed are going largely unchallenged.

Peter Petrella Fellowship for the School of Social Work

The Peter Petrella fund supports fellowships for incoming or continuing graduate students enrolled full-time in the School of Social Work. Students may be incoming or continuing and must demonstrate academic achievement. Priority will be given to students who demonstrate financial need.

Matthew Stayner

Matthew Stayner, Individuals, Groups, and Families concentration

Thank you very much for this honor. This scholarship will make a huge difference in my ability to continue my education without having to worry as much about my financial situation. After earning my MSW, I hope to work within a community agency, ideally one that follows the integrated care model. I would like to work with adolescents and adults from vulnerable and underserved populations, who struggle with mental health and addictions. I believe that the integrated care model provides the best service for members of the community, as it allows clinicians from different disciplines to work together and form a team that addresses a clients’ needs holistically.

Shirley & Howard Dickstein Scholarship Fund

This scholarship was established by Shirley and Howard Dickstein to assist students with their expenses while attending school.

Kailey Bousquet

Kailey Bousquet, Individuals, Groups, and Families concentration

Thank you so much for your generosity in awarding me with this scholarship. I always dreamed of finding a career path that would provide me with opportunities for lifelong learning and giving back to others, and I am happy to say that I have found that in social work. Within my first year, I have learned more about our world and myself than I had before, and I will always be grateful for the knowledge and experiences the program, my professors, and my peers have provided me with. The School of Social Work at UConn is full of like-minded, determined, individuals and I absolutely love being a part of this community!

Kimberly Persaud

Kimberley Persaud, Community Organizing concentration

I want to thank you for your generosity and for providing this scholarship to me. I want to work in and with my community to help families and provide services to children with Autism. With my current internship, I work with my Hartford community and engage with families who have children with Autism and need early intervention for developmental delays. I am currently partaking in community organizing to develop a resource outlet for families. My goal is to remove the stigma addressed with Autism and create an environment where parents acknowledge their families' strengths and feel empowered to foster their child's development. Another goal of mine is to ensure families get the necessary mental health resources they need and adequate early intervention services for their children.

The LeBoeuf Johnson Master of Social Work Scholarship Fund

George LeBoeuf is a recent graduate of the School of Social Work, who, along with his wife, Shevonn Johnson, created this scholarship to support the educational needs of students enrolled in the Master’s of Social Work program.

Brianna Johnson

Brianna Johnson, Individuals, Groups, and Families concentration

I am so grateful for the opportunity this grant will award me. I began my career path 12 years ago when I first graduated UConn with my BA in Human Development and Family Studies. Since then, I have been working in the Applied Behavior Analysis field throughout the state of Connecticut. I received countless referrals for children that were labeled as “behavioral” and therefore “needed me.” These children did not need to be changed, they needed to be heard, and loved. I am hoping that furthering my education in Social Work, I will be able to make a bigger difference in not just individuals lives, but to teach others what it truly means to give help.

Ph.D. Awards

Rollin Williams/Y.C. Wu Research Dissertation Fellowship

The School of Social Work Ph.D. program offers the Rollin Williams/Y.C. Wu Research Dissertation Fellowship each year. The scholarship is intended to provide support to an incoming doctoral student who demonstrates the potential to make significant contributions to social work scholarship, education, and practice. All incoming doctoral students are eligible for the scholarship regardless of other financial supports.

One award of $10,000 per year for two years based on enrollment and good academic standing (for a total award of up to $20,000) will be made to a student entering the Ph.D. program. Students may receive this award once during their tenure in the Ph.D. program and are encouraged to use the award as a general stipend. The Ph.D. Program Director, in consultation with the Doctoral Committee, selects the scholarship recipient.

Cristina Wilson Scholarship

The Cristina Wilson Scholarship aims to support Ph.D. students' financial needs as they complete their degrees.

Davidson Dissertation Stipend

The Davidson Dissertation Stipend provides funding Ph.D. student travel related to completing their dissertations.

Phd Student Grace Felten

Grace Felten, MSW, Doctoral Candidate

2019–2020 Rollin Williams/ Y.C. Wu Dissertation Research Fellowship

2020–2021 Davidson Dissertation Stipend

My goal is to be a professor of social work at a Research I institution and to partner with international NGOs to provide research that will inform policy. Currently, there is little focus on migration and reproductive health, even with the professions’ commitment to serving the most vulnerable and advocating for human rights. I intend to help bridge connections between social workers and other humanitarian workers in this area and support them through my research using a human rights lens. Additionally, I hope this leads to the prioritization of reproductive health in humanitarian settings and to viewing reproductive health in a more comprehensive manner.

This scholarship has allowed me to continue my dissertation research conducting an exploratory qualitative case study to examine the impact of forced migration on the reproductive health of refugee women in Greece and to gain insight into the experiences of humanitarian workers trying to support refugees in severely constrained situations. I will use these funds for travel costs and other research-related expenses in order to conduct approximately 40 semi-structured, in-depth qualitative interviews with refugees and staff and/or volunteers working with refugees in Greece and to record relevant observations during visits to refugee camps, community centers, NGO offices, and informal spaces.

Phd student Jenna Powers

Jenna Powers, MSW, Doctoral Candidate

2019–2020 Rollin Williams/Y.C. Wu Dissertation Research Fellowship

2020–2021 Cristina Wilson Scholarship

I am incredibly honored and appreciative of receiving the 2019-2020 Rollin Williams/Y.C. Wu Dissertation Research Fellowship and the 2020-2021 Cristina Wilson Scholarship. Both of these awards will be instrumental in me achieving my goals upon earning my Ph.D. Upon graduation, I hope to continue teaching and conducting research with the foster youth community, both of which will be strengthened by my engagement in participatory action research (PAR) and community-based participatory research (CBPR) projects.

The Dissertation Research Fellowship has enabled me to pursue PAR and CBPR aspects within my dissertation study's data collection, analysis, and dissemination. This has provided me exposure to and practice with these participatory research methods. The Cristina Wilson Scholarship will make it possible for me to attend a conference where I can disseminate my dissertation research findings as well as learn from and network with other researchers conducting PAR and CBPR. As a result, both awards will directly benefit my research and teaching upon graduation.