Announcements — March 2009 Archives

March 26, 2009

Field Orientation for Summer 2009 Students



Field Orientation will be held on Tuesday, April 21st from 11 am- 12 pm in room 112 of the Raleigh Building.

This orientation is for BSW Juniors & MSW Foundation students planning to complete their placement this upcoming summer semester.

Ph.D. Alumnus John Matthews Named Fulbright Scholar

Dr. John Matthews has been named a Fulbright Scholar by the United States Department of State and the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. John will depart in early December 2009 for Windhoek, Namibia (Sub-Saharan Africa), where he will lecture in social work and community development for one year at the University of Namibia (, while also conducting a research project that explores risk and resilience among orphans and other vulnerable children (OVC), with a particular focus on children who have lost parents to HIV/AIDS.

Dr. John Matthews is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work and Human Services at Eastern Washington University. He holds a Ph.D. in Social Work from Virginia Commonwealth University, and an MSW from Radford University.

The Fulbright Program, America’s flagship international educational exchange program, is sponsored by the United States Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs. Since its establishment in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, the Fulbright Program has provided approximately 286,500 people – 108,160 Americans who have studied, taught or researched abroad and 178,340 students, scholars and teachers from other countries who have engaged in similar activities in the United States – with the opportunity to observe each others’ political, economic, educational and cultural institutions, to exchange ideas and to embark on joint ventures of importance to the general welfare of the world’s inhabitants. The Program operates in over 155 countries worldwide.

Recipients of Fulbright awards are selected on the basis of academic or professional achievement, as well as demonstrated leadership potential in their fields. Among the thousands of prominent Fulbright alumni are: Muhammad Yunus, Managing Director and Founder, Grameen Bank, and recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006; Javier Solana, Foreign Policy Chief, European Union; Ruth Simmons, President, Brown University; Craig Barrett, Chairman of the Board, Intel Corporation; Shamshad Akhtar, the first woman to hold the position of Governor, State Bank of Pakistan; Alejandro Jara, Deputy Director-General, World Trade Organization; Raoul Cantero, Justice, Florida Supreme Court; Renee Fleming, soprano; Gish Jen, Writer; Daniel Libeskind, Architect; Aneesh Raman, CNN Middle East Correspondent; and Sibusiso Sibisi, President and CEO, Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in South Africa.

Fulbright recipients are among over 40,000 individuals participating in U.S. Department of State exchange programs each year. For more than sixty years, the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs has supported programs that seek to promote mutual understanding and respect between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program is administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars.

For further information about the Fulbright Program or the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, please visit our website at or contact James A. Lawrence, Office of Academic Exchange Programs, telephone 202-453-8531, or Email

March 18, 2009

2009 Phi Kappa Phi Scholarships Awarded to SSW Students


Abby Sedaghatfar is a graduating senior that will be attending graduate school in social work this fall. She received the Lauren A. Woods Scholarship in the amount of $3,000 and was also named the VCU Phi Kappa Phi nominee for the Phi Kappa Phi Graduate Fellowship national competition. Abi was selected from among university-wide applicants and was recognized for her superior academic achievement, leadership and service experience at VCU, in the Richmond community, and through several international projects. As part of her application Abi submitted a paper about immigrants that was thoughtful, well-written, and raised important social justice issues, something she is very passionate about. In his recommendation letter for Abi’s application to the Lauren A. Woods Scholarship, Dr. Peter V. Nguyen noted “While I was impressed with Abigail’s intellectual ability, it was her deep-seeded passion and affinity for immigrants that caught my attention. As a professor, teaching the content is easy, but instilling passion must come from within. It is this passion that drives a person to be a great social worker – one that impacts lives and makes a difference.”


Jodi Mincemoyer was awarded the $2,500 MSW Phi Kappa Phi scholarship for the 2009-2010 academic year. Jodi will start her concentration course work in the Fall 2009 semester and is expected to graduate in May 2010. She has extensive community service experience including working with the Virginia Organizing Project, serving on the Board of Directors for the Colonial Community Service Board, and serving on the Board of Directors for the National Association for the Education of Homeless Children and Youth. Jodi is completing her foundation year internship at Virginia Supportive Housing. Jodi has a strong commitment to social justice and activism, especially equitable access to education, opportunity, healthcare and housing. Jodi has multiple publications and describes herself as “a learner, seeker, teacher, and advocate”.

Salima Jiwa was awarded the $1,000 MSW Phi Kappa Phi Unit scholarship for the 2009-2010 academic year. Salima will start her concentration course work in the Fall 2009 semester and is a student at our Alexandria, VA campus. Salima is expected to graduate in May 2010. Salima has volunteered as a teacher’s assistant, volunteered for a Head Start literacy program, and tutored undergraduate ESOL students. She also worked with immigrant families from Afghanistan and volunteered at a Children’s Hospital. Salima holds a Master of Arts in Child Studies from Concordia University in Montreal, Canada and has multiple publications and presentations related to children and parents’ issues. Salima is completing her foundation internship at Herndon Middle School and describes herself as being “dedicated to using [her] knowledge, experience and skills to help others deal with their challenges and achieve their fullest potential”.


Mariette Klein, a first year doctoral student, was recently awarded the 2009 Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society Doctoral Scholarship Award for outstanding achievement in scholarship and leadership. Klein was Director of Volunteerism for AARP in Washington, D.C. before entering the Ph.D. program in Fall 2008.

March 17, 2009

Randi Buerlein selected for the Presidential Award for Community Multicultural Enrichment (PACME)

Congratulations to Mrs. Randi Buerlein who has been selected as one of VCU’s faculty awardees for the Presidential Award for Community Multicultural Enrichment (PACME).

Randi has been a leader in engaging our faculty and students in projects and activities that promote cultural diversity, both through her work here on campus as well as internationally. As you might not know, in addition to her work in the School of Social Work, Randi was a founding member of the LGBT subcommittee of the VCU Equity and Diversity Committee, she was a catalyst for the Burnside Watstein Award, she does training for Safe Zones, and she was a leader of the For Africa event that received the VCU Currents of Change Award this academic year.

The awards ceremony where Randi and other winners will be recognized is scheduled for: Wednesday, April 8, 2009, 3:00 p.m., Student Commons-Richmond Salons.

Congratulations again to Randi.

March 16, 2009

Poster Symposium for Undergraduate Research & Creavity

Come find out about interesting research projects, research-in-progress, and displays of creative scholarship at VCU! This event is hosted by the Committee for Undergraduate Research and Creative Scholarship and is being held on Wednesday, April 22, 2009, 12:00pm – 2:00pm, in the Commonwealth Ballrooms A&B in Student Commons.

For more information visit:

March 9, 2009

Save the Date !

4th Annual Community Partners Appreciation Luncheon to be Held May 1, 2009

Over the years, the VCU School of Social Work has been involved with the community in a variety of ways. We annually place more than 500 students in agencies across the state, offer continuing education training workshops to professionals both regionally and worldwide, assist agencies with program evaluations, as well as offer several international experiences for students and alumni. This annual event is an opportunity to celebrate these activities and to honor participating community partners. Save the date ! We will soon be posting event details on the Field Instruction Announcements blog !

March 6, 2009

Field Application Deadline Update

The application deadline for upcoming MSW Concentration students ONLY has been extended to March 18th.

Other applications (BSW Junior, Senior & MSW Foundation) are still due on March 8th if you are entering field Summer or Fall 2009.