Announcements — April 2010 Archives

April 30, 2010

Dr. Hsing-Jung Chen to Present at National Symposium

Dr. Hsing-Jung Chen’s dissertation, “Robust Protective Factors that Help Youths with a Parent Experiencing Depression Achieve Positive Adjustment,” has been accepted for presentation at the 22nd National Symposium on Doctoral Research in Social Work to be held May 1, 2010 at the College of Social Work, Ohio State University. The National Symposium on Doctoral Reserch in Social Work showcases some of the best doctoral dissertation research of recent Ph.D. and D.S.W. graduates in social work.

Hsing-Jung Chen is a 2009 alumna of the VCU School of Social Work.

April 29, 2010

Alumnus James Forte named 2010 Social Work Educator of the Year

Dr. James A. Forte, an associate professor in the Social Work Department at Salisbury University, was recently named the 2010 Maryland Social Work Educator of the Year by the National Association of Social Workers-Maryland Chapter. Jim received his Ph.D. in 1990 and his M.S.W. in 1978 from the VCU School of Social Work.

Two excellent articles profiling Jim’s impressive career can be accessed at Maryland Social Worker, Spring Edition.pdf and Salisbury University News Events.pdf

Congratulations to you, Jim, you’ve made our School proud !

Jim Forte.jpg

2010 Social Work Educator of the Year

James A. Forte, Ph.D., MSW

Doctoral students in the news: Congratulations all around !


Congratulations to doctoral candidate Valerie Holton for her selection this week as the 2010 winner of the Hans S. Falck Doctoral Scholarship. Valerie’s dissertation will examine risk factors for homelessness among people who have experienced foreclosure. The timely research, steeped in concern for economic justice, has the potential to inform policy decisions regarding home ownership and help target services to prevent homelessness. Valerie will use the $1000 award to defray expenses for participant incentives as well support the cost of research assistants to help schedule and conduct interviews. Her nomination was competitively selected from five outstanding submissions by the review team of Dr. Marilyn Biggerstaff, Professor Emeritus and Dr. Nicki Lee, former doctoral research instructor, Ph.D. alum and current MSW adjunct instructor of research.

In addition, Valerie has been selected to receive a School of Social Work Leadership and Service Award for 2010.


Congratulations to first year student Suzie Weng, who was selected earlier this semester by the Doctoral Program Committee to be the 2010-11 winner of the $2500 doctoral Phi Kappa Phi scholarship. Suzie’s intellectual curiosity, ability to “think outside the box,” and consistent high quality academic work was noted by the DPC in making the determination. Suzie is deeply committed to advancing knowledge about human services in the Asian community. She was honored along with other recipients around campus at a University reception on April 28th.


Congratulations to Keita Franklin for her selection for the $1000 Jesse Hibbs Award, a VCU scholarship offered by the VCU Women’s Club to outstanding female graduate students with dependent children. Keita is actively working on her dissertation The impact of wartime deployments and psychological well-being on family relationships. Her chair, Dr. Delores Dungee-Anderson wrote in her nomination: “Keita is a most unusual and amazing doctoral candidate in that she is bright, enthusiastic, and completely motivated and committed to scholarship and social work practice.” Dr. Matto also wrote, “Keita has a resounding passion and commitment to military families and is devoted to extending scholarly inquiry into understanding how to better support such families.”

Keita is also a recipient of the School of Social Work Leadership and Service Award for 2010.


Congratulations to doctoral candidate Julie Osgood whose abstract, Moving toward culturally sensitive organization practice: Three cross- cultural perspectives (Abstract No.: 4IC0020), has been selected for Best Award (Student) at the 2010 Joint World Conference on Social Work and Social Development being held June 10-14, 2010 in Hong Kong. Julie’s presentation at this international conference is a major milestone in her social work career. The Outstanding Abstract Student Awards are sponsored by the University of Hong Kong.


Congratulations to second year student Robert Broce and the other members of the community-university partnership who were recently awarded $11,000 on a grant proposal entitled, “Multiple Family Group Intervention for Students Transitioning to Middle School,” submitted to the Council for Community Engagement. The funds will be used to pilot-test a Multiple Family Group Weekend Retreat intervention with approximately 30 families of high-risk children rising to 6th grade in south-side Richmond Public Schools. The retreats will be held in August at YMCA Camp Thunderbird. The goal is to use data collected from this program to strengthen the manualized intervention and provide preliminary results in support of future funding.

The implementation team consists Robert, Melissa McGinn of Greater Richmond SCAN, Stephanie Grady of Richmond Public Schools, Damon Jiggetts of Communities in Schools, Michael Southam-Gerow of VCU’s Department of Psychology, as well as our own faculty, Melissa Abell, Timothy Davey, and Matthias Naleppa. The project also calls for significant involvement of numerous BSW and MSW students. The community-university team will be recognized at a reception to be held on April 30, 2010.


Congratulations to first year student Johnnie O’Neal who was recently awarded a scholarship to the HIV Research Catalyst Forum held April 20-23, 2010 in Baltimore, MD. 170 scholarships were awarded to advocates from around the country out of over 1,000 applications submitted. The scholarships, awarded based on the recipient’s willingness and ability to participate in a research advocacy network in an ongoing basis after the Forum, and its covers transportation, accommodations, meals, and most importantly, the forum. For more information see

April 22, 2010

VCU-ABSW Student Chapter Attends NABSW Conference

The VCU student chapter of Association of Black Social Workers (ABSW) participated in the 42nd annual conference of the National Association of Black Social Workers on April 6-10 in Philadelphia, PA. The national conference offers numerous opportunities to enhance skills, learn about African-centered approaches to implementing human service delivery systems, and examine research specific to African ancestry for the betterment of the African American community. This year’s conference theme “Keepers of the Village: the Role for Community Organizers” was very fitting for the numerous workshops and skills building institutes held at the conference.

At this years conference a total of eight current VCU social work students attended: Paladin Wiley, Tanisha Anderson, Gerri Archer, Tierra Harrington, [2nd year concentration students]; Andrea Uzzell, Michelle Jackson, Tierra Collins, [1st year foundation students]; and Roxann Francis [BSW Jr.]; and two alumnus: Staci Winn, BSW (09) and Terrance Reeves, MSW (09). The students also had an opportunity to network and be mentored by VCU alumna, Dr. Bonnie Young-Lang, who was also in attendance. The students participated in numerous volunteer projects; most notably is the National Service Project (sponsored by the Office of Student Affairs-OSA) specific to the call from First Lady Michelle Obama: “childhood obesity”. A total of 25 students from across the Mid-Atlantic region volunteered at the Cozen Police Athletic League with children from the Philadelphia area to increase there knowledge about childhood obesity. The student volunteers served nutritious meals, participated with the children in numerous recreational activities, and arts crafts, all specific to being fit and eating healthy ( see pictures below).

The purpose of the OSA is to promote the interests and share the concerns of the students in NABSW by serving as a link between student members and organization. VCU 1st year foundation student, Tierra Collins served as National Treasurer for the 2009-10 academic year, and alumna Staci Winn served as 2nd Vice President for the 2009-10 academic year. As faculty Advisor, I am very proud of our students, both current and alums. The opportunity to participate in the conference is inspiring and motivating.

The student chapter would like to thank, Interim Dean Ann Nichols-Casebolt for her generous support. It is thorough this support that VCU-SSW was able to be represented at the 42nd National Conference. In the spirit and joy of Harambee!


Jenny Jones, Faculty Advisor

Conference photos.doc

April 12, 2010

Dr. Tony Mallon Recognized by President Rao

Dr. Tony Mallon was recently recogized by Dr. Rao in the presidential update sent to VCU faculty, staff, and students. Congratulations Dr. Mallon!

Excerpt from Dr. Rao’s April 7 Update:

The overarching goal of the VCU-United Way Financial Stability Alliance is to facilitate the development in the Richmond metropolitan area of a systematic and comprehensive approach to combat intergenerational poverty. Assistant Professor Tony Mallon and the school have led this collaborative effort, in conjunction with the School of Business (Associate Professor Roxanne Spindle) and the School of Mass Communications (Assistant Professors Yan Jin and Anna West) and in partnership with United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg.

In collaboration with United Way and MetroCash, professors Mallon and Spindle organized and hosted a one-day Financial Stability Fair, at which MetroCash volunteers, supported by students from the schools of Business and Social Work, provided free tax preparation to 40 low- and moderate-income individuals, returning an estimated $42,800 to participants.

April 9, 2010

Dissertation defenses coming up soon !

Three doctoral candidates will be defending their dissertations this month in anticipation of their May graduation!

Natsuko “Nana” Ryosho

Monday, April 26th, 3:00-5:00 PM, RAL 230

Nana’s dissertation is entitled, Job and personal resources and demands: The effects on job satisfaction and job search behaviour of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) working in nursing homes. Dr. F. Ellen Netting is chairing the dissertation with support from committee members within the School, Drs. Pamela J. Kovacs and Sarah Kye Price, and outside member, Dr. Constance Coogle from VCU’s Center on Aging.

Leanne Langley Heaton

April 30th, 10:00 AM-1:00 PM, RAL 101

Leanne’s title is Contributions of Neglect Subtype and Family History in DSM-IV Disorders: Findings from the NCS-R, and her dissertation chair is Dr. Mary Katherine O’Connor. Other committee members are Drs. Patrick V. Dattalo and Holly C. Matto from the school, Dr. Michael Southam-Gerow from the VCU Department of Psychology, and Dr. Kathleen R. Merikangas from the National Institutes of Mental Health.

Jody Lynn Hearn

April 30th, 2:30-4:30 PM, RAL 101

Yes, there are two defenses on this day ! Jody’s dissertation title is Family preservation in families’ ecological systems: Factors that predict out-of-home placement and maltreatment for service recipients in Richmond City. Her dissertation is chaired by Dr. Melissa L. Abell with support from Drs. Mary Katherine O’Connor and Holly C. Matto from within the school, Dr. Larry Williams from the VCU School of Business, and Dr. Anne Kisor of the Richmond Department of Social Services.

The dissertation drafts will be available for loan in the Ph.D. office two weeks prior to the defense dates, and afterwards in the Ph.D. offices in the basement.