Announcements — December 2010 Archives

December 10, 2010

NOTICE re: MSW ADVANCED STANDING PROGRAM Application deadline for Summer 2011 has been extended to January 1, 2011

December 9, 2010

Two Doctoral Candidates Defend Dissertation Proposals

Congratulations are in order to two of our Ph.D. candidates who successfully defended their proposals in the past few days ~

Valerie L. Holton, whose dissertation title is Distinguishing between Homeless and Unstably Housed Men on Risk Factors for Homelessness, defended her proposal on December 3, 2010. Her project is directed by Dr. Ann Nichols-Casebolt with support from Drs. Tim L. Davey and Mary C. Secret from our School, and Dr. Michela M. Zonta from the VCU Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.

On December 6, 2010, Justin S. Lee, who will conduct a study entitled Unaccompanied Refugee Minor and Strategies to Navigate a New World: A Grounded Theory, defended his proposal. The project will be directed by Dr. Pamela J. Kovacs with the support of Drs. Mary Katherine O’Connor and Peter V. Nguyen, and Dr. Rosalie A. Corona from VCU’s Department of Psychology.

Best wishes to both Justin and Valerie as you negotiate the IRB and data collection and analysis.

Congratulations, Dr. Keita M. Franklin !

Congratulations to Dr. Keita Franklin, who successfully defended her dissertation on November 10, 2010. Keita’s title is The impact of deployment and psychological well-being on family relationships: A secondary analysis of Air Force Community Assessment Data. Dr. Holly C. Matto chaired the dissertation, her first as chair, with support from committee members Dr. Patrick V. Dattalo and Dr. Delores Dungee-Anderson from the School of Social Work, Dr. Barbara J. Myers from the VCU Department of Psychology, and from Bryn Mawr College School of Social Work and Social Research, internationally known military scholar, Dr. James Martin.

Dr. Franklin examined data from a large data set for relationships between deployment length and frequency, family relationships and psychological symptoms such as trauma and depression. Not surprisingly, she found that as Airmen’s symptoms worsened, so did the quality of relationships with both their spouses and children. Social support was a moderating factor, but not as important as predicted by previous literature. Perhaps most importantly, she found that combat length in particular was the most important factor in predicting the quality of family relationships.

Keita ( came to our Ph.D. program in Fall 2007 with a BA in psychology from Our Lady of Elms in Chicopee, Massachusetts, and an MSW from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. She brought rich practice experience, first as an adoption case manager, and then as a military social worker and supervisor. Keita now works at Quantico and has just been promoted to Behavioral Health Director for the Marine Corps. Overseeing a 50 million dollar budget, Keita will direct five major mental health programs, including those that relate to family advocacy, drug and alcohol abuse, combat stress, sexual assault and suicide.

You may remember, also, that Keita was awarded the Jesse Hibbs scholarship earlier this year, given by the VCU Women’s Club to an outstanding female Virginia student with dependent children. We also awarded her with a School Leadership Award this past May for her leadership to our School, especially around curriculum content on trauma, and indeed, her service to the country. Keita is the first in her cohort to graduate, finishing all her requirements in just over 3 years. We wish you well, Keita!