Announcements — M.S.W. Program

April 10, 2012

Jackie Maroney Joins School as M.S.W. Program Assistant

JackieMaroney.pngWe are pleased to announce that Jackie Maroney has joined the school as the new M.S.W. Program Assistant. In her new role, Jackie will be supporting M.S.W. faculty in a variety of capacities. She will make travel arrangements, maintain program files, and assist the M.S.W. Program Director.

Originally from upstate New York, Jackie studied Sociology at the State University of New York College at Cortland. She has extensive administrative support experience at VCU, as well as in health care and accounting settings.

Please join us in welcoming Jackie!

August 24, 2011

MSW Foundation Field Orientation

All MSW Foundation (1st yr) students entering field Fall 2011:

Field Orientation will be held on August 30th & 31st from 8:30am-3:30pm. Please see the field calendar for location.

June 15, 2011

Social Work Volunteer Opportunity

Volunteer Position: Children’s Activity Assistants

Program: HomeAgain INRICH Transitional Program

Days/Hours: Monday and Wednesday evenings, 5:30 pm – 7:30 pm

Location: Richmond, VA – Northside

Description: We are currently seeking volunteers to work with the children residing in our Transitional Program. Responsibilities include homework assistance, reading, facilitating arts and crafts, games, and other activities in a structured, educational environment.

Agency Description: The mission of HomeAgain is to assist homeless families and individuals in metro Richmond by providing emergency and transitional shelter as well as programs designed to build skills leading to increased self-sufficiency and to identify resources needed to obtain permanent housing.

Agency website:

Interested volunteers should contact Ly Hayes by email at

December 10, 2010

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

October 6, 2010

VCU SSW Alumna to appear on the “Oprah” show Wednesday, October 6th

Check your local listings to confirm show time

Laura Blum Romano, MSW 2003, LCSW, had written to “The Oprah Winfrey Show” on a number of occasions hoping to be chosen to appear but, alas, her submissions had never been chosen from among the thousands the show receives. Earlier this year, Laura visited and saw a request for submissions from viewers to talk about the first show they remembered viewing and the impact it had on their lives. This request was particularly meaningful to long time viewers since the show will be going off the air this year.

Laura responded that she vividly remembered watching a show about author Truddi Chase who had written a book about multiple personalities. Laura was 14 at the time and the show confirmed for her that she wanted to become a social worker. She received a call from the “Oprah” show the very next day. Unable to travel to Chicago since she is in the final trimester of pregnancy, the “Oprah” staff accommodated Laura by filming her at home.

Laura began her social work training at New York University and completed her MSW degree at the Northern Virginia campus of the VCU School of Social Work. She has done clinical work with children dealing with trauma and in her current job does clinical home studies for both domestic and international adoptions. Laura and her twin sister were themselves adopted from Bogota, Columbia, and her search for her birth parents and her reunion with them and her siblings was captured in a documentary film, Las Hijas, (The Daughters, by Maria Quiroga) which won the New York Film festival Award in 2006. She has utilized this documentary about her story in her work with families and the issues of international adoption.

“Las Hijas” is about three young women who were adopted from Colombia as infants. Laura, Tanya and Kris were among the first generation of adoptees from that country and they were raised by families in the New York City / New Jersey area. First as children and then as adults, they seek to establish their sense of identity.

Many programs and films on adoption glorify the subject and only speak about its positive points, but it is important to tell the whole story, both the positive and the negative. “Las Hijas” was filmed over a four-year period in New York and Colombia and touches upon all three angles of the adoption triangle: The adoptee, the adoptive family and the biological family. It also brings to light the struggles that are inherent with international adoptions.

February 25, 2010

School mourns loss of doctoral student

Faculty, students and staff of the School of Social Work, as well as friends of the school all over VCU, are deeply saddened at the death of doctoral candidate Robin Michele McKinney, who passed away unexpectedly on Sunday evening, February 21, 2010. A funeral service was held on Saturday, February 27th, 11:00 A.M., at Mimms Funeral Home in Richmond, VA with a post-service reception at the Scott House on the Monroe Park campus of VCU.

Funeral Remarks by Dr. Kia J. Bentley, Director

Ph.D. Program in Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University

Robin came to us in 2007 with a UVA undergrad degree and an MSW from one of our country’s top schools, some of the highest test scores we’ve seen in our program applicants, and a long and rich practice background in health and mental health settings as counselor, case manager, supervisor, outreach worker and project coordinator. We supported Robin with our most competitive scholarships, and as you have heard, she was currently a doctoral fellow in our professional organization’s highly respected Minority Fellows Program.

Two years of rigorous full-time Ph.D. coursework was behind her, successful completion of the three-day comprehensive exam process had been achieved; Robin was traveling the country giving presentations on issues of importance to the African American community; just last semester she had totally blossomed in teaching her first course, a course in social justice; she and Dr. Dungee-Anderson were collaborating on her first senior-authored publication summarizing her research on perceptions of African American clergy about domestic violence issues; and she was in the first stages of working on her dissertation. Her chair, Dr. Liz Cramer, had just put the first round of editorial feedback on her research proposal in her mail box last weekend.

And what was she going to do? Research: to help us understand disparities as they relate to African American women and intimate partner violence. How do racism, classism, unequal access to services, and stereotypes contribute to our inadequate response to this problem, resulting in dramatically more negative outcomes for African American women, as compared to others, including more severe injuries and higher death rates ? Robin was then going to use her knowledge to propose culturally relevant and responsive solutions. So you see, Robin was poised for greatness as a scholar, teacher and leader.

Most of you know the VCU school community gathered on Monday, just hours after hearing the news, to acknowledge the unbelievable loss and to be together in community, our strength and signature.

It was clear then, and is today, that in the Ph.D. program and in the School, Robin was well-loved, a mentor to other students, and a trusted friend to staff, peers and faculty. Indeed, even I was one of Robin’s 455 Facebook friends!

Tenacious, optimistic, funny, and authentic…..we will find ways to remember Robin and celebrate, not only the difference she would have made in our field, but the difference she did make in our lives.

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Robin McKinney with Dr. Kia J. Bentley, Director of Ph.D. Program, at 2009 Student Welcome event

February 16, 2010

Richmond Field Applications Due 3/7/10!

March 7

Richmond field applications due for all students B.S.W. (Junior and Senior) & M.S.W. (Foundation and Concentration) beginning field in Summer 2010 or Fall 2010

September 28, 2009

Carmen Nazario (MSW 73) Receives Federal Appointment

We are very pleased to announce that the United States Senate unanimously confirmed Carmen Nazario to be Assistant Secretary for Children and Families. Carmen has a distinguished record of more than 40 years working in human services at every level of government, as well as in the private and non-profit sectors. She has devoted her career to developing and implementing programs that promote the well-being of children and families, and she will build on that important work as Assistant Secretary for Children and Families. Please join us in welcoming her to HHS in this new role.


Until her recent nomination, Carmen Nazario was an Assistant Professor at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico, where she taught social policy and coordinated the Social Work Practicum at the School of Social Work. Nazario has vast experience in public service with a focus on improving services to children and families within the United States and around the world, dating back to 1968. From January 2003 – December 2008, she served as Administrator of the Administration for Children and Families for the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, where she led an agency of 4,000 staff with a budget of over $220 million. Prior to that, she served as the Senior Resident Investigator for the Jordan Poverty Alleviation Program, where she developed and implemented a national poverty reduction strategy for the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan and advised leaders in the nation on the delivery of social services. During the Clinton Administration, she first served as Associate Commissioner for Child Care in the Administration on Children, Youth and Families and later became the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF). Nazario joined the Clinton Administration after serving as Secretary of Health and Social Services for the State of Delaware from 1993-1997, and, prior to that, she was the Director of Social Services in Norfolk, Virginia, and Loudoun County, Virginia. Nazario has held a number of national leadership roles, including Vice President of the Board of Directors of the American Public Welfare Association, President of the National Council of Local Public Welfare Administrators, and Secretary of the National Council of State Human Service Administrators. Nazario is from Bayamon, Puerto Rico. She received a Bachelor of Arts with honors in Sociology from the University of Puerto Rico in 1967, and was awarded her Master of Social Work degree from Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work in 1973.

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.

October 16, 2008

Field applications now due !

Field applications are due for all B.S.W. and M.S.W. students beginning field in spring 2009 – deadline is Monday, October 27th !