Alumni Updates: Fall 2018

Alumni; PhD; Public Health; Social Work

More than 10,000 graduates of the Brown School have been making a positive impact throughout the United States and around the world. Below, we celebrate the accomplishments that have been shared with us!

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Matthew Bakko, MSW ’15, a joint PhD student in Social Work and Sociology at the University of Michigan, has been selected for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Policy Research Scholars program. His research will explore how new philanthropic and service delivery models and tools reconfigure organizations, engage with diverse communities, alter power dynamics, and blur sector boundaries to affect the capacity building and social change process.

Bonnie Brody, MSW ’92, has retired after 20 years of providing clinical social work in Fairbanks, Alaska, both in private practice and at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks.

Charlene Carruthers, MSW ‘09, reimagines the Black radical tradition in her debut book, “Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements.” The book is a guide for activists and community organizers involved in social justice movement work. Recognized as one of the top 10 most influential African Americans by The Root 100, Carruthers was also the recipient of the Illinois Wesleyan University 2017 Outstanding Young Alumna Award.

Li-Chen Cheng, PhD ’95, a professor at National Taiwan University, has been instrumental in establishing a Taiwan Child Development Account policy, which encourages disadvantaged families to save for their children’s futures by creating publicly subsidized saving accounts.

Mackenzie Cook, MSW ‘16, a PhD student at the University of Missouri-Columbia, was awarded a research grant from Emerging Scholars in Family Planning for her research project, Exploring Unintended Teen Pregnancy in Rural Missouri.

Lindy Drew, MSW ’16, Caroline Fish, MSW ’14 and Dessa Somerside, MSW/MPH ‘13, recently began a Kickstarter campaign to publish a book featuring their work for Humans of St. Louis. The Humans of St. Louis nonprofit shares first-person stories and photographic portraits of the people and places of St. Louis, grounded in the values of social work and public health. The project has a following on Facebook of almost 100,000 and their work has been exhibited throughout the city.

Allison Dunnigan, PhD ’18, has been chosen for the 2018 CSWE Child Welfare Track Dissertation Award. This award will be presented at the CSWE APM Child Welfare Track meeting on November 8 in Orlando.

Jake Eikenberry, MSW ’18, is a new PhD student in Social Work at Saint Louis University, where he is studying sustainable alternatives to incarceration.

Kathy Ellis, MSW ‘78, is a candidate for Congress in Missouri’s 8th congressional district. She is a psychotherapist, a Certified Reciprocal Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor and a Certified Experiential Therapist III.

Vincent Flewellen, MSW’05, was appointed chief diversity officer at Webster University. He previously served as director of the University City Children’s Center.

Alana Flowers, MSW ’17, works for the St. Louis College Readiness Initiatives at Washington University and has also produced a directed a short film. “The Kinloch Doc” tells the story of the once-thriving town of Kinloch, the oldest all-Black city west of the Mississippi. It was presented at the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase, at which she received the “Fierceness Award.” The film will also screen at the St. Louis International Film Festival on November 11.

Mariah Jeremiah, MSW ’14, a mental health therapist on the Washoe Tribe reservation in Garnerville, Nevada is directing a grant program called “Native Connections” for youth suicide prevention. She has formed a suicide prevention coalition and launched an awareness campaign, dramatically decreasing deaths by suicide and increasing tribal engagement with mental health services. She credits the Buder Center at the Brown School for shaping her work.

Chris Knoepke, MSW ’07, is currently on faculty in the Division of Cardiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. He also recently received a career development award from the American Heart Association.

Cashell D. Lewis, MSW ’17, is beginning his PhD work at the University of Chicago, focused on reducing barriers that hinder upward mobility for minority populations.

Lauren Maguire Samuelson, MSW ’13, was recently promoted to director of development at Catholic Charities of Buffalo. She is responsible for planning and executing an $11 million Annual Appeal and Major Gift Advancement Program.

Sarah Narendorf, PhD ’12, assistant professor at the University of Houston, was honored with the Distinguished Faculty Scholar Award, Pre-Tenure Faculty from The Women and Gender Resource Center at the University of Houston. The award recognizes faculty who have made significant contributions to teaching, research, and service, including service to women and advancing gender equity on campus.

Suzanne Pritzer, PhD ’09, is an associate professor at the University of Houston and was awarded the 2018 Social Work Day on the Hill Outstanding Individual in Academia Award by the Congressional Research Institute on Social Work and Policy.

Esther Shin, MSW ’98, president of Urban Strategies, Inc., is spearheading an effort to turn around the Near North Side of St. Louis with a $29.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Andrea Spray, MPH ’11, is a PhD Candidate at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine in nutrition. Currently based in Kampala, Uganda, she was an investigator on a team recently awarded one of the Drivers of Food Choice sub-grants; is a nutrition consultant for the World Bank; and a recipient of the World Bank Group FY16 Human Development Vice-Presidency Team Award.

Samantha Stangl, MSW ’13, made a presentation on mass incarceration to the Missouri Supreme Court in May 2018 as part of her work with the Clark-Fox Family Foundation’s Mass Incarceration Ecosystem educational project.

Sarah Ward (French), MSW ’93, wrote a young adult novel through Green Writer’s Press in Brattleboro, Vermont. The novel, “Aesop Lake,” was published in July 2018.

Barbara Whitman, PhD ‘80, has been promoted to assistant dean of graduate medical education at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine.

Lyndsey Wilbers, MPH ’17, recently became a health policy associate at the Missouri Foundation for Health, following her completion of a one-year Health Policy Fellowship.

We love to hear recent news from our Brown School alums. Please tell us about your new positions, awards, innovations and endeavors.