Alumni Updates Spring 2019

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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Jin-Hee Cho, MSW ‘99 has been appointed associate professor in the Department of Computer Science at Virginia Tech.

Margaret M. Clancy, MSW ’97, policy director at the Center for Social Development at the Brown School, has been instrumental in guiding policy design in each of the six states that now have Child Development Account (CDA) programs. She is also directing the SEED Oklahoma for Kids experiment, a large-scale study on the impacts of CDAs in Oklahoma.

Elisabeth Coates, MSW ’18 is a staff assistant for the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations. She was named 2019 Outstanding Congressional Social Worker of the Year by the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy.

Mackenzie Cook, MSW 16, received an Emerging Scholars in Family Planning grant to explore unintended teen pregnancy in rural Missouri. Cook is a doctoral student at the University of Missouri. 

Murli Desai, PhD ’83 received the Life Time Achievement Award from the National Association of Professional Social Workers in India (NAPSWI), in recognition of her accomplishments as a distinguished social work educator who has enriched the knowledge base of the profession.

Allison Dunnigan, PhD ’18, received the 2018 CSWE Child Welfare Track Dissertation Award from CSWE in November. She is now an assistant professor at the University of Georgia.

Kathy Ellis, MSW ’78, made a 2018 run for Congress in Missouri’s 8th Congressional District. Outside of the political arena, she practices as a psychotherapist as well as a Certified Reciprocal Advanced Alcohol and Drug Counselor and a Certified Experiential Therapist III.

Matthew Frank, MSW/MPH ’16 is an assistant professor at the New Mexico State University School of Social Work. He was the recipient of a NIH pilot research grant, “Tribal Equine Assisted Psychotherapy: Building Youth Resiliency Through Horses.” He also co-wrote and is the lead evaluator for a $2.5 million, 5-year SAMHSA grant, “Prevention for Community Wellness: Positive Directions for Native Health.”

Remy Gordon, MSW ’17, has developed a free app, Seeking Shelter, which seeks to provide all individuals with information to receive appropriate and safe housing throughout the United States. Within the city directories, there is information for emergency shelters, family shelters, transitional living programs, free health clinics, domestic violence shelters, youth shelters, food pantries, and many more critical resources. 

Stephanie Gutierrez, MSW ’16 co-founded Hope Nation LLC. She explores how effective community wealth building in Native communities depends on an active process of cultural translation in a report published by the Democracy Collaborative.

Aytakin Huseynli, MSW ’04, and current graduate student at the Brown School, received an award from the Ministry of Women, Family and Children Affairs in Azerbaijan for her contributions to the development of the social work field in her native country. 

Charlene Laurence (Carbonatto), MSW ’87 is a senior lecturer at the Department of Social Work & Criminology at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, where she is the program manager of the MSW (health care) program. Her areas of specialization include reproductive health, infertility, HIV and AIDS, mental health and indigenous health. Together with her team, she has been instrumental in registering social work in health care as a specialized field of practice with the South African Council for Social Service Professions.

Cashell Lewis, MSW ’18, is completing his first year as a doctoral student in social work at the University of Chicago.

Lisa Reyes Mason, MSW ’03 and PhD ’13, is assistant professor and PhD program director at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Mason also is faculty director of the Environment and Social Development initiative at the Brown School’s Center for Social Development (CSD), and she is a co-leader of the national Grand Challenges for Social Work initiative to “create responses to a changing environment.”

Maya A. McKenzie, MPH ’16 works at the Kitsap Public Health District and recently developed a health disparities report for the county. She recently earned her public health certification from National Board of Public Health Examiners.

Eulonda Nevels, MSW ’99 has been elected Board President of the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis. She is chief administrative officer of YWCA Metro St. Louis.

Megan Porter, MSW ’16 has been with the Palliative Care Team at Eskenazi Health in Indianapolis since July 2017, providing support, resources and reassurance to patients and families dealing with life-limiting illnesses. She helps oversee the volunteer program No One Dies Alone, which provides volunteers who sit with patients that have no loved ones available during the dying process.

Kelsey Torgerson, MSW ’12 opened her private practice, Compassionate Counseling St. Louis, in March 2017, specializing in anxiety and anger management for kids, teens, and college students. In June 2018 she went to full time private practice, opening her new office in Clayton, Mo.

Sarah Ward (French), MSW ’93 published a young adult novel, “Aesop Lake,” with Green Writers Press in Brattleboro, Vermont (2018)

Virginia Whitekiller, MSW ’95 is currently serving as the Fulbright Canada Jarislowsky Foundation visiting research chair in Aboriginal studies at Vancouver Island University, British Columbia.

Lyndsey Wilbers, MPH 17, has been hired as a health policy associate at the Missouri Foundation for Health. 

Guangoin Zhang, MSW ’10 is a founding member of the China edition of Fast Company, a top technology magazine, and launched two major technology conferences in Beijing and Shenzhen, using media to bridge the information gap across social sectors. He currently divides his time between Los Angeles and Shenzhen and runs his own media production company.