Brown School Community Members Honored by CRISP

Alumni; Faculty; Policy; Social Work; Students

Members of the Brown School community will be honored with awards from the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP) at the 5th Annual Social Work Day on the Hill on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

The day will bring together social workers dedicated to policy change and celebrate the contributions they have made and are continuing to make in the U.S. Congress and the federal government.

At the evening reception, Brown School community awardees will include:

Outstanding Individual in Academia: Mary M. McKay, Neidorff Family and Centene Corporation Dean of the Brown School

Dean McKay joined the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis in 2016, continuing the School’s legacy of creating vital knowledge, initiating social change, and preparing leaders to address social and health challenges both locally and globally. Dean McKay has long advocated for social policies and legislation that improve the lives of children and families, and she recognizes that social justice and racial equity must be advanced through the development of evidence-based policy. To that end, during her tenure the School has increased its policy leadership and focus, furthering expanding its Master of Policy dual degree, the Clark-Fox Policy Institute and policy-related student experiences and events.

Outstanding Congressional Social Worker of the Year:
Elisabeth Coates, MSW ’18, Staff Assistant, U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations

Coates, a recent Brown School graduate, is now working for the Senate Appropriations Committee focusing on urban development, housing, justice, commerce, transportation, and science issues.  Her first taste of Capitol Hill began where she held a part-time internship in the Senate Finance Committee. There she was able to utilize her research and policy training from the Brown School to embed herself in the federal policy process. She immediately fell in love with operating on a congressional level and knew that “Hill life” – ideally Senate – was the place for her to begin her professional journey.  “On Senate Appropriations, it’s a swath of topics in a contentious committee,” Coates said. “But my ability to understand federal policy’s impact from the macro to the micro level placed me as the best candidate for the position.”

Outstanding Student of the Year:
Robert Sagastume
, Clark-Fox Policy Institute Scholar, MSW/MSP ’19

Sagastume was selected among thousands of applicants to attend the 11th annual Clinton Global Initiative University (CGIU) this fall. CGIU seeks to bring together student leaders to develop concrete steps toward solving global issues. Sagastume received this honor based upon his “commitment to action” proposal, which came from an idea he had while serving as co-director of an undocumented youth-led group known as the Kansas/Missouri Dream Alliance. “It includes a program where undocumented/DACA students mentor other immigrant and non-immigrant students so they can achieve postsecondary education,” he explained.  Sagastume was born and raised in Honduras until age 12 before migrating to the United States, navigating through society as a DACA immigrant. Sagastume is a Clark-Fox Policy Scholar, which provides graduate students with a rigorous and immersive experience that helps Brown School students understand the formation of social policy as a high-impact tool for positive social change.

Outstanding Individuals in Philanthropy:
Maxine Clark and Bob Fox

After enjoying highly successful careers as innovative entrepreneurs, civic leaders Maxine Clark and Bob Fox founded the Clark-Fox Family Foundation in 2004. The Clark-Fox Family Foundation supports the economic development of the St. Louis metropolitan region through program development and investments in K-12, higher education, public health, immigration, social justice, community leadership, and entrepreneurship. Building on a legacy of generous support to Washington University in St. Louis, Maxine Clark and Bob Fox pledged funding for a new forum facility and policy-related programming at the Brown School. In recognition of their commitment, the Brown School Policy Forum was renamed the Maxine Clark and Bob Fox Policy Institute. 

About Social Work Day

Social Work Day on the Hill is held in conjunction with the Clark-Fox Policy Institute at the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, highlighting the work and accomplishments of the 12 Grand Challenge for Social Work networks. 

In addition to the awards reception, the event offers a Policy and Politics Forum on child development accounts at the National Press Club, featuring Brown School Professor Michael Sherraden and Dean Mary M. McKay; and a panel of social work students and early career social workers to address the question: Can Social Work Help Save Democracy?