News from the UGA School of Social Work
February 2018

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February 2018

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Doctoral student Sunwoo Lee discussing research at the Society for Social Work and Research's 22nd annual conference.

Quite often, when we think about the School of Social Work, we think about the MSW program. It’s natural—this is the largest and the oldest program, and the MSW is the terminal degree for the profession.

This month, however, I want to celebrate our Ph.D. program. Over the past 27 years, the UGA School of Social Work has produced 145 doctoral alumni who are thought leaders in both academia and other settings, such as government agencies, independent research centers, and the military. Our alumni include deans of schools of social work, the commander of the 21st Combat Support Hospital at Ft. Hood, researchers at the Centers for Disease Control, scientists at foundations, and professors across the country and around the globe.

Our current Ph.D. students are no less stellar. Here are some of their accomplishments over the past two years:

  • Joel Izlar received the 2017 Outstanding Doctoral Student Award from the Association for Community Organization & Social Administration (ACOSA)
  • Abha Rai received the 2017 Tarakanath Das Foundation Graduate Student Grant for dedication to her program and outreach
  • Giselle Balfour and Tenesha Littleton were recipients of the Southern Regional Education Board’s Doctoral Scholars Program Award
  • Porter Jennings, Megan Lee, Barbara Arnold, and Tenesha Littleton presented their research last year at the 20th Biennial International Symposium of International Consortium for Social Development in Zagreb, Croatia
  • Our doctoral students had over 50 refereed journal articles published in 2016 and 2017
  • Ph.D. students made 70 refereed presentations at research conferences in 2016 and 2017
  • At the 2018 Society for Social Work and Research conference, 14 Ph.D. students made 26 presentations

We are also very proud to congratulate five of our recent Ph.D. graduates on their new positions as assistant professors: Greg Purser at LSU, Stephen McGarity at University of Tennessee, Sherina Saasa at Brigham Young University, Lauren Ricciardelli at Troy University, and Xiaochuan Wang at University of Central Florida.

With all that has been achieved to date, we continue to look to the future and know we can accomplish even more. It will be exciting to watch future generations of social work scholars and educators grow and develop here at the School of Social Work, under the careful mentorship of our dedicated faculty members. If you’d like to help support our efforts, consider a gift to the School of Social Work Doctoral Assistantship Fund, which provides support to Ph.D. students for travel to conferences and workshops, plus any other support necessary to aid in their academic success and professional development.

The School is committed to excellence in doctoral education because we know that researchers and educators make a significant impact on their communities, moving the needle on well-being and social justice. I hope you’ll come visit us, meet Dr. Joon Choi, our new Ph.D. program director, and connect with some of our amazing students—I promise you’ll be impressed and inspired!


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Anna Scheyett
Dean and Professor, School of Social Work


Investing in the Future of Public Behavioral Health in Georgia.

A new collaboration between the UGA School of Social Work, the Georgia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities, and the Georgia Association of Community Service Boards will help some of Georgia's most vulnerable residents.

Social work and law students create a trauma-informed courtroom.

An innovative partnership between the UGA School of Law and School of Social Work aims to strengthen lines of communication and better prepare future professionals who handle cases involving children within the justice system.

UGA offers online certificate program in nonprofit management.

Nonprofit professionals and volunteers can now earn the online Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management and Leadership through UGA’s Institute for Nonprofit Organizations and the Office of Online Learning.

2018 Donald L. Hollowell Lecture

March 20, 3 pm-4 pm: Maria Varela was the first Latina to document through the camera lens the civil rights struggles of people in the rural South and Southwest. An activist as well as a photographer, her pictures and powerful narrative stories give an insider’s view of efforts to empower African-Americans and Latinos. UGA Chapel, 109 Herty Field, Athens, GA 30602.

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Did you know that many companies will match employee gifts to UGA? Companies will typically match a gift up to a year after its made, and some will even match gifts made by spouses. To see if your employer matches gifts to the School of Social Work, visit We double-dawg dare you!

University of Georgia
School of Social Work
279 Williams Street
Athens, GA 30602

(706) 542-3364

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