Alumni spotlights, giving highlights and faculty news.
VCU School of Social Work
VCU School of Social Work Alumni Newsletter
Greetings in what is shaping up to be a beautiful spring full of exciting announcements.
The most recent publication from the U.S. News & World Report ranks your alma mater as #25 Best Graduate Schools in Social WorkThe most recent publication from the U.S. News & World Report ranks your alma mater as the No. 25 best graduate school of social work. We are thankful to be recognized on the national stage for the incredible work of our faculty, staff, students and community partners. As alumni, your gifts to the annual fund, scholarships and other school priorities count towards these rankings. Thank you for joining our mission for advancing community-engaged research and scholarship in preparing the next generation of change agents.
We are also grateful for an outpouring of generosity from emeriti faculty and retirees in providing financial support to our students. Marilyn Biggerstaff, Ph.D., pledged $100,000 in support of an endowed scholarship for Ph.D. students interested in impacting impoverished communities. Additionally, Judy "Dr. T." Thomas, Ph.D., and her husband, Scott Vrana, Ph.D., endowed a scholarship in support of junior- or senior-level students with financial need. Biggerstaff and Thomas join a cohort of emeriti and retired faculty members committed to elevating the student experience through endowments and financial support to ensure the VCU School of Social Work continues to produce the best-equipped workforce for communities and populations in need. 

Additionally, thanks to everyone who attended our March alumni event. Katie Webb (M.S.W.’73/SW) and Sherry Peterson (M.S.W.’73/SW), VCU School of Social Work Make It Real Campaign for VCU chairs, introduced Dean Beth Angell, Ph.D., who outlined her vision for the future. Attendees shared positive feedback, and I encourage each of you to join us in this important dialogue of what meaningful engagement with the school looks like in the months to come.  
As a final note, I invite all of you to the school’s commencement ceremony at 11 a.m. Friday, May 10, in the Stuart C. Siegel Center. No RSVP is necessary and bring as many guests as you would like to welcome our graduating students as colleagues and fellow alumni in the social work community. 

For VCU,

Mary Riddick
Director of development
VCU School of Social Work

Anna GivensWelcome Anna Givens

Anna Givens, the newest member of the development office team, supports your alma mater’s ongoing efforts to engage you, our alumni, in new and meaningful ways. 

Anna comes to VCU after positions with the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, The New Community School and the March of Dimes.

In her free time, Anna is a movie buff. You can also find Anna spending time with friends watching true crime dramas when she is not volunteering in the community.

Please join us in welcoming Anna.

Laura Booth awarded Fulbright grant in Argentina

Laura BoothLaura Booth (B.S.W.’18/SW) is exploring the lived experiences of the siblings of children with cancer in the Northwestern provinces of Argentina, to identify culturally specific, malleable risk factors for compromised emotional and behavioral health among these siblings. Such information has the potential to inform culturally competent services that promote the mental and behavioral health and well-being of these siblings, both in Argentina and in the U.S.
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Youth Housing Stability Project wins award
The 2019 Lora M. and E. Claiborne Robins, Sr. Community Innovation Grant of $500,000 was awarded to the Youth Housing Stability Project — a collaboration among Commonwealth Catholic Charities, Advocates for Richmond Youth, United Way of Richmond and Petersburg and the VCU School of Social Work with Alex Wagaman, Ph.D., leading VCU participation. The Community Innovation Grant is designed to stimulate the development of game-changing ideas to solve complex social problems.
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ABSW hosts 4th annual Cultural Awareness Day
The Association of Black Social Workers at VCU hosted the 4th annual Cultural Awareness Day on March 27. Cultural Awareness Day seeks to build multicultural awareness and skills for working with diverse populations. Current students, faculty and alumni were invited to attend workshops about cultural competence. 
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Distinguished Dozen: Serving the Latinx community with love
Ingrid Ramos, counselor, is working to empower the Hispanic community in the Charlottesville, Virginia, area through leadership opportunities and culturally responsive mental health care.

Ramos co-facilitates Trauma-Informed Cross-Cultural Psychoeducation groups, which began as a partnership between The Women’s Initiative, the International Rescue Committee and the VCU School of Social Work. The program trains immigrant and refugee leaders to provide health and wellness workshops in their communities.
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How a group is fighting Richmond, Virginia’s eviction rate
Richmond, Virginia, has one of the highest eviction rates in the country. A new coalition has emerged to help change that.

Hear a VCU School of Social Work alumna share about her personal experience with eviction.
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Elevate your alumni experience
VCU Alumni’s 23-city ELEVATE Tour stops in Baltimore May 28-30 and Washington, D.C., May 31-June 4. This is an exciting chance to join local alumni and Ram fans for cultural excursions, family-friendly outings, industry networking sessions and memorable social events.

Register now for ELEVATE Tour events before they reach capacity.
Register »
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