James Madison University

Department of Social Work Welcomes Newly Graduated BSW Students Into the Social Work Profession!

Under the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, JMU’s nationally accredited Department of Social Work welcomed 53 graduates into the growing profession of Social Work. May 10th, 2014, Dr. Lisa McGuire, Head of the Social Work Department extended her congratulations, excitement and enthusiasm as each student took their commemorative walks across the stage to become official college graduates.  Special Recognition goes to Moriah Tolton, who was recognized as the Social Work Academic Scholar graduating with the highest G.P.A. within the major. Moriah completed his Senior Field Practicum at Mental Health of America in Staunton, Virginia. There he provided information on resources, engaged in networking opportunities, tracked legislation, contacted lawmakers, and worked to protect the rights and access to resources for those with mental health issues in the Augusta County area.

The Social Work Department also awarded additional awards and scholarships to qualified students in the program. The 2013-2014 Soul of Social Work Award was presented to Ha Tang. This awardee whom is selected by faculty show a passion for social work, compassion for those whom they serve, commitment to community service, commitment to empowering and enabling oneself and others, ability to get out of one’s comfort zone, and strong communication skills.  Ha completed her Senior Field Practicum at Valley Associates for Independent Living, Inc. of Harrisonburg, VA (VAIL). There Ha assisted with the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities grant, made information and referral calls, provided direct services to individuals with disabilities and attended meetings with Human Rights Committees and Rebuilding Together.

Renna Wirchin was awarded the Advocacy in Action Award for demonstrating leadership, commitment to social causes, action toward social change, and behavior consistent with social work values and ethics. Renna completed her Senior Field Practicum experience at Waynesboro High School, more specifically the Purple and Gold Connections program. Renna mentored students one-on-one, wrote grants for the program, spent time with students during college visits, facilitated and planned a life skills developmental group, and assisted with the schools Culture Club; helping to raise cultural awareness and appreciation.

The Social Work Department also awarded three scholarships this year; two recipients received the Ellen M. Murphy Scholarship in Social Work and the other the Cecil D. Bradfield Lifelong Learning Scholarship in Gerontology. The Ellen M. Murphy Scholarship in Social Work is awarded to students based on 3.5 or higher cumulative GPA (on a 4.0 scale) at James Madison University and who have demonstrated financial need as determined by the Office of Financial Aid. The 2013-2014 recipients were Morgan Mongold and Isaac Trice. Both of whom spent their Senior Field Practicum in Roseau, Dominica working with ChildFund International; a nonprofit that specializes in providing programs and services to children in poor countries around the world. Morgan worked with the “All We Need is Love” program; a program designed to teach children and youth age 15-24 about love of self, love of others, love of community and country while provided leadership skills to help encourage youth to become positive leaders in their communities. Isaac worked more specifically with the young men in Dominica to build self-esteem and reinforce positive relationships within their lives.

The Cecil D. Bradfield Lifelong Learning Scholarship in Gerontology was presented to Jacketta Morton. This scholarship is awarded to those individuals who are working or plan on working with older adults and have a 3.0 or higher cumulative G.P.A. Jacketta is a first generation college student from Richmond, VA. She completed her Senior Field Practicum at Elkton Area United Services (EAUS) in Elkton, Virginia. There she supervised and analyzed the agencies programs offered to the community through their annual outcome survey, she conducted intake interviews for clients seeking services, she created marketing tools/forms of advertisement for the agency, she successfully secured grant funds through written submissions and proposals, helped in distribution of produce at the weekly produce pantry, assisted in the sale of merchandise at the agency thrift store, and presented documentation and statistical material to the Board of Visitors for their consideration and review.