Social Work Students, Faculty Give Prize-Winning Presentations at Conference, Capitol

School of Social Work students and faculty attending NASW-AR Lobby Day at the Arkansas Capitol.
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School of Social Work students and faculty attending NASW-AR Lobby Day at the Arkansas Capitol.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Students and faculty in the University of Arkansas School of Social Work in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences have been recognized by the Arkansas Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers for excellence at two events.

As part of National Social Work Month, undergraduate and graduate students participated in the Policy Poster Presentation Competition that was held for NASW-AR Lobby Day on Wednesday, March 6, in Little Rock.

Each student group created a poster and a digital presentation for the competition. The groups had five to seven minutes to advocate for a policy they selected from a list of legislation being considered by the 89th Arkansas General Assembly.

Undergraduate students Shelly Nelson, Heather Edge, Cynthia Flynn, Patrick Crisp, Jenni Conner, Emily Cox and Kim Williams argued against legislation that would cut funding to pre-K programs. Their presentation won the competition for the bachelor of social work category. Additionally, Arkansas Advocates for Children and Families, a non-profit advocacy organization that seeks to protect and promote the rights and well-being of Arkansas children and their families, asked permission to use the presentation to encourage pre-K funding in the state.

Graduate students Joanna Sites, Kathy Shook, Nicki Nanton and Benita Shaddix promoted Medicaid expansion. Their presentation won the master of social work competition.

The posters were displayed again at the 2013 NASW-AR Annual Conference poster session. The school was well-represented at the conference, held Wednesday, April 3, through Friday, April 5, at the Wyndham Hotel in North Little Rock.

Several students and faculty attended the conference as presenters:

  • Alishia Ferguson, assistant professor of social work, presented a workshop titled “Introducing Dignity Therapy! Creating a legacy at the end of life.”
  • Scott Burcham, clinical assistant professor and director of the bachelor of social work program, conducted a workshop titled “Chakras and Social Work Visited Across the Lifespan.”
  • Debra Hurd, clinical professor of social work, along with Karen Fullen, from Arkansas State University, and Tammy Vaughn, from University of Arkansas at Monticello, presented “Infusing Child Welfare Content into the University Curriculum.”
  • Graduate students Anh Dao and Katie Smith had their abstract accepted for a workshop presentation based on their capstone projects.
  • Graduate student Chelsie Whitmer was accepted to present on care management of older adults. The idea for this presentation was sparked by her work with Ferguson as a Schmieding Fellow last fall.
  • Undergraduate student Kirra Williams presented “Solving the Unsolvable: Health Disparities.”

Darinda Sharp, director of communications
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences

Augusta Fields, communications intern
J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences


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