2016 Feminist Awards

The CSWE Council on the Role and Status of Women in Social Work Education annually names feminist scholar and manuscript awardees (formerly feminist scholarship honoree and awardee) who have advanced feminist knowledge as it pertains to social work theory, research, practice, policy and education. 

2016 Feminist Scholar Award Recipient: Halaevalu F. Ofahengaue Vakalahi

Halaevalu-Vakalahi-Photo.pngThe 2016 Feminist Scholar Award Winner is Halaevalu F. Ofahengaue Vakalahi. Dr. Vakalahi is a Pacific Islander immigrant woman of Tongan heritage, born in Tonga and raised on the Northshore of ‘Oahu, Hawai’i. She earned her Ph.D. in Social Work and a Master’s in Educational Administration from the University of Utah, an M.S.W. from the University of Hawai’i-Manoa, and a B.S. in Business Management from BYU-Hawai’i. She is a Professor and currently the Associate Dean in the School of Social Work at Morgan State University, Baltimore, MD. She has served in faculty and administrative positions in several universities as well as in various capacities in professional organizations including the Council on Social Work Education and National Association of Social Workers and in her Pacific Islander and Baltimore communities. Her areas of teaching include social policy, human behavior and the social work environment, organizational leadership, and cultural diversity. Her two areas of scholarship are: Pacific Islander culture and community, and Women of Color in academia. Her publications in these areas of scholarship include a number of peer-reviewed articles, chapters/references, co-edited/co-authored books including her most recent work titled, Social Work Practice with African Americans in Urban Environments (Wells-Wilbon, McPhatter & Vakalahi, 2015), Transnational Pacific Islanders and Social Work (Vakalahi & Godinet, 2014) and The Collective Spirit of Aging across Cultures (Vakalahi, Simpson, Giunta, 2014); and a number of competitive presentations.

2016 Feminist Manuscript Award Recipients

 The 2016 Feminist Manuscript Award is given to Rebecca A. Matthew and Vanessa Bransburg for their paper "Democratizing caring labor: The promise of community-based, worker-owned childcare cooperatives."

Rebecca A. Matthew is an Assistant Professor at the University of Georgia’s School of Social Work and holds graduate degrees in Public Health and Social Welfare. She is deeply committed to community-based research, teaching, and service that support endogenous community development, cooperatives and labor justice, and the solidarity economy. By calling upon her experiences ranging from organizing county-and university-wide living wage campaigns to evaluating mindfulness-based programming for incarcerated youth to conducting research on worker-owned cooperatives and labor justice, she attempts to enliven conversations and reimagine possibilities for greater community and economic justice. She has co-authored book chapters published by Cambridge University Press and Sage Publications, as well as several individual and collaborative articles published with the Journal of Community Psychology, International Journal of Social Welfare, Health Psychology, and the Annals of Behavioral Medicine.

Vanessa Bransburg was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina and emigrated with her family to San Diego, CA in 1988. She studied Sociology and Spanish literature for her Bachelors at UCLA and later received her Masters in Social Work at Columbia University in NYC. She was the Director of Cooperative Development at the Center for Family Life (CFL) in Brooklyn, NY from February 2008 to August 2015. While at CFL she helped develop and grow the program to have 10 staff members, support an ever-growing worker cooperative incubator program for immigrant and low-income residents, establish the NYC Cooperative Development Initiative to support NGOs in becoming cooperative incubators, and was one of the founders of the NYC Network of Worker Cooperatives. She is currently living in San Diego, CA with her husband and son and working as a Cooperative Development Specialist at Democracy at Work Institute.