From the Director:

Thoughts on Black History Month: 

The saying “the more things change, the more they stay the same” seems to ring true again. As we acknowledge this month that is designated to celebrate Black History, the world’s attention is on another tragic case that negatively affects the Black community.  This case, like so many others before it, involves the murder of a young African American male who was killed by those who took an oath to serve and protect. Yet again, the complicated confluence of control, power, policy, practice, protection, and process provides the fertile ground for another set of discussions on violence, guns, policing, education, harm, equity, motive, and so much more.  

Yes, we are here again, standing in the present gap acknowledging the travesties of our past while advocating for the bright possibilities of our future. Yes, many have opted to simply throw up their hands in despair and walk away in disgust feeling defeated by the “sameness” of the moment, but the Minority Fellowship Program continues to take an alternative “both/and” approach. We have chosen to maintain our work in supporting MSW and doctoral fellows who unearth the harmful policies and practices of the past, which continue to have deleterious effects on the mental health and overall well-being of communities of color. Additionally, we have chosen to support other MSW and doctoral scholar practitioners who are forging new paths forward to create policies and practices that promote holistic health and wellness. Our empowering present position allows us to acknowledge the past while visualizing the promised future. 

In this issue of MFP Connect, you will be introduced to some of those fellows and learn about their amazing work that connects the past, present, and future. You will also see information about our efforts to recruit a new group of MFP fellows committed to continuing this program's great legacy. Finally, you will see opportunities for you to partner with us as we seek to recruit scholar-practitioners who are willing to stand with us in the gap. It is my hope that this work will inspire us all to continue forging forward until we can see a new day that is devoid of the vicissitudes of violence and full of vicarious joy.  

Until then, 

In Fellowship,  

Kesslyn Brade Stennis, PhD  
Director, CSWE Minority Fellowship Program 

Black History Month

Black History Month, also referred to as African American History Month, is observed annually from February 1–28. The MFP features the incredible work of our fellows each month but recognizes this as a special time to intentionally celebrate the contributions our fellows and alumni who identify Black or African American are making to support the well-being of their communities. Read on to learn how master’s fellows Asia Locke, Bridget Agnew, and Halimah McBryde are maximizing their MSW experiences and using CSWE’s MFP to launch their careers in social work.  

Featured Fellows

Asia Locke PictureAsia Locke (she/her/hers) is a current MSW student at the University of Chicago Crown Family School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. On campus, Asia has worked with students with disabilities an advocate and liaison within the DSS office. She’s also worked in various settings with BIPOC youth populations as a mentor, advocate, and currently as a school social work intern. Asia’s clinical focus is on practicing school social work in the public school system. A demonstrated interest in exploring intersectionality as it relates to Black communities' mental health resources and help-seeking behaviors compliments her stated career goal. She shared, “My hope is that my research will inform teaching pedagogy and best practices in schools.” 

Tashee L. Brown photoBridget Agnew enjoys the challenge of working with middle-school–aged youth. An MSW student at the University of Texas at Austin, she brings 7 years of experience in positive youth development and substance use with her to the MFP. When asked to elaborate on her mental health and/or substance use disorder practice interest as it relates to working with racial/ethnic minority populations, she said, “As a Black American woman, I am most interested in serving those most marginalized (e.g., Black youth). Critical theories and frameworks (e.g., Black feminist thought, Crip theory, and the like) inform my practice.”


Tashee L. Brown photo

University of Buffalo MSW student Halimah McBryde is similarly committed to serving minority youth, specifically those who identify as African American and Muslim. She currently works as a case manager with a faith-based domestic violence organization whose target population is Muslim, immigrant, or refugee survivors of domestic violence. “As an African American Muslim, I have personally experienced the deficit of mental health treatment providers who can understand/relate to the experiences of being a minority,” she explains. “My hope is to bring representation for African American Muslim females to the social work community and provide a safe, comfortable space for minority youth to receive the treatment they deserve.” 


Doctoral Application Open 

The application for the 2023–2024 doctoral fellowship opened January 15 and closes March 15. Access additional details and application instructions here

In the weeks following the January 15th launch MFP staff members had the pleasure of holding four information sessions targeted towards prospective applicants and individuals who may engage with potential applicants such as social work faculty and staff. Through these sessions, the MFP team provided nearly 150 registrants with details on the fellowship award, eligibility requirements, application guidelines, review process, key selection criteria, and more.  

This month, MFP staff members will be available to share additional information during two scheduled Zoom Q&A sessions. These sessions will differ from the information sessions held last month in that there will be no didactic component; Instead, the hour will be held solely to respond to questions brought by attendees. Register to join below: 

Applications close March 15, 2023, at 5:00 PM (ET), and applicants will be notified of their application status by August 2023. 

Please direct questions about application requirements to [email protected]

Society Social Work Research Conference Recap 

The MFP had a strong showing at the Society for Social Work Research (SSWR) annual conference in Phoenix, AZ last month. Five current fellows received funds from the fellowship to attend the conference. MFP Director Dr. Kesslyn Brade Stennis maximized the valuable opportunities afforded by SSWR to engage with fellows and alumni present, host an MFP special interest group, network with social work scholars about MFP and IMFP, and distribute fellowship details to approximately 50 individuals, schools, and organizations.  

Annual Program Meeting Call for Proposals 

The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) invites proposals for the 69th Annual Program Meeting (APM) in Atlanta, GA, October 26–29, 2023. The call will close tomorrow, February 10, 2023, 11:59 PM (ET). Find detailed information here

Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Belonging Survey

Two significant trends are presenting new challenges to professional development in social work. First, demographic changes will transition the United States to a majority–minority with vast implications for higher education. At the same time, social work programs have developed positions to address inclusion, diversity, equity, accessibility, and belonging. Both trends signal emerging and growing professional development needs in social work education. Several commissioners from CSWE’s Commission on Membership and Professional Development have devised a survey to solicit social work faculty, staff, and student observations and experiences with Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, and Belonging in social work programs. To learn more or participate in the survey, click here.


Survey Participants Needed! Survey Participants Needed! QR code

The following project is being led by current doctoral fellow, Gabbie Aquino-Adriatico, MSW (she/her). 
Are you interested in sharing your experiences and kuwentos for a project on the Mental Health of Filipina mothers during the COVID-19 pandemic? Do you identify as a Filipina or Filipina American with child(ren) ages 15 and under? Are you based in the United States? If so, please consider completing this screening survey to see if you are eligible. Thank you! 

Update Your Contact Information

Have you changed jobs in the last few years? Changed your primary email address? CSWE’s MFP relies on current contact information for our internal database, which we use to contact alumni and help us prepare our reports for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Please use this link to share your updated contact information. Additionally, you are encouraged to reach out to MFP alumni you are connected with and request that they share their updated information too. Thank you in advance for supporting MFP staff efforts to enhance connectedness within the MFP community. 


CSWE Diversity Center’s February Educator|Resource 

Visit CSWE’s Center for Diversity and Social & Economic Justice to view the February Educator|Resource