November-December 2021

November-December 2021

From the Director
CSWE's Annual Program Meeting
Society for Social Work and Research Conference
Fellow Features
Job Opportunities
CSWE Diversity Center’s November Educator|Resource

From the Director

Dear MFP Fellows and Alumni:  

What a year 2021 has been! While evolving variants of the COVID-19 virus, numerous social ills, and a transition in leadership on many levels have forced us to adjust to a “new normal,” this year has also engendered a greater sense of appreciation for life itself and new opportunities to affect the world. Despite many losses and challenges, we hope that we all are embracing such opportunities with thankfulness.  

In the spirit of thankfulness, we want to express sincere appreciation for those fellows who attended our CSWE Annual Program Meeting. It was fantastic meeting 16 of our 28 current doctoral fellows, learning about their research interests, and celebrating their academic progress. We also appreciate their willingness to share openly with us about opportunities to provide greater support. To current fellows—please know that your voices were heard, and we are steadily shaping our plans for 2022 to include some of the feedback that you noted in the close-out discussion and in the survey. To MFP alumni—please pass the word along to potential MSW and Doctoral MFP applicants that we are preparing to launch next year’s MFP application. More information about this is forthcoming. Additionally, over the next few weeks we anticipate being able to share some amazing news about master’s and doctoral fellowship plans for next year that past and present fellows helped develop. Stay tuned! 

To fellows and alumni alike, please be sure to make your plans to attend the Society for Social Work and Research Conference January 12–16. An MFP special interest group session is being planned for you, and we hope to see you there.  

Finally, and on a personal note, I want to thank you for welcoming me into this position as the director of the MFP. I am honored to have been selected to continue the legacy of service and am committed to providing programmatic leadership to you, our next generation of expert scholar-practitioners and educational change agents. It is my pleasure to serve in this capacity and to ensure that you have the support you need, even during this transitional period.  

Remember that the MFP team at CSWE is here to support you and that your research, practice, and teaching matters!  

In Service, 

Kesslyn Brade Stennis, PhD, MSW, MDiv  
Director, Minority Fellowship Program 

CSWE's Annual Program Meeting  

Sixteen doctoral fellows joined the MFP staff in Orlando, FL, for CSWE’s Annual Program Meeting (APM) November 4–7. Following an MFP Orientation and Welcome Reception, fellows attended MFP-exclusive events including a Racial Justice and Microaggressions Panel, Environmental Justice and Mental Health Discussion, and an Economic Justice & Financial Social Work presentation. The MFP staff is incredibly grateful to MFP partners and alumni Dr. Kathy Purnell, Ms. Helen Fischle, Dr. Kevin Brown, Dr. Yarneccia Dyson, Dr. Leah Prussia, and Dr. Anthony Hill, who stepped up to make this programming possible.  

Events for doctoral fellows at CSWE's APM were also made possible by the generous support of our sponsors. The MFP thanks Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, Sacred Heart University, the University of Pittsburg, University of Washington, Boston College, Case Western, Fordham University, Columbia School of Social Work, Rutgers University, and Howard University for helping 16 future social work leaders attend training, professional development, and networking events at the APM. 


MFP will host a networking event for current fellows and alumni during the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) annual conference in Washington, DC, January 12–16, 2022. We're pleased to share that about half of all current doctoral fellows will be presenting at SSWR. Presentation topics include the following: 

  • Mental Health Service Adherence Among Asian American Adolescents: Asian Clinician Perspectives of Facilitators and Barriers (Jessica C. Kim) 
  • More Than Just a Parent: Examining Parental Subgroup Differences for Foster Care Alumni (Justin Harty) 
  • Parenting and Caregiving in the Early Years—Who Are We Leaving Out? (Justin Harty) 
  • Is Antiracism in Social Work Doomed to Fail?: A Roundtable on Interrogating Antiracism Through Critical Colonialism (Autumn Asher, Justin Harty) 
  • Strengths-Focused Sexual and Intimate Partner Violence Prevention: Current Approaches and Future Directions (Autumn Asher) 
  • Vicarious Posttraumatic Growth (VPTG) Among Health Care and Social Service Providers in Disasters (Wan-Jung Wendy Hsieh) 
  • Utilization of Mental Health Counseling Services Among Clinic-Attending Refugees and Asylum-Seekers in Malaysia (Mohamed Adam Brooks) 
  • Associations of Engagement in Preventive Sexual Health Services Utilization, and PrEP Interest Among Young Black Women (Laurenia Mangum) 
  • Applying a Healing Centered Framework With Middle-Class Black Women Navigating COVID-19 (Gabrielle Aquino-Adriatico) 
  • Suicidal Ideation Among Generation Z Rap Artists: A Content Analysis of Lyrics With Clinical Recommendations (Cortney VanHook) 
  • Social Support and Integration Among Central American Immigrants (Andrea Guadalupe Perez Portillo) 
  • Public Perceptions and Responses on the COVID-19 and COVID Vaccination in Rural Alabama (Cho Rong Won)  
  • Barriers to Pain Management Among Rural Older Adults and Strategies to Address Them: Service Provider Perspective (Cho Rong Won) 
  • Associations Among Demographic Characteristics and Means of Human Trafficking: A Global Examination. (Cho Rong Won) 

 If you’re an MFP alum attending and/or presenting at SSWR, please let us know! As the conference nears, we’ll share detailed information on    the MFP networking event and fellow/alumni presentations.  

Fellow Features

The last issue of Connect announced the names of the fellows who make up the 2021–2022 cohort of MFP Master’s and Doctoral fellowships! In this issue and issues to come, you can expect to see “fellow features” that highlight the experiences, passions, and career ambitions of our 44 master’s and 28 doctoral fellows.  

November is National American Indian Heritage Month, and we’re featuring fellows who are making important contributions to the mental health/substance use spheres through their practice with Indigenous communities.  

Doctoral fellow Wynette Whitegoat is pursuing her PhD in social work from Washington University in St. Louis. Her current research interests lie in mental health wellness and outcomes among American Indian and Alaska Native communities, with a special focus on child well-being approaches and child maltreatment prevention practices and services. Her recent publication in the Journal of Human Rights and Social Work, titled “Indigenous World Views and Social Work Field Practice: Reflections From Social Workers Advancing Through Grounded Education Program (SAGE) Educators” exemplifies her commitment to working at the intersection of social work education and practice to meaningfully affect child well-being and behavioral health workforce development in Indigenous communities. Once her doctoral studies are complete, she hopes to further her commitment as a social work educator and practitioner by educating the next generation of social work students at a higher education institution and examining the roles of mental health and child well-being in American Indian/Alaska Native peoples and communities. 

Faith Tiń°ak Itta is a current MFP Master’s fellow and student at Washington University in St. Louis. Her experience serving and collaborating with the Indigenous tribal citizens of Chickaloon Native Village as part of the health department at Chickaloon Village Traditional Council in Alaska shows her strong commitment to addressing health disparities affecting Indigenous communities. Postgraduation, Faith’s stated goal is to return to the homelands of her grandmother and serve the Inupiaq people of the Bering Strait Region. Long term, she plans to open an Indigenous research center in Alaska that supplies a space for collaboration between likeminded individuals and communities to address the effects of colonization through new and innovative methods, interventions, and practices.

Newly appointed doctoral fellow Em Loerzel is a PhD student at the University of Washington focusing on Native American community wellness, Native American women's wellness, and the sexual coercion of Native American women and femmes. More specifically, her current practice interests involve murdered and missing Indigenous relatives on Turtle Island and coercive sexual exploitation of Indigenous women and femmes. Em’s work around these important topics has been published in the Journal of Interpersonal Violence, the American Medical Association’s Journal of Ethics, and Routledge Handbook on Native American Justice Issues. Em is currently collaborating with researchers from ASU and JHU on a project related to femicide and intimate partner homicide of Native American women and femmes and ultimately aims to continue working with Native communities in a faculty position at a research-oriented university or institution.

Master’s fellow Gillian Duenas is currently pursuing her MSW degree at the University of Washington, Seattle. She is passionate about working with Black and Indigenous populations who are navigating historical and intergenerational traumas that manifest in mental health and substance use disorders. Reconnecting to culture as a health intervention for these communities by way of art therapy, traditional dancing, singing, and chanting is an area she intends to explore. Ultimately, she shares her career goal is to be an art therapist working with Pasifika and other Black and Indigenous clients and to center her practice in traditional Indigenous artforms and values such as reciprocity, relationality, and respect.