Student Spotlight

The School of Social Work is proud of our students. We've created a space to share some of their stories and accomplishments, both inside the classroom and out. Feel free to contact Timothy Frank at with photos, story ideas, or whatever you'd like to contribute.

SOWK student researches gender inclusive restroom best practices

Kelly, Eunhee, Marie for Kelly Award

Kelly Connor, social work '16,became interested in CSU's policies and practices related to gender inclusive facilities during a group project in Marie Villescas Zamzow's Social Welfare Policy class. In the process of researching gender inclusive restroom best practices, a need for universal signage was identified. With support from the Office of the Vice President of Diversity, Mary Ontiveros and Dr. Eunhee Choi, Kelly conducted a university-wide survey to gather opinions on the preferred language and symbols to designate gender inclusive restrooms. Kelly presented the findings at this year’s Celebrating Undergraduate Research and Creativity Showcase.Her poster presentation titled “We all Need to Pee: Gender Inclusive Restrooms at Colorado State University” placed 1st for the Graduate School: Excellence in Diversity and Social Justice Award and 2nd in Service Learning category.

(May 2016)

The new cohort of MSW students attending the part-time evening program

MSW part-time evening cohort

(May 2016)

The new Advanced Standing MSW students for 2016-17

MSW Advanced Standing cohort

(May 2016)

SOWK Students Participate in "Red Nose Day"

Red Nose Day SOWK Participants

Twenty-nine MSW students wore a red nose in tribute of "Red Nose Day." This is a tradition that started in the U.K. Launched on BBC One in 1985, it has been a fun-raiser in the U.S. For the past several years. Through the power of entertainment, they raise awareness and money to help kids who need us most at home and around the world. Red Nose Day is on a mission to lift kids out of poverty and has raised over $1 billion globally in the last 25 years.

(May 2016)

SOWK student wins first place in the Service Learning Division at CURC

Sarah and Eunhee - CURC Award

Sarah Bibbey collected interviews with women in Besease, Ghana, and conducted a study examining their experiences with studying the seamstress trade. The program is having a positive impact on their lives overall, and Sarah hopes to use some of her findings to help the organization's director improve communication and implementation. The poster won first place in the Service Learning Division at CURC this year and her faculty mentor was Dr. Eunhee Choi.

(May 2016)

HRSA Scholars for 2015-16

HRSA Scholars for 2015-16

This is the CSU HRSA Scholars for 2015-16. The 3-year grant was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) for a total of $1.2 million. Stipends are awarded to MSW students in their concentration year from both CSU and MSU. The aim of the project is workforce development and expansion in behavioral health. The in-depth training focuses on at-risk youth for, or who have developed, mental health and/or substance use disorders. The project has a particular focus for inter-professional learning experiences at integrated primary care settings and work with multilingual and multicultural populations.

Pictured back row (left to right): Evie Decker, Berkely Bargine, Abby Simon, Grace Cominsky, Siri Austill, Rosa Loeza Gonzalez, Sandra Forston
Front row (Left to right): Ashley Eidmann, Reid Rodgers Fuller, Samantha Dean, Pedro Diaz, Rachel Winterfeld, Jackie Wakeen, Jessica Link

(May 2016)

Feeding FoCo Team Members

HRSA Scholars for 2015-16

BSW students' work in SOWK342 spring 2016. They did an awesome job with their research, planning, and intervention through their partnership with McBackpack, INC. McBackpack believes that children, if well nourished, are able to participate more fully in the learning environment, McBackpack provides supplemental food to Poudre School District students and their families who otherwise would not have enough food over the weekend.

Thank you note from McBackpack

Dear Feeding FoCo Team Members and Dr. Scott,

I can't thank you enough for all the hard work you put into your project and in turn, all the amazing donations you provided to McBackpack! After hearing your presentation and gaining a better understanding of all the thought, effort, and even re-evaluating and shifting gears you did, I am so impressed and humbled by all you have done for the children of our community! One of the absolute best, and unexpected benefits of being a part of McBackpack, in my life and the lives of my family, has been meeting and working with people like yourselves who do selfless acts of kindness for the sake of others! It renews my hope for the future to see young, college students becoming involved and going the extra mile to make such good things happen.

Dr. Scott - thank you so much for setting this in motion and supporting this kind of work through your class! What a gift!

(May 2016)

SOWK 342 Community Service Project: ChildSafe

Colorado State University School of Social Work students Abby Rambo, Onalee Andrews, Leah Klein, Katie Hayes, Rachel Martinez, Amanda Ruckstuhl

ChildSafe is a nonprofit organization that is Northern Colorado’s only comprehensive outpatient treatment program for child and adult victims of child sexual abuse. The agency has an event known as Out of the Shadows Walk where they promote awareness and educate the community about the prevalence of child sexual abuse while raising funds to provide services to victims that need it most. We organized a program at CSU to increase awareness among students regarding this difficult issue and also helped to promote participation in the Out of the Shadows fund raiser.

Pictured back row (left to right): Abby Rambo, Onalee Andrews, Leah Klein
Front row (Left to right): Katie Hayes, Rachel Martinez, Amanda Ruckstuhl

(May 2015)

SteveO Overcomes Obstacles On His Way To Becoming a Social Worker

Colorado State University School of Social Work MSW student SteveO playing defense for the CSU Rams football team

MSW student SteveO Michel hasn't had it easy, but a talent for football, and some caring mentors in high school helped create opportunities that are exceedingly rare for those from similar backgrounds. See this article from Football Matters for more on his journey so far.

(May 2015)

Terrance Harris reaches graduation with determination and CSU support

Colorado State University School of Social Work graduate Terrance Harris

Terrance came to CSU thinking he wouldn't be able to stay in college. He knew college was expensive, especially for out-of-state students. His brother offered to pay for the first year and he got a job, but had no scholarships and didn't think he would make it past freshman year. He credits several programs at CSU with helping him succeed.

Read more about his path to graduation as a social worker in this article.

Congratulations to Terrance on his graduation!

(May 2015)

Danielle Higgins Studying Abroad

Colorado State University School of Social Work student Danielle Higgins with friends in Amsterdam

Studying abroad in Spain has been one of the best experiences of my life. My favorite class that I am taking is sailing. I get to sail on the Mediterranean Sea with all of my great friends, it is a blast. One of my favorite parts about studying abroad is traveling on the weekend. This picture was taken in Amsterdam at the IAMAMSTERDAM sign. Another great part about studying abroad is meeting new life-long amigos.

(Danielle is pictured center with the striped coat and white scarf.)

(Apr. 2015)

Carissa Donahoo's Semester at Sea

Colorado State University School of Social Work student Carissa Donahoo on the Great Wall of China

After traveling to Hawaii, Japan, China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore, Myanmar, India, and Mauritius I am done with the Asian countries and onto the African countries of South Africa, Namibia, and Morocco. Just looking back and realizing all that I have already done, all I can say is that it has been an experience.

Semester at Sea is set up so we only have classes when we are at sea – when we are in each of these countries, it is a free for all. We can do whatever we want to do, explore where we want, see what and who we want, and challenge ourselves as much as we allow ourselves to. I have had so many incredible opportunities, such as staying overnight at a Buddhist monastery in Japan, hiking the untouched parts of the Great Wall and dancing with elders in the Temple of Heaven in China, exploring the streets and ending up on the Wall Street of Hong Kong, learning about Agent Orange and re-finding my passion for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities in Vietnam, going to the notorious zoo in Singapore, village trekking through central Myanmar, hiking through tea leaf plantations in southern India, and canyoning (repelling, ziplining, cliff jumping, hiking, and climbing) through the jungles of Mauritius. None of that even begins to touch on the stories I have made, the people that I have met, and the other amazing experiences that I have had for the past two and a half months living on a ship.

I have been panning a lot of things (you’re welcome, Chris!), and in the end, I've realized that you have to accept a society the way it is, a lot of the time there is no point in trying to change it because we are all so small, so insignificant. One individual isn't going to make a world of a difference unless they have followers, but even then it generally does not and cannot go that far (I’m not saying there aren’t any exceptions!). With that being said, it does NOT mean you cannot help. It does not mean that you can't plant seeds of ideas for social change into one's mind, but sometimes you can only plant the seeds. Often times those seeds will bloom, whereas other times they may not. It all depends on who else feeds those seeds, who else wants to water them and watch them grow. Thus far, that's what I feel I have learned the most from this voyage, as the half-way mark has quickly come and passed me. Through observations of the social environments, I have learned that life really can happen anywhere; people grow, people learn, people do things with their lives.

(Apr. 2015)