BSW Spring Honors & Awards

Department of Social Work 2019-2020 Graduates

Fall 2019 BSW Graduates

Jesse Aquino

Megan Bashara

Deon Deshon Bradford^^

Cynthia Carmack

Jalilah Davis 

Savannah Ehman^

Tesla Green-Plafcan^

Maria Hernandez*

Barbara Houston

Allison Johnson

Kaelyn Leonard

Crystal Marine

Tanae Nious^^

Dahlia Reyes

Emily Stewart

Janisha Strother

Vanesa Vera

Spring 2020 BSW Graduates

Selam Ayele  

Jessica Carter^^^

Danielle Carty^^

Lesley Escalante Romero

Crystal Goines

Michelle Gonzalez^^

Logan Haddix^

Antanisha Jones

Lindsea Kirkwood

Jaqueline Maldonado

Laura McLean

Sydney Melville^^^

Eve Miller#

Isis Montes

Tionne Patrick

Brooke-Lynne Pearson*

Kaitlyn Pharo*^

Brionna Richardson

Silvia Saju

Ruby Salas

Brisa Saldana           

Maria Torres

Jessica Tovar

Maria Tovar^

Marissa Valtierra

Summer 2020 BSW Graduates

Deborah Abimbola

Claudia Bernal*

Elizabeth Garza

Kelly Gonzalez-Rodriguez

Crystal Gowdy

Angel Ikpo

Stephanie Kurian

Mersades May

Camillia McCary

Amy Morgan^^

Anna Nguyen

Shamilia Page

Claudia Romero*^^

Lidia Segura

Chantelle Worrell*

*Denotes Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program Students
^ Cum Laude- with honors
^^ Magna Cum Laude- with high honors
^^^ Summa Cum Laude- with highest honors

Social Workers: Generations Strong!

Please take a moment to view this video to our graduates from Social Work Department Chair, Dr. Nila Ricks.

2019-2020 Social Work Student Awards and Honors

Each spring semester, social work faculty highlight students who have done exceptional work and exceeded expectations during the academic year. In honor of the generations of social workers who have made profound contributions to the profession: Jane Adams, Mary Ellen Richmond, Ida B Wells, Whitney M. Young Jr., Alejandro Garcia, Dorothy Height, Tamara Grigsby, Mariko Yamada, Fredrick Reamer, and Jason Adkins. 

Best Micro Practice Student

Students in the micro practice course must demonstrate understanding and mastery of basic interviewing skills. These students demonstrated mastery of basic interviewing skills and produced superior skills practice videos.

Shamilia Page (Summer ’20)

Shamilia Page

Maria Torres (Spring ’20)

Maria Torres

Giselle Gallax

Best Mezzo Practice Student

Giselle Gallax (Fall ’20)

Students in the mezzo practice course must demonstrate a knowledge of both practice skills in group and family therapy as well as demonstrate a thorough understanding of Social Work ethics and values. This year’s recipient of the Best Mezzo Practice Award, Giselle Gallax, has exhibited these skills and more throughout the semester. Giselle came to class prepared, asked thought provoking questions, and critically assessed the information presented in class. Even as we transitioned to an online class format Giselle maintained her standards of hard work and professionalism while engaging in weekly class discussions. Additionally, she applied her knowledge of diversity and ethical practices to the skit presentation. Her skills, knowledge, and hard work make Giselle the perfect recipient for this year’s Mezzo Practice Award! 

Madison Frissell

Best Macro Practice Student

Madison Frissell (Fall ’20)

Students in the macro practice course have group assignments and exams to develop mastery of engagement in community level practice. Madison Frissell stands out as having displayed excellent team work, presentation, and knowledge application skills.

Danielle Carty

Outstanding Research Student

Danielle Carty (Spring ’20)

The Social Research course is designed to introduce students to the process of planning and executing a research study. For the major course assignment, the research proposal, Danielle Carty conducted a rigorous literature review. Her introduction and methods sections were organized and well written. Congratulations, Danielle!

Outstanding Accomplishment in Field Practicum

Field Practicum provides students with a supervised social work experience in an agency setting. These students are highlighted for exceptional performance in their field practicum.

Lindsea Kirkwood (Spring ’20)

Lindsea Kirkwood (Spring ’20)

Education and Workforce Initiatives Intern, Financial Coach- United Way of Denton County

“Lindsea was such a pleasure to work with during her internship. Not only is she passionate, but Lindsea is organized, resilient, and flexible. These admirable qualities will make her an amazing addition to the social work profession.” ~ Alyssa Mostaffa, UWDC Field Instructor

Tionne Patrick (Spring ’20)

Tionne Patrick (Spring ’20)

Court Visitor- Denton County Probate Court

“Tionne jumped in to this placement wholeheartedly. She continuously demonstrated that she was a self-starter whether that was doing assessments or thinking creatively about different evidence-based practices she could utilize to assess and engage those with intellectual disabilities. Tionne excels at engaging clients and utilized critical thinking to identify intervention strategies. I feel blessed to have been a part of her educational journey, and I wish her the best of luck in her future endeavors. She will be an asset to the field of Social Work.” ~ Savannah Peeples, DCPC Field Instructor

Maria Tovar (Spring ’20)

Maria Tovar (Spring ’20)

Volunteers of America Resolana Program

“Maria has been an outstanding intern with Volunteers of America Texas. She showed so much concern for clients in our Resolana program and truly understood the essence of what our program was trying to accomplish. She made the biggest improvements I have ever seen an intern make in their field placement (which is saying a lot!) and seems to have begun to find her niche in the social work field. I’m so excited for Maria and the path she is going to take with her career and life. She will always be remembered and loved here at VOATX!”~ Sarah Billingsley, VOA Field Instructor

Outstanding Title IV-E Students

The Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program is a federally funded initiative which supports partnership programs designed to prepare social work students for careers in the child welfare profession and to develop the skills of current workers.

Brooke Lynn Pearson (Spring ’20)

Brooke Lynn Pearson (Spring ’20)

Brooke-Lynne Pearson has truly been a refreshing breathe of air to work with! This semester at CPS she can be described as quiet, reserved, but definitely intuitive and a force to be reckoned with. Not only does she have an exceptional work attitude, she easily engages with staff, community, children and families in her internship. She handled all challenges at her internship, and handled the current crisis with much aplomb! Brooke-Lynne was easily able to apply the knowledge of social work curriculum into practice. Fabulous writing skills as well, and stellar in identifying the skills, value and knowledge in her interactions and observations at CPS. ~ Michele Bland, LMSW Title IV-E Coordinator

Kaitlyn Pharo (Spring ’20)

Kaitlyn Pharo has truly been a delight. This semester at CPS she can be described as effervescent, energetic, inquisitive, magnanimous, a true helper, and social practitioner in training. She has a great work attitude and easily engages with staff, community, children and families. She has had few challenges that she was unable to accomplish or complete as a Social Worker in training! Kaitlyn was easily able to apply the knowledge of social work curriculum into practice. Fabulous writing skills as well, and stellar in identifying the skills, value and knowledge in her interactions and observations at CPS. ~ Michele Bland, LMSW Title IV-E Coordinator

Best Capstone Presentation

Each semester students in field practicum present a capstone presentations to demonstrate their mastery of the nine social work competencies while in the field. These students had stellar capstone presentations resulting in a combined perfect score from faculty reviewers.

Lesley Escalante Romero (Spring ’20)

Lesley Escalante Romero (Spring ’20)

Vanesa Vera (Fall ’19) 

Vanesa Vera (Fall ’19)

Melissa Gregory (Fall ’20)

Top Policy Advocate

Melissa Gregory (Fall ’20)

Social work students examine the policy-making process and explore public policy issues.  In addition to volunteer work, Melissa Gregory advocates for mental health services and suicide prevention. She has participated in a national campaign and has developed a strong desire for working in Macro around the topics of mental health, depression, and suicide.

Marissa Valtierra (Spring ’20)

Best Writing

Marissa Valtierra (Spring ’20)

During her second semester in our program, Marissa took the Vulnerable Populations course. The final exam was a creative project about one of the vulnerable populations we discussed during the semester. She wrote a poem titled Welcome to America. In this poem she described the struggles of immigrants in the US, how the macro system is an obstacle for them and how she will advocate for them as a social worker. Marissa also wrote a powerful opinion editorial on student debt while in the Social Issues, Policies, and Programs course. She has the skills to write whatever she wants: poems, blogs, academic papers, and used her talent in various forms while interning at TexProtects advocating for child welfare policy in Texas. Writing is one of her best skills.

Lidia Segura (Summer ’20)

Professionalism Award

Lidia Segura (Summer ’20)

The Professionalism Award recognizes the student who has shown exemplary professionalism in verbal and written work, communications, and appearance.

“Lidia, you have a distinctive smile full of courtesy. In my interactions with you as a teacher, I am extremely impressed by your commitment to the Social Work profession and professionalism. Congratulations!” - Dr. Nahar

Silvia Saju (Spring ’20)

Most Congenial

Silvia Saju (Spring ’20)

The congenial award is given to the Social Work Student that demonstrates the most friendly and pleasant demeanor. This year’s recipient of the Most Congenial Award, Silvia Saju, has exhibited these qualities and more throughout the year. Silvia has an infectious personality as she always has a kind word or friendly smile for her colleagues and faculty members. She is always the first to offer help to those in need and truly demonstrates the heart of a social worker through her caring and compassionate actions. Congratulations to this year’s recipient of the Most Congenial Award, Silvia Saju!  

Amy Morgan (Summer ’20)

Spirit of Social Work Award

Amy Morgan (Summer ’20)

As a student of social work, Amy embodies the mission of the profession. This is displayed through her leadership and commitment to its values and goals.  Amy’s volunteer service with various community organizations throughout Denton County, have allowed her continued opportunity to enhance human well-being and empower vulnerable populations.  Amy depicts everything we look for in students immersed in Social Work. She is always giving of herself to others. Most notably she has taken care of the "Social Work" food pantry for almost a year. Even when renovation was constant and we moved she ensured that all of the items donated were available to those who needed. She also collaborated with Student Life to get additional donations. Amy goes above and beyond, the mantra for a Social Worker!

Sydney Melville (Spring ’20)

Top Social Work Student

Sydney Melville (Spring ’20)

Sydney Melville is truly the epitome of the top Social Work student. Sydney has consistently maintained excellent grades, is a scholarship recipient, and has a genuine desire to do well and ensure that all her classmates do as well. She is an active member of many organizations, including the Child Abuse Prevention Society, Phi Alpha Honor Society, and the Student Association for Social Work. Sydney is also committed to many community activities including National Adoption Day, the Prom Dress Drive, and Child Welfare Conference.

Danielle Carty (Spring ’20)

Phoenix Award

Danielle Carty (Spring ’20)

The Phoenix Award denotes recognition of a student who has overcome significant challenges and risen to the occasion of academic excellence. This year’s recipient of the Phoenix Award is Danielle Carty.

“Danielle, I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the Phoenix Award than you! Like a phoenix, you are the ultimate representation of strength and renewal. Like a phoenix, you represent resilience and power. I am so very proud of the perseverance and determination that you have embodied. I am excited to see what you will bring to the profession. Continue to go forth and conquer!” ~ Dr. Ricks

2019-2020 Phi Alpha Honor Society Inductees

Deborah Abimbola

Karla Alejos

Jessica Allen

Leslie Almanza

Selam Ayele

Hannah Carney

Lesley Escalante Romero

Krystal Fierro

Jasmin Garcia

Crystal Gowdy

Melissa Gregory

Lindsea Kirkwood

Sydney Melville

Ashley Mendoza

Isis Montes

Amy Elizabeth Morgan

Shamilia Page

Ashley Pryor

Xiomara Rios

Danielle Rogers

Claudia Romero

Social Work Faculty Awards

Social Work Department Chair, Dr. Nila Ricks, was awarded the Redbud Award - Leader with a Heart.
Social Work Visiting Assistant Professor, Dr. Mia Kirby, received the TWU Student Union Professor of the Month (March) and Outstanding Academic Achievement Faculty Recognition awards.


Page last updated 1:54 PM, May 12, 2020