Margo Awards for Excellence in Practicum Education


The Margo Awards are named for Margaret Schutz Gordon, Professor Emeritus who served with distinction as Professor and Director of Practicum Education at the KU School of Social Welfare from 1970 to 1983.

Students and practicum instructors receive the awards during the School of Social Welfare graduate recognition ceremonies each spring.

Read more about previous Margo Award recipients on this page.

Practicum Education

2022-2023 Award Winners

Exceptional Performance in BSW Practicum, Sophia Nangia Department for Children and Families- Adult Protective Services

Nominated by Serena Casteneda, Practicum Instructor, DCF

"Sophia demonstrates positivity, initiative, diligence, dependability, and professionalism. Sophia applies and critically analyzes information she has learned in class with the direct services and policy/procedures of the agency; this includes discussion of ethical dilemmas, barriers to resources, social work theories, and the impacts of systemic oppression and implicit biases on the APS population. Sophia demonstrates active listening skills, empathy, and de-escalation skills while interviewing and interacting with clients, caregivers, families, coworkers, and community partners."

"Sophia is an energetic and avid learner; she understands the importance of well-rounded systemic knowledge in advocacy efforts with clients. In addition to the APS practicum setting, Sophia spent time learning about and shadowing multiple DCF programs, and she sought out additional information on APS populations, Home and Community Based Services Waivers, Social Security eligibility, Medicaid eligibility, and guardianship/conservatorship requirements. Sophia has embraced the idea of knowledge being powerful. Sophia is an excellent addition to the social work profession and I am grateful to have been a part of her social work journey."

Exceptional Performance in MSW Foundation Practicum
Alexander Currier, Campus Cupboard

Nominated by Rachel Auten, Practicum Instructor, Campus Cupboard"

"Alex consistently goes above and beyond what is asked of him and takes initiative in his day to day work. He never had to be asked twice to do something, and most often, came back with a product that was even better than we had asked for. For example, he created a training for employees and volunteers that will be used year after year in the space. He reached out to departments around campus to coordinate food drives and get schools to commit to annual drives. He is currently working on a project that involves the Cchancellor that would have fines from parking tickets benefit the Cupboard. He is focused on the immediate goals of the Cupboard to provide food to students, but he also understands that people experiencing food insecurity likely have other needs, as well. Alex is a leader and showed these skills over and over. He is empathetic and was able to connect with clients in a way that went well beyond the needed qualifications for the space."

Exceptional Performance in MSW Advanced Year Practicum 
Melissa Wilson, Missouri State Public Defender

Nominated by Ruth Petsch, Practicum Instructor, Missouri State Public Defender

"Melissa embodies social work and is always eager to learn. She is always looking for opportunities to participate and grow in her career. She is inquisitive and takes the time to reflect on situations and apply class content to real-life scenarios.  Melissa constantly operates while upholding the Social Work Code of Ethics. She provides various services to clients while upholding their dignity and allowing them to make their own decisions. She recognizes the importance of relationships, and takes the time to get to know each client for who they are. She understands the participating systems and theories involved in the social work field and adequately applies them to her work at MSPD."

Excellence in BSW Practicum Instruction

Sophia Hubbell, Tonganoxie High School

Nominated by Lia Beyer, practicum placement site - Tonganoxie High School

This award is designed to honor excellence in field instruction. With that in mind, please tell us about the field instruction provided by your field instructor/preceptor.

"Sophia has been an amazing field instructor, she has taught me so much throughout this past year I got to work with her. She has illustrated what it means to be a good social worker within the school system. She showcases how to talk with our students in a respectful, meaningful, and helpful way. Each day I come into practicum she has my "Intern Tasks" sent to me through a google doc. Within the intern tasks sheet it shows my "Must Do's" and "Can Do's" which is very helpful for me because it gives me an idea of what I will be doing that day. Within the tasks, she gives me different websites and articles that I can read and take notes on to enhance my learning. She also always makes sure that I understand everything that is going on throughout the day. We also have a calendar that is filled out each day showcasing what we have at different times throughout the day. This is helpful to us to stay organized and on top of the different things that we have to do."

While working with your field instructor/preceptor this year, what about their work has most informed how you will practice as a social worker?

"Sophia's practice and leadership is phenomenal. She is always making sure to put the students first when helping them with whatever is needed. This has taught me a lot in regards of how to handle situations. Putting the students needs first is super important because it makes them feel special and loved, which helps them get through the difficult things that they are facing. Putting a students emotions and feelings first creates a relationship between you and the student which then allows them to feel comfortable when talking to you."

Aside from what you've already provided, please share any additional details about how you've been inspired by your field instructor/preceptor:

"Sophia is an amazing social worker. This fall she is going back to school at KU to get her Doctorate degree in social work. This year was a tough year for her, dealing with a lot of personal things, but she still always made sure that I was taken care of. She had to go on leave for a few weeks due to personal issues, but she continued to text and call me to make sure I was getting provided the learning that I needed to succeed. She also inspires me because she is a great mom to her two kids who are awesome. The way that students get excited to see her when we walk down the hallways or into classrooms to grab students is super cool. It shows that she has great relationships with everyone that she encounters, and I believe that is a rare characteristic that is very important. Sophia also works extremely hard to make sure that everyone's needs are being met, not only students but staff as well. She has helped me with my applications to Masters programs, school assignments, has written me letters of recommendation, and has given me a lot of help throughout the year. She is the best!"

Excellence in MSW Practicum Instruction

Michelle Niedens, KUMC Alzheimer's Disease Center

Nominated by Kristin Nichols, practicum site - KUMC Alzheimer's Disease Center

This award is designed to honor excellence in field instruction. With that in mind, please tell us about the field instruction provided by your field instructor/preceptor.

"Michelle has offered participation in multiple opportunities for growth in the understanding of dementia including the Dementia Training Room community event, Dementia Intensive Continuing Education Conference and the film “Why” which she was a part of producing over the course of this school year, focused on early stage detection.  Michelle also offered multiple opportunities for shadowing her and the team of 10 social workers who comprise the Cognitive Care Network at KUMC ADRC. These opportunities included individual, family, care partner, and support group provision."

"Michelle has a passion for helping the underserved and marginalized, and has focused on growth of services in rural areas, positioning multiple staff members to travel on a monthly basis to support multiple areas of the state of Kansas in caring for individuals and their families who are experiencing a dementia diagnosis. Additionally, she is a visionary, and guided my capstone project, with special emphasis on my occupational therapy background. This project was called the Purpose Project and incorporated community advocacy and relationships to support extended volunteerism for individuals experiencing early stage dementia or mild cognitive impairment. She has also began many other enriching programs including pairing medical students with an individual with dementia, and the “experience league” which provides education to students in a variety of professions to consider engagement and advocacy for dementia.  Michelle has written guidebooks for practitioners to use as they counsel individuals and their families with dementia, giving them a tool to enhance their knowledge and understanding of symptom manifestation, improving outcomes for all and instilling confidence in practitioners who have access to this resource. Her use of Schulman skills is highly emphasized from day one, and she assigns opportunities to evaluate our use of self, active listening and understanding the deeper meaning behind the words spoken."

While working with your field instructor/preceptor this year, what about their work has most informed how you will practice as a social worker?

"Michelle has been a tremendous encourager. She has maintained an open channel of communication, checked in to ensure her assessment and assignments were in line with my comfort level, and challenged me appropriately to facilitate my growth. Michelle is supervising 10 social workers and 2 students, and had 3 new staff start this year and has maintained an open door, always available to support and process with anyone needing additional guidance. She does so in an attentive, kind, and supportive manner which encourages her colleagues to seek her out when needed. She also fosters an environment of independent thinking and practice, and is a fierce advocate for our department and the community she serves. Michelle has a professionalism and direct style that allows her patients and staff to gain the most valuable experience in interacting with her. She is a true leader in every aspect of social work and administrative work."

Aside from what you've already provided, please share any additional details about how you've been inspired by your practicum instructor/preceptor:

"Michelle is incredibly talented, productive, innovative, and very humble. She always makes a point to elevate everyone around her and points out the assets of each member of her team. She has a full plate, and always has room at the table for anyone to join. She shares her knowledge freely, with a goal to empower and advance practice for everyone she encounters."

2021-2022 Award Winners

Benjamin Roberts, Benilde Hall

Nominated by Erin Lackner, Clinical Director, Benilde Hall

Ben has an amazingly unique position at Benilde Hall. The role includes but is not limited to conducting prescreens, intakes, assessments, treatment plans, and aftercare plans. Ben facilitates group education classes and individual substance use counseling sessions. Ben is a natural advocate and oftentimes is seen on campus talking to new clients, providing them with encouragement and education. Ben is able to function as a peer for clients and teach them about fun in recovery and provides support and modeling while showing clients having fun in treatment is vital. Ben has even incorporated a new screening tool for the Benilde Hall program, which has opened up dialogue on an oftentimes overlooked concern. Ben is able to take the clients to meetings, movies, concerts, and myriad other fun activities. Ben provides case management services. Ben is able to incorporate BSW foundation work in his student role as desired.

Marc Veloz, Lawrence Public Library

Nominated by Erin Reazin, Community Resource Specialist, Lawrence Public Library

In his short time with Lawrence Public Library, Marc has joined multiple staff committees, including Programming Club, the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, and Outreach Committee. He has organized and led the Community Resource Clinic, which LPL offers once a week to bring local social service agencies together in our auditorium as a one-stop shop for potential clients in need of services.  In addition to coordinating the clinics, he also provides service himself by offering KERA and SNAP application assistance. Marc has also formed relationships with professionals across our county and has built a reputation for himself as an accomplished, dedicated, reliable partner in collaboration. While his skill set and determination are beyond impressive, it is his positive attitude and warm, inviting energy that makes him such a stellar social worker. Staff and library patrons alike quickly formed connections and relationships with Marc, as he is able to make anyone feel comfortable and valued in his presence. He recognizes the importance of human connection as the best healing and helping tool we have to offer, and I really believe he is tremendously gifted at offering a safe space for those he’s in contact with.

Exceptional Performance in MSW Foundation Practicum
Athena Horton, Amethyst Place

Nominated by Jamila Edwards, Director of Clinical Operations, Amethyst Place

As a MSW foundational student, Athena has had the opportunity to be involved in a number of duties and roles here at Amethyst Place (AP). One big contribution that she has developed for the organization is creating a curriculum for our organization to provide education regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. This has helped to develop and facilitate conversations to increase awareness and understanding of cultural beliefs and practices. Athena has a passion for providing behavioral health services. This has been evident during their practicum as well as in their professional role as Special Projects Coordinator in their current position at University Health. Here at Amethyst Place, Athena enjoys working with our client population and they easily engage with them. Athena has created a curriculum for our organization to provide education regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion. Athena has taken initiative to create learning opportunities during their practicum, including workgroups to look at policy changes that could be implemented, which have been welcomed by the staff here at AP.

Exceptional Performance in MSW Clinical Practicum 
Destiny Thomas, Hogan Preparatory Academy

Nominated by Arthur Seabury, School Social Worker, Hogan Preparatory Academy

Destiny has been a tremendous asset to Hogan Preparatory Academy. During her time with us, she performed groups with inner-city girls with cognitive behaviors, worked individually with students of abuse, worked in classrooms, and supported the attendance needs of the school. Destiny goes above and beyond with our students. She is at every sporting event to support the students and even helps the coaching staff on her own time. This has helped her develop great relationships. She meets students where they are, helps new teachers to understand trauma, and runs necessary group interventions with troubled teens. Destiny also mentors several young women on a weekly basis. Above all, she is a great relationship builder. Additionally, I am impressed with her demeanor in crisis situations. She comes to ask for advice and support when there is a question, yet she is very self-motivated. 

Exceptional Performance in Macro Practicum
Joshua Knowles, Youth Services of Topeka

Nominated by Beth Svetlic, Assistant Executive Director, Youth Services of Tulsa

When Joshua started his practicum we were in the middle of a research project with multiple partners and a reaccreditation. Joshua worked with our Learning and Evaluation team working on several projects including reaccreditation for the Council on Accreditation (COA) which was successfully awarded. He jumped right in working on analyzing policy, writing statements, and communicating with various members of our team to ensure all the pieces were in place and accurate. While at the Youth Services of Topeka, Joshua was also a vital part of our research team working with other community partners, and the Georgetown Center for Juvenile Justice, conducting an assessment of racial disparities in Tulsa's juvenile justice system.  This project has proven to be extremely complex and challenging and Joshua has been critical in ensuring it continues to move forward.  

BSW Practicum Instruction

Mary Kaczor, Family Promise of Lawrence

Nominated by Calissa States, field placement site - Family Promise of Lawrence

This award is designed to honor excellence in field instruction. With that in mind, please tell us about the field instruction provided by your field instructor/preceptor.

Mary has been my field instructor through Family Promise and has been an excellent instructor, coach, motivator, and person within my practicum. It is difficult to describe Mary using just one word because she exceeds and excels all expectations. Coming into a new field, I was nervous about learning everything about the agency and how to be a case manager. When I first met Mary, however, my worries were diminished as she welcomed me with open arms and gratitude. On most weeks, Mary and I meet at the Merc and she buys me a coffee, and we sit and chat in the marketplace. Mary said a change of environment is always beneficial, and I have valued this time with her greatly. She asks me about my life outside of the practicum and checks in on my mental health. Having a safe space to tell someone all of my feelings, worries, and milestones has truly been a blessing. She encourages me with my clients and validates all of my feelings. One week, I was feeling particularly down and stuck in my life at home, work, and my practicum. She listened to me vent about all these issues, and then turned to me and told me "how can we manage this together?" I have never had someone more in more corner, ready to support me. Finally, Mary creates numerous opportunities for me to learn more. She challenges my thinking, allows me to process, and gives fantastic advice. She has set up tours of our partner organizations, like Just Food, and she allowed me to sit in on a board meeting so I could see the agency more in-depth. She set up a trauma-informed training that I attended and numerous zoom meetings with resources. You are lucky if you get to be in her presence. She cares immensely about her staff and the agency, and I am so grateful that I got this experience with her.

While working with your field instructor/preceptor this year, what about their work has most informed how you will practice as a social worker?

Mary is a natural leader and a calming presence in my life. She has told me part of her journey and how she practices. Her work is simply amazing. The biggest takeaway I have with Mary is learning how to better manage my emotions. One day, we had a cancellation with my KU liaison (this was the third time I had experienced this). I was so frustrated and embarrassed by this experience. I told Mary I was sorry and that I was super angry with the situation. I wanted to send out an angry email and tell my liaison all of my feelings. However, when I saw Mary's reaction, I was in complete shock. She was very calm and collected. She told me it was not my fault. She told me my feelings were valid and that it was okay. Mary also informed me that she would contact the University after I graduate to not affect my relationship with my liaison. She was so calm, even though she was also upset with the situation she remained collected and handled it with ease. After this experience, I was inspired to practice like her. To always remain calm in frustrating situations and treat everyone with kindness and respect. This is something I am still learning, but having the perfect role model for situations like this goes a long way. She was still able to advocate for me while remaining peaceful and comforting me. That to me was a great example of a social worker by heart.

Aside from what you've already provided, please share any additional details about how you've been inspired by your field instructor/preceptor:

Mary is one of the most inspiring people I have ever met. Mary continuously seeks self-growth and development within herself. She seeks knowledge and is always open to learning something new. She is also open to vulnerability, something I am still learning. She has shared times where she has made a mistake, worn her heart on her sleeve, or had a flawed experience. She told me that "vulnerability breeds creativity". This has allowed me to be vulnerable with her, and allow space within myself to make mistakes. Mary always encourages me to embrace change and ask questions. She wants me to get the best experience out of the agency. She also exhibits humility. She acknowledges her strengths as well as weaknesses and shares them with me to create rapport and allow me to process my flaws. She remains curious about my experiences with clients and what I could do to better my relationship with them. She begins a lot of phrases with "I wonder..." or "I'm curious to see...". She sees the good in all people and is truly an inspiration to me and others at the agency. She leads with kindness and wisdom and has wonderful energy surrounding her that you could feel in any room. I am so grateful to have her as a field instructor and as a new friend.

MSW Foundation Field Instruction

Jamila Edwards, Amethyst Place 

Nominated by Athena Horton, field practicum site - Amethyst Place

This award is designed to honor excellence in field instruction. With that in mind, please tell us about the field instruction provided by your field instructor/preceptor.

I truly cannot imagine a better practicum experience than what Jamila provided me. I was offered a practicum placement at Amethyst Place prior to Jamila’s hiring at the agency. Regardless, from our very first interaction, she sought to learn what I was hoping to gain from the experience, and we worked collaboratively to determine the best strategy to have my KU learning objectives met without compromising my individual goals. Keeping her practicum students in mind, she restructured certain processes to enrich our learning. One example includes group supervision, where we alternated between using the structure/process of reflective supervision with challenging client cases and having members of the clinical team provide education and overviews of various treatment modalities (sand tray therapy, EMDR, TFCBT, etc.). She also purchased the book “Trauma Stewardship” for us which we have been reading and processing as a team so we can be better equipped to support clients with trauma histories. The aspect of my field experience that I will hold on to for the rest of my life is the environment of safety, respect, and belonging that Jamila fosters; showing me through words and most importantly through action that I am a valued member of their team.

While working with your field instructor/preceptor this year, what about their work has most informed how you will practice as a social worker?

Jamila has been an excellent model for social work practice. She is a grounding presence, fosters psychological safety, practices compassion, and consistently seeks out and shares opportunities that increase her professional knowledge. She consistently engages in curiosity. She looks at her staff and clients and sees their strengths while simultaneously making space for self-improvement and accountability. All of these are traits I wish to emulate in my own social work practice with both colleagues and those I am in service with.

Aside from what you've already provided, please share any additional details about how you've been inspired by your field instructor/preceptor:

Jamila has created an environment where I feel empowered, capable, and worthy - all things that don't come easily for me. Another very meaningful aspect of my field instruction that I cannot adequately describe in words is having the opportunity to observe and get guidance from someone that looks like me. That experience and connection is something I will always cherish.

MSW Foundation Practicum Instruction

Carolyn York - Kansas City School District USD 500

Nominated by both Paige Sears and Jessica Cox, field practicum site- USD 500 and KCKPS Special Education, respectively 

This award is designed to honor excellence in field instruction. With that in mind, please tell us about the field instruction provided by your field instructor/preceptor.

PS: Carolyn has been mentoring KU students for a number of years now. She will be retiring this year and has always demonstrated herself in a professional way, answers any question I have for her and she simply just loves working with the kids that she supports. 

JC: My field instructor provides great experience and advice to me. She offers many years of experience in working with students and their families. I appreciate the wisdom she has in how to interact with fellow staff. 

While working with your field instructor/preceptor this year, what about their work has most informed how you will practice as a social worker?

PS: To just listen and to be a sounding board for teachers, students, and other staff. Carolyn also was always eager to share what worked for her in the past and solicited feedback from me often. 

JC: She has shown me how to interact with staff and other professionals who may not have the same goals as social workers. She has shown me how it is important to advocate in whatever social work organization you are working in for the needs of the client. 

Aside from what you've already provided, please share any additional details about how you've been inspired by your field instructor/preceptor:

PS: Carolyn had to miss some days this year, but she was a trooper and stuck through it and a large part of her motivation was to make sure that we as her interns had her around for supervision. One of the things that is amazing about Carolyn is that I shadowed several different social workers in the USD 500 district and many of those I shadowed got their start by being a KU interns for Carolyn.

JC: She offers kind feedback and is well planned and organized in her work. She has great experiential knowledge in social work and offers that insight to all her students. She is always flexible and ready to listen. I appreciate seeing her care for her co-workers and her clients.

MSW Clinical Field Instruction

Richard Mulryan, Children's Mercy Hospital

Nominated by Chelsea Fluker, field practicum site- Children's Mercy Hospital

This award is designed to honor excellence in field instruction. With that in mind, please tell us about the field instruction provided by your field instructor/preceptor.

Richard Mulryan is an enthusiastic and compassionate leader who actively seeks out the skills and passions of his students and staff and knows how to best utilize the individual's abilities to best serve clients and family units. He pushes students to know their limits in order to explore them and reach beyond personal barriers with guidance, patience, and empathy for the learning experience. He provides students with an open forum to discuss concerns, fears, hopes, and aspirations for the field and collaborates to offer opportunities for advancement. He seeks out new challenges to provide students with an optimal learning environment and opportunities to become involved in advanced patient care and advocacy. He is flexible with supervision and allows students space, additional time, and freedom to explore varying interventions and techniques, as well as becoming involved in multidimensional levels of involvement with clients while on the job. This advances the learning process not only for the student who gets to explore multiple avenues of care based on client needs but also for the family being served within the community by inviting new ideas, fresh perspectives, and the exploration of resources tailored to fit the family within their community.

Richard acknowledges the needs and limitations of the students and advocates for students' needs both educationally and personally to ensure that they obtain the best possible experience while also not encountering burnout or distress. Richard openly displays a genuine connection to his students and work peers and takes the time to emotionally connect to and care for his team members.  This allows him to identify areas of need and address opportunities to uplift the confidence and morale of his staff.  In addition, Richard gets to know the personalities and skills of his students in order to help them best locate and advocate for future employment opportunities according to the best fit for the student's future plans and dreams. 

While working with your field instructor/preceptor this year, what about their work has most informed how you will practice as a social worker?

Richard has an extensive range of experience in the social work field. He pulls relevant experience not just from his current company and position, but from all combined experiences in child welfare, child and family services, individual therapeutic experience, as well as inpatient and outpatient care. He genuinely grows from each new experience and pulls solutions from a vast base of knowledge and resources. 

During his work, Richard references ways in which the code of ethics applies to his interactions and he challenges all decisions according to an individual's lived experiences through this code, not through "process" alone. This allows him to advocate for the empowerment of clients experiencing crisis, and push limitations with compassion and continued guidance and support. He takes lessons from each of his interactions with clients and applies the obtained knowledge to his ever-growing educational bank. Rick invites students to identify and challenge the biases in their work with a focus on the impact a bias may have in the scope of continued care for the family served. In this way, Richard displays the ideal that social work is an ever-advancing field in which no individual knows everything. We are constantly learning about people, evolving with our community, and identifying individual solutions for community-based problems. 

Aside from what you've already provided, please share any additional details about how you've been inspired by your field instructor/preceptor:

Richard is an individual who makes it a personal goal to know every individual in his workspace. This is made further impressive by the size of the hospital he works in. He recognizes each passing face and holds a personal connection with each of them. On multiple occasions, he may be found stopping to greet coworkers from varying fields and backgrounds and inquiring about aspects of their lives he has taken the time to remember. He may often be found during transitions from the office to ER stopping between individuals to share a smile, a story, or a compassionate check-in with those he knows may be struggling. His work as a social worker far exceeds the interactions of his clients and is extended to his work family with eager enthusiasm to create a loving, healthy environment around him. 

2020-2021 Award Winners

BSW Student

Gabriela Claudel Sandino - KVC-Olathe

Nominated by Caroline Soper, practicum instructor at KVC Health Systems:

"Gabriela has been a phenomenal addition to the KVC adoption team. Gabriela has such a strong heart for our most vulnerable populations, and provides such a loving and caring atmosphere to our clients. In one instance, we had a teen client who had been going through multiple situations at school and with peer relationships, and was having a really hard time managing all of this, as well as her relationship within the foster home. Gabriela helped this child get to a place where she felt seen and heard, as well as in a better place with her foster parents. Gabriela was able to speak with the child one-on-one and created such a safe and nurturing space, that the child was able to really share how she felt. In another instance, Gabriela was able to use her experiences to help a foster family really understand why our child was behaving in a way that was defiant and aggressive. Gabriela was able to explain to the foster parents that due to the child's previous and current medical needs, along with the trauma that he had been experiencing, that he was really trying to figure out how to feel safe in his own space. There was a time when I was unable to see a child due to another situation going on. Gabriela went to a school without hesitation, met with a child she has never met, and again was able to quickly build rapport with that child so they could hold a medication appointment together."

"Gabriela has brought such a light to this sometimes dark world of child welfare. I have personally spoken with our clients who have said that Gabriela has done an amazing job. Other coworkers have remarked on how if we could hire her, we would."

"It is wonderful to see that such an amazing, kind and intelligent person is going to be coming into the social work world with an impressive amount of skills."

MSW Foundation

Latrese Kabuya - Kansas City Girls Academy

Nominated by Cristina Marquez, field instructor at Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy:

"On top of learning how to be a social work intern (virtually) during a pandemic, Latrese has learned how to pave the way for future students, as she is the first social work student intern at KCGPA. We have learned to work very well together, and that process was a very easy and fast one. Latrese brings a unique skillset, lived experiences and parent voice to the students/families that we serve at the school. She has shown great progress and I can't wait to see her grow into a clinician that will continue to serve so many in our community!"

MSW Macro

Stephen A. Papy Jr - Saint Francis Ministries - Salina

Nominated by Cheryl Rathbun, field instructor with Saint Francis Ministries:

"Stephen has demonstrated outstanding achievement in several manners:

  1. Stephen easily integrates with existing professional groups/meetings. Many of the existing groups gave feedback - or I observed- that it was easy to forget he is a student. He listened, asked relevant questions and then over time gave professional feedback based either on what he heard or what he researched. He asked questions as he needed to clarify for his contributions. In one professional group (Clinical Council) Stephen prepared the agenda, facilitated the meeting and produced the minutes on two occasions. Stephen has an uncanny ability to be well versed on topics, easily assimilates all data/information and provides an administrative view of recommended process change or adaptation.
  2. Stephen's work on the safety project for the PRTF, creating the Gemba board, identifying gaps in reporting, coaching administrative staff on the need of consistency - accurate data- and needed staff support for changes, was amazing for a practicum student. The work he did was high level even for a seasoned staff. HIs commitment to the success of the project was incredible. His commitment to advocating for staff and the clients simultaneously was evident. The CQI team thoroughly loved their work with Stephen to the point that they hired him after his practicum when an opening came up!
  3. Stephen successfully completed the clinical shift huddle practice procedure that he presented to leadership for approval and implementation.
  4. The most important demonstration of excellence is Stephen's management of a highly conflictual situation in the sensory room project. I would not want to share the entire details of this conflict in the award application, however, would believe it is safe to say it is something i would not have expected a student to handle so expertly as Stephen did. The conflict had nothing to do with his behaviors, likely more to do with the administrator over the project's own "threatened" feelings of adequacy. Stephen processed this with me weekly, planned his approach to the barriers with diplomacy, tried several different ways to work through the barriers all to no avail. Again, he did much better than most seasoned administrative people could do. The decision was for Stephen to be actively removed from the project, however, to complete the tasks as if he was still involved and to present the final project as part of his practicum. He learned and demonstrated many skills in the managing of the conflict/barriers, likely more than if he simply did not have the experience."

MSW Clinical

Desire Dawn Michelle Seitz - Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas

Nominated by Pamela Anderson, field instructor at Community Health Center of Southeast Kansas:

"Desire provided high quality care to each of her assigned patients. One situation impressed me significantly. She was assigned a 40 year old Hispanic woman whom had been very inconsistent in treatment with me. She was able to quickly engage the patient in treatment. The patient attended weekly sessions working actively to process her family being torn apart due to intra-familial sexual abuse. While it took a few sessions, the patient eventually disclosed her own very extensive history of childhood physical and sexual abuse as well as domestic partner violence. This patient is significantly closer to accepting her daughter's truth and healing her family directly because of her therapeutic relationship with Desire. One other quick client story. Desire also covered for an ATS staff member in seeing a 49 year old, mentally-ill, polysubstance dependent patient. He was known to be good at manipulation and at crossing professional boundaries. He often presented to the clinic in an unstable state and Desire provided effective support, guidance and intervention. She appropriately re-enforced her boundaries when needed. She discussed concerns with the Director of Behavioral Health about the wisdom of allowing other clinicians to be "lax" with boundaries in their treatment with him.

I asked for several Behavioral Health Staff from a variety of disciplines and roles to complete statements in support of her receiving this award. Each was provided with great enthusiasm and a great desire for Desire to be honored in this way. Desire functioned as an intern in a manner not typically expected of a more seasoned clinician. She is a strong, intelligent, resourceful, resilient individual and an enormous asset to the Social Work Profession.

OH AND BY THE WAY, Desire completed excellent work with her clients, worked part-time and completed her studies while undergoing major surgery and chemotherapy, without any form of accommodation!!!! Desire is a ROCK STAR!"


Roberta Bateman - Veterans Administration Leavenworth

Nominated by Nate Eikmeier, field placement site - Dwight D. Eisenhower Medical Center, Leavenworth VA

BSW Field Instruction

Kendra Powers - Brewster Place

Nominated by Emily DeHoyos, field placement site - Brewster Place Health Center

This award is designed to honor excellence in field instruction. With that in mind, please tell us about the field instruction provided by your field instructor/preceptor.

"Kendra, my field instructor, has continuously shown me what it is like to be a great social worker throughout the year. Kendra goes above and beyond for her residents and employees and is always the one to find a solution to any problem we come across. She has taken time and has shown continuous effort and commitment to expanding my knowledge as a social worker. Working along side her, she has allowed me to observe and provided me with hands on opportunities. She is apart of the Quality of Life Team and one of the many things she handles are resident rehabilitation discharges. I have spent this year learning the in's and out's of family goal meetings, social history assessments, PHQ-9's, medicaid, and so much more."

While working with your field instructor/preceptor this year, what about their work has most informed how you will practice as a social worker?

"Kendra has impacted my understanding of social work values, skills, and ethics. Kendra shows great commitment and compassion as her role as a social worker. Her dedication within her role does not go unnoticed and she has shown me the true importance of what it means to care for others even outside of our long-term care setting. Kendra values social work ethics and always applies them to each and every decision she makes which has greatly informed my practice as a social worker. Kendra interacts with families, residents, and employees with respect and compassion while always applying her social work skills."

Aside from what you've already provided, please share any additional details about how you've been inspired by your field instructor/preceptor:

"Kendra has shown commitment and excitement as a field instructor since the very first day. She truly embodies what it means to be a great social worker. Kendra has not only provided me with knowledge within a long-term care setting but has also been a role model in all aspects of life. Kendra has a lot on her plate as the only social worker in the building and she has still managed to give me what I see as the best field instruction I could have received. Her skills and confidence have shown me what I want to be as a social worker myself. When I am at practicum, I spend almost all day with Kendra. I appreciate her willingness to teach me and have me present even when she is in stressful situations. Going through practicum at a nursing home during a pandemic was difficult for all parties involved but Kendra never let it get in the way of her dedication to her work and to teaching me. Kendra is one of the easiest people to talk to because of who she is. I could not imagine my practicum being any better than what it has been and I owe that to Kendra to giving me the best experience possible."

Foundation Field Instruction

Norella Munoz - Topeka Public Schools 

Nominated by Isabelle Bauguess, field practicum site - Topeka High School

This award is designed to honor excellence in field instruction. With that in mind, please tell us about the field instruction provided by your field instructor/preceptor.

"The field instruction Norella has provided has been paramount to my positive practicum experience and has greatly contributed to my personal and professional growth this year. Norella's approach to field instruction is strength-based, person-centered, reflective, and constructive. Her style is responsive and adaptable, encouraging, empathetic, supportive, and reassuring. At the same time, she has provided me with ample opportunities for growth and has continually challenged me to learn more, question more, and do more.

Coming into this year in the midst of a pandemic and with no background in social work, I had no clue what to expect from my practicum experience. I felt unprepared, unsure of myself and my abilities, and uncertain of my role—both in my practicum setting and as a social worker in general. Norella met me where I was, recognized my strengths, and created a safe environment for me to practice, ask questions, process, and make critical discoveries. From the beginning, she has trusted me and had enormous confidence in my abilities. Norella has taken my preferences and opinions into account, allowing me to direct our supervision and instruction as well as my overall practicum experience while acting as a stable and constant support and resource. She has done a fantastic job at providing me with requisite information and ensuring my understanding and comfort then giving me the freedom to do things on my own, build my skills, and apply what I've been learning. She always remains available for questions, reassurance, and insight and is sure to create a space for me to process, reflect, and learn. I feel that this has crucial to helping me develop my social work skills, concretely understand what I'm learning in my MSW courses, build my confidence, and shape my professional and personal identity as a social worker. Additionally, the high level of freedom, flexibility, support, and trust have kept me engaged in my practicum and pushed me to complete a multitude of activities I wouldn't have previously felt comfortable or capable enough to do.

Norella has also left space in our supervision and instruction to discuss and process outside issues/phenomena that would otherwise have weighed on me. She is also adept at tying these discussions back to social work values, ethics, and skills. This creates a personally beneficial but also professionally enriching experience. Norella has also helped me to understand the importance of self-care, find what works for me, and has encouraged me to utilize these practices in and out of the practicum setting. Additionally, she has highlighted and complimented by strengths and talents, encouraging me to utilize them within and outside of the practicum setting. This has helped to increase my self-confidence and self-awareness, ultimately making me a better social worker.

Overall, the instruction provided by Norella has been exactly what I needed. She has contributed to my knowledge and my professional abilities. She has helped me improve my ability to apply theoretical concepts and frameworks to real life situations. Her support, recognition, and affirmation have bolstered my confidence and trust in myself. Her guidance, modeling, and instruction have shaped my professional identity. Her instruction has helped me utilize my knowledge and abilities to the fullest to solve professional and personal problems."

While working with your field instructor/preceptor this year, what about their work has most informed how you will practice as a social worker?

"I was a bit disappointed when I first found I was going to be working in a school for my first year practicum placement. I have never been interested in working with kids and I knew that school social work wasn't for me. I was skeptical about whether this experience would have any benefit for me—professionally or personally. For the first month or so, despite liking and respecting Norella, I still had doubts about whether this experience was going to make me a better social worker. As I settled in, began to observe and do more, and developed a stronger relationship with Norella, my feelings began to change. Working with her has strongly influenced my understanding of social work as a profession and what it means to be a social worker. Through supervision, field instruction and modeling, Norella has helped me to begin forming my professional identity and has shaped my current practice as a social worker.

Seeing how Norella performs as a social worker has been inspiring, informative, and influential. She embodies the core social work values in her interactions with staff, parents, students, and community members and organizations. She is committed to improving the students' quality of life, access to resources, academic performance, home-life, social-emotional health, well-being, and more. She advocates for students, families, staff, her school, and the community as a whole. She is passionate about her work and her service outside of the organization. She takes on projects and volunteer opportunities that benefit her clients and the community. She is committed to learning and keeping herself educated, improving her skills, and adapting to better serve her clients and community. All of these things have informed how I plan to (and already do) practice as a social worker. Her work has reinforced the importance I place on service to clients and community, advocacy and social justice, continuing education, and creatively and collaboratively meeting the needs of those I work with and for. Additionally, observing Norella do 'mundane' school social work tasks (e.g., calling parents, collaborate with staff, doing IEP meetings, participating in division meetings, advocate for students) has helped me understand what social workers do and how they do it. This has shaped my view of social work professionalism. It has also helped me to get a practical understanding of how the skills, theories, and frameworks I learn about in class are applied to the actual practice of social work. Our supervisions and the instruction she provides have allowed me to pinpoint and hone the approaches and skills that I find work best for me and my clients and use them in my practice. It has also allowed me to develop and test my own personal style as a social worker in a safe, supported, and constructive setting."

Aside from what you've already provided, please share any additional details about how you've been inspired by your field instructor/preceptor:

"Norella's passion, commitment to social justice, and desire to be a lifelong learner have truly inspired me. Norella is the legislative co-chair for the Kansas School Social Work Association (KSSWA). She told me she pursued this position because policy is not her strong suit (and I can certainly say the same) and she wanted to challenge herself to learn more about it while serving her community and improving the profession at the same time. Her passion and drive pushed me to pay closer attention in my policy class and to become more involved in local legislature. Eventually, we also worked together on a legislative advocacy project for KSSWA—something I never would have done previously. Her involvement in community education and resource connection has also been inspiring for me. She takes on a lot of projects (in and outside of the school) that are geared at educating people about mental/emotional/physical/social health and well-being, financial literacy, and community resources. Observing her and witnessing the difference she makes—as well as participating first-hand—has really inspired me to stay involved in this type of work throughout my practice as a social worker and to give back as much as I can."

Clinical Field Instruction

Cassy Kelly - Research Psychiatric Center

Nominated by Gabriella Barnum, field practicum site - Research Psychiatric Center 

This award is designed to honor excellence in field instruction. With that in mind, please tell us about the field instruction provided by your field instructor/preceptor.

"Cassy has always offered us support, answered questions, worked through ethical dilemmas, and provided examples from her past experience to help us learn. I greatly appreciate the way she provides feedback and guidance. She also does supervision with all of us as a group, which has been the most beneficial part of my practicum in my opinion. It's great to have the opportunity to learn from other students. I'm here with another KU student but also a UMK student. They are both about to graduate and have had lots of great questions and insight to offer, and working through problems with them and Cassy altogether has been fantastic."

While working with your field instructor/preceptor this year, what about their work has most informed how you will practice as a social worker?

"I think the biggest thing I've learned are some of the characteristics I want to have. Cassy has really good self-awareness in what her strengths AND weaknesses are, and she is actively working on her weaknesses to be better. She is also very trusting of her staff and available should they need her support. I want to be a supportive, trusting social worker, and I want to continually work on myself to improve my skills. Cassy has been an awesome role model for what I think a social worker should be like."

Nominated by Donesha Evans, field practicum site - Research Psychiatric Center 

This award is designed to honor excellence in field instruction. With that in mind, please tell us about the field instruction provided by your field instructor/preceptor.

"Cassy has been a field instructor at RPC for 10 plus years and has never been nominated. However I want to take the time to brag about her. Her insight is amazing when it comes to working in both a clinical and therapeutic setting. She gives great advice but most of all she is a great encourager. Cassy is very forthcoming and honest about her expectations and ability to be flexible. Cassy has been in my seat as a working parent and MSW student so she sees things in me that others have questioned. I know for a fact, without Cassy I wouldn't have been able to survive this school year. Cassy has given me the opportunity to do so many things and experience a lot more than I can say any of my peers have at their practicum sites. She loves what she does and it shows through her work ethic and ability to teach, guide, supervise and lead. Cassy loves students and wants to see their success. I believe that I owe a great deal of my success and clinical experience to Cassy's ability to pair me with an individual who has similar strengths as myself and her ability to encourage me to try something new. Cassy hasn't just been a great instructor but she has also been my confidant and pushed me to keep going when I really wanted to quit."

While working with your field instructor/preceptor this year, what about their work has most informed how you will practice as a social worker?

"Cassy gives thorough feedback and weekly asks whats going well and what could be better. She uses mistakes and things that I fret over as learning/teaching moments and she has allowed me to be exposed to as many different areas of the psychiatric center as I am comfortable and willing to challenge myself too. I have experiences in acute inpatient care, intensive day program and outpatient therapy services. I know how to complete psychosocial assessments and how to identify several mental health disorders just from conversations with patients and/or looking at their charts. I have learned how to best advocate for my patients as well as how to identify secondary trauma and my need for self care."

Aside from what you've already provided, please share any additional details about how you've been inspired by your field instructor/preceptor:

"Cassy has inspired me as a woman because of her tenacity and resilience to get where she is and sit in the seat she holds. I am inspired by the dedication she has to teaching and her continued support of her students post graduation. Most of her employees were her students first. Mostly, I am inspired by Cassy's patience and ability to wear so many hats and still be very supportive of me as a student."

Macro Field Instruction

Marqueia Watson - Homeless Services Coalition of Greater Kansas City

Nominated by Haley White, field practicum site - The Greater Kansas City Coalition to End Homelessness

This award is designed to honor excellence in field instruction. With that in mind, please tell us about the field instruction provided by your field instructor/preceptor.

"Marqueia is a field instructor that cares deeply about the professional development of her students. From day one, Marqueia encouraged me to think about what I wanted out of my time at the Coalition, and further, what I wanted out of my career. She treated me like part of the team from the very beginning, and I feel incredibly grateful to have had a chance to go after opportunities that I saw would benefit me the most. She put me in positions to try new things and to experience different aspects of the organization. With the support of Marqueia, I was able to do research for the health department, create a landlord engagement initiative, and be a part of committees within the agency that were of interest to me. She asked me my input on bigger decisions for the organization, and instilled the confidence in me that I could lead the charge on certain efforts. In my years of practice and time in school, I have never felt more encouraged to think bigger about what I wanted for myself and my career. I owe that to her."

While working with your field instructor/preceptor this year, what about their work has most informed how you will practice as a social worker?

"Marqueia is extremely driven, and she does not shy away from things just because they are new or uncomfortable. She has big ideas, and she has the expertise and ability to see them through. She is also very transparent. She kept our staff in the loop as changes were happening within the organization and the Continuum of Care. She creates a space to explore and question, and that is the biggest thing I will take with me."

2019-2020 Award Winners

BSW Student

Nathan Eikmeier- St. Michael’s Veteran Center

Nate's field placement was at St. Michael's Veterans Center - a permanent supportive housing program for formerly homeless and/or disabled veterans. Nate was drawn to this placement b/c he too is a Veteran. Nate's responsibilities were many and despite his hefty list of tasks, he was constantly saying, "Hold on, don't do that - let me go do that." To say I appreciated his help is an understatement. St. Michael's has 125 residents and I am the only social worker. We administer weekly programs and in addition to that I do individual case work. Nate took the responsibility of the food pantry off of me. Additionally, he quickly learned mainstream benefits and assisted residents in making applications for Veteran Pension and Compensation benefits, as well as, file Medicaid, food stamps and QMB applications. He was committed in his efforts to assist several "untidy" residents keep their apartments organized in order to prevent additional lease violations and possible eviction. Several of these apartments were down right unsanitary and he found a way to be respectful, kind and effective in his goal. Additionally, concerned about many of our residents who are overweight with co-occurring health conditions, Nate and his fellow KU intern, Lauren, started an age & ability appropriate exercise class. They were faithful to it, even when no resident attended. Over time, through their patience, perseverance and continual personal invitations, they developed a core group of resident participants. Nate was constantly busy attending to tasks and even when he completed them all, instead of sitting and resting at his desk for a moment - he would jump up and say, "I am going to walk around and check on people." Nate never tired of interacting with our residents, and despite the many tasks that do need to be completed, the most significant social problem we experience here at St. Michael's is self-isolating, loss of purpose and depression. Nate knew that a friendly smile and interested ear were of greatest benefit to our residents and was consistently generous is offering his.

Nate has been the consummate student to supervise in field. He is consistently professional in the way he presents himself and the way he represents our profession. He is the tireless case worker that never lost track of any task assigned (or suggested) and followed through meticulously until every task was completed. He sought out consultation at every opportunity, whether it was to improve his skills in order to elicit motivation in an otherwise ambivalent resident vis-à-vis impending eviction or when he was dissecting his own values and beliefs to ensure they were not influencing his interactions with a client. Nate’s focused attention on research, theory and best-practices, combined with his genuine desire to be of assistance ensured that his interactions were professionally rooted and skillfully delivered. Many social workers genuinely want to help people and this is true for Nate too. However, what distinguishers Nate is his fine-tuned understanding that the profession of social work transcends being of assistance to others. He understands that the profession of social work is to critically analyze systems to address injustice, to be of assistance in a clinically effective, efficient and fiscally responsible manner and to respect all individuals in the process. His enthusiasm for his profession and his drive for excellence has been energizing to me over these past 2 semesters. I am sad that our semester was cut short. I have missed his presence in the office. Before I conclude, I want to acknowledge a special appreciation for the person Nate is. Late in the day, one Friday afternoon, Nate and I had the distressing experience of finding a resident deceased in his apartment. Despite having a scheduled personal appointment after his work day, Nate remained at practicum until 9pm that evening when the police, medical examiner and relatives of the deceased finally left. While it is true there were tasks to attend to in the aftermath of the death and Nate did assist me with these, I know that is not the reason he stayed. I know Nate did not want to leave me alone in all of that. I was and am grateful he accompanied me in that experience. Nate is exceptional. I look forward to seeing his career develop.

MSW Foundation

Rayna Marshall - Wyandotte County Courthouse Protective Order Office

The mission of the Victims Services Unit is to empower crime victims by providing them the tools they need to overcome the trauma of victimization. We inform victims of their rights and advocate for their rights to be upheld. We respect and encourage each person's rights to make their own informed decisions as they navigate the criminal justice system. The Victims Services Unit is proactive in reaching out to victims in the community through education and awareness activities. We provide support to the emergency first responders of Wyandotte County to enhance services to victims. This placement is in the Kansas City Kansas Police Departments Victim Services Unit. Specifically, students in this practicum experience work in the Wyandotte County Order of Protection Office. The student has extensive direct contact with clients seeking protection orders and has the ability to safety plan, conduct lethality assessments, and connect survivors with services. There are ex parte dockets every day of the week and one docket on Wednesday afternoons for hearing the Temporary Orders. The students attends these court hearings, notifies survivors of the hearing, informs survivors about the court process, and is present in the hearings to help navigate and support survivors at court. This student works to bridge the fields of survivor advocacy, law enforcement and/or civil/criminal court systems.

Rayna is always the first to jump in to meet the needs of the office and the survivors we work with. She is self-motivated, creative, and resourceful. She learned our process quick and began juggling multiple clients and has been a consistent advocate to everyone she works with. Throughout my time working with Rayna, she has shown a great interest in supporting survivors, creating a space for survivors to be educated on how to represent themselves. There is often no perfect solution for survivors navigating the justice system. The process is slow and confusing. Rayna will put in the work, do the research, and communicate each option clearly and empathetically. Rayna is organized. If Rayna is working with a family, she will follow through on each step, she never misses an email, and when she says she will find an answer she does. Being skilled and modeling the social work values are detrimental to this field. Additionally, Rayna is a pleasure to work with and learn from. Rayna enjoys having difficult conversations about the real systematic barriers our clients face. She has a passion to learn and be a life-long learner. Rayna has a contagious positive energy and is an excellent team member. She uses all her prior knowledge and expertise to guide her practice. Each day Rayna was in the office, her presence was known and will be treasured as she continues on in her profession.

MSW Macro

Kelsey Rose - Office of Victim Services

In her macro placement, Kelsey has engaged in a variety of activities to support the KDOC Office of Victim Services. She has written and managed a our Violence Against Women Act grant, which was fully funded! She also has been tracking legislative activities, including the activities of the Kansas Criminal Justice Reform Commission and has participated actively in the Kansas Organization for Victim Assistance (KOVA) legislative subcommittee efforts. Kelsey has worked with our restorative justice program to review and update existing policies. She has participated in several activities related to the Prison Rape Elimination Act Multidisciplinary Team (PREA MDT), a statewide group working to improve response to incarcerated survivors. Kelsey has worked with our batterer intervention program (BIP) team to create a BIP evaluation for participants who have completed our program.

Kelsey works closely with our batterer intervention program (BIP) team and this statement from the BIP Coordinator is a clear testament to Kelsey's impact on our team: "Kelsey has been such a pleasure to have on our team. She is very willing to jump in head first and learn about this incredibly difficult work. She is open to feedback, provides excellent contribution to case staffing meetings and is an amazing team player. She has been more than willing to help when needed. She is such a quick learner and has provided tangible tools that we can use in the future. Her work in establishing a client evaluation of the Batterer Intervention Program (BIP) is instrumental for BIP staff to gather much needed feedback from clients in order to improve the services provided and for clients to offer their thoughts and opinions on the program they invested much time and energy into. This evaluation tool will be something that is used often in the future." Kelsey has a unique balance of head and heart skills that creates a powerful force for macro work. She understands the complicated dynamics of our work and masterfully distills nebulous programming into concrete policies, evaluations, grants, etc. She has been a joy to work with and has balanced many unique issues throughout her practicum with enviable grace. Kelsey's response to the impact of COVID-19 has been most impressive. When the notice came out that practicum would end at 550 hours, Kelsey was at 560. In meeting with Kelsey to wrap up, she stated that she intends to complete the projects she had started, working in volunteer status, so she doesn't leave open loops. She is aware of the impact that her abrupt departure would have on staff and has worked with program staff to prioritize what projects can be left as is and what would be helpful to have her work to complete before officially leaving. We are working with our Human Resources team in this unprecedented time to find Kelsey a part-time position with our office, if she is interested in such. We know her skills and perspective will set her up for a bright future and we are grateful to be a stop along her path. The KDOC Office of Vitim Services enthusiastically nominates Kelsey Rose for the 2019-2020 Margo Award for Outstanding Student Achievement in Field Practicum.

MSW Clinical

Jennifer McConico - North Kansas City Hospital

Jennifer is on the Maternal Child Health Unit, which encompasses labor and delivery, postpartum care and the NICU. Jennifer's role includes completing psychosocial assessments for which there are consults for mothers with identified risk factors, triaging patients as appropriate from nurse referrals, completing follow up assessments with NICU families for patients who have longer stay. Jennifer's role includes promoting patients' rights and maximum benefits from health care services, proactively completing nonclinical chart review to assess for psychosocial, discharge planning and resource needs. Jennifer is also expected to act as a liaison between patients, family, physicians and other hospital staff, utilizing an interdisciplinary approach.

Jennifer has brought incredible assets to the Maternal Child Health Unit. Jennifer consistently displays kindness and empathy when she is working with patients and their families. Jennifer has helped implement a postpartum depression support group, to include meeting with community partners and hospital administration to propose and develop the plan for implementation. Jennifer has incredible insight and active listening skills, in the beginning of practicum when she was shadowing me and becoming familiar with the role of a social worker on this unit she would observe, hear and comment on things that I would miss - and she has only sharpened those skills as she has worked through practicum. Jennifer is constantly positive and asking where she can be helpful, not only to myself but to other staff on this unit. Jennifer always shows willingness and ability to compromise and be flexible when working with an interdisciplinary team to provide the safest discharge plan for a patient. She is also respectful, yet provides education to others on the team if a patients needs are requiring a different viewpoint. Jennifer is very proactive. If there are a small number of assessments, Jennifer will preform a chart review on patients to ensure that there was not a need that was missed during their intake. Jennifer is great at being able to anticipate discharge needs and communicating those needs to others on the team. Jennifer has worked with outside agencies, including adoption agencies and Children's Division, to coordinate a safe and appropriate discharge plan for all parties involved. Jennifer is always willing to go beyond the formal job description. In other down time she researches best practices for working with women who are at risk for perinatal mood disorders and updates resources and info appropriately. During our supervision meetings Jennifer talks about the difficult situations. She works through the situations where she identifies her bias and easily identifies alternate strategies to approach more complex situations that can occur on this unit. There has never been a time when I have tasked Jennifer with something that she wasn't willing to complete and complete well. Her knowledge, expertise, passion, empathy, laughter, kindness, advocacy, self awareness, active listening and trustworthiness will be greatly missed.


Melinda Reyes - VNA Lawrence

The field instruction provided by my preceptor, Melinda Reyes, is a combination of hands on and teaching by observation type, which is how I learn best. In the previous semester(Fall), we specialized in hospice care that mainly concerns providing comfort care (not treatment) and psycho-social support to patients at the end of life, not forgetting to offer psycho-social care to patients' care givers and families. This semester(Spring), we are still doing hospice in addition to home health care which is an exciting experience all together. Home health deals with helping patients regain their ability to continue living life to their fullest and so patients may be offered different therapies and treatments as long as they can tolerate it.Home health is about identifying the resources each patient needs and making them available. Some times patients transition to hospice from here. We do home and facility visits and this is how we connect directly with our patients. Towards the middle of last semester, I started doing visits on my own and then got supervision from my preceptor and my offsite supervisor and I feel comfortable doing that at this point. I am doing more of those this semester including practice on admissions which is going well.

Overall, my preceptor is very professional and has a very good ability to keep her boundaries and also respects others'. Her organization and responsibility are areas that have really impressed and motivated me. She is very respectful to and patient with all staff, patients and their families and understands her role really well and does what she is supposed to do. She applies her social work skills, theories and practice skills extremely well. My preceptor's mastery and appropriate application of the National Social Workers Association Code of Ethics is an amazing aspect to take with me as a social worker. She is always culturally confidence and sensitive, a very social work aspect. Her positivity towards her role is indeed contagious and cannot go unnoticed. Her knowledge and awareness of the resources in the community and helping patients access them is a motivating factor for me. Her nonjudgemental attitude and her wisdom in handling issues is admirable. I can write a whole book about this but I hope this creates a clear picture of who she is. I would say she is one my best role models and mentors I have had in my practicum. I really appreciate her and highly recommend her as a future supervisor or preceptor.

Field Instructor

Jasmine Turner - DCF Child and Family Protective Services

Jasmine has made working at DCF, an incredibly hard practicum, enjoyable. Going into practicum, I was incredibly anxious about working in such a hard agency that deals with horrible things every day. Jasmine has always prioritized self care and checks in on me constantly to ensure that I am learning the most possible in my short time at DCF.

Learning about institutionalized oppression and poverty in an educational setting versus seeing how it impacts clients directly are two very different things. I was worried that my coworkers at DCF would be almost hardened, or blind to the institutional factors at play that effect our clients. However, it is quite the opposite. Everyone has nothing but great things to say about Jasmine at DCF, and she cares deeply about her coworkers. Her door is always open when people are having a hard day, which people frequently utilize. I hope that I am half the social worker Jasmine is, and that I can take many of the things she has taught me with me in the future when I have clients of my own.

Outstanding Offsite Field Instruction

Diane Bigler - KU

As a first-year MSW student, I have had no previous practicum experience or experience with a field instructor. Diane Bigler was an offsite field instructor as we had no one at the MSW level at our agency. From the beginning, Diane took guided me through well structured yet open conversation that allowed me to both process events in practicum and apply them in a broader context while not dwelling on them longer than necessary. Diane would come to supervision each week with extracurricular material that would get us thinking about various topics such as self-care/avoiding burnout, filling in gaps in advocacy, and the like. Furthermore, Diane identified pertinent areas of struggle and framed these difficult areas in a manageable way. With Diane's field instruction I felt more confident and cared for as a student and practitioner.

In a word, Diane's mindfulness. Her ability to assess a situation in the moment and act with thought has stood out to me. She has demonstrated her wealth of knowledge and experience in conjunction with her knowing the right time to employ them. Through Diane's example, I've learned to allow my experiences through practicum, and later on in practice, to fully cultivate into tools I use in practice and in interacting with other professionals for the best care of our clients. When Diane interacted with us practicum students, she identified where each of us were at in our learning process and met us there while still encouraging us to push our boundaries in a healthy and productive way. Diane showed me, and was evidence of the fact, that I can achieve my goals in this field and that nothing is beyond me as a practitioner.

Outstanding Field Liaison

Jennifer Dawdy - KU

Jennifer is instrumental in assisting Jennie Marsh and Field Education staff in developing the BSW seminar. She and Jennie piloted seminar this year and due to their hard work, we will fully implement BSW and MSW foundation seminar in 2021-22. Additionally, as she did in 2015, Jennifer once again stepped up to assist the Field Office during a staffing and leadership transition. This year, Jennifer's field education roles have included: liaison, instructor, and practicum coordinator. Laurie and I are particularly grateful for her assistance managing practicum disruptions and planning during COVID19. This has been a crazy year in field and Jennifer did not shy away from the challenges. Thank you, Jennifer; you're a fine social worker, student advocate, and coworker. 

Practicum Education Office