Skip to main content Skip to main content

2020 Social Work Honors and Awards Recognition

While we are saddened that we are unable to celebrate the accomplishments of our Social Work students and faculty in person, we still want to hold space to recognize these accomplishments. On this page, we celebrate our 2020 Social Work Student Awards, 2020 Faculty of the Year Awards, Phi Alpha Honor Society Members, MSW Program Capstone Project Award Winners, Departmental Scholarship Recipients, and Workforce Development Stipend Scholars. We encourage you to read more about these accomplishments and honors in the sections below.


Student Awards

Each spring, the Department of Social Work recognizes three Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) students and three Master of Social Work (MSW) Program students with the Social Justice Advocate Awards, Social Work Leadership Awards, and Social Work Scholar Awards. Students are nominated for these awards by faculty and fellow students, with decisions made by a committee of departmental faculty and staff. 

Social Justice Advocate Award

The Social Justice Advocate Award recognizes a student who has made a significant contribution in the advancement of human rights, peace, justice, or equality within the university, local or global communities. This award acknowledges students’ contributions towards the alleviation of social inequalities for marginalized communities, particularly based on race, class, sexuality, gender, ability status, and nationality. Each year, one award will be granted to a BSSW student and one award will be granted to an MSW student. 

Image of Janelle Jenkins

I was asked to speak on a panel of four, at Hunger Action Day, on March 4th, 2020. The panel addressed the community regarding: food equity among Denver neighborhoods, what food insecurity is and how it looks, what past and current polices impact food charity systems, what changes Denver is making to contribute to the health and access of healthier food to Denver communities, necessary changes needed to the structure of food charity systems and how to destroy the power structures that negatively impact food charity and how they contribute to the lack of health equity among Denver neighborhoods. On Jan 7th and Feb 26th, 2020, I joined All Families Deserve A Chance Coalition and Colorado Center on Law & Policy for lobby day at the Capitol. I spoke one-on-one with our district legislators regarding bills: SB19-188 FAMLI Family Medical Leave Insurance program, HB-1193 Behavioral Health Supports for High-Risk Families, HB20-1110 Higher Education Student Emergency Assistance Grant. I am continuing efforts of advocacy, working with Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger Coalition, Raise Colorado, and other advocacy programs to bring awareness and change to issues of injustice.

Nominated by: Janelle Jenkins

Image of Cara LipfordCara embodies social justice and also wears a badge of empathy and compassion. In everything she says and does she takes into consideration social justice and the impact, it has on micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Cara is unapologetic in the fight for equity and social justice. I have had the pleasure of watching Cara grow as a human through undergrad and our master's program and Cara is consistently "fighting the good fight".

Nominated by: Shelby Grosboll, MSW Program student

Social Work Leadership Award

The Social Work Leadership Award recognizes a student who has made a significant contribution to the Department of Social Work, as well as potentially, to the college, university, and/or local or global communities. Each year, one award will be granted to a BSSW student and one award will be granted to an MSW student. 

Image of Leah SchmidtI am pleased to nominate Leah Schmidt for the Leadership Award. Leah has been an invaluable member and officer of the Student Association of Social Workers (SASW) for the past two years. In 2018-19, she served as the Marketing, Social Media and Website Coordinator, promoting the group’s meetings and projects such as an event on licensure in partnership with NASW, before becoming the Vice President where she guided efforts for the department’s Palliative Care Conference. She was elected President of SASW for the 2019-20 academic year and has been a mature, thoughtful, organized and inclusive leader. This year, she spearheaded the group’s efforts to host a networking and social mentoring event for both BSSW and MSW students. In order to further promote awareness of and membership in SASW, Leah researched and purchased promotional materials. Throughout all of these roles, Leah has effectively collaborated with her peers and the group’s advisors and has helped to create an atmosphere of collaboration and openness to new ideas. Additionally, Leah has developed a reputation of being someone whom others can trust to follow through and stay true to her word. She is a great example of what it means to truly lead.

Nominated by: Amanda Campbell, MSW, LCSW (Assistant Director of Field Education)

Image of Kristen WebbKristen is an exceptional student and will no doubt become a leader in our field. In research methods, Kristen demonstrated her ability to grasp complex concepts and to contribute new depth and insight to her peers' understanding as well. She consistently showed up in class prepared, positive and ready to actively engage. As such, this year, I invited Kristen to be a teaching assistant for the research methods course. She has exceeded all expectations for the position and proven herself to be an invaluable asset to these classes. She brings the knowledge, critical thought, and a keen sense of professionalism typical of a much more experienced educator. She has an almost innate understanding of how to teach research in a way that works for social work students. Kristen dreams of becoming a social work scholar and, given her talent and dedication, I have no doubt she will accomplish that goal.

Nominated by: Kristen Atkinson, MSW, Ph.D. (Lecturer in Social Work)

Social Work Scholar Award

The Social Work Leadership Award recognizes a student who demonstrates excellence in research and writing. Each year, one award will be granted to a BSSW student and one award will be granted to an MSW student. 

Photo of Callie SheltonI enthusiastically recommend Ms. Callie Shelton, BSSW student, for the Scholar Award. Callie is one of the best students I have taught in my 15 years of teaching at the college level. Her writing, research, and analytical skills are at the graduate level. For her Literature Review assignment in my research methods class, she found an emerging and important topic that I was not aware of previously, which was very exciting to me. The topic is a new area of research to evaluate the effectiveness of using doulas for women undergoing an abortion. The paper is written so beautifully and is full of strong critical analysis. Her ability to synthesize this literature was excellent. I am incredibly impressed with her work on this paper, and she is making a paper presentation at a professional conference in Portland, Oregon to be held April 1-4, 2020 at the Western Social Science Association conference. I predict that her talk will generate a lot of interest and will be well attended. In summary, Callie is extremely bright and hard working. She is passionate about research and policy advocacy. She has excelled at her internship at Planned Parenthood where she has focused on policy research and advocacy. I really cannot say enough about Callie and how bright her future is!

Nominated by: Jessica Ritter, MSSW, Ph.D. (Professor in Social Work)

Image of Yoana Martinex-SalazarI have had the privilege of having Yoana in two courses over her MSU graduate career. In both instances, she has demonstrated a commitment both to her education and to the field of social work. In choosing a capstone project this year, Yoana was tasked with finding a project that would satisfy the class, her desire to address issues of social justice, and one that could be approved within a large bureaucratic agency. She accomplished this and demonstrated a professional and focused project that is poised to make her an agent of change within that agency. In fact, she began with the hope of having 20 participants; however, due to her persistence, diligence, commitment to her clients and respect she has earned, all staff who were recruited, participated. In addition, she took the role of scholar and researcher to heart and produced a strong and thoughtful argument for the importance of her project to the community, the agency, and the field of social work, a testament to her scholarship. I am honored to nominate Yoana for the MSW Scholar of the year, I believe she represents everything we expect from a scholar and a social worker.

Nominated by: Erin Boyce, MSW, Ph.D. (Lecturer in Social Work)

Faculty of the Year Awards

Each spring, the Department of Social Work recognizes six faculty, three who teach in the Bachelor of Science in Social Work (BSSW) Program and three who teach in the Master of Social Work (MSW) Program, for their excellence in teaching and guiding our students. Faculty are nominated by students in the program and the awards are facilitated by the Phi Alpha Honor Society.

Student comments on why Jessica Ritter deserves to be our BSSW Program Faculty of the Year:

Jessica Ritter is a great professor that really focuses on her student's success. During this COVID 19 epidemic switching fully online was not easy for anyone, however, Jessica made us feel like we had a sense of normalcy. She provided open and clear conversations about academics and our personal life by hosting several zoom meeting. She provided a platform for students to be heard on many occasions. Jessica provided the students with a huge amount of support and made us not feel disconnected from her as a professor and academics. She really deserves a shout out for doing so much good for her students.

Dr. Ritter is the kindest, most patient and most encouraging professor I have ever met. She goes out of her way to make sure students understand the material and get the most out of each class. As a faculty advisor, Dr. Ritter always has the time to listen to students' worries, no matter how small. I am grateful for her continued support and honored to nominate her for faculty of the year.

Dr. Ritter is an excellent instructor. Her classes are interesting, engaging and impactful. She is empathetic. Dr. Ritter truly seems to enjoy working with students. She goes out of her way to provide enriching classroom activities, as well as educational opportunities at conferences, etc.

They are very good at explaining course material. I have had this teacher for multiple courses and I was never left wondering about a topic.

Dr. Ritter is an outstanding professor! She has gone above and beyond for me and other students when presenting and advocating for new educational experiences and opportunities. She truly cares about her students and is a phenomenal professor. Her way to teach policy and research is so inspirational and refreshing. Dr. Ritter definitely knows how to teach a tough subject and make it more engaging and fun. Dr. Ritter has been a great addition to the MSU Social Work Department.  She is my favorite professor and I believe she deserves this award! Go Dr. Ritter!

Professor Ritter is by far one of the best professors I have had. With everything that happened this year due to COVID-19, she was the best professor I had that helped student adapt to the online changes. She is passionate about what she teaches and gives great feedback. She always makes sure she grades on time. She never is scared to admit when she is wrong and allows for students to help answer questions she doesn't know.

She is a great professor, setting her students up for success.

Dr. Ritter goes above and beyond for her students. The way her course curriculums are structured is solid without confusion. The way she transitioned her Social Work Policy course from person to the virtual online class was super smooth that it left my anxiety confused.

Jessica is an amazing professor, social worker, and person in general. She is very caring and compassionate. She is almost going out of her way to make sure her students understand the content and succeed in her class. She has been nothing short of amazing and has helped me personally. She has written letters of recommendation for me and guided me through my academic career. Jessica deserves this award more than anything!

She is wonderful.

Dr. Ritter makes classes so meaningful, from the way she engages with the material and her students (and ALL of us, not just the students who are more vocal!) to the discussions and activities she has us do together and the important questions and reflections in discussion boards. The transition to online was tough for everyone, and the balance of normalcy and compassion Dr. Ritter showed as we learned how to move through to the end of the semester was extra helpful. It is an honor to be under her wing!

Student comments on why Kelly DeHaven deserves to be our BSSW Program Affiliate Faculty of the Year:

Kelly is an amazing Professor. She teaches in a way that everyone can understand. She cares about each student so much and wants to see them succeed. She works hard to make sure every student is having the best learning environment and she is very accommodating to each students needs. She deserves to be recognized for going above and beyond!

I am nominating this professor because she really cares about students.

Kelly is such a supportive person to her students. She really knew how to work quickly when transferring to online. She provided a plan within the week of the announcement of going fully online. She has a great skill in making something stressful a little less stressful for the students. I cannot stress this enough but her devotion to students is amazing. When every you reach out to Kelly she has a great time span of getting back to you. I don't think I ever had to wait longer than an hour for Kelly to get back to me in email. Her attention to communication is why she deserves a shout out. Especially during this COVID 19 epidemic, it was easy to have a lack of communication however Professor Kelly took it upon herself to hold herself to an amazing standard to not loose that communication.

Went above and beyond. Every class was wonderful.

Kelly is wonderful! She is incredibly flexible and helpful especially during COVID. You can see how hard she works to find activities to help facilitate learning while also making it fun to learn. She is understanding and goes out of her way to help you understand or learn something. When she found that some of us did not learn many of the basics from our GP 1 professor last year, she made sure to incorporate those basics into her teaching for GP 2 in order to help us have a true foundation to build off of.

She ensure that her students well-being was good and was very communicative also keeping her students up to date

It shows that she cares about her students and us being successful. It was her first time teaching and she did an amazing job. When transitioning to online, we provided support every set of the way and communication.

Professor DeHaven is SO outstanding! Her knowledge and experience are valuable. The way she teaches is so intentional, and it is clear that she outs a tremendous amount of work into the activities she brings into our learning. Her care for my learning and comprehension makes me feel very lucky, and prepared!

Student comments on why Barbara Decker deserves to be our BSSW Program Online Faculty of the Year:

Professor Decker is one of my favorite professors at MSU! I had her for my field experience course a couple of years ago and found her to be amazing. She appreciated my excitement regarding the field of Social Work and assisted me with focusing my direction and energy! In conversations with students I recently met, they were singing Professor Decker's praises as well. Due to the feedback I have received about Professor Decker from other students, coupled with my own experience in her classroom, I am nominating her for this achievement!

Supportive in an online setting. Interacts just as much in an online setting as she does in a class setting.

Barbara has made online learning easy.

Amazing Professor

Professor Decker values the life experiences of her students and encourages us to use them to engage in learning. She is compassionate and empathetic to her students. Her knowledge and passion for social work are infectious. Love her!!!!!

All I can say that she is an amazing professor.

Prof. Decker is a wonderful instructor.  She is reliable and organized.  She is quick to reply to emails.  She answers questions thoroughly and gives great advice.  Her lectures are thought provoking and thorough.  She is open to feedback.  She checks in often with her students. i can tell she really loves to teach.  She is a wonderful person. 

Always communicated and made sure we were all on the same page.

Student comments on why Louise Haimowitz deserves to be our MSW Program Faculty of the Year:

Louise is genuine, knowledgeable and consistently goes above and beyond for her students. She is engaged every moment that she is teaching and makes herself accessible to her students outside of class as well. She is generous in sharing her knowledge and sets a strong example of how to hold professional boundaries with her students. I am constantly challenged in her class but have also experienced tremendous growth under her guidance. She is the only professor I have learned from in our program that incorporated mindfulness into every class. Louise equally inspires me to make an impacts as a social worker in my community and makes me want to stay in academia forever!

She took on an entire new course (Maternal and Infant Mental Health) and did an amazing job. She is so caring towards her students and passionate about her work.

Louise enjoys and demonstrates the passion she has in the work that she does in the classroom and in her career. She believes in each of her students and has taught us patience and to believe in ourselves.

She’s an overall great professor. She cares about her students and the profession. She’s understanding and flexible.

Louise is a great teacher. She clearly has a passion and enthusiasm for both educating and for the subject material.  Besides being an expert at the material she is teaching us, I feel like we learn so much about how to be an empathic clinician just by observing the way she conducts herself in class, by the feedback she provides and how understanding and kind she is. Louise nurtures her students and that is encouraging. Her written feedback to assignments is always detailed and insightful and highly individualized. She is an incredible instructor and role model.

Louise is one of the best teachers I've ever had. She shares so much clinical knowledge and wisdom during her lectures and our class discussions, she is very generous with the feedback she gives on assignments, and she truly cares about her students and goes above and beyond to show them that. Louise models a calm, grounded, open presence for her students that we can integrate into our own work with clients, which has been very beneficial for me personally. I've learned so much from Louise and her Generalist Practice class was truly a pleasure to attend each week. I can't thank her enough!

I have had the privilege of being a student in Louise's classes for 3 out of my 4 semesters in the MSW program. She is so incredibly dedicated to the material, her students, and the field of social work. I always felt nurtured and encouraged in her class and she really helped me envision myself as a clinician in the field at times when I doubted myself.

I think one of your strongest gifts is giving voice to people. To clients and to us as students. It is marvelous. I really hope I can learn that skill because I think it is helpful to give healthy perspective in a very nonthreatening way. The way you speak for an infant in a session, the way you speak for all of us going through this as a population is a really helpful release. I will always appreciate you and your care for students. And also your hands on clinical examples and modeling and perspectives. And for accepting us, just as we are, and allowing us space to just be. You have changed my life Professor Haimowitz.

So genuine and caring for all students in this program. Thank you for everything!

Professor Haimowitz embodies social work values. She meets students where they are and helps them grow their skill set. She has high expectations and offers high levels of support.

She is by far the most supportive instructor I have ever had, she is doing a fantastic job managing her students and all of our emotions during this pandemic while also managing to teach us, which is not something most instructors are able to do. She is validating, caring, and strengths based, which makes her students WANT to get better, and feel they can get better. She KNOWS her students and our class feels like a unit, and that is a direct result from her teaching abilities and styles. Her professional wisdom serves her students in a massive way as does her ability to teach, which is not something many of the MSU professors have.

Love her.

Student comments on why Jeanne-Marie Ouelette deserves to be our MSW Program Affiliate Faculty of the Year:

Jeanne has been caring, understanding, and flexible during the challenges of COVID-19. You can tell that she cares about all of her students as people and wants us to succeed. We learn so much in her class and she fosters an environment where we are able to be honest, grow, and support each other.

So much energy, smarts and fun!

Best teacher ever! Never understood theory until I took her class! Plus she is super funny!

Jeanne is an amazing instructor. Down to earth, authentic, real and a wealth of clinical knowledge!

Jeanne is great!

Jeanne was a knowledgeable teacher and practitioner who shared her experiences with the class. Her fun style of teaching made it possible for me to absorb and remember large amounts of information in a shorter amount of time, which was great for a course like HBSE.

Because of her preparation for her classes and dedication to developing the next generation of social workers.

Jeanne is an outstanding professor. I enjoyed her class so much this year.

Student comments on why Perri Corvino deserves to be our BSSW Program Faculty of the Year:

Perri makes online learning feel the most like classroom learning by posting video lectures that students can comment and participate in, providing good discussion board questions, and mixing things up with flipgrid. She didn't micromanage us, but instead structured her online classroom in a way that naturally encouraged engagement without counting discussion board responses or dictating days and times we had to post by.

Perri has a way of taking the "online" out of the class and making it seem like your typical graduate classroom setting. She uses resources like VoiceThread, FlipGrid and the discussion board to ensure we are seeing her face to face and learning the most that we can during our time in her class. She provides incredible experiential examples and insights to the classroom and is very easy going and laid back. She has expectations, but they are very manageable and timely. She is easy to reach, answers our questions in depth and is a great resource for things beyond the classroom. She structures the classroom really well and provides ample information for upcoming assignments. Each week of assignments is different so it keeps the class fresh, new and exciting. She provides great resources as far as different readings and materials that help further our learning. I switched from another class so that I could be in this one with her, and I am so glad I did- it was worth being on the waitlist for this class!

Most invested instructor towards different learning styles.

Perri is an incredible teacher. As an online instructor, she goes above and beyond for her students. She offers the class content in a variety of ways in order to try and best meet the diverse needs and learning styles of her students. She even started scheduling a live lecture each week in addition to her weekly recorded lectures. It is clear that she takes the time to choose and create course content and activities that will best foster our learning. She has a ton of valuable wisdom and expertise that she shares with her students while still always remaining humble. She also responds to emails promptly and takes time to meet with each student individually throughout the semester to check in, answer questions, and offer support. Above all, it is abundantly clear how much she cares for both her students and the social work profession. Taking her class has been one of the best experiences I’ve had while in the MSW program.

Perri is a wonderful online professor. She creates a great online learning space with lots of variety in interactive modes of teaching. She is attentive and offers a great variety of Social work knowledge that is relevant to our future practice.

Providing multiple options for students to participate online in class and flexibility in how they do so.

Perri has the best online classes. She’s creative and makes sure that we get the most learning out of it. It’s never boring. I especially like that she always checks in on her students to see how they are doing. She is very much deserving of this award.

Phi Alpha Honor Society

The purpose of the Phi Alpha Honor Society is to provide a closer bond among students of social work and promot humanitarian goals and ideas. The Phi Alpha Honor Society Epsilon Lambda Chapter is the MSU Denver chapter of the national social work honor society.

Monica Acosta (MSW), Cortney Andrews (BSSW), Emily Aspenwall (BSSW), Alondra Banuelos (MSW), Sheila L. Benintendi (MSW), Nichole Blanford (MSW), Katherine Bouchard (MSW), Hayley Brown (MSW), Veronika Brown (MSW), Samantha Camacho (BSSW), Jennifer Campos (MSW), Alexandra Cardona (BSSW), Alison Chessmore (BSSW), Catherine Clark (MSW), Meladie Clopton (MSW), Grace Combs (MSW), Maria Coppersmith-Buschman (MSW), Larissa Cunningham (MSW), Elizabeth Danelek (BSSW), Rhianna Dow (MSW), Amy Ferrera (MSW), Alyssa Glaser (MSW), Jessie Glasscock (BSSW), Samantha Gray (BSSW), Pahoua Gushen (BSSW), Phoua Her (MSW), Daniel Hertel (MSW), Laura Hirsch (MSW), Nicole Hodges (MSW), Angiela Hoopes (MSW), Autumn Johnson (MSW), Hannah Johnston (MSW), Nickole Kalinay (MSW), Lena Knechtel (MSW), Angela Koenig (BSSW), Deneen Leonardo (BSSW), Briana Lynn (MSW), Kaileigh Lyones (BSSW), Melissa Magor (MSW), Christina Mahoney (BSSW), Crystal Malament (MSW), Kimberly Martin (MSW), Erick Ryan Martinez (MSW), Leslyann Mascorro (BSSW), Martina McNaboe (BSSW), Naomi Miller (MSW), Katie Muller (BSSW), Frida Y. Ocadiz-Ortega (MSW), Florence Onabolu (MSW), Melissa Phifer (MSW), Jennifer Plack (MSW), Danielle Price (BSSW), Jennifer Price (MSW), Daniel Reichwein (MSW), Wendy Michelle Richmond (MSW), Maggie Roesch (MSW), Solangel Romero-Badillo (MSW), Jennifer Ross (MSW), Bridget Rowe (MSW), Beth Ruybal (BSSW), Callie Shelton (BSSW), Frida Soto (BSSW), Susan Sterne (MSW), Kimberly Teasdale (BSSW), Courtney Thoms (MSW), Anna Valiante (MSW), Penny Vaulton (BSSW), Jill Ward (MSW), Morghan Weber (MSW), Samantha Williams (BSSW), Amanda Wilson (MSW), Mckinnley Witty (MSW), Sarah Woliver Binkley (MSW), Ley-Lonni-Marie Woodruff (BSSW)

Capstone Project Awards

The MSW Program Capstone course gives students the opportunity to integrate and apply foundational social work knowledge and skills by proposing and then conducting a meaningful field-based evaluation project. The criteria for selection of our Spring 2020 MSW Program Capstone Project Contest winners were the submission of either the Executive Summary found in the final report assignment or a "TED Talk" style presentation. One winner was selected for each submission type (Best Overall Project for submitted Executive Summaries and Best Overall Presentation for submitted "TED Talk" style presentations) and runner-ups were also selected for both categories.

Image of Alexandra DardarisAlexandra Dardaris conducted an outcomes evaluation for an agency that provides community based behavioral health services offering psychiatry, outpatient therapy, and home-based therapy services to children, adolescents, and families experiencing mental illness. She examined predictors of treatment non completion and her results provided important insights for her agency to improve client access and continuance of needed services.

Image of Kristen WebbKristen Webb presented about her Program Improvement Project focused on nutrition and physical activity and how this might improve mental health and well-being in clients. She performed a needs assessment to assess the need for and the best ways to provide nutrition and physical activity services. This was valuable information to her agency who serves vulnerable populations serves at an integrated care clinic.

Image of Jeremy ShearerJeremy A. Shearer evaluated how well a canine-assisted intervention enhanced parent engagement at an agency focused on child welfare practice, specifically within court-ordered supervised visitations.

Image of Hannah PattonHannah Patton developed an evidence-based group therapy curriculum for students with significant levels of anxiety to be used in a k-6 public school with an outward bound programming.

Image of Heather McCormackHeather McCormack conducted a needs assessment for an institution to help them understand of their capacity to serve multicultural and nontraditional students’ needs and gather suggestions of improved program delivery opportunities.

Image of Angela ComptonAngela M. Compton conducted a state-wide survey to determine the potential capacity and impact of Colorado social workers on the criminal-justice competency system aimed at addressing the high rates of untreated mental health needs in correctional facilities.

Image of Jessica MellarsJessica Mellars created a Social Documentary that document’s an agency’s response to COVID-19 and how they’ve continued to serve vulnerable populations in need.

Image of Jordan VerdieJordan Verdie presented about her project focused on developing an evidence based curriculum for parents who are adopting a child.

Departmental Scholarship Recipients

Each academic year, the Department of Social Work awards two Diversity Scholarships, two Gerontology Scholarships, and one Bilingual/Bicultural Scholarship to MSW Program students.

Image of Nicholas HamblinNicholas Hamblin (left) is our 2019-2020 Diversity Scholarship Recipient. This award was created by the faculty of the MSW Program in order to meet the community's need for social workers from diverse backgrounds. Selected students must be from diverse backgrounds (persons from a historically underrepresented ethnic or racial group, persons who identify as LGBTQ+, or persons with a disability) with a commitment to the profession and to our program’s mission and who are academically prepared for graduate-level work.

Image of Florence OnaboluImage of Sonia SheckFlorence Onabolu (left) and Sonia Sheck (right) are our 2019-2020 Gerontology Scholarship Recipients. This award was created by the faculty of the MSW Program in order to meet the community's needs for social workers in working with older adults. Selected students must express an interest in working in gerontological social work (i.e., working in a setting where you would have frequent contact with older adults and would require competence with older clients and their families) with a commitment to the profession and to our program’s mission and who are academically prepared for graduate-level work.

Image of Lourdes MendozaLourdes Mendoza (left) is our 2019-2020 Bilingual & Bicultural Scholarship Recipient. This award was created by the faculty of the MSW Program in order to promote our mission to educate a diverse group of professional social workers. Selected students must be bicultural (Latinx/Hispanic) and bilingual (fluent in Spanish and English) with a commitment to the profession and to our program’s mission and who are academically prepared for graduate-level work. 

Workforce Development Stipend Scholars

The Department of Social Work is proud to offer several workforce development stipend programs available to BSSW Program and MSW Program students. Designed with intention, these programs address critical workforce needs across the state of Colorado in child welfare, behavioral health, and health care social work. Scholars receive stipend funding to support their education goals and specialized training to support their work in the field post-graduation.

Child Welfare Stipend Program

Through a statewide partnership between the Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), Colorado county departments of human services, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and three additional Colorado-based universities (Colorado State University Pueblo, Colorado State Universtiy Fort Collins, and University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work) the Child Welfare Stipend Program aims to support and grow a well-prepared workforce for child welfare in Colorado. The Child Welfare Stipend Program is designed for BSSW and MSW students interested in pursuing a career as a Colorado county child welfare caseworker or supervisor. 

Collage of images of 2019-2020 Child Welfare Stipend Recipients


Thomas Austin (MSW), Kimberly Bell (BSSW), Stephanie cabrera-Castellon (BSSW), Kristen Jean Casimier (MSW), Amber Cooney (MSW), Adeline Duanlueded (MSW), Benjamin Fox (MSW), Nina Fullerton (MSW), Victoria Gorgemans (MSW), Holly Harris (MSW), Luke Hutchinson (MSW), Aimie Ingalls (BSSW), Kevin Lansing (MSW), Susanna Molnar (MSW), Lisa Neve (MSW), Llynnette Osario (MSW), Sara Papathakis (MSW), Toni Riney (MSW), Bianca Saenz Corral (BSSW), Jeremy Shearer (MSW), Meredith Simmons (MSW), Lynnae Supplee (MSW), Stephanie Velazquez (BSSW), Gina Whiteside (MSW)

Not Pictured:

Marisol Echavarria-Martinez (BSSW), Jennifer Ross (MSW)

HEALS Stipend Program

Social Work Health Care Education and Leadership Scholars (HEALS) was created to develop the next generation of health care social work leaders who will stand ready to lead efforts to address system-level changes, to heighten awareness of prevention and wellness, and to address the issues of structural racism that are embedded in social institutions. MSU Denver selected four students annually (two BSSW Program and two MSW Program) to become Social Work HEALS Scholars.

Collage of images of 2019-2020 HEALS Scholars


Lauren Arian (MSW), Eva Carroll (BSSW), Elizabeth Danelek (BSSW), Morghan Weber (MSW)

HRSA General Integrative Care Stipend Program

The HRSA Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training for Professionals Project (BHWET) General Integrative Care Stipend Program is designed to prepare students to provide behavioral healthcare services to populations across the lifespan, including in rural and medically underserved areas. Students receive specialized behavioral health training and build a network of professionals and agencies that collaborate in providing interprofessional services to vulnerable, at-risk, medically underserved, and/or rural populations and their families.

Collage of images of HRSA General Scholars


Lillian Bicknell (MSW), Nichole Blanford (MSW), Catherine Clark (MSW), Angela Compton (MSW), Allison Dumas (MSW), Tamar Ellentuck (MSW), Abigail Farnsworth (MSW), Marie Fenwick (MSW), Breanna Holligan (MSW), Connie Lewis (MSW), Yoana Martinez-Salazar (MSW), Kelly McCandless (MSW), Kate McCarty (MSW), Destinee Ortega (MSW), Etamar Prizament (MSW), Magaly Sanchez De La Cruz (MSW), Hannah Voth (MSW), Morghan Weber (MSW), Amanda Wilson (MSW)

HRSA SUD/OUD/MAT Integrative Care Stipend Program

The HRSA Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training for Professionals Project (BHWET) SUD/OUD/MAT Integrative Care Stipend Program is designed to prepare students to provide behavioral healthcare services focused on opioid and other substance abuse treatment. Students complete their field placement at a partnering health care agency serving populations across the lifespan, receive specialized behavioral health training, and build a network of professionals and agencies that collaborate in providing interprofessional services to vulnerable, at-risk, medically underserved, and/or rural populations and their families.

Collage of images of 2019-2020 HRSA SUD/OUD/MAT Scholars


Nicholas Hamblin (MSW), Abigail Horn (MSW), Caroline Lee (MSW), Jessica Lyon (MSW), Micaiah Richie (MSW), Bonnie Rusch (MSW), Taylor Sun (MSW), Kristen Webb (MSW)

Not Pictured:

Heather Moruzzi (MSW)

Edit this page

Contact Information

Main Office Phone:



Main Office
Central Classroom Suite 201

Office of Field Education
Central Classroom Suite 202

Office of Social Work Student Services
Central Classroom Suite 206

Maps and Parking

Mailing Address:

Metropolitan State University of Denver
Department of Social Work
PO Box 173362 CB 70
Denver, CO 80217-3362


Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) accreditation logo

Our MSW and BSSW Programs are accredited by the Council on Social Work Education - the sole accrediting body for social work education.