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ALL BSW AND MSW ENTRIES TO THE 2007 CONTEST

ISP BSW Students 2007 Contest Entries

Tony Cox, Laurie Frohreich, Leah Kurbis, Karley Overland, Danielle Thomas, and Crystal Tyree of University of Washington at Tacoma actively promoted support for HB1088, a proposal for the development of a children’s mental health research facility, through distributing fact sheets, attending Lobby Day with the Children’s Alliance, personal visits to legislators, and a letter writing campaign. The bill was passed by the legislature in April 2007 and was sent to the governor for signature.   Faculty member assisting these students:  Gina Benkelman, MSW

Sheri Forker and Shanna Groen of Richard Stockton College of New Jersey identified a lack of adequate substance abuse treatment for women in New Jersey, and in particular, expectant mothers with substance abuse issues. Working to amend S807 (which would appropriate monies to mental health clients who already have insurance, and not to those who are uninsured), students investigated the scope and depth of the problem, visited existing facilities that treat mothers with substance abuse issues, and encouraged these facilities to be actively involved in the legislative process.  Students also attended Rutgers-Newark Influencing National Policy Symposium, presenting their project to their peers, and garnered support from their local legislators.  Faculty member assisting these students:Michael S. Cronin, PhD

Terri Pennington, Rachel Craig, and Donald Landof Slippery Rock University advocated to change Pennsylvania’s minimum wage exemption law for employees who receive more than $30.00 per month in tips.  Students participated in writing over 250 letters to every member of the senate and house, designing a website that includes form letters and information on elected officials, sending mass emails to the public, and designing business cards with information about the website to leave with tips, in an attempt to reach wait-staff and servers.  While they have yet to hear from their representatives, they remain committed to pursuing policy change.  Faculty member assisting these students:  Alana Atchinson, PhD

Kathryn Cook, Amanda Hudson, Constantine Kopf, Lorena Scott, and Valentine Seleaneva of University of Washington at Tacoma engaged in lobbying, educating the public, and building support for legislation HB 1071 & SB5093 that would provide healthcare to uninsured families and children who are within 300% of the federal poverty level.  Students participated in gathering signatures, writing and meeting with legislators, encouraging public awareness, attending a committee meeting and a Lobby Day.  Faculty member assisting these students: Gina Benkelman, MSW

Jenna Wood, Ashley Tasky, Jessi Thomas, and Deborah Yunker of Slippery Rock University advocated for the passage of HB 59 and SB 269, which provides funding for domestic violence programs in the state of Pennsylvania.  Students participated in coalition building, lobbying, media and letter-writing campaigns, and creating public awareness.  Faculty member assisting these students:  Alana Atchinson, PhD

Jane Knable of Cedarville University (Ohio) participated in supporting efforts to change legislation that currently caps the amount of funding provided to the Ohio Housing Trust Fund (HTF).  The HTF is designed to help low-income Ohioans with housing options and services.  Jane increased public awareness through the use of fliers, class presentations, a Lobby Day, and personal meetings with senators and representatives, who agreed to support the changes.  Faculty member assisting this student:  Christine Fulmer, MSW

Nick Cevallos, Dave Pianese, and Angela Shaner of Romapo College of New Jersey campaigned and presented testimony to the Senate Labor Committee in support of New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance bill (S 2249/A 3812).  This bill proposed paid leave to New Jersey workers who have to care for a sick family member or to bond with a newborn/newly adopted child.  As a result of their efforts, members of the group were asked to give a presentation at Rutgers-Newark Influencing National Policy Symposium.  Students also participated in increasing public awareness.  The bill passed and will affect thousands of New Jersey citizens. Faculty member assisting these students: Valerie Scott Massimo, PhD

Amy Salahshour & Matthew Prenticeof Appalachian State University responded to the lack of affordable housing in WataugaCounty by first researching the issue and then advocating for more funding to the North Carolina Housing Trust Fund.  They prepared an issues brief and presented it to committee members.  Amy and Matthew also participated in coalition building and increasing public awareness through campaigning efforts.  Their efforts were recognized by the NASW-NC and in May they were invited to attend the NC Housing Coalition’s Annual Conference to receive the Sister Barbara Sullivan award.  Faculty member assisting these students:  Kellie Reed-Ashcraft, PhD

Jenny Moreno, Julie Veldman, and Kristen Leone of Indiana University, in an effort to address the problem of methamphetamine addiction, waged a public awareness campaign targeted specifically towards college age students, who are typically among the largest group of meth users.   Students created a Facebook on-line support group containing informational facts and statistics about methamphetamine use and prevention.  Faculty member assisting these students:  Bruce McCallister, PhD
                                           
Marianna Johnson of Winona State University advocated to support legislation that would limit college and university tuition increases.  Marianna increased public awareness by posting flyers, handing out over 300 policy briefs, emailing legislators and encouraging the public to contact their representatives.  Faculty member assisting this student:  Ruth Charles, PhD

Dan Herisko, Christine Tebbets, Lauren Sandulli, Kenneth Jones, and Megan Greb of Slippery Rock University worked to gain community support for legislation that would legalize same-sex marriages in the state of Pennsylvania.  The group began their project with researching the history and policies of same-sex marriages and conducted community interviews with citizens to determine the level of support.  They organized a petition and collected signatures.  These petitions and personal letters of support were then mailed to legislators.  Faculty member assisting these students:  Alana Atchinson, PhD

Jennifer Gretz of Winona State University tackled the issue of rising tuition costs in Minnesota by supporting legislation that would freeze increases.  In an effort  to educate the community, students wrote letters to numerous newspaper publications, created and posted informational posters on campus and appealed to representatives who were alumni of MinnesotaStateColleges and Universities  (MNSCU).   Faculty member assisting these students:  Ruth Charles, PhD

Jessica Villareal, Katie Curry, Tyne Tennyson, Reed Harding, Nakia Jackson, and April Aikenof University of Washington at Tacoma developed a public awareness campaign to help promote the Marriage Equality Bill (HB 1350).  This bill would allow Washington’s same sex couples to obtain a civil marriage license.  Students organized an informational table on campus, encouraged students to write letters and to telephone their legislators, and went to the Capitol building to lobby in support of the bill.  They also met personally with their legislators.  Despite their efforts, the bill died in the judiciary committee.  Faculty member assisting these students:  Gina Breukelman, MSW

Cynthia Tri of Winona State University advocated for Minnesota bill HF 327 which provides an increase in funding for early childhood (pre-K) education. Cynthia’s efforts included increasing awareness through educating college students, parents, citizens and legislators, and by meeting with prevention professionals and legislators, including a trip to WashingtonDC to meet with her Congressman.  HF 327 became House Omnibus Early Learning bill (HF 1056) and included an increase for school readiness programs of $1.9 million for the biennium.  Faculty member assisting this student:  Ruth Charles, PhD.

ISP MSW Students 2007 Contest Entries

Amy Rust Bennett and 12 students of Boise State University released a legislative briefing paper during a press conference to educate Idaho’s Legislature about the causes and implications of global warming, and provided recommendations for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the state of Idaho.  The briefing also included 17 recommendations for further action, based upon best practices of other state legislatures.  Faculty member assisting these students:  Dr. William H. Whitaker.

Kaela Byers, Davis Gross, Irene Muniz, Jake Weissmann, and Jennifer Will of  University of Maryland-Baltimore drafted a legislative bill (HB 839) and had it introduced at the 2007 Maryland General Assembly.  HB 839 would create a program to collect and refund deposits on beverage containers.  Students organized a community effort to lobby, build coalitions, write letters, and participate in public awareness activities.  Some students also testified at the committee hearing.  Unfortunately, HB 839 failed in subcommittee.  Faculty member assisting these students:  Dr. Stephen Soifer.

Ericka Dubois, Kate Leonard, Patricia Oh, Suna Shaw, and Amanda Swanson of University of Southern Maine advocated for the passage of LD 144 - legislation designed to exempt clinics that provide free medical care to the indigent or uninsured from paying state sales and use taxes.  Students contacted legislators to urge their support, created and distributed an informational brochure to increase public awareness, and helped organize a public information session.  The bill is in the Appropriations Committee as of this writing.  Faculty member assisting these students:  Dr. Otrude Moyo

Elizabeth Franklin, Alice Wightman, Yadira Mazon, Kathy Laboe, and Kim Hawke of University of Illinois at Chicago worked together to support legislation that advocates for court diversion drug schools instead of incarceration for persons charged with low-level drug offenses.  Students developed a coalition and participated in lobbying for The Smart Act, as well as  participating in the Justice Summit.  If implemented, more than 49,000 people will be affected.  Faculty member assisting these students:  Dr. Alice Johnson Butterfield

Elizabeth Lanter of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee decided to take an innovative approach towards aiding “at-risk “ families to bridge the gap between Head Start programs and beginning traditional school. Elizabeth contacted U. S. senators expressing her concerns about the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) and proposed the collaboration of Head Start and NCLB for a smooth transition of the “at-risk” families into a successful school career.  Faculty member assisting this student:  Dr. Wendy Volz-Daniels
                                                      
Joseph Le Roy, III of University of Washington-Tacoma has been involved in a community project for over 2 years mapping the system that serves youth who are “aging-out” of the foster care system. He advocated for bills SB5305/HB1201 which would extend Medicaid coverage for all children leaving foster care from age 19 to age 21.  Joseph organized a youth group to go to the capitol for Youth Advocacy Day, became involved with a coalition, met with representatives, and empowered the youth to testify in front of the House and Senate with personal testimony.  Joseph also had the opportunity to testify for SB 5305 in committee.  The bill made a successful passage and was signed by the Governor in May of 2007. More than 450 youth who are aging out of the system will now have health care until age 21.   Faculty member assisting this student:  Dr. Janice H. Laakso

Tamikia Jackson, Belinda Loera, Liberty Nicholas, Alma Reyes, and Theresa Tankson of Texas State University-San Marcos created "Project CIS” with the purpose of increasing awareness of the Communities in Schools (CIS) program. The program aims to prevent students from dropping out of high school. Currently, the program is only able to serve 3% of the Texas population. The group gained support of HB1609/SB127, which would increase funding to the CIS program, by obtaining signatures from the community and legislative advocating. Both bills have been sent to the calendar.  Faculty member assisting these students:  Dr. Mary Jo Garcia Biggs

Veliska (Perumal) Thomas, and social work students at University of Tennessee-Knoxville addressed the need to change a non-discrimination policy that currently protects against discrimination based on sexual orientation, but not gender identity. The UTK Commission for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender persons was approached to include gender identity under the scope of sexual-orientation. Through brochures and lobbying, students persuaded the Commission to include transgender issues into the policies of UTK Commission for LGBT. The Commission passed a resolution which prohibits discrimination in hiring and personnel practices on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Faculty member assisting these students:  Dr. Cynthia Rocha

Bethanie Poe, Sarah Gwaltney, Jennifer Holmes and Carolyn Burton Williams of University of Tennessee-Knoxville decided to advocate for domestic violence bills SB0196/HB1161- legislation that would include pets in domestic violence orders of protection.  These students created an informational brochure and emailed it to over 320 domestic violence and animal welfare organizations across the state in order to gain support.  They spoke to state legislators,  presented a poster at the Social Work Legislative Conference and succeeded in persuading the Tennessee chapter of NASW to become involved.  The group is very hopeful that the legislation will pass.  Faculty member assisting these students:  Dr. Cynthia Rocha

Travis Rice of University of Nevada-Reno, during a MSW field internship with State of Nevada Assemblywoman Sheila Leslie, became involved in advocating for Leslie’s AB 126, a piece of legislation designed to increase the amount of funding for transitional housing for the homeless.  Travis co-coordinated  Nevada's Tent-City – a demonstration held on the grounds of the state Capitol to raise public awareness of the state’s homelessness crisis.  Over 200 people camped overnight in tents or cardboard boxes.  Travis also arranged a public photo exhibit, presented information during committee meetings, and held a press conference to educate the public.  If passed, AB 126 would provide a one-time appropriation of $20 million for transitional housing. Faculty member assisting this student:  Dr. Susan Chandler
                     
Josephine Paulette Tittsworth of University of Houston, in conjunction with the Graduate College of Social Work (GCSW) Student Association (SA) succeeded in convincing her state representative and senator to submit a bill that would exempt college and university textbooks from statewide sales tax. Students tracked the bill, spoke with various legislators and issued Student Action Alerts via e-mail whenever immediate action was required.  Passage of SB 49 will affect students throughout the state of Texas.  The last update (in May 2007) stated SB 49 passed the senate unanimously and was sent to the House Ways and Means Committee.  Faculty member assisting this student:  Dr. Ira Colby
                                                                                             
Shadia Boraby, Terry Fregapane, Elizabeth Patino, Mel Phillips, Jessie Schwartz, Diane Skinner, Jessica Walker, and Pat Woytek of Dominican University in Illinois took social action to help the more than 400,000 legal immigrants who are eligible to apply for citizenship, overcome difficult barriers such as high application fees and communication difficulties.  By collaborating with a community-based coalition called the 8th Day Center for Justice, students advocated for the state to permanently fund the New Americans Initiative (NAI) – a group (previously grant funded) that links immigrants to information and services to pursue citizenship.  Students prepared letters and fact sheets, met with legislators, obtained sponsors to introduce legislation and participated in the NASW-Illinois Lobby Day.  Faculty member assisting these students:  Dr. Charlie Stoops

Dr. Kathy Byers | (812) 855-4427 | kvbyers@indiana.edu