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Alumni update: Axelson, Bhattacharyya, Holt, Lanier, Lorch, Lovelace, Messinger, Silver, Smith

Sarah Axelson, MSW ’08, has accepted a position as a teen pregnancy prevention project officer for the Administration for Children and Families in Washington, D.C. She will oversee state grantees who received funding to implement evidence-based teen pregnancy prevention programs through the Personal Responsibility and Education Program (PREP) implemented as part of health care reform last year. This is in addition to her other positions as an adjunct professor at George Washington University, where she is teaching an undergraduate Human Sexuality course, and a consultant with Healthy Teen Network.

Dipanwita Bhattacharyya, MSW ’08, was promoted to department coordinator at the Asian Task Force Against Domestic Violence in Boston. She has been there since 2009 as the outreach and prevention coordinator.

Paul Lanier, MSW ‘08, a Ph.D. candidate at Washington University in St. Louis, was selected for a national dissertation fellowship.

Claire Lorch, MSW ’82 received an award from the Carolina Center for Public Service. A community outreach coordinator at the North Carolina Botanical Garden, she was honored for championing the Carolina Campus Community Garden, an effort that has brought town and gown together to provide free fresh produce for University employees most affected by current economic problems.

Richard Terry Lovelace, MSW ’67, Ph.D., will present an advanced clinical workshop entitled “Relieve Hidden Stress to Treat Depression, Injured Self-Esteem, Addiction” at the NASW-NC Clinical Social Work Institute, held in Wilmington, N.C. at the Hilton Riverside July 18-22.

Lori Messinger, MSW ’96, Ph.D. ’99, has accepted the position of professor and director of the School of Social Work at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, beginning late this summer. The School offers both a BSW and MSW program and operates from a strengths-based approach to social work practice. Messinger is currently an associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare.

Alison Silver, MSW ’06, a clinician in the SecurePath program at the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood, is featured in a video produced by Together NC. SecurePath is a Wake County SmartStart-funded program that provides home-based mental health services for low-income preschool-age children. Together NC was interested in “finding out how state programs and services impact real people, and what North Carolina would look like if those programs and services disappeared.”

Jerry Smith, MSW ’77, is now at the helm of the Swain County Department of Social Services, as interim director, bringing to the table an impressive resume with a focus on child welfare. Smith served as a DSS director for 25 years in three different counties, including a year as president of the North Carolina Social Services Association. He also worked as the director of a children’s home after retiring from DSS and has written two books about foster homes and orphanages. Full story

Bebe Smith, MSW ’93, LCSW, clinical assistant professor, UNC Department of Psychiatry Co-Director, UNC Center for Excellence in Community Mental Health; and Selden Holt, MSW ’01, training coordinator at the Center, were recently honored with receipt of the NAMI Wake Mental Health Professional of the Year awards for their work with them on the Group Home Employee Skills Training Program. The project focuses on improving quality of care in residential settings by building empathy and dispelling the myths and misconceptions of mental illness. The specialized training teaches direct care service providers in these homes how to work with people with severe mental illness.