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Alumni briefs: Jennings ’04, Loflin ’96/’03, Mundada ’11, Rotabi ’05, Sharpe ’81, Snell ’81, Stefureac ’13, Smith ’13, Thomas ’12

Sheara Williams Jennings, Ph.D. ’04, an associate professor, has accepted the appointment to the position of interim associate dean of Academic Affairs for the University of Houston Graduate College of Social Work. The GCSW has not had an associate dean of Academic Affairs since 2009. In addition to her new duties, she will continue as GCSW’s Ph.D. Program director, a position she has held since 2012.

Katherine Loflin, MSW ’96, Ph.D. ’03, announces the pending release of her first book in November 2015. “Place Match: The City Doctor’s Guide to Finding Where You Belong” combines research, place stories from her work around the world, and her personal journey in a guide on finding your Place Match, by showing how the search for where you belong mirrors the search for a right partner to share your life. She is an internationally recognized, award-winning consultant in placemaking — the creation of quality of life places through growing resident attachment and optimizing person and environment fit — is a two-time TEDx speaker on the importance of “place,” and founded and hosted the only radio show dedicated to quality of life places and why they matter.  Learn more about her work and pre-order her book.

Darshan Mundada, MSW ’11, joined Sterlite on Aug. 1 as the head of Corporate and Social Responsibility. He is based at the GMO Office in Pune, India, and reports to the global head of the telecom products business. Mundada brings over 15 years of experience in designing and implementing self-sustainable social impact programs, independently or in collaboration with large corporations, governments, universities and international agencies. Most recently he was with Ashoka Innovators where he worked as a consultant for venture and fellowship and strategic partnership. He was also associated with Innovaid Advisory Services Private Limited, World Peach Center, Friends Society, UNESCO Youth Forum Advisory Committee, and Pune Municipal Corporation. In addition to his MSW, Mundada holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree from the University of Pune.

Karen Smith Rotabi, Ph.D. ’05, was appointed the MSW program coordinator at United Arab Emirates University. This MSW program is the first graduate program in social work in the Arab Gulf. Rotabi has been carrying out an international research agenda while living overseas, including projects in Malawi and India in addition to a program evaluation in Bahrain. More about Rotabi’s research.

Networking organization The National Association of Professional Women (NAPW) honored Laurene Sharpe, MSW ’81, as a 2015-2016 inductee into its VIP Woman of the Year Circle. On Dec. 31, 2014, Sharpe retired from her position as executive assistant at the Federal Bureau of Prisons, after 23 years of service. During that time, she received numerous awards and accolades for her demonstrated professionalism and exemplary executive leadership qualities. Sharpe plans to continue her work with hospice and becoming certified with the courts as a mediator. She is an avid supporter of charitable organizations such as Bon Secours Hospice and AseraCare Hospice as well as the Central Virginia Food Bank and Big Brothers Big Sisters. She also serves on the advisory board for the School of Social Work at East Carolina University.

Cudore Snell, MSW ’81, DSW, was recently named the assistant provost for International Programs at Howard University. He retired as dean of the School of Social Work at Howard University in 2013, and continues his work as a professor there as well. Snell is also an NASW Social Work Pioneer.

Kristen Stefureac, MSW ’13, and Randy Smith, MSW ’13, got engaged on August 24. They both attended UNC for their undergraduate and graduate school careers, but they didn’t officially meet until JumpStart orientation in the fall of 2011. Stefureac now works as a social worker with the Integrated Pediatric Mental Health Initiative at Duke and Smith is the youth sports director for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro YMCA. They are planning a spring 2016 wedding in Chapel Hill.

Aaron Thompson, Ph.D. ’12, an assistant professor at the University of Missouri School of Social Work, is the principal investigator of a project that was just awarded nearly $3.5 million from the U.S. Department of Education over four years to evaluate an intervention that promotes social and emotional skills for students who exhibit challenging classroom behaviors. The intervention, Self-Monitoring Training and Regulation Strategy (STARS), is a self-management and mindfulness skills program for fifth-grade students who regularly display disruptive and challenging behaviors in the classroom. Read more