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2023 CSWE Annual Program Meeting Recap

by Chloe Yopp

UNC School of Social Work faculty, staff and students attended the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Annual Program Meeting (APM) from Oct. 26–29, 2023, in Atlanta, Ga. This year’s APM theme was “It’s Time to Act: Defining and Reckoning With Anti-Racist Social Work Education.” School of Social Work attendees presented on topics ranging from off-site field instruction to peer support to address wellness crises. The School also hosted a reception for alumni and friends and had a strong presence in the exhibit hall throughout the weekend.  

Day One: Opening Plenary Session and Exhibit Hall

Bernice King and Lori Messinger talk onstage during open plenary
APM kicks off with a plenary session featuring a conversation with Dr. Bernice A. King (left), CEO of the Martin Luther King Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (The King Center). The session was moderated by UNC School of Social Work alumna Lori Messinger (right) ’96 (MSW), ’99 (Ph.D.). 
Former School of Social Work Dean Richard Edwards stops by the booth to say hello.
The School shows off its programs and giveaway items at a table in the exhibit hall.
Clinical Assistant Professors Sasha Frinzl and Crystal Grant spend time at the School’s exhibit hall booth.

Day 2: Presentations and Reception

Friday, Oct. 27, 2023, was full of presentations from faculty and students on varying topics. Find a full list of the School’s 2023 CSWE presenters in our Fall 2023 Impact Report.

Associate Professor Lisa de Saxe Zerden presents the oral paper “Social Work and Dental Education: Addressing Behavioral Health through Praxis.”
School Director of Wellness Robin Sansing (left), Whitley Harris (center) ’24 (MSW) and Melinda Hunt (right) ’24 (MSW), present the interactive workshop “Sharing the Load: Peer Supports Key to Addressing Wellness Crises Among Social Work Students.” Harris and Hunt completed their practicum placements as peer well-being coaches at the School during the 2022–23 academic year.

Friday evening, the School hosted a reception at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis. Faculty, friends, alumni and colleagues stopped by to catch up, network, take photos and enjoy an evening of fellowship together. The room was adorned in Carolina blue, including a flower wall and neon sign.

Graduate College of Social Work Associate Professor Sheara Jennings (left), UNC School of Social Work Dean Ramona Denby-Brinson (center) and University of Tennessee College of Social Work Dean Lori Messinger (right) ’96 (MSW), ’99 (Ph.D.).
International Association of Social Work with Groups (IASWG) board members Greg Sully (left) and Carol S. Cohen (right) pose with fellow board member Clinical Assistant Professor April Parker (center).  
Dean Ramona Denby-Brinson and former School of Social Work Dean Richard Edwards.  
School of Social Work students Sofia Lawrence ’25 (MSW), Selena Nguyen ’25 (MSW), Shawnesi Russell ’25 (MSW) and Devon Pelto ’25 (MSW) pose for a photo.
School of Social Work colleagues pose for a photo in front of the flower wall during the reception.

Day 3: Faculty and Student Presentations

Devon Pelto ’25 (MSW) and Selena Nguyen ’25 (MSW) present an interactive workshop titled “Anti-Racist Social Work Education for Substance Use Disorder.”
School of Social Work faculty and students pose for a photo with Pelto and Nguyen after their presentation concludes.

UNC School of Social Work community members came away from CSWE’s 2023 Annual Program Meeting gaining valuable knowledge and building connections with social workers around the country. See everyone in Kansas City, Mo. in 2024!