MSU’s sociology department shines at social work conference

MSU’s sociology department shines at social work conference

Students in Mississippi State’s Department of Sociology got hands-on presentation experience this spring, joining sociology faculty in showcasing the strength of the department at a national social work conference in Birmingham. 

At the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors 40th Annual Conference in March, sociology department faculty members Laura Boltz, Dana Dillard, Jada Johnson and Veronica Knowles joined MSU undergraduate students Morgan Bellais, Qunnie Hill, Teri Anna Jackson, Ka’Nylina Lewis, Taylor Lile and India Samuel in presenting collaborative research, extending the breadth of MSU’s impact.

Founded in 1975, the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors represents the interests of undergraduate education and practice in social work. The association’s membership includes BSW program directors, baccalaureate faculty, field coordinators, social work educators, practitioners and students. 

“Attending the conference exceeded all my expectations,” said India Samuel, a senior social work major. “We were told that out of eight undergrad presenters, six of us were Mississippi State students, so that was a bonus. To me, that says that the department is very encouraging of students and the qualities they exemplify.” 

Senior social work major Teri Anna Jackson said, “Being able to present at a national conference as an undergraduate student was an incredible experience. Not only did I love presenting, I also enjoyed watching MSU faculty and my peers present on topics that were relevant and important to them.”

Presentations from MSU social work faculty and students included:

“Exploring Environmental Justice Challenges Through Creative Reflection Modalities” - Dr. Dillard, Ka’Nylina Lewis, and India Samuel

“Preparing Students for Child Welfare Work Using Case Simulations” - Dr. Boltz and Taylor Lile

“The Use of Child Welfare Case Simulations in an Inter-Disciplinary Setting” - Dr. Boltz, Ms. Knowles, and Morgan Bellais

“The Beauty of Collaboration: Using an Experiential Learning Experience in Kenya” - Ms. Knowles and Qunnie Hill

“Mine is Mine and Mine is Yours: Self-care as a Shared Responsibility” - Ms. Johnson and Teri Anna Jackson

Assistant Professor Laura Boltz said, “This was a great opportunity for our students to experience a professional conference. The students were able to participate in the process of submitting a proposal, preparing a presentation and sharing the information. Undergraduate students don’t often get a chance to do this type of work, so it was a unique opportunity for them. People were very impressed by our students, and I think it encouraged them to get their students involved in future conferences.”

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