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Where There's A Will ... Nontraditional Student Studies Abroad

Posted on November 17, 2015 7:21 am by dlleeder

Social work student Thomasina Williams studied abroad in Italy this summer.

Social work student Thomasina Williams studied abroad in Italy this summer.

Studying abroad allows students to apply their learning to the real world, as they gain first-hand experience with other cultures, languages, traditions and people. It also teaches students a lot about themselves, as they navigate new, unfamiliar environments. This Q & A highlights how Humanities and Social Sciences students have incorporated study abroad into their undergraduate career.

Thomasina Williams is a junior majoring in Social Work. She studied abroad in Italy during summer 2015, just one semester after transferring to NC State from Wake Tech. Her study abroad experience was especially meaningful, as she is the first of her immediate family members to attend college, and is a nontraditional student, an older undergraduate with a husband and two children at home.

What sparked your interest in study abroad?

A Spanish 101 classmate told me that she planned to study abroad, which would help her graduate earlier.  My response was, “Congratulations! Good for you to be able to travel.”  She replied, “Promise you can go with me?”  I was really shocked at first, but then thought “Why not?”  Things then fell into place. My husband was all for it because we both looked at it as a one-time opportunity that I couldn’t pass up. My passport process went smoothly and I easily made travel arrangements. I had tremendous help and support from family and friends.

Briefly describe your experience.

While in Italy, we stayed in Rome for the first four days with historical and cultural walks throughout the city. We then moved into our beautiful apartments in Perugia, where we studied at the University for Foreigners. Most of us were taking different levels of Italian from the elementary level to the intermediate, along with culture and cooking classes. Every day brought something new and exciting to look forward to. We took weekend excursions to Venice, Florence and Cinque Terre.  All the locations were beautiful, welcoming, and rich with history.

How did your study abroad relate to your major, career, or personal goals?  

The study abroad experience connects to my major because the dynamics of social work relate to diversity, community and social and cultural backgrounds.

I chose Italian because I have already taken Spanish; both are romance languages and are somewhat similar. I enjoy learning about culture, language and history.  These concepts go hand in hand with social work because we all have unique experiences that shape our interactions and attitudes.

My study abroad has encouraged me to consider doing social work on a global level. I hope to learn more about other countries’ governments and policies, and to help communities thrive.

What are some things you learned?

I learned so much about Italy – the culture, food, language, government and social issues. Every day, we learned new skills for being abroad: how to shop at local markets, how to use banks, how to use public transit systems and how to order food. People’s faces became very familiar to me in Perugia. It was a small city, and therefore it felt safe and comfortable. I met some amazing people in my class who were from other countries. They all brought unique characteristics to the table, making us a diverse group united in the common goal of learning Italian.

What were some of the challenges?

We needed to adjust to the lifestyle really quickly. (Plus, not having a dishwasher and air conditioner really humbled us!) We had to do lots of walking, but no one complained because we had to live there for six weeks and it became normal after a while. The cities were a bit busy and tourist crowds took a little getting used to. My advice is to research the places you are traveling to, read others’ reviews and experiences, have an open mind and respect other cultures the way you would want others to respect your own.

What were the rewards?

Some of the rewards included the confidence of completing our program.  Additionally, the students developed strong relationships, and we looked out for one another. It really humbled all of us to realize what we conquered in the six weeks we were there.  Overall, that was the greatest reward! Now, we are all back home with our families and friends sharing our remarkable stories. I have even encouraged others to obtain their passports, which is the first step toward international travels.

I urge anyone to travel abroad because there is so much to see outside the limits of your own country.  Yes, it takes money and sacrifice, but the intangible rewards are worth it.  It really did change my life for the better.

BackTrackers Taking Two Steps Forward, Not One Back

Posted on September 16, 2015 10:28 am by Paige Moore


An organization founded by BSW senior Lorrinda Janik for all non-traditional students. NC State and our students, making the university a more welcoming place for non-traditional students.

There's no wrong time to get your degree!

Read the article here at the Technician or at the Department of Social Work's Facebook Page! More details located here!

Sixteen(!) Tenure-Track Faculty Join Humanities and Social Sciences in Fall 2015

Posted on August 6, 2015 3:13 pm by Lauren Kirkpatrick

The College of Humanities and Social Sciences welcomes 16 new tenure-track faculty to its ranks this fall. Their research interests range from public budgeting and finance to adolescent mental health, creative writing, and strategic management. Meet these stellar scholars, researchers and teachers.

Belle Boggs

Belle Boggs

Belle Boggs joins the Department of English as an assistant professor in the area of creative writing.

  • M.F.A., Irvine, 2002
  • B.A., Virginia Commonwealth University, 1998

Belle Boggs is the author of Mattaponi Queen, a collection of linked stories set along Virginia’s Mattaponi River. Mattaponi Queen won the Bakeless Prize and the Library of Virginia Literary Award, and was a finalist for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Boggs has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the Bread Loaf and Sewanee writers’ conferences. Her collection of essays, The Art of Waiting, will be published next year by Graywolf Press. Her first novel, The Ugly Bear List, is also forthcoming from Graywolf.

Franklin Cason

Franklin Cason

Franklin Cason, Jr., joins the Department of English as an assistant professor in the area of film studies.

  • Ph.D., English, University of Florida, 2010
  • M.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1998
  • B.F.A., School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 1991

Franklin Cason, Jr., is a filmmaker and film scholar who has taught courses in film theory, history, aesthetics, criticism, and analysis. His research interests have been primarily concerned with film, modern visual culture, and media studies. As such, his writing and artistic practice reaches across the disciplines of art history, film studies, digital multimedia, graphic novels, philosophy, sociology, literature, musicology, aesthetic theory, visual studies, and historical poetics. Currently, he is working on an intellectual biographical documentary on African American Philosopher Alain Locke, and completing a book on the institutional context of the politics and aesthetics of African American films.

Jason Coupet

Jason Coupet

Jason Coupet joins the School of Public and International Affairs’ Department of Public Administration as assistant professor in the areas of strategic management and economics.

  • Ph.D., Strategic Management, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2014
  • M.A., Teaching, Dominican University, 2008
  • B.A. Economics, University of Michigan, 2005

Jason Coupet’s research and teaching interests include strategic management, data envelopment analysis, efficiency theory and organizational economics. His primary area includes quantitative modeling of organizational efficiency, and explores the different impact of being public -- that is,  on efficiency across public and private organizations in the same sector. Secondary interests explore the theoretical impetus of contracts between nonprofits and universities. He is also a National Science Foundation Mentoring Fellow in Economics at Duke University.

Qiana Cryer-Coupet

Qiana Cryer-Coupet

Qiana Cryer-Coupet joins the Department of Social Work as an assistant professor of social work.

  • Ph.D., Social Work, Jane Addams College of Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago
  • M.S.W., Clinical Social Work, University of Maryland at Baltimore; certificate, Child Adolescent and Family Health
  • B.A., Psychology, Illinois Wesleyan University

Qiana R. Cryer-Coupet’s program of research focuses on the intersections of child and adolescent health/mental health and paternal involvement within informal kinship care. She has published on the topics of peer influence, the role of fathers in reducing dating victimization and parenting practices. While at UIC, Cryer-Coupet worked on several projects related to kinship care and co-parenting. Her social work practice experience includes psychosocial parenting groups for grandparents raising grandchildren.

Tammy Gordon

Tammy Gordon

Tammy Gordon joins the History Department as an associate professor in the areas of Public History and American Cultural History.

  • Ph.D., American Studies, Michigan State, 1998
  • M.A., American Studies, Michigan State, 1993
  • B.A., English, Northern Michigan, 1990

Tammy Gordon is a scholar of American social and public history. She has written two books: Private History in Public: Exhibition and the Settings of Everyday Life (Alta Mira Press, 2010) and The Spirit of 1976: Commerce, Community, and the Politics of Commemoration (University of Massachusetts Press, 2013). Prior to coming to NC State, she was an associate professor and director of the public history program at UNC-Wilmington. Gordon is currently researching the development of popular photography and American tourism at home and abroad at the turn of the 20th century.

Elan Hope

Elan Hope

Elan Hope joins the Psychology Department as an assistant professor in the area of psychology in the public interest.

  • Ph.D., Psychology and Education, The University of Michigan, 2013
  • M.S., Psychology, The University of Michigan, 2010
  • B.A., Psychology, Smith College, 2008

Elan Hope takes an assets-based approach to explore factors that promote academic, civic, and psychological well-being for racially marginalized adolescents and emerging adults. She has two primary lines of research: examining the psychological and contextual factors related to education, schooling, and academic well-being for underrepresented racial minority students; and investigating how sociopolitical attitudes, beliefs, and experiences (e.g., justice, discrimination, efficacy) relate to civic engagement from early adolescence into emerging adulthood. She uses quantitative and qualitative methods to garner a more nuanced understanding of academic, civic, and psychological well-being. She believes that whereas racially marginalized youth share common developmental experiences, individual differences and contextual variation require a deep exploration of diverse pathways to success and well-being.

Chris Ingraham

Chris Ingraham

Chris Ingraham joins the Department of Communication as an assistant professor in the area of rhetorical theory and criticism.

  • Ph.D., Communication, University of Colorado at Boulder, 2015
  • M.A., Humanities, University of Chicago, 2002
  • B.A., English, Amherst College, 1999

Chris Ingraham's scholarly and teaching emphases include examining digital media and other powerful forms of public engagement and communication technologies. He is especially interested in how scientific and technological innovations are communicated to, and understood by, different public audiences. He is the author of “Rhetorical Theory in a Transdisciplinary Mode: the Rhetoric of Inquiry and Digital Humanities,” forthcoming in the journal POROI, "Talking (About) the Elite and Mass: Vernacular Rhetoric and Discursive Status,” in the journal Philosophy and Rhetoric, and "The Archivist and Autobiographer: Performing Wayne Booth’s Legacy,” in the journal Text and Performance Quarterly.

Wenjie Liao

Wenjie Liao

Wenjie Liao joins the Department of Sociology and Anthropology as an assistant professor in the sociology of law. She will teach such courses as the Sociology of Law, Institutions of Control, and Criminology.

  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 2015
  • M.S., Biostatistics, University of Minnesota, 2012
  • Bachelor of Law (with Honors), China Foreign Affairs University, 2007

Wenjie Liao is an expert in the complex and nuanced relationships between the cultural and social backdrop of law and law itself. She has written her dissertation on such relationships in the context of China. She has published or presented papers on cultural belief and the legitimacy of law, sentencing disparities, collective memory, court affiliated mediation and liberalization of abortion law in China. She is also skilled in statistical techniques, such as left censored mixed effects models

Bruce McDonald

Bruce McDonald

Bruce D. McDonald, III, joins the School of Public and International Affairs’ Department of Public Administration as assistant professor in the area of public budgeting and finance.

  • Ph.D., Florida State University, 2011
  • M.Sc., Economic History (Research), 2006
  • M.A., American Military University, 2005
  • B.A., Mercer University, 2003

Bruce McDonald is an assistant professor of public budgeting and finance, as well as the associate editor of the Journal of Public and Nonprofit Affairs. His primary research interest is on the fiscal health of local governments and has appeared in Public Administration Review and the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory. His secondary interests include the forecasting methodologies used by local governments in the budgetary process and the financing of national defense programs. Prior to his academic career, he was a congressional aide specializing in defense and agricultural appropriations.

Kate Norwalk

Kate Norwalk

Kate Norwalk joins the Psychology Department as an assistant professor in the area of school psychology.

  • Ph.D., School Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, 2013
  • M.Ed., School Psychology, The Pennsylvania State University, 2009
  • B.A., Psychology, State University of New York at Buffalo, 2007

Broadly, Kate Norwalk’s research interests center on ways to leverage naturally occurring developmental processes and contexts in children’s lives. Her research has focused on early intervention for academic and behavioral difficulties, as well as identifying classroom peer dynamics using a social network framework and examining their effects on student outcomes and intervention effectiveness. More specifically, Norwalk is interested in classroom norms as they relate to the individual characteristics of socially prominent versus socially isolated children, and how they can serve to hinder or enhance school functioning and intervention efforts targeting behavioral and social development.

Lynda Nyota

Lynda Nyota

Lynda Nyota joins the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures as an ssistant professor in German Studies.

  • Ph.D., Duke University, 2013
  • M.A., University of Nairobi (Kenya), 1999
  • B.A., University of Nairobi, 1994

Lynda Nyota’s research focuses on trauma and memory in literature and film, with a special emphasis on fictional trauma narratives of women authors from East and Central European countries writing in German. Of particular interest is the upsurge in this genre of trauma writing in the 21st century and the ways in which historical and political traumas not directly experienced by the authors shape their approach to narrative. Nyota’s areas of interest include studies into trauma, Holocaust studies and narrative theory in 20th and 21st century literature and film.

Stacey Pigg

Stacey Pigg

Stacey Pigg joins the Department of English as an assistant professor in the area of Scientific and Technical Communication.

  • Ph.D., Rhetoric and Writing, Michigan State University, 2011
  • M.A., English, University of Tennessee, 2006
  • B.A./B.S., English and Spanish, Lipscomb University, 2003

Stacey Pigg researches how mobile and networked writing technologies shape learning, work, and engagement. Her scholarship has appeared in journals such as College Composition and Communication, Rhetoric Society Quarterly, Technical Communication Quarterly, and Written Communication. Recently, her article entitled "Coordinating Constant Invention: Social Media's Role in Distributed Work" received the 2015 Nell Ann Pickett Award for best article in Technical Communication Quarterly. Her current book project, which received a National Endowment for the Humanities summer stipend, explores how and why students and professionals write with mobile technologies in public places. She will work closely with NC State's Professional Writing Program while teaching courses in professional communication, rhetorical theory, and digital writing.

Kim Stansbury

Kim Stansbury

Kim Stansbury joins the Department of Social Work as a tenured associate professor and as director of the graduate social work program.

  • Ph.D., Gerontology, University of Kentucky
  • M.S.W., Social Work, Southern Illinois University
  • B.S., Criminal Justice, Psychology, Southern Illinois University

Kim Stansbury is a Hartford Geriatric Social Work Faculty Scholar and holds memberships in the American Society on Aging, Gerontological Society of America, and NASW. She has published in the areas of African American clergy and mental health literacy; gambling disorders among older adults; and research perspectives on LGBT issues. Stansbury serves on the editorial boards of the International Journal of Social Science Studies and Journal of Aging Research.

Amanda Stewart

Amanda Stewart

Amanda J. Stewart joins the School of Public and International Affairs’ Department of Public Administration as an assistant professor in the area of nonprofit management.

  • Ph.D., Public Administration, American University, 2015
  • M.S.W., Boston College, 2005
  • B.S., Business Administration, Birmingham-Southern College, 2001

Amanda J. Stewart’s research intersects the public and nonprofit sector, specifically how professionalization, executive turnover, and other factors impact leadership and performance in the nonprofit sector. Her research interests include nonprofit executive leadership, organizational capacity, and foundation behaviors, and her dissertation explored the performance implications of nonprofit executive turnover. Stewart has professional experience ranging from small, local efforts to large, international organizations with diverse missions including disaster relief, international development, public benefit programs, and homelessness. To inform her research agenda, Stewart draws from her nonprofit experience and academic studies related to public administration and social work.

Laura Widman

Laura Widman

Laura Widman joins the Psychology Department as an assistant professor in the area of psychology in the public interest.

  • Ph.D., Clinical Psychology, University of Tennessee, 2010
  • M.A., Psychology, University of Tennessee, 2006
  • B.A., Psychology, Seattle Pacific University, 2003

Laura Widman is committed to a research career working at the intersection of psychology and public health. Her goals are to contribute to basic social science and prevention programs that improve adolescent sexual health and reduce the incidence of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Her recent research focuses on understanding how adolescents communicate about sexual health topics with their parents, friends, and romantic partners, as well as investigating the links between sexual communication and safer sex practices. Dr. Widman has a grant from National Institute of Child Health and Human Development to develop a web-based sexual health program for adolescent girls. She will be examining the effectiveness of this intervention among North Carolina teens this fall.

Emily Winderman

Emily Winderman

Emily Winderman joins the Department of Communication as an assistant professor in the area of rhetorical theory and criticism.

  • Ph.D., Rhetorical Studies, University of Georgia, 2015
  • M.A., Communication, Eastern Michigan University,2009

Emily Winderman's scholarly and teaching emphases include a focus on feminist science studies, women's reproductive health, the function of public emotions in crafting collective identity, and the ways in which medical and technological practices relate to gender equality and women’s access to reproductive care. She has co-authored "The trajectory of Rhetorical Studies of Abortion and the Politics of Health" for a special issue forum on the Intersection of rhetoric and health/medical communication in the journal Communication Quarterly, as well as “S(anger) Goes Postal in The Woman Rebel: Angry Rhetoric as a Collectivizing Moral Emotion,” in the journal Rhetoric & Public Affairs, and “Recent Rhetorical Studies in Public Understanding of Science: Multiple Purposes and Strengths,” in the journal Public Understanding of Science.

Congratulations to 2015 - 2016 Merit Scholarship Winners!

Posted on June 5, 2015 3:43 pm by Paige Moore

The Department of Social Work would like to congratulate Social Work Students Glennetta Burrell (Junior) and Dana Saad (Junior) for being selected for 2015 - 2016 College Merit Scholarships!  We thank Social Work Faculty members who took the time to write letters of recommendation - they were greatly appreciated, as the competition for a limited number of awards was particularly intense. The scholarships were based on merit only (not considering financial need), and considered academics, leadership, and campus/community involvement.


Department of Social Work at NC State: New Student Successes

Posted on May 19, 2015 9:40 am by Paige Moore


New Student Successes!

Sierra Stanford is a junior in the BSW program. A video she made for an assignment in her human behavior class was selected by The New Social Worker magazine’s Social Work Month Series and Talent Show. For her video, Sierra interviewed her grandmother and aunt to highlight the developmental stage of older adulthood. The video can be seen on The New Social Worker website:


Student members of the department’s Student Affairs Committee developed and pretested a PowerPoint presentation aimed at students in the Community Social Services (SW 201). The presentation provides basic ethics education to students before they begin doing 40 hours of volunteer work in the community. Megan Peedin (BSW, May 2015) presented and evaluated the presentation for her Honors Program capstone project. She used the data she collected to write a report suggesting improvements. The revised presentation is now incorporated into the SW 201 syllabus and will be delivered at the beginning of each semester. Jason Tuell (MSW, May 2015) was instrumental in initiating, organizing, and developing the presentation. Other key players were: Erica Smith (MSW, May 2014), Amanda Miller (BSW, December 2014), Lacey Shankle (BSW, May 2015), Tahiri Tanyi (BSW, December 2014), and Ashley Shaw (BSW, May 2014; MSW, May 2015).