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College of Human Environmental Sciences

Annual Alumni Awards Recipients

These awards are the highest honor bestowed upon the school's alumni, faculty and students each year by the School of Social Work and its Alumni Organization.

2015 Award Recipients

Jennifer is an anticipated December 2015 BSW graduate. Jennifer was nominated by Dr. Kim Anderson who shared some of Jennifer’s accomplishments with us:

Jennifer was accepted into the MU McNair Scholars Program in the Fall of 2013. Dr. Anderson is the faculty mentor for her McNair Scholar’s research project entitled "iRest Integrative Restoration, A Meditative Approach to Healing: Bringing Calm and Ease to Survivors of Intimate Partner Violence and/or Stalking." Preliminary quantitative analysis revealed a clinically significant decrease in post-traumatic stress disorder and trauma-related symptoms, and an increase in resiliency and mindfulness. The core category to emerge through qualitative analysis was reconnecting with one’s inner self, this is highlighted by a participant who said, "I feel like my brain is more connected to my heart now." This work, from conceptual framework to methodology to the topic itself, is important and distinctive.

Under the supervision of Dr. Richard Miller, iRest founder, Jennifer was trained in iRest Integrative Restoration meditation. Under Dr. Anderson’s supervision for her research project she delivered the iRest intervention for adult survivors of domestic violence and/or stalking. She used both individual and group modalities. In addition, under the guidance of Terry Wilson, MU Director of Health Promotion, Jennifer is teaching a 1 credit hour iRest class for students for Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 semesters.

Jennifer presented her findings, along with Dr. Anderson, at the 2015 Annual Society for Social Work and Research Conference in a round table discussion titled, "Challenges and Opportunities of Evaluating Multi-Sensory Approaches for Trauma Recovery in Survivors of Sexual Assault/Domestic Violence." Her findings are also included in Dr. Richard Miller’s website These are significant achievements for a BSW student.

Dr. Anderson concludes that, "Jennifer is a highly dedicated and compassionate professional. She works hard and is a devoted social work student – living and honoring the values of the profession. Her experience, her talents and her personal traits all suggest she is deserving of this prestigious award." Of course, we agree. Congratulations Jennifer!

Jennifer Shearin accepting award

Niki is a second year MSW student anticipating a May 2015 graduation. Throughout her time in the MSW program, she has shown leadership and dedication to helping others. Currently, Niki is the clinic manager of the Integrative Behavioral Health Clinic which is sponsored by the School of Social Work. This is a volunteer position that Niki has taken on with great ease and enthusiasm. Niki is in charge of managing seven social work students and their clinic schedule, co-supervising the first year students who work in the clinic and serving as a liaison between the IBHC and MedZou clinic. Since the grand opening of the clinic in September 2014, Niki has missed only one day in the clinic. She has spent countless hours helping the directors organize and review documentation. While the managerial duties are of great importance, she has also proven to be a compassionate and versatile clinician. She provides a warm, empathetic environment for people who are in distress to come and learn about the services the clinic has to offer. She has gone out of her way to establish a therapeutic relationship with all the clients that are seen through this clinic as well as spent time getting to know prospective clients at the MedZou clinic.

Niki was nominated by Rebekah Freese and Kelli Canada, Directors of the Integrative Behavioral Health Clinic. They wrote, "Niki is an exceptional, outstanding student. Her willingness to take on this volunteer position on top of her current course load and part-time employment speaks volumes of her work ethic and dedication to social work." Congratulations Niki!

Niki Vandable accepting award

Abby will graduate in May 2015. She was nominated for this award by Dr. Kim Anderson who has served as her graduate professor, clinical supervisor during her internship at MU’s Rape and Sexual Violence Prevention Center (RSVP), and provided oversight of her dissertation as her chair. Dr. Anderson writes that, “In each of these roles, Abby has demonstrated her leadership and commitment to enhancing the lives of sexual assault survivors. She has gone above and beyond in her scholarship and service to create an environment of equity, fairness and justice for survivors of rape. In providing advocacy and counseling services she has helped women rendered powerless from their sexual assault to find their voices, highlight their strengths, reclaim their power and heal from their traumatic experiences. Additionally Abby has volunteered her time on behalf of the School of Social Work and partnered with Dr. Albright to make numerous presentations across the state on sexual trauma in the military.

For her dissertation, Abby used mixed-methods approach to study the use of PhotoVoice, as a brief clinical intervention, for University female sexual assault survivors. Abby designed and delivered the intervention along with evaluating it. The methods of PhotoVoice (group collaboration, picture-taking of social injustices, photo exhibits with key stakeholders to effect social change) have provided participants with strategies of empowerment at a personal level (changing patterns of thinking, behaving and feeling), interpersonal level (managing their relationships more effectively) and University level (affecting system change) to improve the lives of sexual assault survivors. Abby sees in her research project not just the intrinsic interest of discovery but the potential usefulness to sexual assault survivors and the campus community. Abby embodies the spirit of this award. Congratulations Abby!

Abigail Rolbiecki accepting award

Nathan First shared many reasons why Dr. Peters is deserving of the Outstanding Faculty award. Nathan wrote: "In the classroom, Dr. Peters has earned his reputation as a professor that demands the utmost from his students. Combining his encyclopedic knowledge of the subject matter, his law school teaching style and his social work expertise of strengths-based engagement; he has a unique gift of holding both high expectations and high morale among his students. He makes students want to reach farther with their efforts, not just for the grade but because he is so adept at showing the real-world value of what they are learning. And with that value in mind, he pushes them to read more closely, think more critically and to plan more effectively to make use of this education in their own social work careers."

That being said, Dr. Peters may shine all the brighter beyond the classroom, as a mentor and guide for his students. Nathan writes that having been both his student and research/teaching assistant, he knows full well Dr. Peters’ capacity to challenge, encourage and guide his students to success. Dr. Peters encouraged striving for opportunities, gave thoughtful and helpful feedback and inspired Nathan to "learn harder" for the future of his justice work. It is clear that he has been an outstanding mentor but what is even more remarkable is that he has managed to have this sort of influence on so many students in the School of Social Work, as well as on members of the community. Dr. Peters is constantly connecting students – both current and former – with academic and vocational opportunities. He encourages them to publish, to pursue further education, to find optimal jobs and to make real impacts on their communities. And then, just as importantly, Dr. Peters takes concrete steps to help them achieve their goals – both while they are current students and for years to come. Thank you Dr. Peters for your dedication and Congratulations on your award!

Clark Peters accepting award

Peggy Reed-Lohmeyer nominated Lisa and provided us with an overview of her impressive career milestones. Lisa Smith graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Master of Social Work in May 1986. She became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in June of 1992.

Lisa began, what has become a very distinguished social work career at Fulton State Hospital, in June of 1986 as a Clinical Social Worker. In September of 1989 she became a Team Leader. By September of 1991 she was a Social Work Specialist. In June of 2000 she was promoted to Clinical Social Work Supervisor. In January 2006 she took on the additional duties of Admissions Officer. In October of 2009 she became the Director of Social Services.

As Director of Social Services, Lisa oversees the second largest clinical department at the hospital. She has lead her department during some very difficult times from a state budgetary stand point and during times of changing treatment populations served and in clinical interventions and technologies utilized by staff. She has done so with integrity & competence and an unwavering commitment to our clients, their rights, their worth & dignity, their connections to their families. She has also led the department in service activities including running a food booth for the last three years for Fulton’s Out of the Darkness Walk for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Under her leadership the social service department donates the food & their time to this effort, with all proceeds going to the walk.

Additionally, Lisa serves on several facility wide committees & teams, representing the social work perspective & advocating for client needs. She is a member of the Forensic Review Committee, Facility Operations Committee, Strategic Planning team, Medical Records Committee & leads the Social Work Standards Committee. At the hospital she has also served as Critical Incident Stress Management debriefer and is currently part of the Assaulted Staff Action Plan, providing leadership to the program and support to staff in need. She is also a member of Safe Zone, which is part of a national diversity initiative which brings LGBTQ issues to light, & provides education & support.

Lisa does not stop being a social worker at the close of the business day. She has for years been preparing a meal each month for the Ronald McDonald house. She has also been involved in planning annual run for breast cancer for the past few years. Thank you for all your contributions to our profession and community. Congratulations Lisa!

Lisa Smith accepting award

Past Recipients

  • Outstanding BSW Student Award: Daniel Stribling
  • Outstanding MSW Student Award: Betsy Smith
  • Outstanding PhD Student: Ashley Gage
  • Outstanding Faculty Member: David Albright
  • Outstanding Social Service Agency: First Chance for Children
  • Outstanding Alumni: Becky Beck
  • Outstanding BSW Student: Antaniece Sills
  • Outstanding MSW Student: Daniel Lester
  • Outstanding PHD Student: Mustapha Alhassan
  • Outstanding Faculty Member: Jennifer Carter-Dochler
  • Outstanding Social Service Agency: Family Counseling Center
  • Outstanding Alumni: Teresa Titus-Howard and Donald Howard
  • Outstanding BSW Student: Kam Phillips
  • Outstanding MSW Student: Kelly Jackson
  • Outstanding PHD Student: Michelle Kaiser
  • Outstanding Faculty Member: Suzanne Carey
  • Outstanding Social Service Agency: Love INC
  • Outstanding Alumni: Judy Hillyer
  • Outstanding BSW Student: Anna Hoskins
  • Outstanding MSW Student: Melissa Fritts
  • Outstanding PHD Student: Amber Moodie-Dyer
  • Outstanding Faculty Member: Dr. Dale Fitch
  • Outstanding Social Service Agency: Fulton State Hospital
  • Outstanding Alumni: Jayne Bury Leet
  • Outstanding BSW Student: Claire Schillinger
  • Outstanding MSW Student: Sarah Longlett
  • Outstanding PHD Student: Kirsten Havig
  • Outstanding Social Service Agency: Missouri Alliance for Children and Families
  • Outstanding Alumni: Norma Knowles, MSW, LCSW
  • Outstanding BSW Student: Nia Manning
  • Outstanding MSW Student: Ryan Black
  • Outstanding PHD Student: Seema Sehrawat
  • Outstanding Faculty: ManSoo Yu, PhD, MSW, MA
  • Outstanding Social Service Agency: Family Guidance Center for Behavioral Healthcare - St. Joseph, MO; President & CEO, Garry Hammond accepted the award on behalf of the agency
  • Outstanding Alumni: Malinda Lamb, PhD, LISW, CCJP
  • Outstanding BSW Student: Alisha Waller
  • Outstanding MSW Student: Karen A. Enyard
  • Outstanding PHD Student: Michele L. Day
  • Outstanding Faculty: Martha Markward
  • Outstanding Social Service Agency: Boys & Girls Town of Missouri
  • Outstanding Alumni: Dasi Schlup
  • Outstanding BSW Student: Gayle Ervin
  • Outstanding MSW Student: Kristin Baker
  • Outstanding PhD Student: Andrew Muriuki
  • Outstanding Faculty: Elizabeth Wilson
  • Outstanding Social Service Agency: Ellis Fischel Cancer Center Patient and Family Services
  • Outstanding Alumni: Paula Richards
  • Outstanding BSW Student Award: Carmen Washington
  • Outstanding MSW Student Award: Mark Miller
  • Outstanding Faculty Award: Michael J. Kelly, MSSW, PhD, LCSW
  • Outstanding Alumni Award: Vince Hillyer, MSW'94 ACSW, LCSW
  • Outstanding BSW Student Award: Kelly Ferrario
  • Outstanding MSW Student Award: Angela Kay Davis, BSW
  • Outstanding Faculty Award: Carol Snively, MA, MSW, PhD
  • Outstanding Alumni Award: Ann Ruhl Woody, BASW '68, MSSW '71
  • Outstanding BSW Student Award: Megan Klenke
  • Outstanding MSW Student Award: Audrey Shearer
  • Outstanding Faculty Award: Kalea Benner
  • Outstanding Alumni Award: Gene L. Svebakken
  • Outstanding BSW Student Award: Julie Ditmars
  • Outstanding BSW Student Award: Dia M. Carpenter
  • Outstanding MSW Student Award: Kimberly Erin Scott
  • Outstanding Faculty Award: Assistant Professor Fran Danis, MSW, PhD
  • Outstanding Alumni Award: William H. Fuser, MS in Social Work ‘70
  • Outstanding BSW Student Award: Brent M. Coleman
  • Outstanding MSW Student Award: Nadie Antranette Dubose
  • Outstanding Faculty Award: Marjorie Sable, MSW, MPH, DrPH
  • Outstanding Alumni Award: James C. Brady, MSW ‘78