LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 13, 2013) — Crystal Collins-Camargo, associate professor at the University of Louisville Kent School of Social Work and Beth Mills, Lexington Fayette Urban County Government (LFUCG) commissioner of social services, will be inducted into the University of Kentucky College of Social Work's annual Hall of Fame ceremony Thursday, May 16.
In 1999, the College of Social Work inducted its first members into the Hall of Fame. Since then, each year the college recognizes the distinguished accomplishments of Social Work Alumni who have made exceptional contributions to the field of social work. These individuals are deemed outstanding in the profession by their colleagues, and they are chosen by a committee of their peers.
Collins-Camargo teaches at the UL Kent School of Social Work and conducts research in the areas of child welfare, organizational interventions and juvenile court systems. She was formerly clinical assistant professor at the UK College of Social Work and was engaged in a variety of grant-funded research, education and service projects in child welfare.
Collins-Camargo was director of the National Quality Improvement Center on the Privatization of Child Welfare Services, a knowledge development initiative that involves multi-site research assessing the effectiveness and efficiency of provision of child welfare services by private organizations, and the nature of the public/private partnership required in such an approach. She also directed the Southern Regional Quality Improvement Center for Child Protection, which worked in a 10-state region to promote knowledge development through research and demonstration projects focusing on the impact of clinical supervision on agency and client outcomes in child welfare. She has been principal investigator for several studies regarding the Kentucky court system’s effectiveness in responding to abused and neglected children and their families, and organizational interventions to improve permanency for children in out-of-home care.
Before coming to UK, she was formerly program director for Prevent Child Abuse Kentucky, and worked in the public child protection system as a worker, supervisor and statewide specialist.
Mills earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in social work at UK. She is a certified social worker (CSW) with a varied practice experience over the past 34 years.
Mills began her career as a social worker on the Kentucky Adult Protective Services team in Fayette County in 1978. Since that time, she was the first director of the Lexington Senior Citizens Center and then the division director of LFUCG Adult and Tenant Services. In 2004, Mills left local government to become a clinical faculty member at the UK College of Social Work. Her position was director of field education where she oversaw the internships of both BASW and MSW students.
In February 2011, Mills returned to city hall when Mayor Jim Gray appointed her as the LFUCG commissioner of social services. The department has a $7 million dollar budget and serves infants, teen mothers, court ordered youth, homeless adults and senior citizens. The department also awards $2 million in grants to community private nonprofits on an annual basis.
It is once again time for the University of Kentucky to celebrate the work of our student scholars. We gather to recognize their achievements, and to award them their degree during our 146th Commencement Ceremonies.
Over the last two years, I have interacted with our ambitious students – tomorrow’s leaders who, in profound ways, are leading today. Students are engaged in our laboratories and research centers; they lead student organizations and serve our community; they excel in our classrooms, perform in our recital halls, and learn in our libraries; and they set good examples as members of the UK family.
The activities that happen across our institution every day are incredible and inspiring. They teach us valuable lessons and they honor the Promise – a Kentucky Promise that binds us to this place and to each other.
In the week leading up to Commencement, University of Kentucky Public Relations has written a series on our students and their experiences while on our campus. If you haven’t had an opportunity to enjoy these touching stories, please take a moment to read about Josh Nadzam’s work to empower at-risk students in pursuit of a higher education; some of our national championship student-athletes; outstanding student artists like Reggie Smith; a first generation college graduate; or enjoy the story of Julia Meador, a recent UK graduate who was forever changed by her experience. Julia now lives in Atlanta, Ga. and works as a strategic communications planning manager at the American Cancer Society, Inc.
By Julia Meador, UK graduate 2009
As a junior in high school I wasn't even considering attending the University of Kentucky. I thought it was too big, and I was terrified of being just a number. I also grew up a Louisville fan, but please don't hold it against me. However, when my best friend asked me to go with her on her visit to UK I agreed for the simple fact that I could skip class and be on a real college campus.
From the moment we got on campus it felt different and special somehow – it wasn’t what I expected at all. The flowers were in full bloom, the students looked so happy to be there, the opportunities seemed endless, and it had an unexplainable air of home. After participating in what former UK President Dr. Todd used to call the "million dollar walk," I was sold and ready to sign on the dotted line. That day, I started a love affair with the University of Kentucky that will never end.
Any nerves I had about college life melted away once I was on campus and it quickly became clear that I could be so much more than a number or a face. Getting involved made a campus of 30,000 feel much closer to a campus of 300 with 30,000 things to do and opportunities to relish in. I think UK students everywhere understand completely when I say I am the person I am today because of the University of Kentucky – the amazing people I met, the classes I took, the organizations I was involved with, the experiences I shared, and the opportunities I was provided.
The UK community has carried me through the ups and downs of post-graduate life and is one that no matter how far away you are from Lexington, it can still be felt everywhere. I still wear UK blue on every game day, proudly display multiple UK posters in my office, and recruit co-workers’ children and students in my city.
To graduates, I say congratulations and savor every minute! But, know that no matter where you go, the University of Kentucky is in your blood and in your soul, and you have an inseparable bond with the best fans and best people no matter how far away from home you are.
In stories known and unknown, our students have been forever changed by their UK experience, and they have changed our university for the better.
To the graduating class, I extend my sincerest thanks for all that you have given to the pursuit of our Kentucky Promise. With the education you have been provided and the passion and talent you possess, you make true our timeless covenant. You open the door to a bright future for your families, for your Commonwealth and for a world so much in need of all that you are and all that you will be.
Thank you … and remember to always “see blue.” forever.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (May 1, 2013) — Josh Nadzam knows firsthand what it's like to grow up in "the projects," surrounded by crime, poverty, and drug abuse.
Faced with circumstances growing up that many people can't imagine, Nadzam is taking his life experience and the education he has received at the University of Kentucky to build his dream of helping others in similar situations realize a better life.
Growing up in the small town of Manaca, Penn., Nadzam dreamed of escape. Entrenched in poverty, he was raised by a single mom who fought hard to give her son as normal a life as possible despite battling a mental illness that often left her hospitalized for months at a time. His father, who battled alcohol and drug addictions, was in and out of his life.
Nadzam was a three-sport athlete in high school and decided his way out was through his athletic ability. He applied to numerous Division 1 schools in hopes of receiving a scholarship. One by one, he was turned down until an offer of a walk-on position on the track and field team came from UK.
Nadzam has excelled in both academics and sports while at UK and is set to graduate May 5 with academic honors and a master's degree in social work from the UK College of Social Work. One of his final projects in graduate school came about after a friend recommended that he read a book called Make the Impossible Possible by Bill Strickland, the founder and CEO of Manchester Bidwell, a nonprofit empowerment program that began in Pittsburgh and has been replicated so far in San Francisco, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Grand Rapids, and New Haven. Strickland has received innumerable accolades for his work. Among his honors include the Goi Peace Award, the MacArthur Fellowship, and an appointment to President Obama's White House Council on Community Solutions.
"After I read his book I had to the opportunity to meet him and exchange information," Nadzam said. "After some conversation through email, I told him I wanted to make this happen in Lexington. Since then, I have worked extensively with him and his team in Pittsburgh to bring this project to reality."
There are two components of the program: a youth component and an adult component. The youth component is a visual arts afterschool program where at-risk and impoverished youth can enroll in various arts classes to ensure they graduate high school, empower their lives, and inspire their imaginations along the way. The adult component is a workforce development job training program for unemployed, underemployed, and displaced workers.
"Each of the centers are built with beautiful aesthetics and decorated with art, fresh flowers, and hand-crafted furniture with the belief that environment shapes lives," Nadzam said. "If you put people in a world-class environment, they will start to feel like world-class people and aspire for the sky.
"At first this was just a raw dream that I was chasing. However, after meeting with many community leaders and organizations, I started to realize that it was very possible. A replicated version of Manchester Bidwell can fit perfectly with the compassionate organizations that already exist in Lexington."
As Nadzam's dream grew and his work progressed, Strickland agreed to come to Lexington to speak to community leaders, people in business and the arts, social service workers, school officials, and funders about the Manchester Bidwell project on May 21 at the Lyric Theatre in downtown Lexington.
"I believe so much in this type of center because I know firsthand what happens when there is no intervention, no opportunities, and no hope," Nadzam said. "While I escaped, since I graduated high school in 2007, eight people I grew up with have already died from heroin overdose. I made it out, not everyone does. I want to do everything I can to help others avoid a life of drug abuse, rise out of the oubliettes of poverty, and unlock their potential."
Although the event on May 21 is filled to capacity and now closed, a follow-up event is planned for June. For more information about this project or if you would like to donate, please visit www.gofundme.com/JoshNadzam
MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford, 859-312-3587; email@example.com
LEXINGTON, Ky. (April 25, 2013) — As the population ages, issues such as care, quality of life, and mobility often arise. Moon Choi, assistant professor at the University of Kentucky College of Social Work and colleagues from the Sanders Brown Center on Aging are collaborating on a study that looks at social determinants of mobility limitations and the loss of driving in old age.
Choi's interest in the impact of loss of driving privileges in the elderly stemmed from her own experience when she moved from her home in Seoul, Korea, to Cleveland, Ohio, in 2005 to go to school. The biggest cultural shock for Choi was her inability to get around without a car.
"I grew up in a metropolitan city where people mainly rely on public transportation, but when I moved to Cleveland, it was very hard to get around without a car," Choi said. "I lived next to the campus and a grocery, so I thought a car was unnecessary but I was wrong. I was imprisoned in my tiny studio apartment and felt like I was disabled. I had to ask friends for a ride when I wanted to go somewhere. As a person who highly values independence, I felt shamed when I asked for a ride from others. So, unlike my plan of living without a car for the first year of my doctorate program, I bought a car right after my first three months in Cleveland. This intense experience living without a car made me think about what the process of being disabled is like, and the role of independent transportation, impact of life space constriction on the quality of life at old age."
The Department of Health and Human Services says that persons 65 years or older currently represent 12.9 percent of the U.S. population, but that number is expected to grow to 19 percent of the population by 2030 or about 72.1 million older persons. This would suggest that even more people will be dealing with the issue of driving cessation.
"We will, at a certain point of our lives, have to give up car keys," Choi said. "Driving cessation is like retirement or divorce, which affect multi-dimensions of life. Advanced planning mobility and transportation transition are very important to diminish the impact of driving cessation on individuals. When we think about old age, we often focus on financial security, but mobility security is as important as financial security. "
Media Contact: Ann Blackford at firstname.lastname@example.org or 859-312-3587.
LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 14, 2013) − Shevawn Akers, who has a master of social work degree from the University of Kentucky College of Social Work, has been elected to serve a two-year term on the Lexington Urban County Council.
Akers is one of six elected female members on the council. This is only the second time since the city and county governments merged in 1974 that the 15-member council will have six female members. The last time six women served together was in 1994.
Akers said she is the first woman to represent the 2nd District.
The council's female members are Shevawn Akers (2nd District), Diane Lawless (3rd), Jennifer Scutchfield (7th), Jennifer Mossotti (9th), Peggy Henson (11th) and Gorton, an at-large member. Akers, Scutchfield and Mossotti are new to the council, although Mossotti served previously.
Other district members sworn in for two-years terms Sunday at The Kentucky Theatre were Chris Ford (1st District), Julian Beard (4th), Bill Farmer (5th), Kevin Stinnett (6th), George Myers (8th), Harry Clarke (10th) and Ed Lane (12th). All but Clarke were incumbents.
MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford, email@example.com; (859) 312-3587.