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Northeast Arkansas social work conference and awards ceremony slated for March 21

March 17, 2008 -- Arkansas State University's College of Nursing and Health Professions and the Department of Social Work will sponsor the Social Work Month Conference and the presentation of social work awards in ASU’s Student Union Auditorium on Friday, March 21, from 8 a.m.-12 noon. This year, the conference will include nationally renowned speaker, Dr. Sophia Dziegielewski.

Dr. Dziegielewski is professor and dean of the College of Social Work at the University of Cincinnati and is a nationally respected social work practitioner, educator, and speaker. She will be offering a three-hour presentation, “Psychopharmacology for Social Workers.”

March is designated as Social Work Month by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW). Each year during Social Work Month, the branches of the Arkansas Chapter of NASW host continuing education events and recognize members of the profession who are exemplary social workers.

At 11:45 a.m., the 2008 Northeast Arkansas Social Work awards will be presented to the following individuals and agency: Dr. Patricia Guy-Walls, Social Worker of the Year, is an assistant professor in the ASU Department of Social Work. Dr. Guy-Walls has provided service in several community agencies in addition to her work at the university. She has chaired the Martha Ivener Scholarship Awards committee, and she was awarded the Dr. Martin Luther King Image Award for Outstanding Faculty Achievement at ASU in recognition of her service to the university and the Jonesboro community.

April Murphy, Student Social Worker of the Year, is a senior in the Bachelor of Social Work program, a member of ASU's Phi Alpha Honor Society, and a member of the Dean’s Advisory Committee. Murphy, president of the Student Social Work Organization, arranged a fundraiser last fall, generating $4,500 that was used to buy Christmas gifts for children in the Craighead County foster care system.

Joey Perry, Public Citizen of the Year, owns a martial arts studio that promotes positive values among youth in the Jonesboro area. He also engages in community service, offering self-defense training to domestic violence survivors and other groups in Northeast Arkansas. Perry exemplifies good citizenship and is a role model for the youth of Jonesboro.

The Hispanic Community Center, Inc., was named Social Service Agency of the Year for providing needed services to the Hispanic community in Jonesboro. Executive director Gina Gomez states that the center offers assistance in housing, job-seeking, bilingual crisis and emergency assistance, photo ID series, counseling, Spanish and English classes for children and adults, computer classes, tax preparation instructions, and a number of other services to assist in bridging the gap between Hispanics and their neighbors. The center is a volunteer service organization that serves the needs of Jonesboro’s growing Hispanic community.

Dr. Richard K. Freer will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Northeast Arkansas branch of NASW on Friday, March 21. Freer will also receive the Arkansas Chapter Award at the state conference in Rogers on Thursday, April 3. Dr. Freer is an associate professor at ASU who has had a long history of dedication to the profession of social work. Students talk about his creative teaching style and passion for social work values and ethics. His current research interest and professional practice is in the area of family mediation.

Continuing education certificates will be awarded to local mental health professionals who attend Dr. Dziegielewski’s workshop. For more information on the conference or on registration, contact Dr. George Jacinto, ASU Department of Social Work, at (870) 972-3137.




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