Campbellsville University’s Carver School of Social Work and Counseling held its pinning ceremony for its eight 2009 graduates. From left are: Juliana Brown, Tanya Coffman, Danelle Coomer. Jessica Creech, Tammy Marple, Hilary Prunty, Shelly Messinger and Nicole Wilcox. (Campbellsville University Photo by Linda Waggener)
By Linda Waggener
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Calling this year’s group of social work graduates “one of the finest groups of graduating professional social workers anywhere in the United States,” Campbellsville University’s eight graduates were lauded by Dr. Darlene Eastridge, dean of the Carver School of Social Work, at a recent pinning ceremony.
Eastridge welcomed the crowd of students and family members to the pinning ceremony honoring the 13th spring, and 15th overall, graduating baccalaureate social work class.
“These graduates have worked hard to complete their educational requirements and develop the knowledge and skills necessary to serve individuals, families, organizations and communities in social service venues throughout the world,” she said.
The eight graduates who have “worked hard,” Eastridge said, include: Juliana Brown of Nashville, Tenn.; Tanya Coffman of Campbellsville; Danelle Coomer of Campbellsville, Jessica Creech of Benham, Ky.; Tammy Marple of Columbia, Ky.; Shelly Messinger of Frankfort, Ky.; Hillary Prunty of Greenville, Ky., and Nicole Wilcox of Vine Grove, Ky.
Dr. Helen Mudd, Baccalaureate Social Work Program Director, presented The Carver School of Social Work and Counseling’s outstanding social work graduates for 2008-2009 to Ellen Frances Beams and Hillary Prunty, who shared the Outstanding Social Work Graduate award; Jessica Creech, Service Award recipient; and Juliana Brown, Academic Excellence Award.
Beams is a non-traditional student who took her first college classes in 1996. She is the wife of John Beams and the mother of two sons, ages 9 and 13.
Beams received “the outstanding service award for her graduating class by exemplifying the characteristics of a true servant leader through her participation in numerous social work service projects, including Cardboard Nation,” Mudd said.
Beams graduated with honors in December and is a member of Phi Alpha, the Social Work Honor Society.
“Ellen’s enthusiasm for helping others and her willingness to serve as an ambassador for the Carver School will always be remembered by faculty and fellow students,” Mudd said.
Beams is a Public Child Welfare Certification Program graduate and is employed with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services as a child protection worker in Meade County. She plans on beginning the master of social work program at Campbellsville this fall.
“Hillary Rae Prunty,” Mudd said, “shared that she felt God’s call to social work while watching a documentary on domestic violence. Her goal is to work with battered women and families of domestic violence.
“She is a member of Phi Alpha the Social Work Honor Society, and has maintained high academic standards while competing as a student athlete throughout most of college.”
Prunty said of her placement at Hardin County Protection and Permanency that she most enjoyed “getting to know clients and feeling like in some way I made a difference in their lives.” Her supervisor was Stacey Arnett.
She said she hopes to find a job with the Commonwealth of Kentucky after graduation and begin her master’s degree program. Her goal is to eventually get her Ph.D. She plans to marry Kyle Martin in the fall.
Her honors include being a Phi Alpha member, on the president’s list, student member of Carver School Advisory Board, recipient of the Outstanding Social Work Student Award, secretary of the SWITCH Club and playing on the Lady Tiger basketball team.
Mudd said the Service Award is “given to a student who has demonstrated service to the clients, community, program, school and fellow students.”
She said Jessica Creech, this year’s recipient of the Service Award, has demonstrated service to the program by being a Social Workers in Touch (SWITCH) Club officer and coordinating numerous SWITCH Club activities.
“She has demonstrated service to her clients and fellow students by consistently advocating for their wants and needs,” Mudd said.
Juliana Brown, who has a 3.54 grade point average, was presented the Academic Excellence Award which is given to a student who has demonstrated exceptional academic performance.
Brown, in addition to her academic excellence, has also excelled on the basketball court. “To be successful in the classroom, as well as in athletics is no small accomplishment,” Mudd said.
“The Challenger Award is given to a student who has succeeded while facing many challenges,” and the student selected for the award this year “exemplifies a winning personality and a willingness to serve,” Mudd said.
The Challenger Award went to Danelle Coomer who Mudd said “always strives to do her best and her enthusiasm for life stands as an encouragement to those she comes in contact with on a daily basis. She is creative and thinks of possibilities beyond her comfort zone. She took her first college courses in 1986. Since that time, she has faced many successes and challenges.”
Debbie Carter, Director of Field Education and assistant professor of social work, introduced each graduate:
Brown’s placement was at Taylor County Elementary Family Resource Center with supervisors Ann Mattingly and Lisa Beard.
Brown said the highlights of her placement were, “the relationship that developed between Ann, Lisa, Krissy (an MSW student) and I and assisting the children with any need that was brought to our attention.”
She said her best memories include the friends and relationships she made, the long nights/early mornings in the Social Work building working on projects, and the Chicago field trip. She has enrolled in the master of social work program in fall.
Brown is a member of the Lady Tiger Basketball team that went to Jackson for the NAIA national tournament in the spring, a recipient of the Champions of Character award, on the academic dean’s list and Phi Alpha member. She received the CU Alumni Association Athletic Award at Honors and Awards Day and graduated cum laude.
Coffman was placed with the Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation, with Patricia Brown, a CU alumnae, as her supervisor.
Coffman said the highlight of her placement was “learning more about the supports for the community living waiver which provides services to those who have mental retardation or developmental disabilities.”
After graduation, she plans to pursue a career in supporting those who have mental retardation or developmental disabilities and to obtain a master’s degree. Her best memories have included, “the Washington, D.C. trip where we learned about homelessness and a lot about each other, and the lifelong relationships and friendships that have helped to make me a better person.”
Coomer was placed with Lake Cumberland Children’s Advocacy Center in Jamestown with supervisors Loretta Coppage and Pam Eads. She said, “I enjoyed doing social histories on client families and learning how important it is to allow clients to develop their own thoughts about their situations or issues.”
She is planning to start the master of social work program at CU in the fall. She hopes to find employment in the social work field. She is a Phi Alpha member.
Creech’s placement was with the Green County Protection & Permanency as a PCWCP student under the supervision of Kristie Fitzpatrick. She said she most enjoyed getting to know all of the workers in the office. Her plans after graduation are to work for the state in Protection & Permanency in child protection.
She was a Phi Alpha member, on the president’s list in fall 2008 and the dean’s list in fall 2007 and spring 2008, a student member of the Social Work Advisory Board, played on the CU women’s softball team and served as a SWITCH (Social Workers in Touch Can Help) Club president.
Marple, formerly of Columbia, Ky., who currently lives in Campbellsville, was placed in the Green River Ministries Shelter under the supervision of Misty Curry and Karen Clark, both alumni of CU.
“I was present when we moved to the new building and worked on grant proposal from food pantry and wrote a poem that was published in the KY-NASW newsletter,” she said.
“My best memory was every day that I was in class with my fellow future social workers and being able to listen to how they planned on making changes in this world,” she said. She also enjoyed “learning from my practicum supervisor how to be caring, compassionate, hard working and diligent.
“I owe a debt that can never be repaid for what I have been taught,” she said.
Marple is a member of National Association of Social Workers (NASW) and National Association of Mental Illness (NAMI) whose plans after graduation are to advocate during the summer for the Crisis Home in Adair County and to get her master of social work degree.
Messinger said the highlights of her placement with Franklin County Protection & Permanency as a PCWCP student under supervisors Julie Snawder and Ruthie Stegman including their letting her write home evaluations and CQAs (continuous quality assessment - state assessment for child abuse).
“They treated me like a real worker and not just a student,” Messinger said. “They gave me great feedback and constructive criticism to make me a better social worker.”
She is a Phi Alpha member, SWITCH Club vice president and on the dean’s list in fall 2005 and fall 2008. She plans on working in Protection & Permanency after gradu Wilcox was placed at the Cabinet for Health & Family Services Adoption Services Branch with supervisor Mike Grimes. Wilcox said the highlights of her placement was in meeting the “kids and getting to see successful adoptions happen.”
Wilcox was senior class president and Phi Alpha member.
After graduation, she planned to pursue a job in the adoptions branch. She has a job interview in Pennsylvania and is getting married in August to Jeremy Elmore.
Her best memory of being in the social work program was “spending time with the group working on projects late at night.”
Mudd presented the candidates who have earned membership in Carver School of Social Work and Counseling’s Chapter of Phi Alpha Honor Society—XI Omega Phi Alpha: Danielle Coomer, Juliana Brown, Kim Davis, Diana Gardner, Katie Daniel, Chris Mills, Ashley Boyd, Adrienne Butler, Christine Cundiff, Maria Probus and Lauren Toadvine.
She said those candidates have been elected by the society on the basis of their scholarly achievement and interest in social work.
“The highest honor that one can receive in Social work at Carver School of Social Work and Counseling is being extended to you now because you are a proven candidate for initiation and have met all the requirements of our organization,” Mudd said.
Campbellsville University is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,601 students who represent 93 Kentucky counties, 27 states and 31 foreign nations. Listed in U.S.News & World Report’s 2009 “America’s Best Colleges,” CU is ranked 22nd in “Best Baccalaureate Colleges” in the South for the second consecutive year. CU has been ranked 16 consecutive years with U.S.News & World Report. The university has also been named to America’s Best Christian Colleges®. Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his tenth year as president.