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Social Work Student Association

Issue 3:October 26, 2012

Election Day is Tuesday, November 6th - Exercise your right!

In the Field: VA Hospital

Faculty Facts: Michael Ottone Hometown?

Will Phifer

Columbia Native Army Veteran B.A. Psychology, The Citadel

For anyone considering or currently going Micro, Will would be an excellent resource. Will spent his first year with Forensic Services at the South Carolina Department of Mental Health facilitating psychosocial rehabilitation group therapy to patients who were diagnosed with chronic mental illness and judicially committed to inpatient psychiatric treatment. He is currently spending his second year with Primary Care Behavioral Health (BH) at the Wm. J. B. Dorn VA Hospital. At the VA, Will conducts: individual BH initial intakes follow-up BH individual therapy healthcare management suicide screenings and risk assessments cognitive functioning screenings leads a 10-session Anger Management Group and in the coming weeks will start co-leading a new primary care PTSD outpatient treatment group. Will loves his field placement because he learns something new from every interaction. His supervisors have been outstanding and the other staff and medical professionals are more helpful than he could ever have imagined. After graduation, you may see Will either working for the VA or Department of Defense in an inpatient or outpatient setting with dual diagnosis patients suffering from substance abuse disorders and combat trauma. He would love to continue his travels around the country, or even the world--like he did in the Army. Want to know more? Contact him at

cool kids say…. Want to stay up-to-date on current events? There are FREE copies of the New York Times in the Russell House everyday! Networking 101: Include food! Part of networking is being able to build relationships with people. What better way to get to know someone than over a meal? Check out the Out-To-Lunch program where you can get a voucher to take your professor to any dining facility on campus! And guess what?! It’s FREE! Look like a cool kid and impress your prof. by checking out where you can pick up an Out-to-Lunch voucher! The website even gives suggestions for topics to talk about. You will be a networking pro in no time! Click here!

Gaithersburg, Maryland


Associate’s Degree in Mental Health: Montgomery County Community College BSW: University of Maryland Baltimore County MSW: USC Columbia

What classes have you

taught? SOWK 723: Adv. Social Work Practice in Groups SOWK 724: Adv. Social Work Practice with Individuals & Families SOWK 726: Supervision and Case Consultation SOWK 718: Systems Analysis of Social Work Practice

Advice for graduate students?

It seems like a cliché to say this, but it is very true. The benefits, strengths, and rewards you gain from this program are driven by what you put into it. Your effort and desire to gain information, to learn what you can do and what you want to do with your degree, to grow and develop as a person and as a professional are your responsibility. Yet, this is an experience you should enjoy and remember. Make friends, have fun, learn, and develop your passion!

Micro or macro?

This is not an easy question to answer. Realistically, as your career progresses you will encounter tasks and opportunities which are micro, macro, and mezzo. But you may never again have the time and opportunity to focus so in depth on one or the other. Where do you want to be in 3-5 years, after graduation? What is your expectation for your career path? What populations do you want to work with? What type of service provision? Focus on your short-term goals and identify what will best help you attain those goals. You will always be learning, through training and continuing education, so what you do not focus on now you may be able to pick up in the future.

Favorite thing to do in Columbia?

I am a huge Gamecocks fan and my family and I attend the football games, as well as many other events throughout the year. I am a passionate baseball fan and I have coached for a long time. I believe in being involved in my community. I am a member of my local school improvement council, my local recreation center park improvement committee, and I am the current President of the South Carolina chapter of NASW. For more information, contact him at

Support the local economy and have fun! 11/1 is First Thursday on Main! Check out the free art at Tapps, food specials and free performances! If you’re looking for something cool to do on a lazy weekend the Columbia Museum of Art is FREE on Sundays. Best part: you can still sleep in…they are open from 12 – 5 pm.

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Get out in the community! …and build your resume…. 10/28 – The Buddy Walk  

1 – 5 PM at Saluda Shoals Park The Buddy Walk is a fun event for all! It celebrates individuals with Down syndrome and is sponsored by Family Connection of South Carolina. There will be games, food, live music, zumba, & much more!

11/3 – Steps for PASOS Fundraiser  

7 – 11 PM at Capital Senior Center Ballroom

Contact Carrie Draper at

PASOS is currently looking for volunteers for their first fundraiser. There will be salsa lessons, dancing, awesome food and drinks. Fun for all!

11/16 – Hammer It Home Gala & Auction  

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7PM at 701 Whaley St. Cola, SC 29201 The Columbia Habitat Young Professionals invite you to an evening of southern hospitality and charm! Come enjoy great food, cocktails, and a one of kind auction as we continue our efforts to eliminate poverty housing across the Midlands. Volunteers receive a discount. Tickets cost: $75 per individual, $100 per couple. Contact Laura Jeffcoat at

Students Speak! A Student’s Perspective: Human Trafficking in India By: Toni Lawrimore

2nd Year MSW & MPH Student

“When I first went to India in May 2011, I knew that it would be a life changing experience. As I stepped off the plane and wandered out of Indira Gandhi International Airport and into the thick, steamy humidity of New Delhi, India, I had a feeling that I would not leave India the same person. What I did not know, however, was how it would irrevocably change my passions, knowledge, attitudes, and beliefs about my education and how I would employ what I learn for years to come. In 2011, I spent a bulk of my time backpacking through the Himalayas in Northern India. However, the most memorable few weeks of my time spent in India was in New Delhi. While in New Delhi, I was given the opportunity to volunteer with a nongovernmental organization that worked with little girls (and now little boys, too) who were pulled out of sex trafficking. During my first week in New Delhi, I walked through the dusty streets of the Red Light District and witnessed a strange kind of slavery and poverty that I had never before witnessed…to continue reading Click here!

Paper Product Drive for Christ Central LGBTQ History Month

Donate now until 11/9

The Christ Central provides meals and shelters for the homeless population living in Columbia. They are now having a paper product drive to help support meals that help to ensure that everyone in Columbia has the opportunity to enjoy a warm, nutritious meal. Contact Christina Cobb at

4th Tuesday of month – Foster Care Teen Skills Group Leader  

5:45PM – 8:00PM The Richland County Foster and Adoptive Parent Association is seeking an MSW student to lead the youth social skills group. Also volunteers to help with childcare, youth and teen skills groups. Contact Debbie Beecken at

Important Dates 10/29-NASW Gov. Affairs Meeting

11/5- SWSA Meeting 4:30pm @ SUM 339

Dolor Sit Amet 11/5-BSWSA Meeting 4:15pm @ SUM 330 11/6 – Election Day

USC will host an array of activities throughout the month – to find out what’s going on Click here!

Domestic Violence Awareness Month USC will host an array of activities throughout the month – to find out what’s going on Click here!

SWSA Peer Mentoring Program Want to meet some new people in the MSW program? Join the peer-mentoring program to be matched up with a first or second year student. Contact Lauren Williams

We hope you enjoy your newsletter! Please feel free to submit your thoughts, for the next issue! -Stephanie Clone, Dan Krantz, Kiesha Webb, Teresa Chimienti & Amber Schrenkel


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"Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.'" – Isaac Asimov

Democracy Discussions The election is right around the corner and if you haven’t watched the Presidential debates we hope you at least had a chance to chuckle at the Saturday Night Live spoofs on the web. But in all seriousness, this election is an important one. Especially for us as social workers, who are often employed and paid by discretionary federal and state funds, which seem to take a cut every year. What we, the SWSA Newsletter Committee, desire for you, as fellow MSW students, budding advocates and concerned citizens, is to be informed. We know the election can be a strenuous time with heated debates, bold Facebook statuses and passions flaring. We hope you can keep calm and educate yourself. We would like to stress the importance of not only the Presidential election on Tuesday, November 6th, but the Congressional and local elections as well. Often in the pomp and circumstance surrounding the presidency, we overlook the local leaders and referendums that are on the ballot. Based on the past four years, we think it is very important that we broaden our view of not only who will fill the Oval Office but also who is voting in Congress on issues that affect you and your community.

Election Education There are two referendums on some of South Carolina’s ballots. One of the referendums involves the proposed Penny Tax for Richland County voters. The second referendum is a statewide proposed constitutional amendment regarding the process of electing the Lieutenant Governor. As the election grows near, we encourage you to GET INFORMED! We know that’s a lot to ask graduate students, but remember the decisions made on November 6th last beyond our graduation. Here are some resources to help you get started:

SC Votes Pick your county in South Carolina and see what will be on the ballot as well as information regarding the referendums. Click here!

Vote Smart Search by candidates’ name and provides a biography, as well as their previous voting records (which are the most accurate record of where a candidate stands on an issue). Click here!

Children’s Issues For those of you interested in children’s issues, here is a nice, organized matrix comparing the Republican and Democratic Party platforms on children’s issues. Click here!

"Always vote for principle, though you may vote alone, and you may cherish the sweetest reflection that your vote is never lost." John Quincy Adams South Carolina’s Lieutenant Governor Glenn McConnell

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Constitutional Amendment The League of Women Voters in South Carolina wrote a document regarding the Lieutenant Governor election process. It provides an understandable explanation of the issue and provides pros and cons of voting for or against. To access the document click here!


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Richland County Referendum: The Penny Tax The penny tax would raise Richland County sales tax by one percent and use this one percent to improve Richland county transportation by funding the public bus system, improving roads, and creating bike lanes and greenways. Some of the specific projects include:     

Railroad relocation project A boulevard between Rosewood Drive and the Owens-Hamilton Airport Completion of the beautification of North Main Street. Extension of Greene Street and Williams Street Increased bike lanes and sidewalks throughout downtown and across city neighborhoods.

There are mixed opinions on whether the penny tax is the most effective way to improve Columbia area transportation. We encourage you to do research and vote for or against on November 6th. This is a community issue that affects us all.

A Penny for your Thoughts Rachel Gunter is a South Carolina native and a 2nd year Macro MSW Student currently interning at Midlands Technical Community College. Rachel has been part of a small group at Midlands Tech that has been researching the public transportation issues in Columbia, SC after part of the Central Midlands Regional Transit Authority (CMRTA) line that ran to the Midlands Tech Airport Campus was cut leaving many students and employees without transportation. Rachel shared some of her thoughts.

Stop the temporary solutions. This issue is real and it is not new. Our community leaders have been putting a band aid on a bullet wound for years. We must create a sustainable solution now. Understand how transportation affects us. Based on her research with the US Census data, she found that single mothers suffer greatly from poverty in the Midlands. If we don’t support CMRTA, we must ask ourselves what will be the true costs and consequences? We must VALUE the transportation. As a community, we must understand how important transportation, public and private, is to our daily life. We must value transportation. Some activists believe that transportation is a human right. Change the conversation. Transportation is not just for “poor people.” The issue of transportation will affect our entire community. We must recognize the value and the cost and reframe the conversations within the community. It is not “their” problem but “our” problem. There are cities in the US that are similar to Columbia in demographics and size with adequate transportation systems. It is possible. But we must first recognize the significance of these systems. Rachel went on to say, that we don’t need buses with the flair of music and dancing such as in Panama. Or even with holiday decorations as in Seoul, South Korea. However, we need to have a sufficient bus system that allows the community to continue to work, live and play in Columbia, SC.

One of Dr. Andrew’s first jobs as a macro social worker was in a governor’s office developing statewide plans for poverty alleviation. She was tasked with studying the importance of transportation. Transportation is an important issue for social workers since it affects the vulnerable populations for whom we advocate. Dr. Andrews pointed out: Inclusion of people with disabilities? Accessible public transportation is the key. Child maltreatment prevention? Parents need a way to get to resources, services, and food. Intimate partner violence? The burden of car upkeep aggravates domestic stress while inadequate mobility keeps victims isolated. Disengaged fathers? How can they visit their children without transportation? How can they get a job without a ride? Youth development? How can they participate in afterschool programs if they do not have a ride home? Dr. Andrews said, “It is debatable whether the penny tax is the way to provide better transportation, but it’s the only realistic option offered by our community’s leaders.” Dr. Andrews supports the penny tax and encourages other social workers to support it too.

Question or comments:

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SWSA Newsletter Issue 3