The Colorado State University College of Health and Human Sciences celebrates its graduates at the Spring Commencement Walk on The Oval. April 6, 2021

Social Work Newsletter | Spring 2021

From the Interim Director

david macpheeDear School of Social Work Alumni and Friends:

As the world adjusted to life during a pandemic, social work played a crucial role in ensuring access to services, promoting disease prevention efforts, and addressing anxiety and other concerns. Without a doubt, you were instrumental in supporting individuals, families, and communities during this public health crisis and time of social change. As we turn our focus forward, I am confident that social workers will continue to find new ways to improve the lives of those around us.

It’s my pleasure to share that, thanks to the efforts of our search committee in a fully remote process, Charlotte Bright will start as the new director of Colorado State University’s School of Social Work on July 1. Dr. Bright joins CSU from the University of Maryland School of Social Work, where she served for the last seven years as associate dean of doctoral and postdoctoral research. Her scholarship has been focused on areas such as juvenile justice services and how they are implemented in communities, gender differences, and the impacts of trauma. Prior to her academic career, she practiced social work in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

I’m proud to say the CSU School of Social Work’s 2020-2021 academic year was not defined solely by our challenges. As you will read below, we continue to find ways to deliver high-quality education for our students, who have energized and inspired us with their dedication and hard work in the face of adversity. I would like to thank all faculty and staff for their enormous efforts to ensure that the teaching and research missions of the department successfully continued in the time of the pandemic.


David MacPhee (he/him/his)
Interim Director, School of Social Work
Colorado State University

Department Highlights

Charlotte Bright and her family

University of Maryland’s Bright named director of the CSU School of Social Work

Charlotte Bright knew that only a very special job could lure her away from her 13-year career and associate dean position at the University of Maryland School of Social Work in Baltimore.

Shelbie Engelking, MSW

CSU Alumna Shelbie Engelking specializes in social work advocacy

Shelbie Engelking currently serves as the state PACE (Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly) ombudsman in Colorado. “The desire to keep learning and growing will aid you as a professional helping the most vulnerable individuals in our society,” said Engelking.

Kelly Maycumber 4

Staff Spotlight: Field Education Program Coordinator Kelly Maycumber

Kelly Maycumber, field education program coordinator, brings tremendous dedication and a sense of humor to her administrative professional role in Colorado State University’s School of Social Work.

Student Success

alana giles

Sophomore practicum students persevere during pandemic

This spring semester, four students completed their sophomore practicum at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Larimer County, where they were matched with a mentee and met weekly within pandemic guidelines.

sarah grace hafen

Situating “community as expert” for social justice in research

Master of Social Work grad Sarah Grace Hafen aims to advance equity in social work practice to “amplify marginalized voices in the policy sphere, building a platform for community self-determination.”

lara arndt

Outstanding grad beat the odds with positivity and support

Bachelor of Social Work outstanding grad Lara Arndt relied on support from faculty and nonprofit systems, as well as her own strength and perseverance, to complete her degree at Colorado State University.

Social Work Research

colorado state university social work research center

Social Work Research Center targets national policies for child and family well-being

Two large studies currently underway in CSU’s Social Work Research Center (SWRC) are set to directly advance state and national policy on prevention practices for healthy child development and family well-being.

Casey Blackwatters

Using a public health perspective in social work research

Casey Blackwatters holds an M.P.H. in health behavior from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a recent recipient of an award from the College of Health and Human Sciences for her research. Learn more about Blackwatters’ current work in community-based research, knowledge translation, and family strengthening.

Social Work Mentoring Program

Social Work Grad Sp21

Launched by the School of Social Work in 2018, the Alumni Network Mentoring Program brings together alumni and recent grads in mutually rewarding relationships for mentoring in a diverse range of social work fields. All alumni who are three-plus years postgraduation are welcome to make connections to help recent social work grads build successful careers and have a lasting impact on our alumni community.


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