The SWAA Executive Advisory Committee will advise the Dean regarding the college’s alumni engagement. They will serve as ambassadors as appropriate, encouraging fellow alumni participation in SWAA and related activities.
Xavier Chavez graduated from New Mexico State University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Social Work and from the University of Kentucky College of Social Work in 2022 with a Master of Social Work and a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Social Work.
Xavier currently works as a master’s licensed school social worker in Gallup, New Mexico, practicing with general education students and is a certified CPI non-violent crisis intervention instructor. He works with students from all grades, kindergarten to twelfth grade, to provide social-emotional support and therapy. He started his career working in corrections as a re-entry specialist.
Outside of social work, Xavier is a high school girls soccer coach and a sports official. He officiates soccer, basketball, and baseball for both youth and adults. Most of his time is spent with social work and sports. However, when he does have free time, you can find him with friends, family, or out on the golf course.
Jennifer Hancock graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Social Work in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and in 1998 with a Master of Social Work.
Jennifer is the President and CEO of Volunteers of America (VOA) of Mid-States, and has served in many capacities during her more than 20 years of professional leadership in the nonprofit sector and in her 15 years advancing the mission of VOA. Under her leadership, VOA has become a nationally recognized expert in providing family-focused and results-oriented solutions for the opioid and addiction crisis. Working closely with a wide range of elected officials and community leaders, the organization has earned consistent recognition for providing best practice care in nearly 50 programs.
Jennifer has led VOA through unprecedented growth and now oversees a $50 million budget and a team of more than 650 professionals across 4 states. In addition to recovery services, VOA also delivers solutions in the areas of veteran services including suicide prevention, housing and homelessness, public health, comprehensive care for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities and a Restorative Justice program that helps to keep youth out of the criminal justice system. Her love for bringing diverse stakeholders together to solve a complex social problem and seeing the tangible and many positive outcomes of the mission of VOA is what drives her most.
Jennifer is active in the community, serving as Chair of the Leadership Louisville Center and on the boards of the Kentucky Children’s Justice Act Task Force, University of Louisville School of Public Health, Impetus for a Better Louisville, Smart on Crime, National Office of Volunteers of America, AdventHealth Hospital, West End Opportunity Partnership, 1 Clay County, You Decide, Kentucky! and as an Advisory Council Member of Young Professionals Association of Louisville. She was recently honored to receive the 2022 Business First Power 50 award as well as the 2022 Enterprising Women award.
Tasha Kozak graduated from New York University with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work and from the University of Kentucky College of Social Work in 2021 with a Master of Social Work and a Graduate Certificate in Clinical Social Work.
After completing her graduate field placement at the Red Cross of Spain, Tasha continues to serve isolated groups and communities in the region of Malaga. She is interested in geriatric social work focusing on those affected by Alzheimer’s disease.
Dr. Abigail Latimer graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Arts and Sciences in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, and from the UK College of Social Work in 2011 with a Master of Social Work and in 2021 with a Doctor of Philosophy in Social Work. She completed her post-doctoral training with the Research and Interventions for Cardiovascular Health (RICH) Heart Program at the UK College of Nursing.
Dr. Latimer is an assistant professor with the UK College of Nursing and is jointly appointed at UK HealthCare as an Outpatient Palliative Clinical Social Worker. Her clinical specialty is psychosocial and mental health care for patients with serious illnesses, and she has experience in behavioral health counseling for persons with addiction. Her research is focused on geriatric palliative care, with projects around serious illness communication, moral distress, heart failure, and older adults.
Dr. Latimer received an Excellence in Clinical Practice award by the Social Work Hospice and Palliative Network and was a Pre-Doctoral Fellow for the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work. In addition, she is actively involved with the Gerontological Society of America, the Association of Gerontological Education in Social Work, and the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
Devonia Love-Vaughn graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Social Work in 1996 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work and in 1997 with a Master of Social Work. She is currently a doctoral student at Louisiana Tech University in the Educational Leadership program with a concentration in Higher Education Administration. She is also a 2019 graduate of the second cohort of the University of Louisiana System’s Management and Leadership Institute.
Devonia currently serves as the inaugural Dean of Inclusion Initiatives and Student Success at Louisiana Tech University in Ruston, LA, she is the first African-American female to be appointed to a dean position at Louisiana Tech. Additionally, she is an adjunct instructor in the Human Development and Family Science department. Prior to her March 2020 appointment to dean, Devonia served as the director of Multicultural Affairs at Louisiana Tech for four years.
Devonia began her career in higher education 12 years ago as an adjunct instructor, professional advisor and student affairs professional. Prior to higher education, she spent 12 years in the social work profession, where she honed her love of social justice practice, policy and working on behalf of under-served/under-represented populations. Her diverse educational, professional, and personal experiences serve as motivation to create and advocate for accessibility, diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. Devonia believes that embracing diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility are not only a fundamental part of academic excellence, but are also the building blocks for social and civil belonging.
Devonia has been married to LaMonte Vaughn, Jr (a 1997 UK alumnus), head track and field coach at Grambling State University, for 24 years. They are the proud parents of Brianna Love Vaughn (21) a sports marketing major at Louisiana Tech University. Devonia’s family plays a key role in her professional and personal success as they encourage her to be a change agent, serve others and lead in a way that is authentic, compassionate, and engaging.
Major Timothy Olsen graduated from the University of Kentucky College of Social Work in 2012 with a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work, from the Army’s Master of Social Work Program in Fort Sam Houston with a Master of Social Work, and is currently a student in the UK College of Social Work Doctor of Philosophy program, with a focus on moral injury and suicide prevention in National Guard populations.
Timothy has been in the military for 20 years, starting as an enlisted soldier, performing clinical work focused on trauma and substance use at Veterans Affairs hospitals in Kentucky and Tennessee, and currently serving as the Deputy State Surgeon and Director of Psychological Health for the Kentucky Army National Guard. He also maintains a part-time private practice in Lexington.
Dr. Shericka Smith graduated from Transylvania University with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, from the University of Louisville with a Master of Science in Social Work with a concentration in School Social Work, and from the University of Kentucky College of Social Work in 2022 with a Doctorate of Social Work.
Dr. Smith is a mental health coordinator for Fayette County Public Schools. She also serves as a part-time instructor with the UK College of Social Work as well as providing mental health counseling at her co-owned agency, Wellness Within, PLLC.
In her free time, Dr. Smith enjoys traveling and watching movies with her dog, Ellie Mae.
Our alumni are dedicated to improving the human condition through steadfast service. Their stories serve to inspire current and new generations of social workers.