UK College of Social Work hosts 2024 Kentucky Association of Educators Spring Conference

CoSW kicked off National Social Work Month with an opportunity for students and peers to present their work and accomplishments.

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Rujeko Machinga-Asaolu presenting at KASWE

Lexington, Ky. – The University of Kentucky College of Social Work (CoSW) kicked off National Social Work Month on March 1, hosting the Kentucky Association of Social Work Educators (KASWE) 2024 Spring Conference. The theme for the meeting was, ‘Social Work is Everywhere,’ celebrating the dynamic field of social work.

KASWE offers a fall and spring conference hosted by a member school, with attendees from accredited academic institutions with social work programs across the state. The spring conference provided a forum for social work students and educators to showcase their accomplishments and network with others in the field.  

“This was an excellent opportunity for social workers to come together across the state and to show that we’re one profession,” George Gray, president of KASWE, said. “It’s a wonderful opportunity for students to present their work in a conference atmosphere. It’s also inspiring to all of us to see the great work that’s happening at our schools.”

There were over 80 attendees from 11 different schools at this year’s conference, hosted in the William T. Young Library on the University of Kentucky Campus, with over 10 presentations by UK CoSW students. Undergraduate and graduate students working with faculty on any type of scholarly endeavor within their discipline presented their work as poster presentations. 

Olivia Raley
Olivia Raley presenting at KASWE

Olivia Raley, a UK alum and current MSW student, presented her research on police social work. She is also the first social worker on her force, utilizing her extensive education to help the force ensure that people in crisis receive immediate support and connection to essential resources.

“It’s a big honor to have been an undergraduate student at UK and now a graduate student presenting my research in front of all these educators,” Raley said. “Police social work research is such a new realm of policing and it’s working. We hope that presenting the data we have will encourage more police departments to have social workers on their force.”

Dr. Jay Miller, CoSW dean, was also in attendance, giving the keynote address and speaking on self-care, reminding social workers that their needs and well-being are as important as the people and communities they seek to serve.

Dr. Kalea Benner, Associate Dean of Academic and Student Affairs at CoSW, hosted a panel discussion, featuring Daniel Boamah, PhD, MA, LCSW (Assistant Professor, Western Kentucky University), Crystal Collins-Camargo, PhD, MSW (Professor, University of Louisville), Nicole Lavy-Joy, LCSW (Assistant Professor, Eastern Kentucky University), Helen Mudd, PhD, MSSW, CSW (Professor, Campbellsville University), and Laneshia Conner, PhD, MSW, CSW (Assistant Professor, UK).

“Social work is everywhere. This is more than just a statement – it is a reality that resonates with everyone, including those who may not yet realize their connection to it, but will one day in the future because of the learning and networking that went on here today,” Dr. Benner said in her closing remarks.

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Is it possible for something to be everywhere? This March, the UK College of Social Work is celebrating National Social Work Month with events, online challenges, and unique experiences all month long. Inspired by the profound message that social work is as omnipresent as it is essential, we are promoting #NSWM24 with the message that Social Work is Everywhere. Join us in celebrating the remarkable impact of social workers!

For 85 years, the University of Kentucky College of Social Work (CoSW) has been a leader in social work education. As a college, we promote community and individual well-being through translational research and scholarship, exemplary teaching, and vital community engagement. We are committed to the people and social institutions throughout Kentucky, the nation, and the world. Like the University, CoSW is an organization that cultivates a diverse academic community characterized by interpersonal fairness and social justice. We are fiercely committed to developing outstanding social work professionals — leaders who will serve individuals, families, and communities through innovative and effective practices that are guided by cultural competency, systematic ethical analysis, and a keen and pragmatic understanding of the human condition.  

UK College of Social Work hosts 2024 Kentucky Association of Educators Spring Conference