'Social Work Matters' conference positively influences Northwestern social work seniors

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'Social Work Matters' conference positively influences Northwestern social work seniors

April 6, 2012

 NASW-OK Conference attendees
Northwestern Oklahoma State University social work faculty and students brought back valuable information from the 36th Annual National Association of Social Workers conference.  Learning more about why “Social Work Matters” were (from left, first row) Casie Brittain, Kylene Rehder, Sarah Merriman, Jennifer Pribble (second row) Rae Wilson, Mary Jo Kinzie, NASW-OK executive director, Jennifer Griffin and Clarissa Fifield.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University social work faculty and students recently attended the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) 36th Annual Oklahoma State Conference held March 25-27, at the University of Oklahoma’s College of Continuing Education.

This year’s conference theme was “Social Work Matters.” Northwestern was represented by 11 social work students, as well as Kylene Rehder, social work program director and chair of the department of social work; Rae Wilson, social work field education director; and Casie Brittain, social work adjunct instructor.

Students in attendance included Ana Estrada, Hooker senior; Clarissa Fifield, Jennifer Pribble, Sarah Merriman and Jason Thompson, all seniors from Woodward; Janel Boyer, Kamelle James, Tabitha Ward and Jennifer Griffin, Enid seniors; Megan Clark, Lamont senior; Kylene Whiteman, Freedom senior.

"Attending the NASW conference was a very informative experience for me,” James said.

“The conference proved to demonstrate the importance of professionals contributing their wisdom and experience to enhance other professionals’ knowledge base and further empower emerging professionals. I met other undergraduates, networked with professionals representing their respective organizations, which allowed me to further expand the knowledge I have acquired from Northwestern.”

During the conference, social work practitioners and students had the opportunity to attend 23 different workshops covering topics such as innovative research tools, motivational interviewing, health care issues, treating addictions, professional social networking, self-care, working with veterans, addressing needs of Latino immigrant families, promoting consultation and collaboration with tribal nations, and social work licensure requirements and policy updates.

“The NASW-OK Annual State Conference is a brilliant opportunity to network with more than 400 social workers from across the state and exchange ideas and build collaborative relationships in order to advance human, social and political justice in our state,” Rehder said.

“I was so excited about student participation at this conference and their commitment to enhancing professional growth. The social work students represented the university well and served as role models for the profession, its mission, and its core values,” Rehder said.

To learn more about Northwestern’s Department of Social Work, contact Rehder at kdrehder@nwosu.edu or (580) 327-8135.

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