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K-State Today

May 10, 2018

Social work program recognizes outstanding students, alumni and community professionals

Submitted by Kim Morgan

The social work program recognized outstanding students, alumni and community professionals in an awards luncheon on April 27 at the K-State Alumni Center. 

Each year, seniors and social work faculty choose one student from each admissions cohort as Outstanding Graduating Senior based on standards of excellence in social work practice provided by the faculty.

Claire Williams, bachelor's candidate in social work, Topeka, was selected from the May graduation candidates. Williams completed her practicum this spring at Meadowlark Hills and will go on to pursue her Master of Social Work at the University of Kansas this summer.

Christina DiMattia, senior, was selected from the summer/fall class. DiMattia grew up in a military family and is a veteran herself. She earned her LPN while in the Army and maintains that license. Her practicum this fall will be in an outpatient drug and alcohol treatment program.

Consuelo "Connie" Martinez, senior, was awarded the Dorla Jane "Dodie" Abbott Social Work Scholarship, which is awarded annually to a student who is outstanding academically. Martinez is from southwest Kansas, served nine years in the Army and volunteers regularly at the Good Shepherd Hospice House. She is interested in working with older adults in her career and will complete her practicum at Via Christi Hospital in the fall. Her anticipated graduation is fall 2018. 

Asheigh Beery Minks, senior, was awarded the Elizabeth Bliss Garzio Endowment Scholarship in Social Work.  A native of Ottawa, Beery Minks was chosen for the award because of her interest in working with children with disabilities. Her practicum this summer will be at St. Francis Community Services in Wichita in the adoption unit. Her anticipated graduation is August 2018. 

Erin Klehm, senior, was awarded the Grace and Glenn W. Long Memorial Scholarship based on her excellent grade point average. Klehm is from Overland Park and is considering working with older adults in the future. She also will earn minors in gender, women, and sexuality studies and leadership studies. Her anticipated graduation is spring 2019. 

Linda Arthington was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award. Arthington has worked with youth and families in the foster care system since her graduation from K-State in 1995 and earned her Master of Social Work from the University of Kansas in 2000. She is the kinship director for St. Francis Community Services and has served on the Social Work Program Advisory Board and as a practicum instructor for many years. Her dedication to the profession and the program are much appreciated.

Richard Pitts was awarded the Community Social Work Advocate Award. Pitts is the founder and executive director of the Wonder Workshop, a children's museum in Manhattan. In addition, he works tirelessly with adults to share the history of Kansas through his Underground Railroad tours and a self-guided tour of the multicultural history of Manhattan and the surrounding area. He has authored two books on the subject and was the featured historian and narrator in a documentary of the stories of the Underground Railroad in Wabaunsee County produced by K-State's College of Education and released to PBS Television in 2016.

Heather Heigert is a licensed specialist clinical social worker and certified clinical trauma professional who works as a school social worker and private therapist in Manhattan. Heigert was given the Field Instructor Award for her excellence in providing field instruction to social work students placed at Susan B. Anthony Middle School in Manhattan. She has been an outstanding mentor and field instructor to three students to date and has also presented to social work classes about school social work and about trauma-informed social work practice. Heigert is a 2011 graduate of the K-State social work program.