Connecting Columbia Union Seventh-day Adventists

Washington Adventist University Student and Professor Receive National Recognition in Social Work

Story by Washington Adventist University Staff

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW), DC Chapter recently presented awards to a professor and student from Washington Adventist University (WAU) in Takoma Park, Md. The NASW is the largest professional association of social workers in the world, and the only organization dedicated to advocating for the entire profession of social work and the populations they serve.

Student Cindy Ascencio (pictured left) received the "Social Work Student of the Year" award for her leadership in the field of social work. She is president of WAU's social work club, is a member of the Pi Alpha National Honor Society for Social Work, and is active with the WAU Student Association.

Professor Melissa Henley (pictured right) received the "Social Work Educator of the Year" for supporting and encouraging students in the field of social work. Henley coordinates the university's participation in the annual "Social Work Day on the Hill" event that honors the contributions of social workers and recognizes the need to engage the federal government in a purposeful way in the pursuit of social justice.

She also encourages students to advocate for vulnerable populations, and she serves as a mentor and helps with job searches for both students and alumni. Henley also helps her students learn to integrate their faith with the field of social work.

"We are very pleased to have one of our students and a faculty member selected to receive this recognition by NASW," says John Gavin, chair of the university's Social Work Department. "Both of these individuals are outstanding examples of the premium this university places on service and excellence."

The Social Work Program at Washington Adventist University serves both traditional students, just out of high-school, and non-traditional students who need evening classes. New and transfer students can earn the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) degree while juggling family obligations and daytime work by taking advantage of small classroom environments, meeting once-a-week, in evening format.

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