Barry University School of Social Work
January 2020 Issue

The Center for Human Rights and Social Justice presents at the annual Core Commitments Luncheon

On November 11th 2019, the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice (CHRSJ) was invited to present at the Core Commitments Luncheon. This important event marked the inauguration of the first Founder’s Week with Dr. Mike Allen as President of Barry University. This year’s luncheon highlighted four interdisciplinary academic projects/initiatives that exemplify Barry’s Core Commitments and demonstrate Barry’s mission-in-action.

The presentation given by Carolina Rios—CHRSJ Coordinator and 1HTC Project Director—highlighted the critical work that the CHRSJ is doing through its Community Advocates Leadership Program to foster inclusive communities and social justice. It focused on the trajectory of the Intergroup Dialogue TRACKS Project—a dialogue-based social justice project led by Ms. Rios and Social Work Professor, Dr. Mitch Rosenwald. Rooted in the tenets of the intergroup dialogue (IGD) model from the University of Michigan, the program is intended to advance the understanding among members of different groups, and reduce prejudice and discrimination. “What started out as a dialogue project exclusively for Barry students has now extended to include a comprehensive prejudice reduction program which includes community youth, Barry University students, and, more recently, Faculty and Staff. We are proud to say that as of today, more than 136 students, 40 Barry University employees, and 24 high school students from underserved communities have been engaged in these types of dialogues,” said Rios.

CHRSJ Community Advocate BSW Students Aiyana Gonzalez and Josh Holzworth presented on the TransPerspectives Project. Led by Dr. Ashley Austin, the Center’s Distinguished Professor, the project represents a collaborative of researchers, students, and community stakeholders who are committed to advancing the well-being of transgender and gender diverse individuals. For the past 5 years the CHRSJ has raised awareness about the discrimination and violence impacting transgender people world-wide, and has made visible the beauty and resilience that this community embodies. Through collaborative events, it has supported the Transgender Day of Remembrance and Resilience, TransCon Conference, the Annual Pridelines Thanksgiving Food drive, and campus PRIDE groups and events. In addition to community engagement, the TransPerspectives team is committed to engaging in innovative and transformative research through INQYR – a multi-year international research collaboration designed to engage in research focused on LGBTQ+ youth globally.

“The Center for Human Rights and Social Justice was founded to create opportunities for faculty, students, and community members to join together to develop and mobilize the knowledge and truths that promote Barry’s Core Commitments of social justice and inclusivity for the most vulnerable amongst us,” said Austin.

1HTC Project supports organizations by combating human trafficking in South Florida

This past quarter, the CHRSJ has embarked on a new project to tackle human trafficking in South Florida by incorporating the 1Human Trafficking Coalition (1HTC) project; a multi-county collaborative effort to fight human trafficking in South Florida.

Building upon the solid foundation created by 1HTC’s leader and collaborators over the past three years, the CHRSJ’s 1HTC Project uses a collective impact approach to social change with the primary mission of supporting Anti-Human Trafficking efforts in the tri-county area by aligning resources and serving as a comprehensive and integrated information, education, and training center for individuals and organizations throughout South Florida.

 “The CHRSJ has an unwavering commitment to work with local and community partners in combating human trafficking and supporting survivors. As such, we are pleased with the opportunity to integrate 1HTC into our existing anti-trafficking initiatives. The timing of this couldn’t be better, as we hope to support anti-trafficking campaigns and outreach initiatives in partnership with the South Florida Human Trafficking TaskForce and The Women’s Fund in preparation for the Super Bowl LIV,” said Carolina Rios M.A, the 1HTC Project Director.

Additionally, through the project, 1HTC’s website will house numerous educational resources—including an interactive resource guide with more than 400 up-to-date community resources—that will help equip community members with additional tools in the fight against human trafficking.

The CHRSJ/1HTC team consists of nationally and internationally recognized experts in several areas important to effective anti-trafficking efforts. Collectively, the team has decades of experience training providers and organizations across the U.S. in social justice and human rights oriented approaches to practice with marginalized populations who may be particularly at risk for exploitation. Over the last four years, we have partnered with 50+ organizations across multiple systems to provide education, training, and capacity-building to advance trauma-informed, resiliency-focused and culturally-relevant services for at-risk populations across South Florida.

PACE Center for Girls Pilot Research (research with CHRSJ students and Dr. Sheila McMahon)

This exploratory study aims to understand the social and emotional learning needs of a group of middle-school girls through a trauma-informed, community-based, participatory-action research project. Using concept mapping, the girls in the class will be invited to identify challenges to their full participation as learners and members of their school community. Based on the identified needs, restorative practices (such as art, mindfulness, and non-violent communication strategies) will be incorporated into weekly classes to address these needs and concerns. Participants will re-evaluate their concerns at the conclusion of the course.

Prejudice Reduction and Diversity Training at Barry University

For the second year, The CHRSJ Program Coordinator, Carolina Rios, and Resident Assistant Director, Judisha Williams, facilitated a half-day workshop for more than 30 new and returning Resident Assistants on their orientation week. Through a series of exercises based on the tenants of the intergroup dialogue (IGD) model, students were able to engage in peaceable, focused, and organized dialogues about different social justice topics such as gender, sexual orientation, race, and religion. The workshop was an introduction to other dialogue programs carried out by the CHRSJ, and was intended to facilitate self-identity exploration, recognition of prejudices and biases, and to create relationship-building through open communication and dialogue.

Carolina Rios said, “We know that one of the main issues with diversity and inclusion programs is the lack of understanding and exploration of our own biases. In fact, more than 80% of the student leaders interviewed before this workshop responded that they do not consider themselves prejudiced or stereotypical. We still have more work to do in terms of bias awareness and self-identity exploration within our campus; both within staff, faculty and the student body. But these types of collaborations make systematic campus-culture change possible.”

In fact, in recent years, The Center for Human Rights and Social Justice and the Division of Administrative Services and Organizational Development have done tremendous work in expanding the already established TRACKS program and making these types of dialogues available for faculty and staff, as well as students.

The TRACKS Program at Barry University is a shorter version of the IGD Michigan Model from the University of Michigan National Intergroup Dialogue Institute, and has been in existence at Barry University for more than five years.

This year, under the guidance of Dr. Mitch Rosenwald, the team is conducting research on race relations on our campus by bringing together people from different social identity groups in a sustained, facilitated and comfortable environment.

If you are interested in participating in the study, or have questions about this program please contact:

Carolina Rios, M.A- CHRSJ Coordinator:
Patricia Ramlow, M.S- Training and Development Director:
Mitchell Rosenwald, PhD- Principal Investigator School of Social Work:

Field Educator Highlight: Susan Fleming

It has been a privilege of mine to be a social worker for more than 30 years. After I graduated from college with a degree in education, I taught in a school for children with learning disabilities. It was there that I realized I wanted to work with children in a counseling capacity, so that I could help them and their families in a deeper way. When I visited Barry University to learn more about the MSW program, I was made aware that an MSW degree would allow me to work with all populations and in a variety of settings, which perfectly suited my career goal.

After I received my MSW, I worked thirty years for the State of Florida. I was a social worker in South Florida State Hospital in various capacities. I began as a clinical social worker in the Children’s Unit. I then became the clinical head of the department of social work in the Children and Adolescent Unit, and later became the clinical head of the SFSH Social Work Department. After the hospital privatized, I worked at the Miami forensic facility, South Florida Evaluation and Treatment Center, in the capacity of clinical social worker and Field Educator for Barry, where I remained for eight years until that facility privatized. All of these experiences showed me the positive impact of social work on individuals, families and systems.

I later attended a social work conference where I was approached by Ms. Gala Munnings, former Director of Field Education, who asked if I would be interested in working as a Field Advisor. I have always remembered the wonderful education and experience I received in the Barry MSW program and I had remained in contact with the school. I was quite excited about the prospect of working at the school, especially in the Field Education department. As a Field Advisor I provided guidance, support and encouragement for the students, and I also facilitated and linked with field, academic coursework, and the Field Educators. Over the years, I have learned so much from the students about enthusiasm, compassion, commitment, and dedication. It is such a joy to watch students develop and grow into professionals who are ready to enter the workplace as MSWs, and I feel so fortunate to be part of that process.

Student Highlight: Angela Freemont

In collaboration with Barry University’s relief effort, the School of Social Work appointed Social Work Student Ambassadors to assist in collecting donations for the Hurricane Dorian Bahamas Disaster Relief. We would like to acknowledge MSW student Angela Freemont, who went above and beyond her line of duty, showed great leadership, and was able to make an exceptionally generous contribution to this endeavor. Angela said, “I felt that it was necessary to get involved because we are our brothers’ keeper. It is always a pleasure for me to help, and it comes naturally; I serve with pride. I was overjoyed when my school got involved in the relief drive—this makes it easier for me because I know that it is a reputable institution.”

Leadership-Fellowship Award Recipients

CHRSJ students participate in USPATH Conference 2019 (Dr. Austin, and CHRSJ Students):

Barry University School of Social Work continues to prioritize the health and well-being of transgender and gender-diverse populations. This September, Dr. Ashley Austin along with two BSW students who are key members of her Trans Perspectives research team, Aiyana Gonzalez and Joshua Holzworth, presented her research at the United States Professional Association of Transgender Health’s biannual conference in Washington, DC. Dr. Austin’s oral presentations Escaping, Belonging, and Hope: Centering the Experiences of Transgender and Gender Diverse Youth Finding Community Onlineand Examining Interpersonal Risk Factors for Suicidality among Trans Youth: Connection and Belonging at Home, School, and in the Community were aimed at enhancing knowledge about the factors increasing suicide risk among transgender youth, as well as the ways in which they use online relationships to heal from traumatic experiences and build resilience. In addition to presenting their original research, the Trans Perspectives research team were able to attend multiple symposia and workshops featuring leading experts on trans health. The students who attended the conference through the BUSSW student fellowship fund indicated that the experience was transformational.

“The experience of meeting so many esteemed professionals in a field that I am so new to, and so interested in, is not one I will soon forget. I was able to hear about amazing programs being offered all over the country. I was also exposed to cutting-edge theories that will greatly help in our interpretation of data from the three projects we are currently working on. This trip truly enhanced my education in many ways.” Josh Holzworth, BSW student.

“This weekend proved to be a highly-educational experience for me, which brought to light the undeniable and immeasurable importance for research and how it is the perfect companion to all areas of our Social Work profession. I found it quite eye-opening to hear firsthand how research, as presented, assures that we have the most updated information so that we may assist our clients with the most advanced, proven, evidence-based, trauma-informed care. Above all, attending USPATH 2019 allowed me to be a witness to the many professionals who are dedicating themselves to our care and well-being within the Transgender and Non-Binary community.” Aiyana Gonzalez, BSW student.

Fellowship Recipient Story: Jutta Hoffmann Powell, LCSW

Shawn Stanton Me and my Symposium ID card
Shawn Stanton I took this photo at a subway station on my way to the symposium. It is a reminder of the tradition of social work with groups and the important role that social work with groups holds in the professionalization of social work.

Attending the IASWG Symposium in New York City

After my flight was cancelled without a timely notification from a well-known airline, I scrambled through Fort Lauderdale Airport and, with the help of a friendly staff from a competitor, was able to book a new flight, which allowed me to arrive at the planned time without a delay. My timely arrival proved that the symposium, as much as my engagement with group work, are just meant to be!

This was my first experience of attending an out-of-town conference, and I was excited as well as asking myself, ‘who am I to travel to New York to visit a conference with support from Barry University and my professor and mentor?’ I felt honored and at the same time I was wondering what I have to offer to earn such a privilege. Yes, I attended other conferences before, in my previous career, and I know how exhilarating and exciting they can be. But then I attended on my own account and not as a representative of Barry University.

The IASWG Symposium in New York City provided me with several learning experiences. First, my career change is completed, and I have become an insightful and knowledgeable social worker. In the future, I must attend not only as a guest, but as a presenter as well. Second, sharing the conference experience with other group workers has inspired me to work even harder in my goal to become a voice and advocate for group work. I believe social work with groups has the potential to effectively respond to the many needs for healing in our modern society.

Attending the symposium has helped me to grow into the role of an advocate, and has challenged me to begin practicing being vocal and engaged, emerging from the role of a guest to become a speaker that advocates for the wonderful opportunities of connection and collaboration that social work with groups offers.

I am very grateful for the opportunity to attend the conference and I am looking forward to continuing the social work tradition of group work.


Jutta Hofmann Powell, LCSW

Professional Development: Facilitated by Shirley Roseman

“Trauma and the Trans Experience" was a primer for Barry Social Work students on issues that transgender people face in the United States. Social workers are increasingly likely to work with a trans person within their career, yet few are equipped with even rudimentary knowledge of the community. Students learned briefly about the staggering rates of trauma, rejection, and violence trans people experience. Students then watched segments of the documentary Trans: the Movie, in which trans people shared their firsthand experiences. Social workers often support those most marginalized by society, thus, it is imperative that social-work students be educated whenever possible on matters that affect as many groups as possible, including the trans community.”

Shirley Roseman is a cisgender queer woman and proud MSW graduate currently working as a youth therapist for Sunserve.

SSW Fall Bash – Miami & Palm Beach Gardens

On September 17th and November 23rd the School of Social Work celebrated their annual Fall Bash in both Miami Shores and Palm Beach Gardens. Current students, alumni, and future students were in attendance alongside faculty, staff, and administration. “The fall bash was a great opportunity for all of the morning, evening, and even students from other sites to come together, network, and talk about social work and our classes in a casual environment,” one student said. During the Miami Shores event, the Student Social Work Association candidates gave their campaign speeches to the audience. Attendees also took golf cart tours of the campus, socialized with administrators, and gathered with alumni and prospective students. In Palm Beach Gardens, students joined together, had lunch, participated in the Bahamas relief toy drive and mingled with faculty and staff.

Accessing Internal Resources through Expressive Arts

This fall, the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice, the School of Social Work, and the Office of Accessibility services launched an expressive arts initiative focusing on self-care and community, open to all Barry University students. I had the pleasure of working with Dr. Heidi Heft LaPorte, Associate Professor at Barry University’s School of Social Work, Lina Villegas, Director of the Office of Accessibility, and Carolina Rios, Coordinator of the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice, to develop a bi-weekly program called Accessing Internal Resources through Expressive Arts. Held on alternating Friday evenings from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm, the program provides a space for students to create art journals that serve as portable self-reflection containers. Throughout the semester, students bring their journals and other art projects to work on using a variety of mediums such as watercolors, acrylic paint, fabrics, pastels, and more.

The goal of the program is to provide a venue for students to cultivate coping strategies and build a personal practice embracing mindful self-compassion. Students share strengths and create a caring community grounded in respect for self and others. A research study is being planned while the pilot is ongoing. 

According to Dr. LaPorte, each individual has the capacity for creativity. The emphasis is on self-reflection, followed by meaningful engagement in a brave and safe space. On a personal note, Dr. LaPorte has fostered these same values in me, and consistently supports her students in finding creative outlets for self-expression. Her compassion for and dedication to her students is unparalleled.

I learned about this opportunity while having a conversation with Dr. LaPorte, my academic advisor, about how to integrate my passion for music with my love for social work. She shared her idea and invited me to be a graduate assistant, and to bring my own love of art and music to this process. As a student also registered with the Office for Accessibility Services, I jumped at the chance to be a part of this incredible opportunity. I am honored to share the values of expressive arts with my peers. Expressing myself creatively has always been my passion and has provided a safe place to explore my fuller self and embrace who I am. Through my involvement, I hope to share with others with the chance to explore their creative potential and the possibilities of what expressive arts can do for them moving distress to de-stress!

— Sara Nusbaum, MSW student, Barry University School of Social Work.

Alumni Spotlight: Lucy Garcia, MSW, RSWI

The Organization Intl de Latinos en el Exterior, an organization founded by Barry University School of Social Work alum Lucy Garcia, MSW, RSWI, was nominated for the 2019 ENPY Rising Organization of the Year award. The ENPYs showcase excellence in nonprofit performance by recognizing the very best nonprofit organizations, executives, board members, staff, volunteers, and business partners. When asked about the nomination Ms. Garcia said, “I can tell you that I live every single day as it is my last one. Today I am not practicing what I will do tomorrow, today is the real thing! I came to this country as undocumented, and always embrace every single opportunity that came my way. Don’t be afraid to be the voice of the voiceless, and speak up for the underserved! I hope this will give you an idea of who I am. I am BARRY proud to be a BARRY graduate! I have a great team that I work with and alongside Betsy, we were able to make this happen.”

Faculty Highlight: Dr. Michael Alicea
Dr. Michael Alicea Dr. Michael Alicea

Dr. Michael Alicea has joined the Barry School of Social Work family as a Visiting Assistant Professor. Dr. Alicea has served as one of our most dependable adjunct faculty members for several years. “Dr. Alicea, you are a breath of fresh air to help us provide the highest quality social work educational/academic/training services to Barry students”, Dr. Fabio A. Naranjo, Assistant Professor. Welcome Dr. Michael Alicea!

Staff Highlight
Dr. Michael Alicea Terri Ferguson, LCSW

Meet Terri Ferguson! Our new Palm Beach Gardens Program Coordinator!

Tell me how you first got involved in with Barry University School of Social Work.

Grad student, class of ’93 from Miami Shores. Also attended classes in PB.

What was your first impression of Barry University School of Social Work?

Friendly faces, positive energy

What has surprised you most about working in the field of social work?

Diversity that it has offered and all of the things I can do with my degree.

What's the best/worst thing to happen since you started working in social work?

Worst: the degree is a hidden treasure and people outside of the field of social work do not understand the role of Social Workers in the 21st Century. Best: Discovering all of the different ways that the SW degree can be applied. I never get bored!

What do you wish other people knew about social work?

It’s more than just case management and its more than just therapy. It can be a tool to empower individuals and communities. It is a tool for advocacy, justice and change. 

What would you say are some of your strongest beliefs about social work?

I am an advocate of the theory of resiliency and my strongest belief is that people’s capacities are usually underestimated. People possess tremendous abilities to adapt change, and grow. The Theory of Resiliency postulates that one person can make a difference. I believe that to be true.

Tell me about someone who has influenced your decision to work at Barry University School of Social Work?

Dr. Walter Pierce. He was one of my first instructors and, in my opinion, he embodies social work and especially social justice. He sparked a fire in me for social change. That’s when I decided that social work was a perfect fit for me. He sparked a desire in me to work with communities and groups of people for engagement and change. The other person is Dr. Sarah Ingram-Herring. she’s a longtime colleague and I saw how happy she appears to be working here at Barry.

What might someone be surprised to know about you?

I have recently, over the last year or so, started amateur acting. I will be in my second production November 2nd at Coral Springs Center for the Arts. I also recently established a non-profit corporation: Riviera Beach Cares: Homeless Coalition for Families. I recognized a huge gap in services for families who find themselves in a homeless crisis—that is, there are no emergency shelters in Palm Beach County where homeless families can go and have a safe, clean place for themselves within 24 hours of their homeless crisis. I brought together community stakeholders and developed a triage process that meets the families’ immediate need for shelter, and then navigates them through the process of identifying longer-term placement and additional support services.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about entering the social work profession?

Get ready for the ride of your life. Every case is different, every day is different and there’s always something new to learn academically, and from every single client and case. I feel blessed that I get to serve my community as a Social

If you weren't our new Palm Beach program coordinator, what would you be doing instead, or what would your life be like?

It’s crazy but, I am doing exactly what I want to do. I am very blessed and proud to be able to re-introduce my alma-mater to the Palm Beach County community. I enjoy the academic environment. I still have a small, clinical case load. I am still engaged in the community. I am still teaching, advocating and sharing information with the community. I believe that one reason oppression exists is because information often evades those who need it most. People are better enabled to help themselves with the right information and tools.

How would someone describe you?

They would definitely say I am a deep, creative thinker who loves to be productive. Funny and committed to faith and family.

Voices of Social Change Podcast

Voices of Social Change Podcast

Did you know the School of Social Work has its own podcast? Check out the latest episode!

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Upcoming Certificate Program Dates
6 & 7

Clinical Supervision and Field Educator Training
(Miami Shores)

9 & 10

Human Trafficking Certificate Program
(Palm Beach Gardens)

16 & 17

Human Trafficking Certificate Program
(Palm Beach Gardens)

19 & 20

Trauma Informed Care Certificate Program
(Miami Shores)

26 & 27

Trauma Informed Care Certificate Program
(Miami Shores)

Barry University School of Social Work
11300 NE 2nd Ave, Miami Shores, FL 33161 Phone Number: 305-899-3919

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