This website uses cookies to understand how you use the website and to improve your experience. By continuing to use the website, you accept the University of New England’s use of cookies and similar technologies. To learn more about our use of cookies and how to manage your browser cookie settings, please review our Privacy Notice.


November/December 2017

SSW News header

In this Issue

News and Happenings


shelley cohen konrad

Advancing and sustaining interprofessional education (IPE) was the focus of the Fall 2017 IPEC Institute, held October 18–20, 2017 in Long Beach, California. Shelley Cohen Konrad Ph.D., LCSW, FNAP, director of the School of Social Work and the Center for Excellence in Collaborative Education at the University of New England, was the invited keynote speaker, the first social worker to be asked to offer the opening address since the Faculty Institute began in 2012. The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) became a member of the Interprofessional Education Collaborative (IPEC) in early 2016.

Richard W. Valachovic, D.M.D., M.P.H., introduced Cohen Konrad, who spoke to an audience that included 11 teams considered to be advanced in their IPE initiatives from across the United States. Her talk, “Achieving Robust & Sustainable IPE: A Story in Five Parts,” addressed the benefits of team-based care, cross-professional communication and the need for culture change in health care from the perspectives of patients, providers, students, and faculty. The presentation also included a screening of a short video titled, “Why Interprofessional Education Matters,” by Meg Webster of the UNE School of Social Work. It was well received by the audience. Cohen Konrad is one of many people from UNE, which is considered a pioneer in campus-based and clinical interprofessional education, who have presented at IPE and interprofessional practice conferences this year.

professor comboUNE Professors give presentation on biology, causes, and treatment of ptsd

University of New England Associate Professor of Psychology Michael Burman, Ph.D., and Assistant Clinical Professor of Social Work Craig Owens, M.S.W., LCSW, presented a well-attended seminar at the Kennebunk Free Library titled, "PTSD: the Biology, Causes, and Treatments.”

The seminar was part of a special event that included a screening of the documentary, The Vietnam War, by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick. Burman reviewed the brain systems involved in trauma, stress and fear. Owens explained the prevalence, symptoms and treatments for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD.

Portland's Oxford street shelter honored by national alliance to end homelessness

The National Alliance to End Homelessness has awarded Oxford Street Shelter an Award in Excellence, to honor outstanding leaders who are creating better and more effective programs and systems to end homelessness in their community. These awards recognize organizations that are developing new best practices or exploring new approaches to serving their homelessness population, and those which run programs of the highest quality, to create real results in the effort to end homelessness in their community.

Oxford Street Shelter Portland, ME Oxford Street Shelter is honored for the “Long Term Stayers” initiative. In the face of state budget cuts and overwhelming shelter capacity issues, this effort was conceived as a means of better identifying, prioritizing, and housing those individuals who had spent the most cumulative nights in emergency shelter. In the program’s first two years, 125 people – representing a combined 150 years of shelter stays – have been successfully housed. As a result, the Long Term Stayers initiative has decreased the total number of people seeking shelter on a given night, reduced the total number of bed nights used, eliminated the need for multiple overflow shelters, reduced the rate of returns to homelessness, and built broad community will towards ending long-term homelessness in Portland.

Read the press release

tomUNE Professor Thomas McLaughlin pens “Maine Compass” piece about high-powered firearms

University of New England professor in the School of Social Work Thomas McLaughlin, M.S.W., Ph.D., wrote an article published in the Maine Sunday Telegram that examined mass shootings in the wake of the country’s deadliest mass shooting in Las Vegas, where a man killed 59 people and injured more than 500.

The article, titled, “More lethal firearms the one link between shooters,” pointed out that while there are many differences in the people who commit these acts of violence, the one common denominator between them is increasingly sophisticated firearms.

“There is a clear correlation between the increased number of casualties and the increase in lethality of the firearm,” McLaughlin wrote. “Banning all of these weapons will lower the number of casualties and, more importantly, the frequency of mass shooting events. This approach has been effective in most of our fellow high-income countries in the world, many of which have a culture of respect for firearms and their historical importance, just as we do.”



Please follow us and stay updated! @UNE_Social_Work

Students & Alumni 

Meet our student ambassadors

jason hullJason Hull

Expected Graduation Date: May 2018

Your Concentration: Clinical Concentration

Certificates pursued: Trauma Informed Care Certificate

Where are you doing your field and what does it entail? First year: Acadia Hospital Pediatric Inpatient Unit where I facilitated various groups and collaborated with a multidisciplinary team in the assessment and treatment of clients, from ages 3-19, in acute mental health crises.

What areas of social work interest you the most? Clinical work that addresses the whole person (combination of “talk” therapies, adventure therapy, ecotherapy, expressionistic therapies, yoga, meditation, neurofeedback, EMDR, recreational therapy, diet, exercise, etcetera)

What do you plan to do with your MSW? Work toward creating a private practice where the clients’ treatments are holistic and specific to the needs of the individual, based on a client-centered collaborative approach, and grounded in compassion and unconditional positive regard. 

What’s your favorite part about living in Portland? I actually live a few hours outside of Portland, but as to the things I most like about Maine, I would have to say that for me, it was coming home. I grew up here and missed the relatively simple way of life. I missed the beautiful coastline (and incredible sailing — albeit a short season), the beauty of the woods and mountains, the power of the rivers, and the connections with people and nature I remembered from my childhood in Maine. Besides that, Maine has an awesome home- and craft-brewing scene, nice class V whitewater, and some great snowboarding! What else can you ask for?

Other: Non-traditional 44-year-old student, 20-year Navy veteran, and long-distance commuter

caleb demersCaleb Demers

Expected Graduation Date: May 2018

Your Concentration: Clinical

Certificates pursued: Trauma-informed care certificate, IPEC Honors Distinction

Where are you doing your field and what does it entail? I am currently doing my internship at Sanford Schools. I am a part of the Outreach Team and work with students on an individual basis and in group settings. I am a part of several coalitions that combat different challenges that the school and community face. I am also conducting a research project evaluating a restorative justice program implemented in Sanford Schools.

What areas of social work interest you the most? I have always enjoyed working with kiddos but honestly, what excites me most is that my career is one in which I will continue to work with people on a face-to-face level regardless of the direction I choose to go.

What do you plan to do with your MSW? What I like so much about an MSW is that there is so much flexibility with regards to my career path. I would first like to pursue a clinical license but I am also becoming more intrigued by research than I was when I began this program and I am considering pursuing a grant or fellowship to conduct research when I graduate.

What’s your favorite part about living in Portland? I do not live in Portland currently but when I did I always enjoyed the music scene and the restaurant scene. There are also so many intermingling populations to learn from and being a social worker and beginning to understand all of the work people are doing is truly inspiring.

Karri Beling

Expected Graduation Date: December 2017

Your Concentration: Integrated

Where are you doing your field and what does it entail? First year placement: The New Mainers Resource Center at Portland Adult Education. Assisting immigrant the population integrate into the U.S. workforce. Advance year placement: Maine Behavioral Healthcare. Case-management, clinical practice and community outreach.

What areas of social work interest you the most? Advocacy and mutual empowerment.

What do you plan to do with your MSW? Community programming and advocacy. 

What’s your favorite part about living in Portland? Portland is close to the ocean, quick trip to the mountains, great restaurants, LOTS of free and interesting events and has a real sense of community.

seth hunsickerSeth Hunsicker

Expected Graduation Date: December 2017

Your Concentration: Clinical

Where are you doing your field and what does it entail? LL Bean in the Employee Assistance Program as a counselor and psychotherapist

What areas of social work interest you the most? Mental health and all it entails. Also substance use disorder and in particular the services needed in Maine.

What do you plan to do with your MSW? I don't have an exact answer, but I imagine my work will begin at an agency. My long term goal is to run for political office in Maine.

What’s your favorite part about living in Portland? What's not to love? The food, nature, people, beach, community, and proximity to everything you could need or want to do. 

elizabeth comptonElizabeth Compton

Expected Graduation Date: May 2017

Your Concentration: Clinical

Certificates pursued: Trauma Certificate, CATCH-ME recipient, IPEC Honors

Where are you doing your field and what does it entail? The University of Southern Maine Health and Counseling Center. Providing individual therapy to college students.

What areas of social work interest you the most? Trauma informed, Adoption issues, Social Advocacy

What do you plan to do with your MSW? I plan to use my MSW to empower the populations I work with, educate professionals and the community about adoption related issues and foster empathy within the greater community.

What is your favorite part about living in Portland? The incredible people and food! 


October 11, 2017

Julia Bergquist

University of New England School of Social Work Student Julia Bergquist (M.S.W., ’18) conducted a research project in collaboration with the Shalom House, which provides an array of community-based mental health services and a choice of affordable quality housing for people with serious mental illness.

Working with Shalom House art program students, Bergquist conducted interviews and surveys evaluating art as therapy’s influence on the emotional stability of adults diagnosed with schizophrenia.

"I found this experience incredibly rewarding, both as an Applied Arts and Social Justice Certificate participant and as a new researcher,” said Bergquist. “Within the results of my questionnaire, it is very apparent that the majority of participants in the Shalom House art program experience a positive impact from the program and feel it is a sustainable therapeutic modality."

"As a per diem employee of the organization, I had seen the art work the program produced all over Shalom- in their offices, in their residences, and even within the community. I was moved by the skill apparent within the pieces, and the power they contained. 

When considering a project for my Foundation year Research course as an Applied Arts and Social Justice certificate applicant, I had to know more about the Art Program and it's affect on the participants. 

I conducted pre- and post- surveys of the participants at the beginning and end of a session with Tenney Swift, the Art Program's wonderful instructor, using an empirically based emotional stability scale called the PANAS-X. In the survey I also included qualitative interview questions inquiring about the participant's history with practicing art and asked whether they felt art as therapy was a sustainable therapeutic model for them. 

Though statistical significance was not found using the PANAS-X, the quotes from clients about their experiences in the program were profoundly positive. One participant wrote, "It (the art program), is very helpful with my PTSD and helps connect me with my spirituality", another said art as therapy, "Brings me to a better place", and yet another stated that "I look forward to the art program every week". The central themes of the participants' responses were empowerment, acceptance, and emotional peace, and this project reinforced the power and efficacy of art as therapy. 

Shalom House's Art Program is funded by several grants and accepts low-barrier referrals from anyone receiving mental health services in the community. Thanks to Tenney for her tremendous efforts in the studio and willingness to have my conduct research in her magical space.



Deqa Dhalac joined the Intercultural Program staff at the Center for Grieving Children this month. Previously, Deqa volunteered at the Center as a member of our Intercultural Advisory Council. 

Deqa is a passionate advocate for the immigrant community with extensive experience in social services, public health, and with Survivors of Torture. In addition to her work at the Center, she also works for The Opportunity Alliance as a community builder. Deqa is the board vice president for the Maine Immigrants’ Rights Coalition and serves numerous other boards and advisory boards in both the private and government sectors. Deqa has a Master’s Degree in Development Policy and Practice from UNH and MSW from UNE. She is a certified language tester and cultural skill trainer and has been providing broad mediation for patients/clients in different settings with service providers to ensure they get their needs met.



UNE School of Social Work alumna and Rydell Scholarship recipient, Kara Auclair ('16), reflects on her passion for macro social work and talks about her current work as a justice project Coordinator for Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project.


celeste huffakermay 17' Grad, Celeste Huffaker, on Landing her Dream Career

"I started my career as a Social Worker at Child Protective Services (CPS) in Tucson, AZ. During my time with CGPS, I worked in a specialized unit with Family Drug Court, where my interest was sparked for trauma-informed care and early prevention. Eager to deepen my education as a social worker, I entered UNE in August 2016 with dreams of integrating social work with public education. However, I had only a vague understanding of how the intersection of social work and public education would look." 

"The School of Social Work and Trauma-Informed certification helped me to focus my passion, gain a deeper perspective on the problems being faced and gave me a place to practice my ideas. Through the support of my instructors and the endless interprofessional opportunities on campus, I worked through endless questions, fears and doubts. By the time I graduated in May 2017, I had a very clear picture of what I wanted for my career. Four months after graduation, I have been fortunate to obtain a position as a Trauma-Informed Program Coordinator for a charter school in Oregon. My role is to develop and implement a sustainable school-wide program that incorporates trauma-informed practices into its policies, protocols, interactions and culture. I am grateful for the education I received at UNE which has given me the knowledge, skills, and confidence needed to pursue my passion." 

MSW Student Deanna Barry Reflects on Her Work with Boys To Men in Redefining masculinity to fight against pervasive sexual harassment

It seems like every morning I’m waking up to new allegations of sexual assault committed by men in positions of power who have often been admired and revered by many. And always, I find myself asking why is this happening? How can these men do this? How can I help stop this? Is anyone else trying to stop this? Maine Boys to Men is, and everyday I am thankful to be interning with them and working on ending interpersonal violence.

Maine Boys to Men has been serving the greater Portland area since 1998 by facilitating direct programming with middle school boys, high school men and women, at-risk youth, adult community members, and new fathers. Our programming focuses on issues of gender roles and stereotypes, emotional engagement, healthy communication, bystander intervention, and stopping the continuum of violence. Through participation in these programs, individuals are empowered to become civic leaders and play central roles in creating change in their communities to end harassment, abuse, and interpersonal violence. One of the ways we achieve this is through community screenings and discussions on the film The Mask You Live In.

These screenings take place in various locations all over Southern Maine — specifically occurring at schools where we are engaging in programming with students. The Mask You Live In follows boys and young men as they struggle to stay true to themselves while negotiating America’s narrow definition of masculinity. It explores the myriad of pressure and messages young boys are bombarded with that encourage them to disconnect from their emotions, devalue authentic friendships, objectify and degrade women, and resolve conflicts through violence. The film ultimately illustrates how we, as a society, can raise a healthier generation of boys and young men.

This film is unique in that it brings the male perspective into conversations about gender role pressures and stereotypes—something that is deeply needed for beginning to create a cultural-shift. This current culture gender-based violence we live in is often devoid of this male perspective, simply blaming “all men” instead of acknowledging that the real issue is the society and culture we live in which teaches men and boys to behave in ways that are damaging to themselves and to others. The Mask You Live In demonstrates how it is our responsibility, regardless of our gender identity, to empathize, see each other as human, and partner together to create social and cultural change where all people of all gender identities are safe.

Screenings of the film are followed by a community discussion where attendees have the chance to talk about the film and these issues amongst themselves, and then ask questions of our staff and youth panel. These discussions are always full of deep, enriching conversations, personal stories, and motivation for change. It is through community events like these that we will begin to create wider social change and end the epidemic of interpersonal violence. 

Deanna C. Barry


Opportunities & Information

une msw honor society: sigma lambda

Interested in Joining the UNE MSW Honor Society Sigma Lambda? We would love to have you as part of our organization. In order to join you need to be a current student, have a 3.5 GPA, have completed one term of classes, and you must send an email from your UNE account to Vika Johnson and send your transcripts to Jasmin Roden. There is a $30 fee that covers the cost of the certificate and pin and must be paid by cashier’s check or money order only. Once the email, transcripts and money are received, members are added to the UNE MSW Honor Society Facebook page quarterly. Please feel free to post any questions on this page and we will address them.

Honor Society officers are:

We submit for new members quarterly: January, April, August, and November.

student organization meetings!

Hello fellow students, 

Your Social Work Student Organization (SWO) officers are excited for all that will unfold this year on campus and in the community. We want all SW students to come to our meetings and bring your ideas for events, resources to share with colleagues and thoughts on how to best incorporate advocacy, awareness and inclusion on our campus, in our community and in our world. As an organization we want to build a network for the students as they move through this journey. Come and join us for our biweekly meetings:

Next meeting dates: November 29 & December 13 (taking place in Alumni Hall 107 from 4:30-5:30 p.m. )


Do you know of an artist or group whose art has a social justice theme? The art can address such themes as poverty, addiction, environment, gun violence, food security and many others! We need new art for the Hersey fourth floor hallway, and perhaps even the hallway near Parker Pavilion! If you, or an artist or group you know, would like to hang their art for a period of two or three months, please contact Lori Power, (207) 221-4493. Many thanks!


If you have graduated from UNE with your MSW two or more years ago, and are interested in a volunteer opportunity that will enhance your skills as a professional social worker, we need you! Our program is full of amazing students who need field instructors for their foundation and advanced field placements. As an alum, you understand the importance of field education and the expectations of students in our MSW program. Our field instructors have flexibility in how field instruction is delivered. You may meet with your student by phone, video conference, or face-to-face. If you'd like to provide field instruction to one or more students, please contact Director of Field Education Kelli Fox. Thank you!

Upcoming Events

SSW Alumni Holiday Social

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

5–7 p.m., Alumni Hall | Portland Campus | University of New England

Join program director Shelley Cohen Konrad, fellow alumni, faculty, and students for a holiday celebration and reception. Enjoy good food and beverage while you check out student projects, get to know the current School of Social Work, and reconnect with the alumni association. 


Field Instructor & On-Site Supervisor Ethic Seminar

November 17, 2017: Field Instructor Seminar (Ethics Topic)

  • 8:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
  • Ludcke Auditorium, Portland Campus
  • Contact Hours Certificates will be provided
  • *Alumni Field Instructors and possibly others as space permits
  • 12:45 p.m. Alumni Lunch
  • Alexander Hall, Nor’easter Cafe

upcoming IPEC events

The events developed by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative are geared toward students but are free and open to the public. For more IPEC events than are listed here, please check the IPEC Events webpage.

Wednesday, November 15

  • IPE Shared Learning: Empowering Cultural Education - Learning From and With Immigrant Leaders
  • 12-1:30 p.m.
  • Innovation Hall, Portland Campus | Decary Café Chretien Function Room 1, Biddeford Campus 
  • Live Stream

Saturday, November 18

  • Dr. Douglas H. Kay Continuing Pharmacy Education Symposium: Addressing the Opioid Crisis in Maine
  • 8:30 a.m. 
  • Portland Campus 
  • Seminar

​Wednesday, November 29

  • IPE Shared Learning: Supervised Interprofessional Student Plain Clinic (Student Presentations)
  • 12–1:30 p.m.
  • Newberry Room, Alumni Hall, Portland Campus/ St. Francis Room, Biddeford Campus
  • Live Stream

​Wednesday, December 6

  • IPEC Poster Session
  • 12-1:30 p.m.
  • Innovation Hall - Portland Campus

Thursday, December 7

  • COM Biomedical Research Seminar: Exercise Effects on Joint Pain
  • 12–1:30 p.m.
  • Leonard Hall - Biddeford Campus