College of Social Work
The Florida State University
April/May 2020

Prioritizing rapid dissemination of research findings to advocates, professionals, and policymakers.
Dear IJRD Team –

I know that it has been a challenging few months for all of us. We face challenges with moving our studies forward and keeping our study participants engaged, we are all managing our grief related to current events and losing our colleague and friend, Michael Davidson. There has been so much transition for each and every one of us, our loved ones, and the individuals and families with whom we work. 

However, even in these unpredictable times, you're out there changing the world for the better. You are resilient and amazing individuals and I am so proud of you - I sincerely hope that you can take time to feel proud of yourself also.

We developed this newsletter to keep team members connected to each other and to amplify your many accomplishments and successes. We also share resources and opportunities for you to deepen your knowledge about criminal justice reforms. Many thanks, as always, to the newsletter team for all of their hard work. 

With admiration,

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Celebrating the Life of
Michael Davidson

We lost Michael Davidson, the Reentry Program Manager for both our Kentucky and Ohio teams, on April 20, 2020. Michael died unexpectedly 9 days before his 36th birthday. 

Michael started with IJRD in April of 2018 - he was one of our first hires on the 5-Key Model project and he was integral to the success of the study. Michael was a dedicated worker and was an engaged and supportive team leader. He led with heart, humor, and authenticity. Michael loved connecting with study participants and helping them to achieve the lives they longed to live. We will never be able to replace Michael, but we hope you will join us as we work together to ensure that his spirit and passion for criminal justice reform and policy work endure in all that we do at IJRD. 

We held a virtual Celebration of Life for Michael on April 29, 2020 - his birthday. It was attended by team members spread across the country. Although not all team members were fortunate enough to work closely with Michael, we were all impacted by the loss of his smile, his laughter, and his passion. 

You can view the Celebration with tributes from team members embedded within here.

APRIL 29, 1984 – APRIL 20, 2020
Happy Birthday!

Carrie Pettus-Davis     May 7
Taylor Russell     May 14
Kristina Johnson Goff     May 15
Kandace Jernigan     May 20

Sierra Ross   June 1
Diane Nguyen    June 4
Mara Law    June 8
Kerensa Lockwood    June 10
Amarilis Harper    June 18
Anghela Kane    June 30
Happy Work-a-versary!
2 years!
Norris Alexander
Nicole Arias Baez
Jessica Le
Katie Morphonios

Shelby Pederson
Amberly Prykhodko
Nechama Weingart

1 year!
DeVont'e Arrington
Connie Conway
Kimberly Furcron
Jennifer Joseph
Sara Julian 
Anghela Kane
Leticia Martinez-Mateos
Silvia Obregon
Steve Pepper
Bill Rone
Taylor Russell
Solomon Shepherd
Sydney Smith
Gregory Stevens
Megan Vogt
Congrats DOCTOR Forsman! 
Please join us as we give a standing ovation to DOCTOR Lane Forsman, a Graduate Research Assistant in our Tallahassee office who successfully defended his dissertation and earned his PhD in Social Work this spring!

His dissertation is entitled, Queering College Sexual Violence: The Interaction of Gender Identity and Sexual Assault on Campus.

Lane will join the faculty at the Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville in August!

We are so proud of you, Dr. Forsman!!!
Welcome Aboard!

A very warm welcome to Maurice Bulls, who joins our Central Office team as a Program & Training Specialist! In this role, he will prepare team members to work with justice-involved individuals in jails, prisons, and community settings. Bulls brings a wealth of experience to IJRD from the fields of both education and criminal justice and he has specific expertise in motivational interviewing!

Click the image to learn more!


Join us as we welcome Mariah Johnson, who joins us as a Post-Master's Fellow on our South Carolina team. Mariah brings a wealth of experience working with local governments to research, market, design, and develop affordable housing options for people experiencing homelessness.

Click the image to learn more!

We warmly welcome Allison Kansteiner as a Reentry Program Specialist on our Indiana team! Allison has experience in inpatient mental health care and working with individuals experiencing homelessness and those living with HIV/AIDS.

Click the image to learn more!

A big welcome to Mara Law, who joins us as a Project Support Specialist in Ohio! Mara has experience researching criminal justice outcomes at both the client-level and systems-level. 

Click the image to learn more!

A very warm welcome to Shonda Salisbury, who is joining our Florida Team as a Research & Assessment Specialist. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge and experience through her work in corrections, child welfare, trauma counseling, crisis care, community outreach, and most recently long-term care. 

Click the image to learn more!

Join us as we warmly welcome Suntia Smith, who joins us as a Clinical Research Associate on our South Carolina team! Suntia currently runs her own private practice in Greeneville and provides clinical supervision for LMSW's seeking licensure in her community.

Click the image to learn more!

A warm welcome to Hallie Wiedner, who is joining the Ohio Team as a Post-Master's Fellow! Hallie has experience working with both survivors of human trafficking, and individuals aging out of the foster care system. 

Click the image to learn more!
Personal & Professional Accomplishments

Tanya Renn, our Assistant Director at IJRD, along with a team from the FSU College of Social Work, received a $200,000 grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to develop a new evidence-based curriculum related to substance use disorders

Click the image to learn more about this exciting project!

Join us as we celebrate Megan Vogt, a Research Technician on our Tallahassee team, for her acceptance into the Florida State University College of Social Work Ph.D. program! 

Megan will graduate this summer with an MSW and a Master's degree in Criminology! 

Click the image to learn more about Megan!

Carrie Pettus-Davis presented at the UF + FSU Team Science event on Managing Research Teams held virtually in April 2020. She was featured as a “Team Science Champion” for her expertise leading team science. Pettus-Davis led a question-and-answer session for those engaged in team science or who hoped to build interdisciplinary research teams in the future.

Congratulations to Kandace Jernigan for her promotion from Research Technician to Graduate Research Assistant! Kandace has been with IJRD since last summer; she is in our dual degree program and will graduate with an MSW and a Master's degree in Criminology!  

Click the image to learn more about Kandace!

Event Reports

We hosted the National Scientific Advisory Committee for a 2-day virtual convening this month! Committee members provided expert guidance to help us identify and implement innovations across all of our current and future projects.

Click the image to read a one page summary of the content of the discussion!
IJRD hosted a series of webinars to engage students and staff during the transition. Invited guests spoke passionately about their work linking social work research, policy, and practice to achieve successful outcomes in a range of practice areas. One overarching theme across the webinars explored how the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic could be used to support policy and practice innovations. Speakers also discussed their own career trajectories to help students and our early-career professionals identify areas for exploration. Members of FSU College of Law’s legal clinics also presented on the role social workers play in their legal clinics, helping attendees strengthen their work at the intersection of social work and criminal justice.
  • Turning Uncertainty into Policy Change. A webinar series on the various routes of policy change opportunities in the field of social work. The presentations included the following speakers:
    • Dr. Samuel Staley, Director of Florida State University's DeVoe L. Moore Center
    • Sal Nuzzo, Vice President of Policy at The James Madison Institute
    • Ellen Piekalkiewicz, Director for the Center for the Study and Promotion of Communities, Families, and Children
  • Opening the Door to a Career in Macro Social Work and Leadership presented by Linda S. Schmidt, MLPA, MSW, PhD, Assistant Professor at Western Michigan University's School of Social Work.
  • Social Work, Policy, and Leadership presented by Carl Filler, MSW, State Policy Analyst for Justice Action Network.
  • Joining Forces - How Social Work and Law Can Work Together in Practice and Policy with Jennifer LaVia, J.D., Clinical Professor and Director of the Veterans Clinic at FSU Law School’s Public Interest Law Center
  • Policy and Advocacy on Juvenile Justice presented by Paolo Annino, M.A., J.D., Ph.D., a Glass Professor of Public Interest Law, Director of Public Interest Law Center at the FSU College of Law
  • Conversation with a Macro Social Worker with Amber Joiner-Hill, MSSW, Associate Policy Analyst at Chapin Hall.
  • Policy, Advocacy, and Immigration with Darby Scott, J.D., Clinical Professor, Director of the Immigration and Farmworkers Project at the Public Interest Law Center at FSU College of Law
  • Policy, Leadership, and Macro Social Work presented by Sarah Butts, Director of Public Policy at the National Association of Social Work
  • Policy, Leadership, and Macro Social Work with Lakeya Cherry, DSW (C), MSW, CEO for the Network for Social Work Management, Board Member for Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and policy
The Learning Corner

The Race, Prosperity, and Inclusion Initiative at the Brookings Institution conducted a webinar on the impact of COVID-19 on prisons. The webinar covered information on the scope of the problem and proposed safety solutions. 

Click the image to listen to the recorded presentation! 
You can join the Tulane School of Public Health on June 4th at 5pm CST for a virtual discussion hosted by Tulane's The Skin You're In. The discussion will focus on the effects of COVID-19 on criminal justice affected individuals and reform efforts.

Click the image to learn more and to register!
Of Interest

Check out this article, written by Eli Hager, that discusses the likely voter disenfranchisement among those in jail related to COVID-19 restrictions.

Click the image to read more! 

Click the image to read information provided by FSU's IT department about the increase in employment-based scam emails and how to detect phishing. 

Additional resources about email scams were provided by the College of Social Work's IT Manager and are available by clicking here

Click the image to watch the documentary "Tutwiler", produced by Frontline and The Marshall Project. The story presents the experience of pregnant women incarcerated at the Tutwiler Correctional Facility in Alabama. 

The Marshall Project released data on reported COVID-19 cases in state prisons. Data are being updated as they become available, but you can access the most recent version of the report by clicking the image. 
Breaking news for Florida voters! A U.S. District judge recently ruled that the stipulation requiring individuals to pay all fees prior to voting rights restoration post-incarceration in Florida is unconstitutional. 

Click the image to learn more! 
Resources for Processing Grief
As we adjust to life both during COVID-19 and we begin to process the loss of our coworker, Michael Davidson, we wanted to focus our well-being resources this month on strategies to help you understand and address your grief. Grief has affected all of us in a variety of ways in the past few months and we hope for you to take time to experience your grief and incorporate additional well-being tools into your own personal mental health toolkits. 

Below find links with resources to help your transition and please reach out to us or to the FSU Employee Assistance Program (also linked below).

The FSU Employee Assistance Program is also a free, confidential service that provides a professional support system for all FSU employees.
The EAP has assisted thousands of employees through professional, personal and family issues. 

Click the image to learn more.
You can learn more about our media coverage, access podcasts and interviews, link to press conferences, and read all of our scholarship on our website

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