UMD Grad Receives NASW Social Work Student of the Year Award
Bryana Cook, MSW, recently was chosen by the Minnesota Chapter
of the National Association of Social Workers to be recognized
as the "2012 NASW MSW Student of the Year". The award
was presented at the NASW Annual Conference in St. Paul, Minnesota
on Thursday, June 7th.
In nominating Bryana for the award, faculty member Kathy Heltzer
noted Bryana's many accomplishments and leadership while in the
"Bryana demonstrated leadership in her role as a Graduate
Assistant, first with a federally funded project that focused
on creating access to employment for persons with disabilities.
As a part of this project, Bryana developed curriculum modules
at the BSW and MSW level and presented these materials to faculty
at the University of Minnesota Duluth and also the University
of Wisconsin-Superior Social Work Programs. Bryana clearly recognized
the lack of integration of content regarding people with disabilities
in our programs and worked hard to research content appropriate
for social work education. Additionally, she piloted the materials
in BSW courses and worked collaboratively with faculty to adapt
materials, as appropriate.
Bryana has been involved in a variety of social justice activities
while pursuing her MSW degree at the University of Minnesota
Duluth. She has taken a leadership role in many of these, including
the “Take A Stand” rally in the Fall of 2011 in response to racism
on campus. Bryana recruited other MSW students to participate
in this as well as other activities, particularly around issues
of race. Bryana helped draft a letter on behalf of the MSW Student
Organization to the Mayor of Duluth in support of the UnFair
Campaign. The Un-Fair Campaign was developed to look at racism
and to encourage a community dialogue about the causes and solutions.
A white supremacist group attacked the Mayor and other UnFair
Campaign partners following launch of the campaign and Bryana
was quick to demonstrate leadership in addressing this attack."