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Communication Associate: Public Relations | Lori Melton | | (218) 726-8830

June 21, 2012
Kathy Helzer | UMD Director of MSW Field Education | 218 726-8935 |
Christiana Kapsner | UMD Public Relations Associate | 218 726-8830 |

Minnesota Social Work Student of the Year

Bryana Cook, Master of Social Work (MSW)Bryana Cook, Master of Social Work (MSW)
Bryana Cook, Master of Social Work (MSW), recently was chosen by the Minnesota Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) 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 7.

In nominating Bryana for the award, faculty member Kathy Heltzer noted Bryana's many accomplishments and leadership while in the MSW Program:

"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 Bachelor of Social Work (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 a campaign to look at racism and to encourage a community dialogue about the causes and solutions."

Bryana, who graduated in May 2012, will start a school social work position with the Walker Hackensack Akeley Schools following international travel to South Korea where she will be participating in a Culture, Health and Social Welfare Policy course through the University of Minnesota.

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