Social Work, 2013
  • Cultivating the Seeds of Hope
    Rachel Breuning
    Mentor: Renda Ross, Sharon Stout-Shaffer, Michaele Barsnack, Dina Lentsner, Janette McDonald, Amy Oehlschlaeger, Deborah Shields, Andrea Thomas


    Hope manifests itself in innately personal, individual expressions with unique capacities for sustaining the human spirit (Bauman, 2004; Duggleby, 2010; Webb, 2007; Snyder, 2002). Focusing awareness on the highly contextual images, practices, and situations embodying hope for an individual can preserve and cultivate even greater hope (Yohani, 2008). This project’s purpose is to explore and synthesize personal symbols into a sculpture whose visual dynamics articulate my understanding of hope’s diverse elements identified in class literature. In creating the piece I discovered specific characteristics of hope I had not previously realized. This piece may catalyze internal dialogue for observers, illuminating their own reflections. Articulating what uniquely speaks of hope in their own lives may cultivate broadened awareness of hope’s multifaceted manifestations.

    To Have Hope or Not to Have Hope
    Kayla Doucet
    Mentor: Daniel Heaton, Renda Ross


    Hope plays an important role in motivation and goal planning. Miller and Powers define hope as “an anticipation of a future which is ‘good,’ based on…psychological well-being, purpose and meaning in life, and a sense of the ‘possible’ ” (Davis-Maye & Perry, 2007, p. 313). The purpose of this project is to write a monologue of the author’s definition and experience of hope. The monologue will use a mystory creative writing technique (Ulmer, 2004). The mystory will combine autobiographical experience and expert knowledge of hope to create an original piece. The author expects to further her understanding of hope through personal reflection and a review of hope research. This mystory produces a definition and dramatic example of hope.

    Hopeful Thinking
    Andrea Green
    Mentor: Sharon Stout-Shaffer, Michaele Barsnack, Renda Ross, Deborah Shields


    The concept of hope, while extremely complex, can be portrayed in a multitude of different ways depending on one’s point of view; but at the same time, can bring people together as it creates a similar connection to people all over the world (Bauman). This art piece represents my discovery of hope through the study of different methods that involved interdisciplinary explanations of literature, art, music, interviews and more, relating to hope. The purpose of this project was to explore the essence of hope, and develop a personal definition of hope that can be useful to my nursing practice, and express this definition in an art form that can be appreciated by others. Now that I have developed an understanding, I think of hope as a way that brings people together in order to reach a goal in which a certain outcome can be fulfilled. I choose to use art as a way to show a different perspective that cannot always be expressed through words; rather, the words can only add an increased effect to the meaning of hope in which the art is displaying. This piece may be useful in the future to help me remain aware and reflect upon the meaning of hope in my future career as a nurse and to create a better relationship with those I care for.

    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act: A Policy Analysis
    Samantha Griffith
    Mentor: Steven Drewry


    In the past, more than one million children with disabilities have been excluded or have had limited access to appropriate education. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), was designed to protect the rights of students with disabilities by ensuring that all children receive a free, suitable public education in the least restrictive environment. IDEA is a policy that strives to provide students with disabilities quality education. I conducted an extensive literature review to analyze the benefits of the implementation of this social welfare policy. It can be concluded that improvements in the rate of high school graduation, post-secondary school enrollment, and post-school employment of individuals with disabilities can be attributed to the implementation of IDEA (U.S. Office of Special Education Programs,
    2011). The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act is a successful social welfare policy that has made continuous strides in the quality of inclusive education provided to children with disabilities. I have a passion for working with individuals with disabilities and strive to better understand social welfare policies implemented for the benefit of individuals with disabilities, so that I am able to educate others, empower these individuals, and advocate for their rights in my future profession of social work.

    Views of Hope: Interviews Regarding Life Experiences
    Amelia MacKinnon
    Mentor: Sharon Stout-Shaffer, Deborah Shields, Renda Ross, Michaele Barsnack


    The human experience of hope is important to social workers and those they serve, and thus for the profession. However, literature definitions of hope can be confusing and there are many variations in how hope is used. This project determines the connection of hope to the idea of quality of life. The researcher is interviewing people of a variety of ages, and looking at their personal hope experiences to see if there is a connection of aging and quality of life to hope. The participants include a variety of ages ranging from single digits to elderly, with most participants being on the later end of the spectrum; both males and females respond. The interviews are conducted in person or over the phone, at the participant’s convenience. Data of personal hope experiences are analyzed using content analysis; the researcher maintains objectivity during both interview and analysis. Findings are compared to the current literature. This project contributes to the understanding of the experience of hope among people of different age groups. It also contributes to the researcher’s confidence and ability to talk about hope with people of different stages of life.

    Identifying Need in the Inner City: Residents’ Perceptions and Experiences on Living on the Near East Side of Columbus, Ohio
    Christophe Valcourt
    Mentor: Steven Drewry


    Residents of poor urban neighborhoods face living conditions of complexity and deprivation that are not carefully considered by the general public. In this study, ten residents from the Near East Side of Columbus were interviewed on their daily experiences, how they made sense of their experiences, and what they thought could be done to make their community a better place. The information from the interviews was used to help a neighborhood church understand how to better meet the needs of area residents. Topics that were gained from the interviews included the personal histories of participants, the problems that residents encountered or saw others experience, and residents’ ideas on how positive change could come to the neighborhood. Understanding the daily experiences of the urban poor can clear up misconceptions on this socially isolated population as well as improve efforts in dealing with their unique set of living circumstances.