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Social Work Department Honors, Awards, and Scholarships

Honors Thesis


An Honors Thesis is a unique opportunity to independently work with a full time social work faculty member on a specific area of social work that you are interested in or passionate about. 

All students, whether or not they are in the Honors College, are eligible to write an Honors Thesis in order to graduate from SCSU with Departmental Honors.  Students must have a 3.0 overall grade point average, and have a minimum GPA of a 3.2 in social work courses.


Student should select a faculty advisor.

An honors thesis is completed in two semesters.  In the first semester course, a student completes a prospectus detailing the focus and plan for the thesis (HON 494 application form), due at the end of the add-drop period. 

The second semester, after the prospectus is approved, a student registers for HON 495, carries out the planned study and writes up the findings in the second semester course.  Students who successfully complete an honors thesis graduate with departmental honors.

For additional information, please visit the Honors College website:

List of Honors Theses:

Year Student Advisor Title
2015 Catherine Cota Dr. Dana Schneider Social Work and Storytelling:
An Exploratory Study on Turning Points
in the Lives of Individuals Experiencing Homelessness in New Haven
2015 Wesley Boucher

Dr. Elizabeth Keenan
Dr. Dana Schneider

“I Am What I Told Myself I Am”: Examining the Influence of Self-Talk and Other Factors on the Development of Professional Identity Among Social Work Students
2015 Anna Maria Sachs Dr. Stephen Monroe Tomczak Poverty Simulation Programs and the Impact on Graduate Student Participants’ Interactions with Clients in Poverty
2014 Krista Alston Dr. Elizabeth Keenan A Study Examining the CT Department of Social
Services and Employee Interactions with Clients
2013 Cecily Edwards Dr. Elizabeth Rodriguez-Keyes The Impact on Sibling Relationships When One has a Mental Health Disability
2013 Richelle Jessey Dr. Elizabeth Rodriguez-Keyes The Media's Influence on Eating Disorders Among Young Adults
2012 Stefan Keller Dr. Dana Schneider A Study Examining the Social Justice Stance of Student Leaders and Social Work Students at SCSU Campus
2011 Lauren Frac Dr. Elizabeth Rodriguez-Keyes Making the Grade: The Relationship Between Bullying and Academic Achievement in Middle School and High School
2008 Caroline Pierce Dr. Elizabeth Keenan "Like a Sculptor Knows the Clay": Past Personal Crises and Social Service Providers
2003 Justin Kendrick Dr. Elizabeth Keenan The Effects of Religious Affiliation and Strength of Religious Affiliation on Happiness and Personal Wellness

Beta Rho Honor Society

Beta Rho is SCSU's chapter of Phi Alpha, the National Social Work Honor Society.  We have been fortunate to be part of this national network of honor societies since July of 1989.  In order to be considered for membership, undergraduate social work majors must have junior status, have completed a minimum of 9 credits of social work courses and have achieved an overall GPA of 3.0 (3.5 in social work courses).

Each year new members are inducted and the faculty advisor announces when nominations will be accepted.  Dr. Stephen Monroe Tomczak is the current faculty advisor:


The university has several scholarships available for undergraduate students.

There are two scholarships for undergraduate social work students who have been accepted into the BSW program:

1.  Derry Lynn Kitchell Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to an undergrad student who is entering the final semester of the BSW program.  Students must show financial need.  Additionally, there is a cash prize that is awarded to students who complete an honors thesis.

2.  The MSW Classes of 1988 & 1989 Scholarship Fund for Single Parents

Open to full-time undergraduate and graduate social work students who are in good academic standing, and who are single parents in financial need.

BSW Senior Student Awards

The Social Work Department presents five BSW Senior Awards that are awarded each year at the University's Honors Convocation.  Full- and part-time faculty and students are all eligible to nominate students for any of the awards.  Students may self-nominate or nominate another student.  The BSW Coodinator distributes nomination forms and award criteria to faculty and students at the beginning of the spring semester of each academic year.  Awards may not be given if qualified nominations are not received for a particular award in any given year.

michele wheeler Social Work Service Award

A student demonstrates two or more of the following criteria:

Participated in BSW program activities

Provided leadership for BSW students through one or more of the following:

  • Represented student interests at department meetings or activities
  • Organized one or more activities for the Social Welfare Organization (SWO)Served as an elected SWO officer

Demonstrated an interest in enhancing the experiences of all BSW students

Class Leadership Award

A student demonstrates criteria from at least one of the following two categories:

Class project leadership 

  • Demonstrated initiative in organizing a group of students for an assigned class project
  • Demonstrated a collaborative spirit when working with other students
  • Assumed responsibility for one's tasks and supported the efforts of other group members as they completed their tasks

One's participation in one or more courses

  • Consistently reflected preparation for each on-ground class
  • Consistently reflected respect for other students' viewpoints
  • Supported and encouraged the active participation of other students throughout the course(s)
  • Enlivened the experience and learning of other students

Senior Internship Award

A student demonstrates criteria from at least one of the following two categories:

Creativity and Innovation

  • Created a client activity that has been adopted for use by other social workers
  • Designed a group curriculum that has been adopted by the agency for future use
  • Created resources that are being used by other social workers

Initiative and collegiality

  • Took the initiative to engage in relationships with other agency colleagues
  • Took the initiative to seek out assignments that benefited the agency (within the bounds of the field placement contract)
  • Consistently contributed to the agency in relationship with other agency colleagues 

Social Justice Advocate Award

A student demonstrates two or more of the following criteria:

  • Identified one or more social justice issue(s) at one's field placement or in one's community
  • Used several course assignments to learn more about the issue and social change options
  • Advocated for social change with those in positions of power to effect change
  • Led an initiative with other students to advocate for social justice at the local, state, or federal level
  • Organized a SWO project to advocate for social change regarding a specific social justice issue 

Social Work Writing Award

A student demonstrates the following criteria in one piece of writing from any social work course (the paper must be submitted with the nomination form):

  • Creative and accurate development of social work concepts throughout the paper
  • Clarity and development of the key points of the paper
  • Evidence of critical thinking
  • Application of social work knowledge to a social issue or specific scenario
  • Accurate use of APA style throughout the paper