Pitt Social Work Centennial Kickoff and Awards Program Oct 10, 2017, 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm

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Distinguished Alumni – Social Work Education

Melinda Hohman (MSW ’82, BASW ‘77)

Director, San Diego State University School of Social Work

Melinda Hohman is currently the Director and Professor at San Diego State University (SDSU) School of Social work. She has her BASW and MSW from the University of Pittsburgh and her PhD from Arizona State University. Prior to joining the faculty at SDSU in 1995, she worked as a juvenile probation officer for Allegheny County and as a substance use therapist. She has taught courses on substance use disorders, cultural competency, and social work practice, including Motivational Interviewing (MI). Dr. Hohman has been an MI trainer since the late 1990s, becoming a member of the Motivational Interviewing Network of Trainers (MINT) in 1999. Since then she has trained thousands of social workers, probation officers, and substance abuse counselors among others in MI, both across California and nationally. Dr. Hohman has served as a MINT Trainer of Trainers. She is also the author of the book Motivational Interviewing in Social Work Practice. Dr. Hohman has published over 40 articles and her areas of research include addiction assessment and treatment, DUI, trauma, and the training of MI. She currently is a member of the San Diego County Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council.


Distinguished Alumni – Social Work Practice

Tonya Slawinski (PhD ’03, MSW ’86)

Owner, Turn Key Consulting (current)

Founder and former Owner and President, Supportive Solutions, Inc.

Following a traditional social work path that included more than twelve years at Western Psych, Dr. Slawinski founded her own company, Supportive Solutions, Inc., which offered social work responses for businesses whose employees and their families were experiencing crisis in their lives.  Under Tonya’s leadership, the company grew to become the largest female-owned private crisis response enterprise in the United States.  Dr. Slawinski continues her work today to include both hospice social work and private consulting services.  She is also a longtime adjunct professor and field instructor for Pitt Social Work.


Outstanding Alumni Award

John Silipigni (MSW ’81)

Director, Health Management Department, Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC

John Silipigni is responsible for all aspects of the Health Management Department that provides comprehensive case management services to OB/GYN, Neonatal ICU, Medical/Surgical, Oncology and Orthopaedic populations.  John is a champion for social workers throughout the UPMC network, helping to develop a career ladder to prepare social workers for leadership roles.  He is a longtime field instructor and adjunct professor for Pitt Social Work.


Outstanding Field Instructor, Direct Practice

Romodore Mullen-Abdullah (MSW ’04)

Drug and Alcohol Therapist/Nurses Group, Gateway Rehabilitation Center

Ms. Mullen-Abdullah has been an exemplary field instructor, hosting students for more than five years.  She models enthusiasm and sets high expectations for each student, while remaining accessible and attentive to individual student needs.  She has also served as an adjunct professor for Pitt Social Work.


Outstanding Field Instructor, Community Organizing and Social Action (COSA)

Ann Sanders (MSW ’08)

Volunteer Coordinator, Just Harvest

Ms. Sanders provides a highly personalized and highly engaged field placement experience in an ever-changing environment.  She is seen by students and colleagues as attentive, skilled, and knowledgeable.  Ann’s work blends macro policy, organizing and program skills with direct service and advocacy, providing a comprehensive and nuanced learning environment for students.


Rising Star, Direct Practice

Julius Boatwright (MSW ’11)

Founder and CEO, Steel Smiling

Executive Director, Will Allen Foundation

Mr. Boatwright is the founder and CEO of Steel Smiling, a nonprofit mental health resources provider serving Pittsburgh’s residents, communities and underserved neighborhoods. From barber shops to churches to libraries, Steel Smiling’s unique approach aims to eliminate barriers that prevent people from actively seeking and receiving ongoing and adequate mental and behavioral health care. Julius also serves as executive director of the Will Allen Foundation and is a licensed social worker and who is certified in mental health first aid.


Rising Star, Community Organizing and Social Action

Demi Kolke (MSW ’11)

Senior Planner/Neighborhood Planner, City of Pittsburgh

Having made impact in Pittsburgh’s Homewood neighborhood during and after her time as a student at Pitt Social Work, Ms. Kolke continues to serve that community as a liaison between the city, the Homewood community, and developers to manage the neighborhood planning process and facilitate new development projects.  Perhaps her most notable accomplishment is purchasing, re-envisioning, and maintaining a community space in Homewood called Kenny’s, named in honor of the fallen former landowner.

Location Information

Location: University Club, Ballroom A