Distinguished Alumni

Award winners on Zoom screen

Each year Pitt Social Work recognizes alumni who have achieved the highest standards of professional integrity and personal conduct; advanced knowledge of the profession; and supported public and social policies that ensure equal rights for all regardless of race, ethnicity, creed, religion, age, gender, sexual orientation, income or disability. The current class of Distinguished Alumni are recognized at an event in the fall.

Do you know an alum who is making an impact in the field on a local, regional or national level? Nominate them for a Distinguished Alumni Award! Here is a link to the nomination form

Questions? – email sswalums@pitt.edu

Watch the 2021 Distinguished Alumni Awards Virtual Celebration

2021 Alumni Awardees

Distinguished Alumni Award for Social Work Education

Dr. Christopher Robinson (MSW ’07)
BSW Program Director, Assistant Professor of Social Work
Penn State University-Greater Allegheny

Dr. Christopher Robinson, advocate, educator, and licensed social worker currently serves as BSW program director and assistant professor of social work at Pennsylvania State University. Before joining Penn State Greater Allegheny, Professor Robinson previously served eleven years at the Community College of Allegheny County (CCAC) where he led the Associate of Science in social work program at CCAC South Campus. Robinson also serves as manager of cultural competency in the UPMC Center for Engagement and Inclusion where he collaborates and develops strategic diversity initiatives that focus on culturally competent patient care, eliminating health disparities, enhancing language access services, and reducing community trauma. A native of Kalamazoo, Michigan, Professor Robinson earned a bachelor’s degree in social work from historically Black Jackson State University, a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh, and a doctorate in education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He is co-founder of the Western Pennsylvania Council of HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) Alumni and the greater Pittsburgh Alumni Chapter of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Dr. Robinson is a 2020 recipient of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence in Teaching Award and the 2021 Pittsburgh Courier Men of Excellence Award.

Distinguished Alumni Award for Social Work Practice

Dr. Kathi R. Elliott, DNP, PMHNP-BC, RN (MSW ’08)
Gwen’s Girls

Kathi R. Elliott earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from Chatham University in August 2014. Dr. Elliott also completed dual Master’s degrees in Social Work and Nursing from the University of Pittsburgh in 2008. She has close to 30 years of experience in social service, community and individual mental health treatment. Advocacy and giving back to others in need is a value that has been instilled in her by her mother and founder of Gwen’s Girls, the late Commander Gwen Elliott. In August 2015, Dr. Elliott accepted the position of CEO at Gwen’s Girls.

A visionary leader, Dr. Elliott has been instrumental in establishing the Black Girls Equity Alliance, an interdisciplinary collaborative that is addressing systemic inequalities that exist within the juvenile justice, health and wellness, child welfare, and education systems locally and nationally.

Dr. Elliott currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Chatham University and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Pennsylvania.

Regional Impact Award

Corey Lakins (BASW ’03, MSW ’04)
AIMED Human Services

Corey Lakins serves as the founder and CEO of AIMED Human Services, a Non-Profit organization, founder and CEO of Sensible Home Healthcare, LLC, a home health agency, and Founder and CEO of Kingdom Business Service (KBS), an online digital course to develop your business idea through her coaching mechanisms. Lakins’ passion for navigating the complex care system for Intellectual Developmentally Delayed (IDD) and Mental Health disorders have been her pillar of services for over thirty years. Her mission to ensure the individuals she serves receive inclusive and person-centered care, that their desires, interests, and values are taken into consideration are evident in everyday lives. AIMED is licensed in the State of PA as a Home and Community Based Residential Provider for individuals IDD and AIMED to Independence with the Office of Children Youth and Families to provide residential services to youth with IDD.

She established Sensible Home Health agency to make life more manageable for the elderly and disabled who choose to retain their independence and stay in their homes. To accomplish the success of this business, Lakins, the CEO, oversees the operational and financial plans to guarantee that Sensible Home Healthcare operates effectively and efficiently.

Lakins Kingdom Business Service (KBS) specializes in transforming the client’s signature story into a business idea. She masterfully coaches her clients in the art of step-by-step online digital platform and content creation. The 5-Figure Global Course coaches and trains clients to acquire the mindset to scale their businesses.

Lakins holds a master’s degree in Social Work (Direct Practice) from the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work, Duquesne University, Non-Profit Leadership Certification, University of Massachusetts, Certification Primary, Physical Health Integration, and Certified Law of Attraction Practitioner.

Outstanding Field Instructor Award

Jessica Souply, LSW, SFW (MSW ’14)
Family Resources Therapeutic Preschool

Jessica Souply, LSW, SFW is the supervisor at Family Resources Therapeutic Preschool, which serves children ages 3-5 who have experienced trauma, have behavioral needs, mental health diagnoses, Autism Spectrum Disorders, and other special differences that benefit from specialized intervention. Before serving as the supervisor of Family Resources Therapeutic Preschool, Jessica was the program’s Social-Emotional Learning Coach and worked for Family Resources’ In-Home Services program.

Jessica’s professional interests include the intersection of social work and education, trauma-informed care, and anti-racism in early childhood education.

Rising Star Award

Anette Nance (MSW ’20)
Director of Partnerships for Family Support
University of Pittsburgh - Office of Child Development

Anette Nance is a dynamic professional who is a servant-minded leader. She is an Operation Enduring Freedom Marine veteran and served 8 years, honorably. She is also a graduate from the University of Pittsburgh where she earned her master’s in social work with a concentration in community organization and social action along with a certificate in Human Services Management.  She also has a bachelor’s in psychology which provides a theoretical foundation for her as a social service practitioner. She has done advocacy work in the veteran space locally, regionally, and nationally. Through her work, she was one of 10 student veterans nominated for the 2020 Student Veteran of the Year finalist in the nation for Student Veterans of America, which is headquartered in Washington D.C. 

As a masters level social worker, Mrs. Nance is involved with a variety of nonprofit within the Pittsburgh area. Recently she was appointed to Governor Wolf’s Commission on African American Affairs due to the work she’s done in the Western Pennsylvania region. She currently works for the University of Pittsburgh in the Office of Child Development as the Director of Partnerships for Family Support. The work she does for the university provides a macro social work lens which aids in program development, implementation, and array of other services for over 25 family support centers in Allegheny County in conjunction with the county’s Department of Human Services. 


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