Student Alumni
Information Exchange

Celebrating Students & Alumni

Vernita Thompson
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Vernita Thompson, MSW, attended the University at Buffalo and was an NCWWI stipend recipient in 2019. Although faced with many obstacles, such as working, attending school, and completing her internship all during the Covid pandemic and racial injustices, she has successfully completed her graduate degree program and began her advancement into leadership. Her dedication to justice in child welfare and supporting families are well recognized and appreciated. Learn more about Vernita and her accomplishments!
Jane Yang
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Jane Yang graduated with her MSW degree in May 2021 from the University of Georgia. She has worked in the child welfare field for 18 years and is currently the Permanency Field Program Specialist for Region 5. She also supports child protection services. Although Jane was not initially interested in going back to school, she acknowledges that one of her proudest moments was being selected to be part of the first NCWWI stipend student cohort in Georgia. Learn more about Jane and her accomplishments!
Olivia Ben
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When first entering the social work program at the University of North Dakota, Olivia Ben, had goals of becoming a therapist. Fortunately, she landed her second internship with Mandan, Hidatsa, and Arikara (MHA) Nation as a Foster Care Case Manager, which pulled her heart towards the child welfare field and working with Indigenous children and families. While completing her master’s degree Olivia was introduced to NCWWI and enrolled in their stipend program. Shortly thereafter Olivia graduated with her master’s in social work from UND in 2021. Olivia continued to work with MHA Nation, and after being there for only 10 months she was promoted from Case Manager to Family Preservation Supervisor. Learn more about Olivia and her accomplishments!
Alexandria Mills
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Alexandria Mills worked as a program assistant for the Department of Children and Family Services for five years before attaining her bachelor's degree in social work from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. After receiving her degree, Alexandria was promoted to the family service worker position. From there she grew into the team decision-maker facilitator role. One of her mottos that she lives by is "Passion is Free, Effort is Isolated". Learn more about Alexandria and her accomplishments!
Carissa O'Dell
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Please, Welcome NCWWI's Tribal Student and Alumni Outreach Coordinator, Carissa O'Dell! Carissa, an MSW student at the University of Oklahoma, is completing her practicum with The Center for Tribal Social Work at OU Tulsa and will be graduating in May 2023. In addition to the work she's doing at the Center for Tribal Social Work, Carissa will be bringing her expertise to help with NCWWI student and alumni outreach initiatives. Learn more about Carissa and her accomplishments! Learn more about Carissa and her accomplishments!
Donjai Calhoun
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Donjai Calhoun, a 2022 Georgia State University graduate, has worked in child welfare for over seven years. He started his career in early head start and worked there for 11 years before taking the opportunity to work for Georgia DFCS in their After School Care Program. Donjai was quickly promoted to Early Childhood Services Director, and then again to the Wellbeing Services Program Director. He now oversees the Early Childhood Services Director, the Childcare Services Director, and the Georgia CREW Director as the Wellbeing Services Program Director. Although he considers himself an "introverted social worker," Donjai has shown tremendous resourcefulness, creativity, and drive, proving himself to be a transformational leader as he grew into each role. Learn more about Donjai and his accomplishments!
LaTaya Hunt
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LaTaya (a.k.a. LaToya) Hunt is a 2023 MSW graduate from the University of Georgia. LaTaya has been in the child welfare profession for 17 years. Starting off as a case manager, she was promoted to supervisor in the family preservation department only after 2 years. LaTaya moved her way up to district manager then to county director. LaTaya was able to accomplish all of this before discovering NCWWI and signing up for graduate school. To be successful in grad school, LaTaya decided to give up her role as county director and take on a less demanding position as a data integrity specialist. LaTaya plans to continue her child welfare career, earn her PhD, and continue to advocate for women's veteran services. Learn more about LaTaya's accomplishments and hey keys to success!
Kimee Wind-Hummingbird
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Kimee Wind-Hummingbird, a Muscogee (Creek) Nation citizen with Cherokee descent, graduated with her MSW from the University of Oklahoma in May 2023 and has earned the title of 2023 Graduate of the Year. After being in the child welfare field for 14 years with the Cherokee Nation Indian Child Welfare program, Kimee joined the Muscogee (Creek) Nation's (MCN) Children and Family Services Administration (CFSA), where she swiftly rose through the ranks. After leaving MCN, she joined the National Native Children's Trauma Center and now serves as a training and technical assistance manager overseeing initiatives concentrating on tribal child welfare and child advocacy. Learn more about Kimee's success and keys to success!

Students & Alumni Advisory Board Meeting Notes 

Friday Connect

Due to the popular demand for staying connected, I will be hosting a Friday Connection meet-up every last Friday of the month at 1pm ET, 12pm CT, 11am MT, & 10 am PT. This is an optional/informal way for students and alumni to connect, catch up with each other, and have a little laugh at the end of a long week. Feel free to stop in at any time to say hi and chat. No need to stay for the entire time if you don't want to.

NCWWI Upcoming Events

Not only do those who are mentored outperform others within their field, but they also get promoted more often and report lower burnout rates! Join us September 27, 2023 at 1pm EDT to learn how to build your village of mentors and advance your child welfare career in a way meaningful for you! 

2023 Current Issues Series
S&A Learning Exchanges

In an effort to support and empower you as child welfare professionals and social work students, NCWWI has created a Current Issues Series Learning Exchange with special guests to share their expertise. We are hoping this series will bring awareness to various issues and empower you to create a difference for yourself as well as for your colleagues. 

Student & Alumni Monthly Newsletters