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Ursuline Senior Named Social Work Student of the Year

March 18, 2016

ursuline college newsUrsuline College proudly announces that the Ohio Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, Cleveland- Region 3 named Ursuline senior, Karen Branscomb, the recipient of the 2016 Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Student of the Year Award. Branscomb, a resident of Mentor is currently a senior social work major who will graduate May 2016. 

Branscomb was nominated and selected for this award by local social workers who recognize her as an outstanding member of the Cleveland community. Professor and Co-Director of the Social Work Program, Sr. Kathleen Cooney, OSU, Ph.D., LSW nominated her for the award. According to Cooney, she is highly focused and motivated to do her very best in every aspect of her professional and personal development. Specifically, her professional strength lies in the area of the Code of Ethics’ values with special attention to at-risk populations.  She has excelled in her academic program at Ursuline and earning a GPA of 3.9538.  

Academically and on campus, Karen has been on the President’s List for Honors for 2 semesters and the Dean’s List for 1 semester.  As an active member of the student Social Work Organization, Karen held the position of Secretary.  For the fall semester of 2015, she initiated the campus drive for the women’s shelter of Geauga County, The GreenHouse, and delivered the items on a cold winter’s day, as we recall last year’s winter.

Currently, Karen is in her second semester of her field placement as a High Risk Case Manager in the Care Coordination Department at Lake Health Systems where she works with inpatient individuals and community outreach. The major goals of her field work are to identify needs and obstacles for high risk patients and to monitor their progress to reduce emergency room and inpatient hospital stays. Karen’s specific work in field entails linking people with resources for home assistance and behavioral health needs, navigating health insurance policies, obtaining skilled nursing certifications, identifying guardianship cases, and coordinating hospice and palliative care.  Another aspect of her field internship is to conduct home visits and attend doctor’s appointments with patients to monitor their progress in attaining goals for better health management. 

About her future in social work, Branscomb commented: “My plan is to work in geriatrics. In my field experience I have seen that this is a population that is underrepresented, and often left with very few resources and support. These are people who I believe are entitled to much more than they are given at the end of life, especially in areas involving their human dignity. I think this is a place that I would like to develop my skills and talents.”

“I have seen Karen build on her own core values and become an outstanding entry-level social work professional. At Ursuline, she has been able to address the competencies identified by the Council on Social Work Education and integrate them with the mission and values of Ursuline College in order to serve the greater Cleveland community. Her success is a hallmark of our social work program,” said Professor and Co-Director of the Social Work Program, Sr. Kathleen Cooney, OSU, Ph.D., LSW. 

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