Panel discussion: A social work lens on the political landscape of election season
The VCU School of Social Work, with support from the C. Bernard Scotch Fund, presented Social Work, Policy and Politics: The Landscape Ahead of November, a panel discussion on Oct. 13.
Social work plays a key role in the political process, promoting voter participation and meaningful engagement to advocate for and with populations that face challenges to their wellbeing. The panel of social workers and policy experts met for a virtual discussion of current events, key issues and the upcoming elections through a social work lens.
Caroline Corl, B.S.W.’16/SW, M.S.W.’17/SW
Caroline is the principal of CCR Strategies. Drawing on her expertise in Virginia state government, Caroline provides clients a wide breadth of work and advice including policy research and development, coalition-building and streamlined problem-solving.
Caroline most recently served as assistant secretary of the commonwealth under former Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam. She proudly oversaw the innovation and streamlining of Gov. Northam’s executive clemency process to drastically reduce the backlog of pending petitions and also facilitating an opportunity for the governor to grant more pardons than the previous 12 governors combined.
Caroline has over six years of immersive Virginia government experience and has built a wide range of both stakeholder and political connections along the way.
A native of Richmond, Caroline earned her Master of Social Work with a concentration in social work administration, planning and policy practice, and her Bachelor of Social Work with a minor in criminal justice. Caroline currently resides in Arlington, Virginia, with her husband and two dogs, Perkins and Polly.
Muna Saleh, M.S.W.
Saleh is a second-year doctoral student at the VCU School of Social Work. She is interested in research on disparities in refugee resettlement outcomes and the social policies that aim to ameliorate them. More specifically, she is interested in social policies and interventions that target the social and economic integration of refugees. Saleh is committed to improving equitable access to services as part of a sustained global response to the worsening refugee crisis.
Her research is informed by her practice experience. She is a co-founder of CareLink, a community organization in Minnesota that assists new refugees in navigating community resources. She also worked as a child protection worker in Olmsted County, Minnesota, prior to her doctoral studies.
Saleh received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities (2015), where she double majored in sociology of law, crime and deviance and political science. She received her Master of Social Work, also from the University of Minnesota (2021), with a focus on mental health. She completed her clinical internship with critically ill children and their families at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota.
Lashawnda Singleton, B.S.W.’14/SW, M.P.A.
Singleton is a graduate of Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University with a Master of Public Administration and a certification in nonprofit & nongovernmental organization management. She also has a Bachelor of Social Work and a minor in psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she focused her studies on reentry programs and recidivism in Virginia.
She has worked to ensure the successful reintegration of system-involved persons through the creation and maintenance of reentry councils for the commonwealth of Virginia and was the coordinator of the VADOC Peer Recovery Support statewide grant. She is currently the program coordinator for the Restorative Justice Initiative for the city of Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Office and a community-embedded (adjunct) faculty member with the VCU School of Social Work.
Moderator Alex Wagaman, Ph.D.
Dr. Wagaman is an associate professor in the VCU School of Social Work. Her research focuses on participatory research and service approaches that promote engagement and resilience among youth and young adults who belong to populations that face marginalization and discrimination. She is co-founder of Advocates for Richmond Youth, a participatory action research team focusing on ending youth homelessness. She is also co-founder of the Center of Youth-Engaged Research to Prevent and End Youth Homelessness (C-PEYH). Wagaman is a team member on the VCU iCubed Intersections in the Lives of LGBTQIA+ Communities Transdisciplinary Core.
About the C. Bernard Scotch Fund
The C. Bernard Scotch Fund, established in 2011, was expanded in 2018 to support programs that advance macro practice. The fund honors Professor Emeritus Charles Bernard “Bernie” Scotch, Ph.D. If you have questions about the fund or opportunities to support it, contact James Romanik, director of development, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (804) 827-3631.