Impact Talks 2024

Richard Romaniuk gives his Impact Talk to an audience of students and faculty in Noble Commons

Learn how careers in social work are making a difference in society! You're invited to join the Mandel School for our 2024 Impact Talk series—four excellent opportunities to be inspired by our faculty and staff and their specializations.

The events will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m., with the presentations beginning at 12:30 p.m., in Noble Commons and via livestream (livestream will open at 12:20 p.m.). They will be recorded for later viewing on the Mandel School's YouTube channel.

Mandel School students can receive one PD hour for each Impact Talk they attend; one CEU will be offered for everyone else. 

Lunch will be provided for in-person guests, and all attendees will have a chance to win three raffle prizes.

Marquetese 'Nikki' Betts headshot

Resiliency in the Field of Social Work

Marquetese 'Nikki' Betts, Adjunct Professor

Wednesday, March 6

Join Marquetese "Nikki" Betts as she speaks about her professional journey and how attending the Intensive Weekend program at CWRU changed the trajectory of her career.

After working in the child welfare field for 10 years, she had become complacent and uninterested in learning new skills. Betts was performing well in her role as a caseworker in a specialized unit, receiving positive recognition from her employer and seeing positive outcomes with the families she was working with. She returned to work after a four-month maternity leave only to be assigned an emergency case that left her crying for the first time in her professional career. She left work that day vowing to make a significant career change. Conversations with her support systems and an invitation to attend the Mandel School caused her to stay in the social work field.

As a recipient of the Child Welfare Fellowship and a student in the Intensive Weekend program, Betts learned new skills that not only reignited her passion for child welfare, but were also instrumental in becoming the director of the training program.

headshot of Ann W. Nguyen

Social Isolation and Trajectories of Cognitive Decline Among Black Americans

Ann Nguyen, Associate Professor

Wednesday, March 20

Join Ann Nguyen as she speaks on the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias (ADRD) among Black older adults and how it is two to three times greater than that of white older adults. She hopes to provide a better understanding of how modifiable risk factors for ADRD among Black adults is imperative for eliminating this racial disparity. The current research investigates how social isolation predicts trajectories of cognitive decline among middle-aged and older Black adults.

Ivan Conard headshot

Trauma, Healing and Hip-Hop: The Impact of Music on the Brain

Ivan Conard, Research Associate, Center on Trauma and Adversity

Wednesday, March 27

Join Ivan Conard as he discusses how movement, rhythm and the arts play a crucial role in the interconnectedness of human experience. Through a neurosequential perspective, he will explore the etiology of hip-hop music and its profound impact on the Black experience, particularly in addressing trauma. Conard will share his experiences collaborating with organizations to integrate trauma-informed and healing-centered approaches to provide vital support for his clientele's mental health.

Jessica Wojtalik Headshot

Improving Functional Recovery in Serious Mental Illness

Jessica Wojtalik, Assistant Professor

Wednesday, April 3

Join Jessica Wojtalik, assistant professor, as she discusses how people living with serious mental illness (SMI) can make meaningful contributions to society and our greater good, yet our current mental health system does little to promote meaningful functional recovery. Her research focuses on integrating social work mental health interventions and cognitive neuroscience to improve evidence-based, anti-stigmatizing and recovery-oriented interventions that target community functioning. She will focus on her decade plus of experience researching and providing Cognitive Enhancement Therapy (CET), an evidence-based cognitive remediation intervention for SMI. Wojtalik will also present initial findings and future directions from a recently developing path of research on the Clubhouse Model of Psychosocial Rehabilitation for SMI. 

Learn more and register for the Impact Talks