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Human Centered Design... Change Agents for People

08.15.2015

The College of Social Work is pleased to welcome three new faculty from unique backgrounds, spanning the fields of substance use and public health, from locations as distant as Oklahoma and Kenya: Bethany Bell, PhD, University of South Florida; Rhonda DiNovo, MSW, Ohio State University; and Patrice Penney, MSW, University of Illinois. Despite their differences, all three of them are linked by the desire to effect positive change, whether by strengthening communities or mentoring students.

Beathany BellBethany Bell
Bethany Bell comes to the CoSW by way of the College of Education, where she taught courses in statistics. Previously, she started a mobile immunization van program in Oklahoma and worked for AmeriCorps.

Dr. Bell’s current research on food access focuses on communities and bridges the fields of public health and social work. Bell is concerned with “how the context in which we live affects our health,” and thinks of herself more as a statistician than what people typically think of as a social worker. She brings to the CoSW knowledge of applied research methods and rich, interdisciplinary experiences.

Rhonda DiNovoRhonda DiNovo
Rhonda DiNovo’s wealth of experience benefits her students. She joins the faculty after serving as Director of UofSC’s Office of Substance Abuse Prevention and Education. DiNovo has worked in substance abuse prevention, intervention, and treatment, and she finds that counseling and prevention education are just other forms of teaching. DiNovo is eager to translate those skills and experiences from her behavioral health career into the college classroom for her students.

DiNovo believes that the greatest reward as a professor is watching students graduate: “to know that I contributed to their love of learning and becoming a professional social worker, that’s incredibly rewarding.”

Patrice PenneyPatrice Penney
Patrice Penney has over thirty years of experience “in the trenches,” counseling children at risk and their families. She has worked with impoverished families in urban Chicago, refugees, immigrants, and African orphans and their caregivers.

Penney is the founder of the Initiative for Children at Risk Africa (ICARA), a non-profit that provides training for caregivers of vulnerable and orphaned children. She began developing this training after moving to Kenya in 2003 and realizing that caregivers there could benefit from more knowledge about the needs of children who have experienced trauma. ICARA has a presence in Kenya, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Lesotho, with plans to expand to other countries soon.

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