Student Advocacy Day
Virtual Event

Thursday, March 10 - 11:00 am until 6:00 pm EST

March is Social Work Month

CSSW School of Social Work
BU School of Social Work
School of Social Work
Center for Social Development
Luskin School of Public
The University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Social Work
Penn Social Policy and Practice

CRISP will continue our tradition of connecting hundreds of social work students with Capitol Hill to engage with the federal government through meetings with Congressional offices and staff. The day begins with a plenary session after which students will attend virtual sessions with current and former Hill staffers. There will be ongoing activities throughout the day. The day’s activities will include:

$15 Registration Fee

Student Advocacy Day Program

Program will begin at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time/8:00 a.m. Pacific Time

Students may begin logging in 1 hour prior to the start of the program.

Opening Remarks • Dr. Charles E. Lewis, Jr., CRISP Director

Welcome • Kenneth Hagler, II, Student Advocacy Day Lead Organizer

Greetings • Special Guests

Poetic Expression • Brandon Burke

Introduction of Keynote Speaker • Amani Desamours, CRISP Fellow

Keynote Speaker • Dr. Shannon Lane, Associate Professor and Author

Special Dance Performance • Michael Jackson, Jr.

Break Time • 12:30 – 1:00 PM

Meetings with Hill Staffers and Political Social Workers • 1:00 – 5:00 PM

Closing Session • 5:00 – 6:00 PM


Meet the 2022 CRISP Leadership Team

Kenneth D. M. Hagler, ll

Lead Organizer
Johnson C. Smith University, BSW

Amani Desamours

CRISP Fellow
Howard University, MSW

Marissa Rodriguez

CRISP Fellow
Columbia University, MSW

Aaron Autler

Team Member
University of Pennsylvania, MSW

Devany Howard

Team Member
Columbia University, MSW

Grace Nielson

Team Member
University of Missouri, MSW

Jennifer Bulcock

Team Member
University of Pennsylvania, MSW

Kristine Paz

Team Member
Sacred Heart University, MSW

Nevo Polonsky

Team Member
University of Michigan, MSW

Sherie Turnage

Team Member
Coppin State University, BSW

Stephani Brodi

Team Member
University of Houston, MSW

10 Tips for a Successful Meeting with a Hill Staffer

Featured Legislation

H.R. 5856 – 21st Century Children and Families Act

he 21st Century Children and Families Act would preserve the aspects of child welfare laws that have proven effective, while updating child welfare policy so more children can safely and expeditiously leave foster care for safe, stable, and permanent family. The bill would reduce the number of children in foster care without legal family and increase permanency options so fewer youth age out of foster care by:

  • Extending the timeline for modification of parental rights from 15 out of 22 months, to 24 months when the child is not in the care of a relative.
  • Exempting parents from the timeline when:
    • The parent is actively engaged in services, or
    • The modification of parental rights is based principally on parental incarceration or detention of the parent by the Department of Homeland Security
  • Requiring states to report on disproportionality and disparities in access to services in their child welfare system.
  • Requiring states to demonstrate that they provided the family services, support, and the time needed to address the reasons for the child’s placement in foster care, and link modification of parental rights to the child’s best interests.

The Electoral Count Act of 1887

Students will be encouraging Hill staffers to pay particular attention to this bill and ask that the Congressmember becomes a co-sponsor of the bill when it is introduced. The legislation would regulate the certification process of presidential elections and limit Congress power to overturn states reported electoral counts. It would also clearly state the Vice President’s role in the process and eliminate any possibility elections can be overturn by the Vice President. Seperate negotiations are occuring in the Senate and the House of Representaties.

Our Keynote Speaker

Dr. Shannon Lane, associate professor at the Wurlitzer School of Social Work at Yeshiva University will be the 2022 Student Advocacy Day keynote speaker. She is a co-auther of the textbook, Political Social Work: Using Power to Create Social Change. Dr. Lane began her career working for the United States Senate, where she was hired as a staff member for Senate Democratic Leader Tom Daschle while still an undergraduate at the George Washington University.  She received her MSW from the University of Michigan and returned to Capitol Hill to work for Senators Daschle, Pryor, and Nelson.  Since 2004, she has been affiliated with the Nancy A. Humphreys Institute for Political Social Work at the University of Connecticut School of Social Work. At Wurzweiler, Dr. Lane teaches in the PhD and MSW programs.   

Featured Artists

Brandon Burke, LMSW, has been working in the field of social work since 2012. His skills range from conducting quantitative research to providing professional training on cultural issues. After graduating with his MSW from the University of Connecticut in 2015, Brandon went to work as a Therapeutic Foster Care Worker for the Village for Families and Children in Hartford, CT. He has been writing and reciting poetry since the age of 11 and in Connecticut has performed as part of the Journey Writers, a writer’s collective in Hartford. Mr. Burke has one public presentation, Community Support for Families: How A Different Response Can Help, in conjunction with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families and the former UConn Performance Improvement Center and; one public article, How the Thought of Marriage Equality Made Us a Weaker, But Wiser, Generation: My generation opts to embrace change., published on

Michael Jackson, Jr. (New Orleans, LA) began his dance training at age 14 at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C., under the direction of Charles Augins. He became a member of Dance Theatre of Harlem Dancing through Barriers Ensemble in 2005. In 2006, he joined Dallas Black Dance Theatre and in 2008 joined PHILADANCO!, where he also worked as Artistic Director of D3. Mr. Jackson joined Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre in 2011 and rejoined in 2015.

Confirmed Sessions

What You Should Know About Immigration

Cheryl Aguilar
Cheryl will lead a panel discussion on some of the most salient issues in immigration today. Immigration remains a complex and often controversial subject for many. Social workers need to understand the issues and be advocates for refugees and other immigrants.

Can Young Social Workers Make a Difference?

Taylor Brown
Taylor will moderate a panel discussion on the 26th Amendment to the Constitution that lowered the voting age to 18 years old. What impact has it had on elections? Will young voters have a major impact on future elections? What roles will young social workers play in shaping society?

Your Only Limit is Your Imagination

Lavar Youmans
Lavar will share his experiences as a social worker in nontraditional settings, including work with professional athletes. He will talk about the many career paths available to social workers and field questions about varied opportunities available to social workers in today's market.

The Future of Child Welfare in the United States

Dr. Angelique Day
Dr. Day will lead a discussion on some of the pressing issues facing child welfare systems in the United States. She will explore efforts to bring about change, including recent child welfare and foster care legislative reforms introduced by Congresswoman Karen Bass.

The Future of Political
Social Work

Monika Soto
Monika will moderate a panel discussion of social workers who have elected to take their knowledge and skills into the political arena. They will discuss how their social work skills have been useful. Panelists will answer questions from participants about being effective in the political arena.

Digital Advocacy: Effective Use of Social Media

Luisa Lopez
This young social work entrepreneur will talk about using digital media to advocate for issues and causes important to you and the communities you serve. Luisa was last year’s Student Advocacy Day keynote speaker and is CEO of her company, Lopez & Co. Media.

Mapping Your Path to the United States Congress

Edolphus "Ed" Towns
We have seen the number of social workers in Congress diminish in recent years. We need more social workers thinking about getting elected to Congress. Mr. Towns will discuss things you need to be thinking about now if you are considering pursuing getting elected to Congress.

Getting Politically Engaged: What Do Students Need?

Dr. Rick Hoefer
Dr. Rick Hoefer, Professor, School of Social Work, University of Texas at Arlington, and Director of the SPEAK advocacy program, will describe the resources social work students say they need to become more engaged in the political arena and promote engagement by other students.

Social Workers in Policy Work Make Connections

Noshin Hoque
Noshin will lead a discussion on the role of social workers in policy work. Social offers the intersection between organizing and policy, a space she always craved as an advocate which allows her to connect with community residents and organizations on a deeper level.

Social Workers and Enviromental Justice

Rachel Forbes
Rachel will lead a discussion about the critical issue of environmental justice. Climate change, ecological degradation, and enviromental injustice disproportionately impac at-risk and underserved populations. The session will focus on ways we can be better advocates.

Working with Older Persons in the Time of COVID-19

Robert Cosby
Howard University Associate Professor will lead a discussion on working with older adults during the time of a pandemic. Older persons, particularl those of color are the most vulnerable to the damanging effects of the COVID-19 virus. We need to be more effective advocates on their behalf.

Scenes from Previous Student Advocacy Days