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Boston College School of Social Work


Distinguished Alumni Honored for 2016

JANUARY 21, 2016

The Distinguished Alumni Awards honor Boston College School of Social Work MSW or PhD alumni who have made significant contributions to the social work profession. This year, two awards were handed out during a ceremony held on January 8th at McGuinn Hall, to  Daniel Gill, MSW '06, and  Judith S. Willison, MSW '87.

Daniel D. Gill is currently employed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs' VA Maryland Health Care System as a Team Lead in the HUD-VASH (Veterans Affairs Supported Housing) program.
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Judith S. Willison is currently an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Bridgewater State University. She teaches social work practice courses, Dynamics of Diversity and Oppression, and an elective focused on a multisystemic approach to addressing violence.  See bio »  

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2015 Distinguished Alumni Awards Recipients

Colleen Fitzgerald
Colleen Fitzgerald

Distinguished Recent Alumni Award
Colleen Fitzgerald, MSW '11

Colleen Fitzgerald is currently employed by the International Rescue Committee in Beirut, Lebanon, working in the Syria Refugee Response. Her role is leading a nation-wide Child Protection Case Management Coaching Program that is aimed to increase the capacity of individual humanitarian actors and the Child Protection system to respond and prevent abuse, neglect, exploitation, and violence against children through individual case management. Fitzgerald focuses primarily on training social workers from the Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs, international NGOs, national NGOs, and United Nations bodies to support vulnerable Syrian, Palestinian, and Lebanese children and families.

Prior to her role building the capacity of social workers, Fitzgerald worked as a Child Protection Program Manager with Mercy Corps in Lebanon, guiding psychosocial support programming for refugee children and caregivers throughout the country. She was involved in the humanitarian response during the crisis in Libya from June 2011 through November 2012, as she led a national social work capacity building project with International Medical Corps, through the support of UNICEF. She began her international social work career as an intern with International Medical Corps through Boston College's MSW program as a community-based case management specialist.

Fitzgerald holds an MSW from the Boston College School of Social Work, and she participated in the Global Concentration program. Fitzgerald holds a BA in Political Science from Providence College.

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James A. Martin
James A. Martin

Distinguished Alumni Award
James A. Martin, MSW '70

James (Jim) Martin is a Professor of Social Work and Social Research at Bryn Mawr College and a LICSW with more than 40 years of social work practice. His scholarship, teaching, and public service focus on the wellbeing of individuals, families, and communities; his research and civic engagement address military and veteran populations. Martin is a recognized national leader in the area of military community and family services, and has served as a subject matter expert for numerous Department of Defense and other related federal as well as state-level policy, program development, and research initiatives. He is currently engaged in program development initiatives involving services to returning veterans and their families, survivors of military death, as well as Air Force and Marine Corps resilience initiatives.

A retired colonel in the U.S. Army, Martin's 26-year career in the Army Medical Department included clinical, research, and senior management (command) and policy assignments. He was the senior Social Work Officer in the Persian Gulf Theater of Operations during the first Gulf War. Prior to his military retirement, Martin served in the Pentagon as the Executive Assistant to the Assistant Army Surgeon General for Medical Research and Development and as the Senior Medical Advisor to the Department of the Army Director of Science and Technology. Since retirement, Martin has served as a consultant to the Department of the Army for a variety of human dimension initiatives associated with Army Transformation, and he contributed in the development of the Chief of Staff's White Paper on Army Families. Martin has served as a consultant to the Department of Veterans Affairs on the mental health of Persian Gulf War Veterans and he was invited to testify before the President's Commission on Care for America's Returning Wounded Warriors in 2007.

In 2009 Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley appointed Martin to the Maryland's Veterans Behavioral Health Advisory Committee. He has served as a member of the Maryland Military Child Education Coalition Steering Committee, the Council on Social Work Education Veterans' Mental Health Taskforce, and the National Advisory Board for the Center for Innovation and Research on Veterans and Military Families at the University of Southern California. Martin has served three terms of elected office on the Board of Directors for the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work, and he is a founding member of the Board of Directors of the National Center for Clinical Social Work.

Martin received his MSW from Boston College in 1970 and his PhD in Social Work from the University of Pittsburgh in 1983. He is a graduate of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center's Social Work Child and Family Studies Fellowship Program, the Army's Command and General Staff College, and the Army Management Staff College. Martin received the 2014 University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work Distinguished Alumni Award for Social Work Practice.

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