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Social Work Spotlight

  • Get to Know Angela Pharris

    What is your role in the School?

    I am an Assistant Professor on the Norman campus. 

    Have you always lived in Oklahoma? Or, are you a transplant? Tell us more! 

    I was raised in north central Indiana…literally, I am a girl from the farm. But, I have spent the last 20 years living around Nashville, Tennessee. My family and I are proud to call Oklahoma our home starting July 2017

    Where did you go to school? 

    BSW from Middle Tennessee State University, a MSW from Spalding University in Louisville, KY and a PhD from Tennessee State University

    What are some of your favorite places you’ve worked, work you’ve done? 

    This is a difficult question, because I have really enjoyed almost every job in social work I have had the privilege to hold. My favorite would be my first job in community mental health…what a learning experience for a new social worker! I also worked in Tennessee in public child welfare during a time of large scale system reform as a Director of Training. That work presented so many new opportunities and challenges and really grew my professional skills in administration, policy and systems.

    Why do you like working at OU? 

    What's not to love!! The faculty, staff and students make OU Social Work a special place. I love that I have the opportunity to generate quality research that can help the Oklahoma child welfare system and have great experiences in the classroom with our students. The simulation lab is really exciting, too!

    What motivated you to pursue your area of research? 

    I study child welfare administration, policy and workforce, but with the very important view that in this case, in the role of public child welfare, these are not simply systems of government but the actual corporate parent of children and youth in foster care. This would seem to require a different approach to government then say, running a public park or collecting tax revenue. My motivation is to help build the capacity for state agencies to provide not only great social work services but also administrative structure that gives kids the opportunity to thrive!

    What is your favorite thing about social work – or what surprised you about social work? 

    How much fun it can be! I know, it is very serious and complex work, but when you get to ideas, solutions, collaborations, and partnerships that work, that actually create better outcomes - it is exciting! In my early training there was so much emphasis (rightly so) on self-care and protection from burn-out, etc. that I don't think I ever really considered how much I could, and would, really like the profession of social work.

    Do you have any hobbies? Please tell us about one? 

    I love musicals and musical theater.

    Tell us an interesting fact about yourself that few people know or that would surprise people? 

    As I mentioned before, I am a farm girl. I can drive large tractors and trucks, handle small scale veterinary tasks and other skills for farming. I paid for my undergraduate degree with cash earned from livestock shows (yep, I had "show" pigs).

    Learn more!

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More Social Work Spotlight

  • I Count

      On Monday, October 20th social work students joined together to participate in the "I Count" movement. The purpose was to identify persons living on the streets in Norman/Cleveland County. The students served people and helped interview them.   Read More...

  • Simulation about Domestic Violence

      Students in two Tulsa sections of Advanced Direct Practice with Populations at Risk experienced a powerful, emotional new simulation offered by the Simulation Center of OU Tulsa entitled “In Her Shoes”. Written by survivors of domestic violence, the scenarios presented stories of diverse women in violent relationships and asked students to make choices about how to proceed. The scenarios explored issues of same sex domestic violence, profound language and cultural barriers, ageism, legal ...  Read More...

  • Child Welfare Exchange Visit

      Students from Haruv University will visit Oklahoma the week of November 1st - 5th to complete this year's child welfare exchange. You can read about our students travel to Israel earlier this summer here. During their visit, Israeli students will have the opportunity to learn about our child welfare system through visits to a group home, speakers, information on and a tour of the Cherokee Nation, visits to local agencies, simulation experiences, and more.   Read More...

  • Filed Instructor Spotlight

      Ann Benson is a board member of Parents Helping Parents, an organization which has chapters in Norman, Tulsa, and Edmond. This non-profit is comprised of parents who are concerned about drug/alcohol use in their adolescent or adult children. The organization is 100% volunteer-based with a mission of providing education, resources, and support for parents.   Read More...

  • Girl Scouts of Western Oklahoma Art Display

    Last week Drs. McLeod and Natale worked to coordinate with the Girls Scouts of Western Oklahoma to bring an art show to the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work. Not your typical art show, the pieces in this project were all created by young women who are currently incarcerated by the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs and are part of a therapeutic arts program to help the process how the trauma(s) of their lives have impacted them, and what they can do to alter their trajectories in as ...  Read More...

  • Zarrow Mental Health Symposium Presentations

      Zarrow School social work students were well represented as presenters at the recent Zarrow Mental Health Symposium 2015.  Graduate research assistants Kathleen Quinton, Knee Scholar, Jedediah Bragg, Center for the Applied Research for Non-Profits, and Kara Brunk, Knee Scholar, (not pictured) were all co-authors of research presented at the symposium. Pictured also is recent OU PhD graduate Kendra Burnside, LCSW, who presented along side Zarrow School graduate assistant scholars...  Read More...

  • Avital Friedman and Haruv USA

      The Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work is pleased to welcome Avital Friedman, a visiting faculty member from Haruv USA. She is here to establish Haruv USA at OU-Tulsa, which is a partnership between the Haruv Institute in Israel, the OU Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work, and the University of Oklahoma-Tulsa. Haruv USA has a unique focus on comprehensive, interprofessional education, training and research in the prevention and treatment of child abuse and neglect.   Read More...

  • New Faculty

      We are so pleased to have Megan Gandy-Guedes join us as an Assistant Professor on the Norman campus. Dr. Gandy-Guedes' substantive area of interest is LGBTQ populations, focusing primarily on mental health and service use, faith communities and social support, and social justice issues.   Read More...

  • Alumni Update - Velvet Brown

       Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give” and that seated value of giving for me was found in the Administration and Community Practice program at OU. The program represented everything I desired to do with my life; to be a “Servant Leader” for larger groups, organizations and communities. The education and knowledge I gained through the program provided the tools needed to develop and organize Supporters of Families with Sickle Ce...  Read More...

  • Student Research

       Research at the Zarrow School continues to be recognized nationally across disciplines. MSW graduate student Jedediah Bragg, a research assistant with the Center of Applied Research for Non-Profits at OU, recently presented research at the American Psychological Association's (APA) Annual Conference (2015) in Toronto. The research was conducted with Professor Ricky T.   Read More...

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