Dr. Llena Chavis of the Hope College sociology and social work faculty has been chosen as the recipient of the Grand Valley State University School of Social Work’s MSW Distinguished Alumni Award for 2017-18.

An assistant professor of social work at Hope, Chavis completed her MSW at GVSU in 2002.  She will receive the award during the GVSU School of Social Work’s annual Hooding and Pinning Ceremony on Thursday, April 26, at Grand Rapids First.

The award, presented annually, recognizes distinguished excellence in service to the community and to the social work profession.  Chavis was selected based on her outstanding work with a number of diversity initiatives, her advocacy around social-justice issues, her dedication as a student-centered teacher, and her important scholarly contributions regarding sex trafficking, and mothering and anxiety.

Chavis has been a member of the Hope faculty since 2013.  She graduated from Hope with majors in social work and psychology in 2000, and after completing her MSW at GVSU she earned her doctorate in counseling education from Southern Illinois University.

Her teaching in the department has included, introduction to social work, interviewing, interventions with individuals and groups, diversity, social work and the family and the field practicum.  She is the author or co-author of multiple articles published in professional journals, and with Hope colleague Dr. Debra Swanson co-authored a chapter on promoting intercultural communication and critical thinking for the forthcoming book “Doing Liberal Arts Education: Global Case Studies.”

Chavis is the faculty mentor for IJM (International Justice Mission) whose mission is to fight human sex slavery across the globe. She is also the faculty mentor for Phi-Alpha (the social work honors society) and a co-mentor for the social work and sociology student organization with Dr. Pamela Koch.

Among other activities, she developed and implemented a group-mentoring model of interventions and is assessing the effect of mentoring on self-esteem for middle-school girls and college-aged mentors.  Her areas of professional interest also include therapeutic techniques such as eye movement desensitization and processing, cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness.