Unstoppable drive

Alumni excellence

Most ‘outstanding’ social work academic

Alum Viola Vaughan-Eden (Ph.D.’03) keeps a busy schedule but made time to travel to Washington, D.C., in March and pick up a major award – Outstanding Individual in Academia for 2023 – from the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP).

VCU social work alum Viola Vaughan-Eden holds a glass award from the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy; standing next to her are CRISP officials Justin Hodge, academic director, and Charles Lewis, director.
Viola Vaughan-Eden, center, with Justin Hodge, left, CRISP academic director; and Charles Lewis, CRISP director. 

Vaughan-Eden directs the social work doctoral program at Norfolk State University and also serves as president and CEO of UP for Champions, a nonprofit in partnership with The UP Institute, a think tank for upstream child abuse solutions. She is president emerita of the American Professional Society on the Abuse of Children and the National Partnership to End Interpersonal Violence.

“I continue to work toward ending racism and implicit bias in the field of child maltreatment,” she says.

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Starry night

Karen Elizabeth Kimsey (M.S.W.’96; Cert.’96) and Emily Yeatts (B.A.’09; Cert.’09, 12; M.S.W.’12; M.P.H.’12) were named VCU Alumni All-Stars in September 2022. 

Headshot of Emily Yeatts
Emily Yeatts
Headshot of Karen Kimsey
Karen Kimsey

Kimsey, an independent health-care consultant, held numerous leadership positions at the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services in the past two decades. A five-time VCU alumna and a community-embedded (adjunct) faculty member with the School of Social Work, Yeatts is reproductive health unit supervisor at the Virginia Department of Health.

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Four people standing in front of a screen with a rainbow flag and white text that reads 17th ANNUAL LGBTQIA BURNSIDE WATSTEIN AWARDS
From left, Van Vox; Melissa-Irene Jackson; Julian Kevon Glover of the VCU Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women's Studies; Beck Oh.

Burnside Watstein LGBTQIA Awards

Two VCU social work alumni and an M.S.W. student were among four people recognized in March 2023 as recipients of the university's annual Burnside Watstein Awards, giving the school nine such honorees since 2008. 

The 2023 recipients with social work ties are:

Melissa-Irene Jackson (B.S.'08; Cert.'13; M.S.W.'18; Post-Bac.'18), a resident therapist for the LGBTQ+ adult counseling and wellness firm Queerwell and previously manager of social work at the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood. 

“I don’t think anyone doing this work does it for the accolades, but who doesn’t like to know that people recognize and appreciate the work you’re doing?” Jackson says. “I like to think that most of the time the work I’m doing benefits people. It’s nice to help steer that inner compass to get that external validation: ‘OK, I’m doing something right.’ ” 

Beck Oh, an M.S.W. student and interim program manager for the VCU Office of Multicultural and Student Affairs.

“As a queer Asian American, I am deeply aware of what it’s like to be a minority in queer spaces, and I also know that I cannot, as an individual, represent the expanse of identities within the LGBTQIA+ community,”  Oh says. “However, I believe it is my obligation to make students of color, who don’t look like me, feel affirmed and find community. It’s why I am committed to building relationships with people and inviting speakers, who can make our students feel seen and understood in a way that I cannot.” 

Van Vox (B.S.'11; M.S.W.'20), project specialist with Marsha & Marian's Neighbors, a grant-funded shared youth housing project administered through the School of Social Work.

“I truly believe the biggest difference I can make for anyone is just showing up, and the most important thing a social worker or human can do for another human is to show up for them. It’s an honor to be able to show up for the folks I love, and it doesn’t take much to love folks when you believe that people are inherently worthy of love.”

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Board of Social Work appointees

Denise Purgold (M.S.W.’97), LCSW, and Sherwood Randolph Jr. (B.S.W.’08; M.S.W.’10), LCSW, M.Div., BC-TMH, are serving through June 2026 on the Virginia Board of Social Work under the Department of Health Professions.

Headshot of Randolph Sherwood Jr.
Sherwood Randolph Jr.
Headshot of Denise Purgold
Denise Purgold

Purgold is an adoption supervisor with United Methodist Family Services. She also is a part-time outpatient therapist at C2adopt. Randolph serves as clinical director of the VCU Child Development Clinic, teen pastor of the M3 Church and an associate minister of the Cedar Street Baptist Church. Both serve the school as community-embedded (adjunct) faculty.

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Headshot of Patrick Link
Patrick Link

To two alumni honored during the Office of Field Education’s 2023 Community Partnership Awards Ceremony: Patrick Link (M.S.W.’19) of Assisting Families of Inmates, Outstanding Field Instructor Award; and Amy Webb (M.S.W.’18) of Thrive Virginia, Amy Rosenblum Field Instructor Award.

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Donor excellence

A heart for VCU 

Alum Marjorie Stuckle (M.S.W.’73), Ph.D., is practically a lifelong resident of NYC – except for a brief and dear detour to RVA in the early 1970s. The experience of earning her master’s in Richmond at VCU stuck with her in a big way.

Marjorie Stuckle at Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, standing in front of the painting Water Lillies by Monet
Marjorie Stuckle at Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris, with Monet's Water Lillies in the background.

A former clinician, educator and administrator focused on mental health, she is giving back through the Dr. Marjorie A. Stuckle Endowed Scholarship to support out-of-state M.S.W. students.

“It’s been 50 years since graduation, and this is a time of reflection for me,” she says. “I’m looking back and considering what were the most important, impactful moments in my life. And I must say VCU because it provided a gateway to an enriching career. That is why I endowed a scholarship.” 

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A legacy of love

Chuck Cartledge was smitten the moment he met his future wife, Mary Hugh Dotson Cartledge (M.S.W.’78). They were married in less than a year in 1976. 

Chuck Cartledge in a tuxedo and Mary Carledge in a multicolored jacket over a black top
Chuck and Mary Cartledge

With her passing in 2022, Chuck Cartledge has memorialized her legacy as a social worker and his love for her and their son, Lane. The Mary Hugh Dotson and Charles Lane Cartledge IV Endowed Scholarship will aid underserved and first-generation M.S.W. students.

“The School of Social Work was number one,” Chuck says of their priority to give back. “This is for her and Lane. The scholarship is a way to keep her alive.”

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Stepping up

The School of Social Work thanks our donors who lifted us up for VCU Giving Day this spring. Our final totals: 60 donors and $6,905 raised, with successful giving challenges for our Pay It Forward Fund and Field Fund.

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