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The Center for Family and Community Engagement Celebrates its Contributions to High-Impact Learning

by: Calista Wickert and Marianne Latz

The center offers many opportunities and supports for students to engage in high-impact learning.  These learning opportunities support students in completing degree requirements through internships and research work. Students from multiple disciplines; public and private universities; and different levels of education (high school, undergraduate, graduate) have participated in center activities. Over time, student learning activities have included serving on advisory councils or task forces, receiving professional development training, acting as co-trainers, developing curricula, designing brochures, producing videos, conducting evaluation/research, writing grants, presenting at conferences, and publishing papers. Students receive close mentorship as they engage in work with real-world impacts. In addition, the center includes students in trainings with practitioners in the field, gives guest lectures on campus, and provides information for completion of class assignments. The center remains connected to alumni who worked at the center through communications, collaboration on joint efforts, and post-graduation employment at the center.

This Spring, the Dean is providing funding for the Center to run the Foster Youth and Education project, studying the complex interactions among foster youth’s nested social settings—family, school, care, and court. This project is providing two students and one 2014 MSW program graduate with some high-impact learning of their own. As graduate research assistants, they have been performing literature reviews, observing and documenting their observations of family court, and developing court observation instrument.

Stephanie Photo Stephanie Batchelor is an accelerated Master of Social Work (MSW) student who will finish the program in only one year. She received her undergraduate degree in Social Work from University of North Carolina-Wilmington. Stephanie is passionate about the well-being of children and families and her research interests include child development, trauma recovery, and improving foster youth outcomes. She is very excited about the Foster Youth and Education project because educational stability is often second to foster youth’s basic needs and feels that this project has the ability to change that conversation. Stephanie looks forward to growing as a researcher with CFFACE.


Olivia Photo Olivia Reeser just finished 1st year of her 2-year MSW program at North Carolina State University. Olivia’s passion for social work stems from a love of service and dedication to volunteerism. Olivia’s research interests include school achievement and global food insecurity. Olivia grew up in the mountains of North Carolina and is a 2008 alumna from Western Carolina University, holding a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Social Work. Olivia is excited about being a part of the Center for Family and Community Engagement team.


Magen Photo Magen Kite received her BSW from ECU in 2009. After working for 3 years in child protective services as an investigations and assessments social worker, Magen left the DSS to attend Law School. She is now at the end of her second year at Campbell Law School and says it has opened up an entirely new dimension of social work practice to her. Magen’s experience in child welfare taught her the value of the relationship between the judicial system and child welfare system—particularly for the children those systems are trying to protect. Magen believes the strength of community development lies in collaborative work, bringing the best of all fields to bear on the needs of our community and, because of this, she strongly identifies with the interdisciplinary focus the Center brings to its projects.