By: Krista Didzbalis '19
For providing service to those in need, changing the way students learn, and illustrating commitment to the field of social work---these are just a few of the reasons Sheridan Quarless Kingsberry, Ph.D., DC'79, SSW'83, GSNB'02, was recognized as Delaware Social Worker of the Year by NASW earlier this summer.
Aside from this recent honor, Kingsberry's devotion to social work is demonstrated through her teaching as an associate professor in the MSW program at Delaware State University at its Wilmington location. In 1990, Kingsberry helped to start the first Ronald E. McNair Postbaccalaureate Achievement Program at New Jersey Institute of Technology. She also co-authored the grant that funded the program. The McNair program, which continues today, provides support to first generation ethnic minorities eager to earn their Ph.D.s by giving them exposure to undergraduate research.
"I got a chance to help recruit students go on to receive their masters and doctoral degrees which is something I am definitely proud of," Kingsberry explains.
More recently, Kingsberry has worked with children and families impacted by incarceration through the HOPE project, a community partnership aimed at addressing mental health. "Once we got the parents, schools, and community involved, we were able to help decrease the number of in school and out of school suspensions and improve both the children and parent's mental health," Kingsberry says.
Currently, through her work at Delaware State, Kingsberry created a study abroad program to expose undergraduate and graduate social work students to unfamiliar environments. This program looks to challenge how and what students are learning in the classroom and provide better immersion and understanding of world cultures by traveling to places like Cuba, Costa Rica, and London.
"One of the principals in social work is that we are all global citizens," Kingsberry explains. "I decided to start a program for social work students because although we teach the global perspective, we rarely get the opportunity to experience it. To go abroad and emerge themselves in a different culture, albeit on a short term basis, is invaluable and has long-term benefits."
In recalling her time at Rutgers, from earning her Bachelor's at Douglass College and her MSW and Ph.D. at the School of Social Work, Kingsberry remembers the Passion Puddle on Douglass Campus as one of her favorite places to relax. She also recalls Dr. Francine Essien, Dr. John Simpson, and Dr. Michael Camasso as three of her most memorable and influential professors.
"I love my profession, I love teaching social work," she explains. "I love preparing the next generation of social workers to go out and change the world."