Degrees in Action: We Find Out Where our School of Social Work Alumni Are Making an Impact


A look at where School of Social Work graduates are now.

Dr. Rhenda Hodnett

Dr. Rhenda Hodnett, a 2010 graduate of the SSW PhD program, has been named Deputy Secretary for Programs of the Louisiana Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). She serves under the Secretary of DCFS, Marketa Garner Walters.

Hodnett’s responsibilities at DCFS include developing and implementing a comprehensive child welfare training academy for DCFS staff and stakeholders, done in partnership with the Pelican Center for Children and Families and the seven public universities that participate in the Title IV-E Child Welfare stipend program.

Dr. Dana Hunter

Dr. Dana Hunter, an SSW alumna as of 2013, was selected in November 2015 as the Executive Director of the Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund, where she oversees child abuse and neglect prevention efforts that are coordinated through the Trust Fund programs, working closely with state and federal partners.

The Louisiana Children’s Trust Fund supports prevention programs across Louisiana and statewide conferences through reimbursement grants. The grant program encourages grassroots support and activities at the local, parish, regional and statewide level.

Dr. Stephen Phillippi

Dr. Stephen Phillippi, current director of the LSU Health Sciences Institute for Public Health and Justice, was lead author on a report submitted to the state legislature in February 2016, titled “A Legislated Study of Raising the Age of Juvenile Jurisdiction in Louisiana: The future of 17-year-olds in the Louisiana Justice System.”

The study concluded that Louisiana should consider raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 17 years of age, concluding that the change would benefit public safety and promote youth rehabilitation. Phillippi graduated with a PhD from SSW in 2007.


About SSW
The LSU School of Social Work (SSW) aspires to be a leading graduate school of social work, a vibrant center of intellectual development, a leader in promoting and supporting diverse communities, and an advocate for an integrated and inclusive model of social work, all within a learning environment that supports best educational practices. The Child and Family Studies (CFS) undergraduate degree integrates theory, research, and practice to focus on child development and family dynamics.

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About CHSE

The College of Human Sciences & Education (CHSE) is a nationally accredited division of Louisiana State University. The College is comprised of the School of Education, the School of Leadership and Human Resource Development, the School of Kinesiology, the School of Library and Information Science, the School of Social Work, and the University Laboratory School. These combined schools offer 8 undergraduate degree programs and 18 graduate programs, enrolling more than 1,900 undergraduate and 977 graduate students. The College is committed to achieving the highest standards in teaching, research, and service and is continually working to improve its programs.

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