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JRI is excited to announce that several members of our staff have been awarded scholarships to undertake studies for their master’s degrees at Massachusetts colleges and universities.
JRI awards scholarship recipients one-third the cost of tuition for master’s candidates. Partnering schools and universities, including Boston University, Simmons College and William James College also award scholarship recipients a portion of the tuition cost, helping to substantially alleviate the financial impact of going back to school.
“We invest in the education and training of JRI staff at all levels because we know that these committed employees will be able to provide care at the highest level for the clients we serve,” said Kari Beserra, Executive Vice President. “We believe in our team of professionals and we congratulate these scholarship recipients for the dedication and devotion that this work demands.”
Here are the recipients:
Kolvathy Chhiv, who goes by the name of Bruce, will pursue a master’s degree at Simmons College. Chhiv is an intensive care coordinator at JRI’s Dimock Community Service Agency, working on behalf of clients in need. Chhiv, who received a bachelor’s degree in sociology at the University of Rhode Island in 2009, has worked in the greater Boston area for 10 years and enjoys serving a diverse community and helping people from all walks of life.
Brihanna Hebert is enrolled at Boston University in the master’s of social work program and has been working in JRI’s Foster Care and Adoption Program located in Berkley, MA, for two years. She enjoys being able to work with children and families, and being a support system for them. She graduated from Roger Williams University in 2014 with a major in psychology.
Jessica Schwenk is pursuing her master’s degree at Boston University while working in JRI’s Community Based Services program on Cape Cod and the Islands. She did her undergraduate work at Bridgewater State University, where she volunteered and worked at homeless shelters, detox centers, and as a counselor for sexual assault and domestic violence survivors. Now through JRI, as a therapeutic mentor, she works with families and individuals.
Josh Stennett is studying at Boston University in the CBS & SE Continuum. He works for JRI's Cape Community Based Services doing both continuum case management and CBHI Mentoring services for youth in need. He is originally from Mississippi where he obtained a bachelor of science degree in psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi. He has worked in the mental health field for 11 years with both children and adults suffering from various addictions and/or mental health conditions. Stennett is also a certified foster parent in Massachusetts and serves in various roles in his home church.
Andrea Souza will study at Boston University. She graduated from Bridgewater State University in 2015 with her bachelor’s in psychology. Shortly after, she began working as a victim witness advocate with the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office and later became a forensic interviewer. Andrea works for the Children’s Advocacy Center of Bristol County as an education and outreach coordinator, educating the community on various issues related to child abuse and prevention.
Stephanie Suryana is pursuing her master’s degree in clinical mental health at William James College. Suryana works as a therapeutic mentor at the Metro-Boston Community Based Services site in Jamaica Plain and has developed a passion for youth who have experienced trauma in under-served communities. After completing her undergraduate studies in cell biology at Bob Jones University and a public health graduate certificate from the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, Stephanie sought to refocus her professional development from physical health to mental health with a community focus. She seeks the skills to become a multi-culturally focused, trauma-informed, and community-based part of the JRI team.
C. Mike Wilson is seeking to continue his education and training in social work and is pursuing his master’s degree at Boston University. He has worked in JRI’s Children’s Friend and Family Services division for over three years and was a part of the merger with JRI. He has had many different roles at CFFS, but for the past year and a half has worked as the student director of the Positive Alternatives Student Suspension program. Prior to that he was a math teacher and did team building at an adventure camp, and now works in mental health. He has traveled extensively and lived for a period in Guatemala, where he worked as a volunteer.
Katie Wordell, who works as a family advocate at the Children’s Advocacy Center of Bristol County, is pursuing her master’s degree at Boston University. She serves as a family’s primary contact as they navigate the multiple agencies involved in protecting children, assessing the needs of the family and referring them to community-based services. She began working for the CAC after graduating with a bachelor of arts degree from the University of New Hampshire in 2016.