The 2023 Crown Family School Alumni Award RecipientsCongratulations to this year’s alumni award recipients!
We invite you to join us on Friday, May 19, to celebrate the following honorees. Please register for the Alumni Awards and Social Justice Address featuring Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II by May 5.
The Elizabeth Butler Award recognizes a recent graduate who has shown a strong commitment to social change, leadership in an agency or community, innovative approaches to practice, or contributions to the field of social work through research and publications. This year’s award recipient is Alana Gunn, AM/MPP ’05, PhD ’13.
The Volunteer Leadership Award honors alumni who have embodied at least ten years of service to the Crown Family School through activities such as giving and volunteerism, including board or committee involvement and mentorship. This year’s award recipient is Bernie Dyme, AM ’79.
The Distinctive Innovation in Social Services Award honors a social service organization or program that represents distinctive innovations that contribute to new dimensions of service and performance in social work and human services. This year’s award recipient is the MAAFA Redemption Project.
The Milestone Achievement Award recognizes alumni from milestone reunion classes who have demonstrated exemplary social work values, exceptional performance in clinical or administrative practice, and a strong commitment to the profession. This year’s recipients are Amy Hurd, AM ’03, DSW and Camille R. Quinn, AM ’98, PhD.
The Elizabeth Butler Award
Alana Gunn, AM/MPP ’05, PhD ’13
Since graduating from the Crown Family School, Alana Gunn, AM/MPP ’05, PhD ’13, has devoted her career to examining how criminal legal system involvement and experiences of stigmatization shape the health and well-being of individuals, especially women. She has extensive practice and community organizing experiences working with individuals who navigate justice involvement, as well as with the agencies charged with supporting their community reintegration and healing processes. According to her nominator, Alana’s work with women with incarceration experiences, and their reintegration into the community “is deep and powerful to reconstructing a more humane and equitable culture.”
As Alana awaits final decision on her tenure portfolio after receiving very favorable reviews, she is poised to become one of the first Black scholars to receive tenure in the Criminology, Law and Justice department at UIC. In addition to her teaching and service roles at UIC, Alana serves as a Faculty Partner at Fordham University’s Research Ethics Training Institute as well as a Research Fellow with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Alana is currently a Principal Investigator of a Robert Wood Johnson grant funded project exploring how surveillance and policing shapes health outcomes for justice-involved families. Moreover, she continues her research commitment to justice-involved women as she investigates the ethics-specific implications of conducting community-based research with formerly incarcerated women navigating histories of trauma and stigmatization.
According to her nominator, Alana’s research “demonstrates remarkable and impressive commitment to …improve society…. Her work speaks to the leadership she lends and collaborative mind that she has towards teaching future leaders and addressing significant social challenges we face as a society.”
Volunteer Leadership Award
Bernie Dyme, AM ’79
Two years after finishing his degree, Bernie Dyme, AM ’79 co-founded Perspectives Ltd, an organization committed to delivering the highest quality workplace resource programs, where he now serves as President and CEO. His contributions as a Crown Family School volunteer started in 2009 when he began his tenure on the Advisory Council. Since 2017, Bernie has served as President of the Council during a period of significant strategic growth within the University community, the Chicago community – especially on the South Side, at the national level, and on the global stage.
His volunteer contributions were remarkable during the pandemic when he generously offered the services of his firm to provide counseling and free resources to students as they navigated COVID-19 challenges. His efforts continue to distinguish the Crown Family School and its commitment to advance a more just society
Distinctive Innovation in Social Services Award
The MAAFA Redemption Project, a faith-based residential institute for young men located in West Garfield Park, is the 2023 Distinctive Innovation in Social Service Award recipient. Marshall Hatch, Jr., MDiv/AM ’17, co-founder and executive director, launched the Project to improve the quality of life for young adult men of color, help them reimagine their identity as men and leaders, and support them as they develop the skills to persevere and succeed.
With coaching, connections with employment and social service providers, and an approach that leverages the relationships in community churches, the MAAFA Redemption Project is serving the West Garfield Park community, empowering young adult men, and revitalizing the city.
Most recently, the MAAFA Redemption Project—along with a coalition of community and health-based organizations—received the “Chicago Prize” from the Pritzker-Traubert Family Foundation. This prestigious prize supports community initiatives that will create bold and positive change on the South and West Sides of Chicago.
The prize will fund the construction of the Sankofa Wellness Village, a multifaceted project that will include a wellness center, community credit union, a community-grocer initiative, an arts & activism space, and small business hub. Through these community-led efforts the MAAFA Redemption Project will shift the economic development, health, education, and employment outcomes for West Garfield Park residents, and reenergize an important community.
Milestone Achievement Award
Amy Hurd, AM ’03, DSW
This year’s recipient of the Milestone Achievement Award, Amy Hurd, AM ’03, DSW, said one nominator, is an unsung hero who “deserves a little singing.
As a mitigation specialist in the Office of the Federal Public Defender in the Eastern District of Virginia, Amy is assigned to all mental health cases, and coordinates with outside mental health experts, including psychiatrists, psychologists, and neurologists. Amy investigates the circumstances of clients’ alleged offenses, develops trauma-informed biopsychosocial histories of her clients, and contextualizes human behavior in exploring affirmative defenses and sentencing mitigation. She is also the office’s resident expert in death penalty mitigation.
Amy is “deeply compassionate and doggedly tough, which speaks to her pride as a social worker and commitment to excellence on behalf of her clients.” Another nominator seconded that description, stating that “Amy leads by example. She is tenacious, nonjudgmental, and trustworthy.”
Her work has had profound impact. A colleague said, “When I joined the federal public defender office, I thought I knew a lot about the issues that affect our clients. Amy changed how I think about poverty, race, mental illness, systems of oppression, and trauma. If you are not fortunate enough to work with Amy, perhaps you can be inspired in your own work by what she does and who she is.”
Milestone Achievement Award
Camille R. Quinn, AM ’98, PhD
As a student, Chicago native Camille R. Quinn, AM ’98, PhD, recipient of the 2023 Milestone Achievement Award, was greatly respected for her exemplary work and high achievements. Today, her nominator says, Camille’s tenacity and ambition continue to inspire and “make our alumni base proud.”
Now, as an associate professor of Community Engagement Research at the School of Social Work, Center for Equitable Family & Community Well-being at the University of Michigan, Camille’s scholarship continues to reflect her ability to tackle tough topics. Her research demonstrates her continuing interest in and commitment to community, the values of the social work profession, and the need to support equity deserving populations.
Camille has led efforts in examining the health equity of African American adolescents and young adults at the intersections of race, gender, health, crime and system involvement. She is the PI of a National Institute of Minority Health and Health Disparities Loan Repayment award focused on mental health disparities of Black girls who are involved with the youth punishment system, and a PI of a MacArthur Foundation’s Safety and Justice Challenge, which seeks to increase criminal justice reform at the local level.
While these achievements are impressive, Camille’s nominator is even more amazed “by how much she contributes to others and her community, as well as by what she has and will continue to accomplish.”