Peer Mentor Program

B.S.W. and M.S.W. students have access to specially trained peer mentors who, as veterans of the program, can provide guidance and answer questions in ways that only students can. Peer mentors are upper-level social work students with firsthand experience and knowledge of navigating our program, school and community. They receive ongoing consultation, supervision and leadership-development training through the Office of Student Success.

Any prospective, incoming or current social work student can be paired with a peer mentor. To be connected with a peer mentor, contact the Office of Student Success at sswinfo@vcu.edu.

For more information, contact:
Office of Student Success
Phone: (804) 828-1030
Email: sswinfo@vcu.edu

B.S.W. peer mentors

Jonathan Brodie

Year: Senior

Hometown: Martinsville, Virginia

Social work interests: Social Class, poverty and trauma

Internships held: SCAN Child Advocacy Center and VCU Health System Care Coordination

Volunteer or paid work experience: Linwood Robinson Senior Center, Richmond Neighborhood Resource Center

Favorite things to do: Mario Kart, exercise, shop and watch television/sports

The sense of community within the Social Work program has been more than I could have ever imagined. From supportive teachers to lifelong friends, this program - and this school - has always offered a helping hand.

Jen Frydrychowski

Year: Senior

Hometown: Richmond, Virginia

Social work interests: Mental health, child welfare and veterans

Internships held: VDSS Child Welfare Licensing Unit, Open Door Resource Center, The McShin Foundation and Virginia Recovery Foundation

Favorite things to do: Spending time on the couch with books, time in nature with trees, time anywhere with family and friends and occasionally binging on Law & Order.

Katherine Gillies

Year: Senior

Hometown: Springfield, Virginia

Social work interests: Recovery services, mental health services and school social work

Internships held: Richmond Behavioral Health Authority and Richmond Residential Services, Inc.

Volunteer or paid work experience: The healing place and HCA hospital systems

Favorite things to do: I love to listen to music. Baking is part of my meditation. I have fun hanging out with my son.

M.S.W. Peer Mentors

Gina Cricchi

Concentration: Concentration

Hometown: Baltimore, Maryland

Social work interests: Mental health, trauma, children and adolescents and student affairs

Internships held: Kennedy Krieger Institute, Richmond Autism Integration Network, Johnston Willis Hospital and United Methodist Family Services

Volunteer or paid work experience: Virginia Commonwealth University

Favorite things to do: Spending time with friends and family, exploring Richmond, going to concerts and travelling

Marina Green

Hometown: Fredericksburg, Virginia

Social work interests: Trauma, healthcare and social work research

Internships held: Central Virginia Health Services

Favorite things to do: Reading, listening to music, cooking and finding new restaurants

I will soon be a double alumna of the School of Social Work and my time here could not have been better. The program, the faculty and staff are invested in our success as students and cheer us on from orientation to graduation. 

Evan Jang

Hometown: McLean, Virginia

Social work interests: Mental health and trauma, health and families

Internships held: Counseling Alliance of Virginia and Mill House

Volunteer or paid work experience: The Choice Group

Favorite things to do: Eating, hiking, listening to podcasts and watching NBA

VCU attracts some of the best people around. Their support and perspectives have helped me to develop not only into an effective clinician but also into the best person that I can be.

Leah Kramer

Concentration: Concentration

Hometown: Ankeny, Iowa

Social work interests: Mental health and crisis intervention

Internships held: RBHA North Campus and VCU Health Systems outpatient oncology

Favorite things to do: Running, hanging out with friends, visiting the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and hanging out with family

I've learned that Social Work is more than letters after my name, it is a way of viewing the world and others that have changed my life.

Ellen Labgold

Hometown: Leesburg, Virginia

Social work interests: Older adults, healthcare and substance abuse

Internships held: Loudoun County Adult Detention Center

Volunteer or paid work experience: Traveler's Aid Dulles Airport and Capital Hospice Adler Center

Favorite things to do: Playing the piano, golfing and traveling with my family

I have really enjoyed my experience in the distance education format of the M.S.W. program. Although it has been very challenging, I have learned a great deal and made wonderful connections that will last a lifetime.

Heather Lambert

Hometown: Stafford, Virginia

Social work interests: Eco-therapy, wilderness therapy and DV/SA

Internships held: Shalom Farms and National Counseling Group

Volunteer or paid work experience: Discovery School of Virginia, Dominion ABA and the YWCA

Favorite things to do: Running, triathlons, spending time with my pup, reading, hiking and playing board games

N. Elizabeth Marconi

Concentration: Concentration

Hometown: Washington, DC

Social work interests: First generation immigrants, early childhood-adolescents and education

Internships held: United Methodist Family Services and Family Lifeline

Volunteer or paid work experience: United Methodist Family Services, The Bridge CDC and Greater Richmond YMCA

Favorite things to do: Hanging out with my husband, family and friends, watching YouTube videos, cleaning, exploring RVA

Heather Mendelson

Hometown: Tallahassee, Florida

Social work interests: Trauma, mental health, children, women and couples

Internships held: St. Mary's Hospital and YWCA

Volunteer or paid work experience: The Choice Group

Favorite things to do: Reading novels, writing creatively, spending quality time with my husband, exploring Richmond and exercising

Returning to school can be as rewarding as it is daunting. There is literally no limit as to what you can get out of the program if you are willing to put in the work.

Jasmin Nelson

Concentration: Concentration

Hometown: Washington, DC

Social work interests: Child welfare, domestic violence and mental health

Internships held: Richmond City Victim Witness Services and Chesterfield-Colonial Heights Department of Social Services

Volunteer or paid work experience: Diversity International Charities, Guilford County Department of Social Services and Habitat for Humanity

Favorite things to do: Cooking, traveling the world, exercising, singing and listening to music and hanging with family and friends

Kelley Poff

Hometown: Vienna, Virginia

Social work interests: Housing, homelessness and mental health

Internships held: Virginia Housing Alliance, Goochland Free Clinic & Family Services and The Daily Planet

Volunteer or paid work experience: Commonwealth Catholic Charities

Favorite things to do: Seeing live music, running, reading, going to brunch and hanging out with my cat

Susan Theon

Concentration: Concentration

Hometown: Vienna, Virginia

Social work interests: Medical, counseling and geriatric

Internships held: Birmingham Green District Home Assisted Living

Volunteer or paid work experience: Alzheimer's Association

Favorite things to do: Reading, spending time with my family and three dogs and traveling

Joel N. Walkley

Hometown: Quicksburg, Virginia

Social work interests: Juvenile justice, child welfare and substance abuse

Internships held: Winchester Community Mental Health Center

Volunteer or paid work experience: Concord United Church of Christ and Family Services Specialist

Favorite things to do: Hiking on the Massanutten Mountain

The best thing about the distance format is that I am able to apply classroom learning experiences directly to "real life" as I am working in the social work field. There have been many occasions when I have been able to take a new skill from a textbook or lecture and put it into practice within a project at work. I also appreciate how I am growing in my ability to think critically about my day-to-day work through my growing social work lens.