News Details

SP2 congratulates 2024 award winners

A red banner with the SP2 logo appears outdoors in the foreground, with a gathering in the courtyard in the background

Authored by: Carson Easterly

Photography by: Carson Easterly

Faculty & Research, Student Life


Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) is pleased to announce the 2024 SP2 Award Winners. SP2 Award recipients will be recognized for their outstanding achievements by Dean Sara S. Bachman at the School’s 2024 Commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 18, at the Palestra.

Note: The full SP2 2024 commencement program is available online.


Hal Levin Award

Husel Husile

This award is presented to meritorious students in the Doctor of Philosophy in Social Welfare program who are continuing the process of completing coursework.

Dr. Ram Cnaan Award

Kristin Lynn Stockard

This award is presented to a meritorious student in the Doctorate in Clinical Social Work program who has completed the third year of coursework.

Wilson Spigner Award for Social Policy Excellence

Kaylin Marleece Henderson

This award is presented to a graduating student in the Master of Science in Social Policy program who has a demonstrated record of intellectual inquiry and academic excellence and who is committed to using research to analyze and shape social policy locally, nationally, and/or globally. The award is named in honor of the Reverend Dr. Welford Robinson Wilson II, and his daughter, Dr. Carol Wilson Spigner, the first faculty director of the MSSP program, who have notably increased equity and equality among people who are often forgotten, through research-based change in policy and organizations.

Excellence in Social Impact Award

Sam Hong-Lien Nguyen

This award is presented to a meritorious graduating student in the Nonprofit Leadership program who has a record of academic excellence and has shown promise in using their talents and knowledge to create positive social impact.

Richard J. Estes Global Citizenship Award

Dorothy Jane Thomas

This award is presented to a graduating international student in the Nonprofit Leadership program who embodies a commitment to social impact, who has a record of academic excellence, and who is committed to using their talents and knowledge to make a difference in the world.

Rosa Wessel Award

Kendall M. Spina

This award is presented to a meritorious graduating student in the Master of Social Work program who is selected based on academic performance and one or more of the following: exemplary student leadership, innovative activities in the field practicum, and exceptional community service.

Dr. Ruth E. Smalley Award in International Social Welfare

Joanna May Moley

This award is presented to a member of the Master of Social Work graduating class who, through their writing, participation in class discussions, and experience, has demonstrated an interest in, and a working knowledge of, the international and cultural dimensions of social work practice, and the application of practice to research.

SP2 Student of Excellence

Jasmine Weiss

SP2 student who has had a positive impact on the SP2 community through their collegiality, service, and community engagement inside and outside of the classroom.


The Excellence in Teaching Award is presented to members of the standing and non-standing faculty in recognition of excellence in teaching and mentoring.

Full-Time Faculty

Katherine C. Ledwith, DSW, LCSW

Kate Ledwith, DSW, LCSW is a graduate of both the Master of Social Work and the Doctorate of Social Work programs at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice. She completed her undergraduate work in sociology at Tulane University. Her area of expertise is social work and mental health. Dr. Ledwith has extensive experience working at PENN Behavioral Health as the employee assistance program psychotherapist, providing psychotherapy and case management services using a brief treatment model. Additionally, she performed duties related to crisis management, quality assurance, and program development. Dr. Ledwith played a key role in integrating the Mental Health Parity Act into the current policies and service provisions at Penn Behavioral Health. She also has community mental health experience in Philadelphia. Currently, Dr. Ledwith is in private practice, where she sees outpatient clients for both brief treatment and ongoing psychotherapy. She is a lecturer at SP2 and teaches Advanced Clinical Practice and clinical electives. Her areas of interest include attachment, termination, and the role of social workers in therapeutic relationships.

Full-Time Faculty

Noor Toraif, PhD, MA

Dr. Noor Toraif conducts qualitative and mixed methods community-engaged research to understand the experiences of youth and emerging adults at the intersections of the child welfare, juvenile, and criminal legal systems. She is interested in understanding the causes and consequences of multi-system involvement, including the differential impacts for youth, emerging adults, and communities of color. In her current research, Dr. Toraif combines phenomenological methods and administrative data to understand youths’ trajectories into the juvenile legal system and during reentry. Her secondary interests include youth-engaged and youth participatory action research, the developmental impacts of system involvement, social welfare policy impacting youth and families, and social theory.

Throughout her research areas, Dr. Toraif is committed to involving youth and emerging adults as key partners in the research process, both to ground inquiry in their experiences and priorities and to provide them with tools and resources for organizing, advocacy, and policy change.

Dr. Toraif received her PhD from the Boston University School of Social Work, where she was also a Ford Foundation Doctoral Dissertation Fellow, a Society for Social Work and Research Doctoral Fellow, and a Harvard Rappaport Public Policy Fellow. She earned her MA in child study and human development at Tufts University, specializing in children’s and families’ programs and policies, and graduated from Boston University with a BA in neuroscience and a BA in psychology and philosophy.

Part-Time Lecturers

Flora N. Taylor, PhD

Dr. Flora Taylor passionately advocates for the benefits of experiential learning. She has taught group dynamics, including the dynamics of leadership, power, authority, and group development in many institutions, including Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice, Teachers College of Columbia University, Ashoka University, the William Alanson White Institute, Rutgers University, the Wharton School, and Seton Hall University. Her publications, “Anatomy of a Casualty,” “Building a Multiculturally Competent Practice,” and “Multicultural Competence in Dermatologic Practice” may be obtained upon request.

In addition, Dr. Taylor designs, directs, and staffs many experiential conferences, simulations, and retreats for executives on the dynamics of organizational life using social systems (Power Lab) and group relations methodologies. She is an organizational development consultant, executive coach and group dynamics specialist. She has worked with clients to achieve quantifiable results in their organizations for over 20 years. She brings varied types of experience to her consulting work. She leverages her psychology background along with her group expertise to determine the intervention that best meets the client’s individual and organizational needs.

Dr. Taylor earned her A.B. Cum Laude from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a licensed psychologist with a specialty adult practice in issues related to work and interpersonal relationships.

Part-Time Lecturers

Jason Miller, MSW

Jason Miller brings 17 years of experience as a Social Work leader in a variety of nonprofit and community organizations. He received a BSW from Goshen College in 2000 and an MSW in 2006 from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice.

Since 2006, Jason has had four executive leadership positions. The first position was at a youth focused non-profit called Youth Connections located in Franklin, Indiana. He was the associate executive director at Youth Connections. From 2009 to 2014, Jason was employed at Bethesda Project as the associate director, clinical services. In this role, Jason provided clinical supervision, agency planning, agency evaluation, and staff training to Bethesda Project’s fourteen homeless/housing/social service programs. From 2014 to 2017, Jason was the executive director of Ready, Willing & Able Philadelphia.

In August 2017, Jason was appointed as the CEO of Families Forward Philadelphia. Families Forward Philadelphia provides emergency shelter and housing to families who lack permanent housing in Philadelphia. In this role, Jason focuses on fundraising, program development, staff supervision, training, evaluation, board management, public relations, government relations, new business ventures, and strategic planning.

He has taught a section of the Social Work Macro Practice class at the University of Pennsylvania since 2010 as a visiting professor. He has also provided Social Work field instruction to BSW and MSW student interns at the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, and Indiana University.


This recognition is presented annually to an SP2 staff member who demonstrates a commitment to the SP2 community through service, collegiality, and overall community engagement.

Albert Louie, IT Support Specialist

Albert offers technical support to the School of Social Policy & Practice and its research centers.


The Models of Excellence Award program celebrates the extraordinary achievements of full- and part-time staff across the University’s schools and centers. 

Models of Excellence Program: Model Supervisor Award

Adam Roth-Saks

Adam Roth-Saks, Administrative Director of the Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership Program, is a model leader who advocates not only for his team but also for the entire Penn community. He launched one of the first fully online master’s programs. Adam encourages collaboration and innovation within and across teams and gives everyone a seat at the table.