WEST LIBERTY, W.Va., Dec. 21, 2022 — West Liberty University senior Katherine Banal enjoyed an opportunity to share her research with a global audience recently.
Banal and professor, Dr. Eveldora Wheeler, were invited to present at the Council for Social Work (CSWE) APM International Conference, held in Anaheim, Ca., this past November.
“I took a research methods course last semester as a requirement of the social work curriculum. Since CSWE is such a large organization, I was not expecting this. I had completely forgotten about the submission until I received an email from CSWE in early May congratulating me and inviting me to present my research at their 168th Annual Program Meeting,” Banal explained.
“Even though I was shocked at my acceptance, I was proud of my achievement as an undergraduate student. I worked with Dr. Eveldora Wheeler for months to prepare for my presentation and to complete all the required steps to be able to attend the conference. I am very grateful for Dr. Wheeler for helping me with every step along the way.”
Banal is from Adena, Ohio and expects to graduate with a bachelor’s of Social Work in May 2023. Her major is Social Work with a double minor in Addiction Studies and Community Education. The research was part of an assignment for her Research Methods class, taught by Wheeler.
Wheeler is a tenured associate professor and Acting Dean of General Studies at WLU. She holds master degrees in both Social Work and Business Administration and a doctoral degree in Educational Psychology and is a licensed social worker.
She has presented in the past at numerous CSWE conferences and is originally from the Detroit area. Now a resident of McMurray, Pa., Wheeler has been a member of WLU’s faculty since 2017.
After months of preparation, the student and professor traveled to California and attended the conference in-person.
Entitled, “Telemental Health in Clinical Social Work: The New Approach to Treatment Interventions,” the actual research looked at the trending use of virtual treatment, spurred on by the pandemic.
“I was thrilled to represent West Liberty University at an international conference. It’s a huge accomplishment and I hope it can bring some light and attention to the field of social work and the important work that social workers do. While looking through the other presentations given at the conference, I realized that most of the other presenters have their master and doctoral degrees. It was an honor to present my research alongside so many accomplished social workers, especially Dr. Wheeler. I’m only an undergraduate student, but this accomplishment was my first step in my career as a social worker,” Banal said.
Prior to graduation, Banal will complete a 400-hour internship at Wheeling’s Harmony House Children’s Advocacy Center, prior to taking the licensure exam and becoming a professional Licensed Social Worker.
“I have an interest in the field of military and veteran social work. Some of my family has served in the military and my boyfriend currently serves in the Marine Corps. After hearing of their difficulties and experiences with serving, I want to be able to give back to those who fight for our freedom. I plan to get a year or two of experience in the field before going back to school to get my MSW in mental and behavioral health.”
Part of the College of Liberal and Creative Arts, the Social Work program is just one of many degree programs offered in the liberal arts field. For details visit westliberty.edu/social-work.