Women’s History Month: Get to know 3 women from the Mandel School

Since its establishment in the 1980s, Women’s History Month has taken place each March to encourage the study, observance and celebration of women’s vital impacts on American history. 

Such impacts are evident throughout Case Western Reserve’s past and present, from the university’s origins as the Flora Stone Mather College for Women, to the efforts of today’s Flora Stone Mather Center for Women and student groups such as those in the Women’s Coalition.   

All can celebrate this month with resources and events from Kelvin Smith Library, and read on to enjoy the final edition of The Daily’s weekly series highlighting some of the many women from across fields who help CWRU excel. 

Katherine Lewis (MSSA ’18, LSW)

Photo of Katherine Lewis

Research associate at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention Research and Education

With over 10 years of experience in healthcare research and service evaluation, Katherine Lewis serves as a social worker with a clinical specialty in early intervention. Her interest in her field began when working with health and social care services in England, where she spent most of her adult life before earning her Master of Science in Social Administration from Case Western Reserve as a Mandel Leadership Fellow.

Throughout her roles, Lewis has provided psychotherapy, therapeutic behavioral services and consultation to individuals, families, groups and service providers. She’s encountered many moments of feeling proud to be a social worker, including in a school-based position when she helped increase the family and school resources and skills of a 10-year-old client, allowing the student to feel safer and engage in more pro-social behaviors. 

“Being a social worker means I can diagnose and treat a system as easily as I can a person, often with better results,” Lewis said. “I’m proud to be a change agent.”

Learn more about Lewis and read her insights in a recent article celebrating World Social World Day.

Grace DiPierro

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Graduate student in the Master of Social Work program 

After completing a Bachelor of Arts in psychology at the University of Dayton, Grace DiPierro set her eyes on Case Western Reserve University. Now, she’s applying what she’s learned in the Master of Social Work program at the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center as an ambulatory/outpatient social worker. 

Prior to that position, DiPierro participated in a first-year field experience at Holding Space Psychotherapy, a private practice that offers mental health and counseling services. There, she observed therapists for a few months before taking on her own caseload of clients, working with those who struggled with anxiety, bipolar disorder and other mental health concerns. 

DiPierro, who is expected to graduate in May, hopes to continue engaging with clients in a meaningful way by getting to know each person holistically. 

“I think getting to know the whole person is an important part of good social work because it reminds us that while our clients are coming to us for help, they are more than their problems,” DiPierro noted. “Having a strong positive relationship with a client is sometimes more important than anything you’ll ever say or do.”

Learn more about DiPierro in this article.

Megan Holmes

Photo of Megan Holmes

Professor and co-director of the Center on Trauma and Adversity

Recently named a 2024 Fellow of the Society for Social Work and Research, Megan Holmes boasts over 10 years of working in the field of child exposure. 

Specifically, Holmes’ research interests include child maltreatment, sibling relationships and maternal parenting, early childhood development and intimate partner violence exposure. The overarching goal of her research is to contribute to the optimal development of children who have been exposed to domestic violence by identifying risk and protective factors that will be translated into interventions.

In addition to teaching course subjects such as women’s issues and theory and practice approaches in direct practice social work at the Mandel School, Holmes serves as a doctoral student mentor where she offers students opportunities to learn essential research and scholarship skills. Holmes is passionate about her ongoing work with doctoral and master’s students, and strives to develop their skills so they become productive independent scholars. 

Holmes has also published three papers on her research for the HealthPath Foundation using her clinical experience with families from domestic violence households

Learn more about Holmes and her latest accomplishment.