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Dustin Corwin and Bezil Taylor Awarded the 2019 Student Leadership in Diversity Scholarships

Thursday, December 5, 2019   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Duane Breijak
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The Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers was pleased to award two Student Leadership in Diversity Scholarships at the 2019 Legislative Education & Advocacy Day (LEAD) on November 6. These scholarships recognize and promote leaders among social work students who are working on projects, research, or advocacy initiatives that promote diversity and social justice. Recipients have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities, have an above average academic record, and are working to promote the ideals of social work and our Code of Ethics.


This year’s recipients, Dustin Corwin and Bezil Taylor have gone above and behind fulfilling all of these requirements.


Dustin Corwin is a BSW candidate at Western Michigan University’s School of Social Work. Dustin is a dedicated and passionate BSW candidate already making change in west Michigan. Dustin has used his lived experience with substance use, mental illness, and experience in the criminal justice system to propel him to a career in social work.

Branch County Probate Judge and Kellogg Community College faculty Kirk Kaskian had this to say of Dustin.


“It has been my pleasure to teach innumerable college students over the past 25 years. Clearly, one of the most notable students that enrolled in my courses is Dustin Corwin. Mr. Corwin was a conscientious and motivated individual that always presented himself in a very professional manner. My knowledge of Mr. Corwin is not limited only to observations in the classroom setting, as I have stayed in contact with him over the years. He has recently taken steps to launch a much-needed substance abuse recovery group in our community. But, perhaps more importantly has been Mr. Corwin’s unwavering and genuine desire to pursue a higher education… I truly believe that he has the desires and skills necessary to be successful in the academic environment if provided the necessary resources to do so.”

The program Dustin has started is a SMART recovery group in Branch county. SMART, or Self-Management and Recovery Training is a global community of mutual support groups which brings community members together to help one another with problems related to addiction.


Dustin is also currently working with the Dean of the College of Health and Human Services to develop a program that better connects non-traditional students to Western Michigan University.


After graduation, Dustin plans to pursue his MSW or PhD at WMU or U of M.


This year’s MSW recipient, Bezil Taylor, is another example of a social work student making a huge impact. Bezil is currently an Organizing and community leadership student at Michigan State University.


Before deciding to pursue an MSW, Bezil spent 12 years in both micro and macro positions working on issues like homeless youth services, foster care, and advocacy for youth in the juvenile justice system


Bezil has continued his work during his MSW program on many of the issues he is passionate about. MSU’s MSW Program Director Amanda Woodward confirmed this work ethic with the following statement:


“From the moment he arrived on campus, Mr. Taylor has taken a leadership role on campus and in the larger community. During the Fall 2019 semester he spearheaded a Homeless Awareness Month Service Event in collaboration with the School of Social Work Graduate Student Advisory Committee (GradSAC) and the Michigan Coalition Against Homelessness. He garnered donations of money and goods and organized an event where student put together hundreds of care bags of clothing, hygiene products, and nonperishable food items. MSU and community resource providers attended to share information. This event was entirely at Mr. Taylor’s own initiative and was not a trivial undertaking for a full-time, first-semester graduate student, but is a testament to his passion about the need to raise awareness around homeless youth and MSU students who are struggling with food and housing insecurity. He has continued to build networks on campus around this issue and will be using his Graduate Assistantship this coming academic year to work with the School of Social Work’s FAME program (Fostering Academic Mentoring Excellence) and the Food and Housing Insecurity Learning Community in a more formal way.


He consistently demonstrates strong leadership abilities and embodies the social justice values that are the foundation of the School of Social Work and the social work profession.”


Bezil has also worked to facilitate a life skills and job readiness curriculum for youth in the justice system, and is currently interning with NASW member Senator Stephanie Chang, working on advocacy and political engagement.


After graduation Bezil plans to work in a community organizing or policy advocacy role, with an additional goal of teaching macro social work at a university level.


Congratulations to both Dustin and Bezil! 



Images above: Dustin Corwin and Bezil Taylor receive their Student Leadership in Diversity Scholarships at the 2019 LEAD conference in Lansing on November 6th from NASW-Michigan Director of Member Services Duane Breijak & Director of Public Policy Algeria Wilson. 

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