Back row L-R: Dante Cicchetti, Elizabeth Franklin, Darnell Logan, Eric Decker, Ronald Schaefer; Front row L-R: Cherie Collins Sims, Ronald Salazar, Jennifer Sampson, Dean Michael, Arunya Tuicomepee, James Frazee. Photo by Jarius Davis.
Cherie Collins Sims and Jennifer Sampson, alumni of the Family Social Science doctoral program, were honored at the recent College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) Distinguished Alumni Awards ceremony.
Michael Rodriguez, CEHD Dean, noted that all the honorees have made exceptional achievements in their careers and communities, and the awards celebrate their accomplishments.
Cherie Collins Sims
Cherie Collins Sims (pictured center) is Interim President and CEO of Prosperity Now, a national organization dedicated to advancing racial and ethnic economic justice headquartered in Washington, D.C. Prior to stepping into the role, Cherie served as the organization’s Chief Strategy and Innovation Officer where she led enterprise-wide strategy, performance, impact, and learning. She oversaw the organization’s programs, policy, research, and field engagement efforts to ensure strategic alignment. Sims has over 20 years of experience working with philanthropic, governmental, and non-profit institutions across the country on strategic efforts that target transformative systemic change within families, organizations, and communities. Her subject matter expertise includes systems and family systems thinking as well as family and family-community centered practice. Sims holds a PhD in family social science and has worked as a therapist providing clinical services to individuals, families, and groups as well as held research and teaching positions in higher education.
Jennifer Sampson (pictured center) is Chair of the Family Therapy Program and soon-to-be Founding Dean of the Relational Therapies Division at Antioch University in Seattle. Under her leadership, the Family Therapy program has increased the number of faculty and graduate students. She also revised hiring practices to ensure faculty diversity, and refined the curriculum to strengthen the emphasis on anti-racism and anti-oppression. With an eye toward the future, she continues to advocate for greater student engagement and the development of a sexual and gender minority specialization to better serve the community. Sampson is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, with a specialization in reproductive mental health. Her dissertation examined the influences of unresolved trauma, loss, and family dynamics on hoarding behavior and led her to establish The Hoarding Project, a nonprofit with offices in Washington and Minnesota. She is dedicated to the future of her profession, serving on the board of the Washington Association for Marriage and Family Therapy and researching the use of mixed-reality simulation software in training programs. Sampson has a PhD in Family Social Science, and says she still benefits from the mentorship of her advisor, Dr. Steve Harris.
"Jen was the kind of graduate student who aimed high," says Harris, professor in Family Social Science. "She took on big projects and saw them through. She was, and remains, a visionary professional who is all about expanding the reach of mental health services to those who are neglected or at the margins of society. I'm proud to have been a small influence along her incredible journey and value the moments Jen and I can catch up at professional conferences and I get to hear all about the amazing things she's doing and the difference she's making in the world."