2014 Archives

SMU presents Family Violence Symposium

February 5, 2014

The SMU Association of Student Counselors, Zeta Phi Beta and Alpha Chi Omega Sororities present the SMU Family Violence Symposium, 6-9 p.m., Wednesday, Feb. 12 at SMU’s Hughes Trigg Student Center Theater (3140 Dyer Street).

SMU Family Violence SymposiumThe symposium is free and open to the public. For general parking information, please visit http://www.smu.edu/AboutSMU/Maps/Parking

The symposium will cover all aspects of family violence. Discussion topics include:

  • Abuse and abusers
  • Victims (teens and adults)
  • The effects of family violence on children
  • Intervention strategies
  • Professional insight
  • Community involvement

Symposium panelists include David Almager, director of the Battering Intervention and Prevention Program at The Family Place; Jessica Bair, counseling intern for Family Tree Counseling and senior advocate for Loveisrespect; Tonia Cunningham, victim advocate for the Frisco Police Department; and Sarah Feuerbacher, SMU professor and director of the SMU Center for Family Counseling.

Other panelists include Jessica Hooks, program manager of child and adolescent units at Timberlawn Mental Health System; Kristen Howell, director of development at the Salesmanship Club of Dallas; Michelle Kinder, executive director at the Salesmanship Club of Dallas; and Renee McDonald, SMU associate dean of research in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, co-director of the SMU Family Research Center and SMU psychology professor.

To watch the event live from your computer, go to http://bambuser.com/channel/SMUfamilyviolencesymposium (Link will only work 2 hours prior to event)

Continuing education credits will be provided for professionals. Contact Sarah Feuerbacher at sfeuerbach@smu.edu for more information.

More About the Panelists

David Almager

David Almager is the Director of the Battering Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP) at The Family Place in Dallas. He has worked with both incarcerated and court ordered offenders for 15 years. David is a veteran in the field of field of family violence having served as the director of family violence services in Amarillo, a mental health worker in a state correctional facility, and as a BIPP counselor in Plano. David has presented at state and local conferences in the area of battering intervention and prevention, group facilitation, and cultural competency. He holds a Master of Science degree in counseling/ health from West Texas A&M University.

Jessica Bair, MS, LPC-I

Jessica Bair earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from St. Edward’s University and a Master of Science in Counseling at Southern Methodist University.  During undergraduate studies, Jessica had the opportunity to be a peer mentor on her college campus where she worked with student victims of sexual assault and relationship issues. She went on to become a senior advocate at Loveisrespect, the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline, during its beginning stages and was influential in the program’s growth and success. Jessica currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Mary Kay Foundation and was recently the spokesperson for the Loveisrespect Text-for-Help campaign, which educated high school and college students of the dangers and signs of dating violence. Jessica has completed various internships in the field of domestic violence, working with agencies in Dallas such as Genesis Women’s Shelter and Hope’s Door. Jessica is currently an employee of Family Tree Counseling in Plano, Texas and working on her LPC-Intern hours to fulfill Texas state board requirements.

Tonia Cunningham, MA

Tonia Cunningham joined the Frisco Police Department in August of 2000 as their full-time Victim Advocate.  She was named Victim Assistance and Grants Administrator in December 2011.  Ms. Cunningham is a current member of the Collin County Council on Family Violence, serving as the Chair of the Membership Committee and on the Advisory Community.  She also serves on the Texas Health Presbyterian Community Health Council, the North Central Texas Council of Governments Criminal Justice Policy Development Committee; Children’s Medical Center’s  Beyond ABCs Advisory Board, and the Collin County Crime Victim Council. Mrs. Cunningham holds a Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts both in Sociology from Texas Woman’s University.  She came to the Frisco Police Department from Tarrant County Community Supervision and Corrections Department (probation) where she was employed for approximately 7 years both in the DWI unit and a felony unit.  Prior to employment with Tarrant County she served as a Parole Officer in Denton County. Tonia served as an Associate Faculty Member with Collin County Community College District in the Sociology and Criminal Justice Departments from 1998 – 2005. Mrs. Cunningham is a long-time North Texas resident.

Jessica Hooks, LCSW

Jessica Hooks is a licensed clinical social worker and currently the child and adolescent Program Manager at Timberlawn Mental Health System. Jessica has worked as a therapist, case manager, advocate and educator in the area of family violence for over 7 years while at Hope's Door in Plano and Parkland Hospital's Victim Intervention Program and Rape Crisis Center. She is a trainer of Solution-Focused methods for victim service providers through the University of Texas at Arlington's professional development program and has been a presenter and co-presenter at schools, workshops and conferences on the topics of Healthy Relationships in Teens, Anger Management, Risk Assessments and Diagnosis in children and adolescents.

Kristen Howell, MSW

Kristen Howell is the Director of Development at Salesmanship Club of Dallas, a large nonprofit that helps children and their families build or repair social emotional health so they can achieve their full potential.  As Development Director, Kristen is leading the effort to create the first continuing philanthropy program to grow and diversify revenues for Salesmanship Club Youth and Family Centers.  Kristen was previously employed at Genesis Women’s Shelter, where she worked for over 10 years.  At Genesis, she served as a women’s therapist, the Director of Clinical and Professional Services, and as Director of Fund Development. She has worked with adult victims of domestic violence in both the shelter setting, as well as in the long term counseling center.  Kristen graduated from Baylor University with a Bachelor’s in Social Work and the University of North Carolina with a Master’s in Social Work. 

Michelle Kinder, M.Ed., LPC

Michelle Kinder has worked in the field of children's mental health for the last 17 years. Michelle graduated from Baylor University with a bachelor’s degree in theatre arts and the University of Texas with a master’s in educational psychology. She has been with the Salesmanship Club for over 14 years. Prior to assuming the role of Executive Director she worked as the Director of Therapeutic Services. She began her tenure at the Salesmanship Club as a family therapist and as the school counselor of Salesmanship Club's Jonsson School. Michelle serves as an Advisory Board member for Children's Medical Center's 2013 Beyond ABC: Assessing Children's health in Dallas County report. Michelle is a member of the Leadership Dallas Alumni Association (Class of 2012, Class of 2013 advisor) and is passionate about the community working together to generate new creative solutions that put all children on a path to success. She developed a family strengthening program entitled Fortaleza en la Familia (Strong Families) that has been used to provide culturally grounded parent education to thousands of north Texas families.

Renee McDonald, Ph.D.

Dr. McDonald is the Associate Dean for Research in SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences, and she is a Professor in the Department of Psychology. She is an internationally renowned family violence researcher whose work has added significantly to our knowledge of how children are affected by parental intimate partner violence. She also the co-developer of Project Support, an empirically-supported treatment program designed to improve family functioning and child mental health in families in which intimate partner violence or physical child maltreatment has occurred. Her research has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Institute of Justice, the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the Centers for Disease Control, and the U.S. Department of Justice. Her research is regularly published in scientific journals, and she is a consultant to universities, government agencies, and child welfare agencies across the U.S. and in Europe.

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