March 2019

UNT student helps woman realize dream of becoming an author  

She met the woman while interning for her social work degree program and felt a need to help publish the woman’s life’s work.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Dellandra Adams has always felt a strong calling for service. Placed in foster care as a young child, Adams says she had a kind social worker who made her feel important and special. That, she says, is part of the reason she decided to pursue a degree in social work from the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service. Adams participates in and serves at UNT as part of the University of North Texas Persevere UNTil Success Happens (PUSH) program, which supports young adults impacted by the foster care system to help them achieve educational success at UNT by focusing on academic, financial and career success, as well as the social well-being, of each student.

“Dellandra was impacted by a social work professional in a very positive way and wants to give back to that community,” said Brenda Sweeten, clinical social work professor, PUSH advisor and UNT foster care liaison. “She wants to help people because she’s been helped and that shows through everything she does.”

It was during an internship for her degree program that she met Doris Garnett, a woman who she connected with last October at Denton Rehabilitation and Nursing Center. Garnett told her that it was her dream to be an author and publish a romance novel she’d been working on since youth – her life’s work.

“I wanted to do it and it became a goal for me,” Adams said. “I wanted to make it happen and thought if I could, it would be wonderful. So, I did – I did the impossible.”

Adams will finish her internship in a few weeks and is going to miss working with Garnett, but she knows they’ll always be connected by something magical, in this case “The Silent Magic” – the novel that brought them together.

“When I started, I had no idea that a simple paper, something that only took a month or two, would be so impactful,” Adams said. “By doing something that to me seemed so easy ended up fulfilling someone’s legacy, someone’s dream.”

HPS student success: nonprofit leadership studies student hired by CASA Denton

Congratulations to Carolina Douthit – the new special events coordinator for CASA Denton!

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Carolina Douthit, a senior majoring in political science at the University of North Texas and pursuing a minor in nonprofit leadership studies in the College of Health and Public Service Department of Public Administration, has been hired by CASA of Denton County.

“I am so excited to work for CASA Denton as their special events coordinator,” Douthit said. “I have been volunteering in the nonprofit sector since I was a child and this opportunity to use the skills I have learned while at UNT to further CASA's incredibly important cause is such a privilege.”

Dr. Laura Keyes, lecturer and Nonprofit Leadership Studies degree coordinator, says she’s thrilled for Caroline as she embarks on this new journey in her career development with CASA Denton.

“The skills and knowledge she gained through her UNT Nonprofit Leadership coursework helped prepare her for a competitive position in the nonprofit sector,” Keyes said. “We look forward to the positive impact she will have on our community.”

After graduating in May, Douthit will begin graduate school at UNT in August, and pursue international studies with a concentration in sustainability and development.

UNT public administration doctoral candidate named emerging scholar at regional conference

Vaswati Chatterjee received the recognition at a January conference in Austin.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The Southern Political Science Association recognized Vaswati Chatterjee, doctoral candidate in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service Department of Public Administration, with their 2019 Emerging Young Scholar Award at the third annual Conference Within a Conference in Austin. She earned the honor for her paper entitled “Impact of Smart Growth on Economic Resilience.”

“It’s been an honor to not only watch Vaswati mature as a student, but to see her accomplishments be recognized by leaders in the field,” said Dr. Simon Andrew, professor of public administration. “Her research stands out among doctoral students and is innovative in the sense that she applies the institutional analysis to examine smart growth policies adoption in Florida. She employs GIS to determine if cities experiencing disasters are more likely to change the ways they can mitigate the consequences of disasters.”

Chatterjee says she’s proud of the honor and appreciates the caring faculty in HPS.

“I am grateful for the continued support from Dr. Andrew, who has been immensely instrumental in developing my scholarship and receiving this recognition,” Chatterjee said. “The departments of Public Administration and Emergency Management and Disaster Science provide a very supportive environment for graduate students. I am happy to be part of the UNT family that has helped me so much in achieving my career goals.”

Chatterjee is currently pursuing a tenure-track position in public administration.

“We look forward to seeing what the future holds for her,” said Dr. Andrew. “We know big things are on the horizon.”

Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the college, says he’s proud of Chatterjee and her many accomplishments.

“It’s always so fulfilling to see our students succeed, especially to this capacity,” Dr. Chumbler said. “They trust us with their futures and this is an excellent example of how a student’s intelligence and talent, fostered by a strong and caring faculty, can lead to life-changing research. I can’t wait to see how she shapes the lives of her students.”

2019 UNT MPA Annual Alumni-Student Conference and Luncheon to celebrate the power of public service

This year’s theme, Emerging Together: Working in Unity for Community, will feature Frisco Economic Development Corporation President Ron Patterson as keynote speaker.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – Registration is now open for the March 29, 2019,  University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service (HPS) Department of Public Administration 2019 Master of Public Administration Annual Alumni-Student Conference and Luncheon. This year’s theme, Emerging Together: Working in Unity for Community, will celebrate the power of public service and focus on how communities come together to overcome difficult times, such as major disasters and other tragedies.

“The 2019 UNT MPA luncheon and conference is the premier event in North Texas for public sector leaders to gather for networking and discovering how we can better serve the public,” said Dr. Brian Collins, chair of the department. “With local and national leaders sharing best practices and innovative solutions, attending this event is a wise investment of your time.”

 This year’s event features keynote speaker Ron Patterson, president of the Frisco Economic Development Corporation, who will talk about the innovative ways his city is attracting major corporate headquarters, driving a strong workforce and leading the way with a city named one of the best places to live in America.

Melissa Sieben from SOAR in Kansas City, Donald R. Parish, Jr. from A Steady Hand and Molly Fox from the Town of Flower Mound will speak as part of the morning panel. The full schedule is as follows:

  • 7:30 a.m. – Registration opens
  • 8-9:30 a.m. – Mock interviews
  • 8-9 a.m. – Internships: The Ultimate Return on Investment!
  • 9-9:30 a.m. – Introduction of the Manager in Residence Program and Mentor/Mentee Relationship sign ups
  • 9:30-11 a.m. – Morning panel session
    • Molly Fox, CPC, director of communications, Town of Flower Mound
    • Donald R. Parish, Jr., founder/president, A Steady Hand
    • Melissa J. Sieben, ICMA-CM, assistant county administrator, Unified Government, Wyandotte County, Kansas City, Kansas
  • 11 -11:30 a.m. – Networking
  • 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. – Keynote speaker
  • 1:15-2 p.m. – Introduction of Nonprofit Leadership Studies Student Showcase and dessert reception
  • 2 p.m. – Networking happy hour at Eastside

Individual pre-registration costs $45, with on-site registration costing $65. Student tickets cost $10 and businesses, organizations or individuals can sponsor a student for $45, which covers conference attendance and MPA comprehensive exam meals for students throughout the school year.

Sponsorships also are available in the following amounts:

  • MPA Presenting Sponsor – $10,000
    • Introduces the Keynote Speaker
    • VIP table for 10 with dean of the college and chair of MPA
    • Recognition as presenting sponsor in press release & social media
    • Logo or listing recognition on event signage
    • Logo or listing recognition on video screen
    • Logo or listing recognition on event website
    • Recognition on table signage
    • Booth space with table during conference
    • Dessert reception following luncheon
  • MPA Gold Sponsor – $5,000
    • Reserved table of eight guests
    • Logo or listing recognition on event signage
    • Logo or listing recognition on video screen
    • Logo or listing recognition on event website
    • Recognition on table signage
    • Booth space with table during conference
    • Dessert reception following luncheon
  • MPA Silver Sponsor – $1,000
    • Four seats at luncheon
    • Logo or listing recognition on event signage
    • Logo or listing recognition on video screen
    • Booth space with table during conference
    • Dessert reception following luncheon
  • MPA Bronze Sponsor – $500
    • One seat at luncheon for guest
    • Two seats at luncheon for current MPA students
    • Booth space with table during conference
    • Dessert reception following luncheon

All event proceeds will benefit the MPA Alumni Scholarship Fund, the MPA Excellence Fund and the Ron Whitehead Internship Award. Sponsorships may be considered tax-deductible.

For more information on the event, contact Katrina Thompson at To register, visit

U.S. News and World Report names three HPS graduate programs top in the state and among the nation’s best

DENTON (UNT), Texas – U.S. News and World Report has named two graduate program concentrations in the University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service (HPS) number one in Texas and fifth in the nation on its 2020 list of Best Graduate Schools – local government management, and homeland security and emergency management. Rehabilitation counseling was also named first in Texas – and sits at no. 11 among public universities and no. 12 overall.  

“These stellar rankings further build on the reputation of our faculty and quality of our staff, alumni and students,” said Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the college. “It’s an honor to be recognized with such a high standing among peer institutions and I believe that our talented faculty members have earned these accolades and deserve to be held in such high esteem.”  

The Master of Public Administration (MPA) program specialization in local government management jumped three spots nationally from last year and for the first time, the MPA is also ranked in the public financing and budgeting category, where it sits at no. 27.     

“The continued excellence of the UNT MPA program is again recognized with our many national rankings,” said Dr. Brian Collins, chair of the Department of Public Administration. “In particular, our top five national ranking in local government is a testament to faculty commitment and our respected alumni in local government throughout the metroplex and the nation.”

UNT has long been a pioneer in emergency management education, having established the nation’s first bachelor’s degree program in 1983. Today, UNT offers bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in the Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science and an emergency management specialty in the MPA program within the Department of Public Administration. This is the first year HPS has been ranked in the homeland security and emergency management category.

“This ranking reflects UNT’s longstanding reputation in the field of emergency management and it affirms our commitment to promoting societal resilience to disasters by providing a top-notch education to the next generation of emergency management professionals,” said Dr. Gary Webb, chair of the Department of Emergency Management and Disaster Science.

The rehabilitation counseling graduate program has jumped three spots since 2015 – the last time there were rankings in this category.

“We are tremendously proud of the recognition by U.S. News and World Report and believe that it exemplifies the hard work of our faculty, staff, students and alumni,” said Dr. Chandra Carey, interim chair of the Department of Rehabilitation and Health Services. “This forward momentum in ranking is indicative of the dedication of our master’s degree program to provide a high-quality education which prepares competent leaders in the field of rehabilitation counseling.”

For more information on the UNT College of Health and Public Service and any of its degree programs, visit

Feeding clinic at UNT is about more than picky eaters

The clinic helps children struggling with eating, swallowing and other food-related problems.

DENTON (UNT), Texas – The University of North Texas College of Health and Public Service’s Department of Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (ASLP) is now providing services to children of all ages with feeding and eating challenges. The UNT Feeding Clinic is currently serving children who not only have eating problems, but have associated medical needs.

“There are parents who are desperately pursuing services for their children based on a variety of difficulties,” said Dr. Theresa Kouri, director of the UNT Speech and Language Clinic. “It’s important to address feeding or eating issues early to guarantee adequate nutrition and hydration to support a child’s physical, mental and emotional development.”

In the clinic, Dr. Kouri and her clinicians work with children who experience any of the following issues while eating: breathing difficulties, coughing or choking, crying, difficulty chewing, vomiting, gagging or refusing to eat certain types of foods. Services are available two days per week on Monday and Wednesday mornings, during which time speech, language and communication skills are also facilitated.

The hourly feeding clinic cost is $55, but scholarships are available to families who need assistance.

“We have a variety of grants that can be used to lower the financial burden on parents,” Dr. Kouri said. “The generosity of the Dallas Scottish Rite Foundation and the George McQueen Foundation make the feeding clinic and other UNT speech and hearing services a viable option for those families who cannot afford our full clinical fees.”

Dr. Kouri plans to work with area pediatricians to provide services that supplement the ways they’re treating children.

“Our UNT Feeding Clinic provides innovative and much needed services for Denton residents,” said Dr. Neale Chumbler, dean of the college. “I commend Dr. Kouri for her ingenuity and creativity in cultivating this important program.”

For more information on the UNT Feeding Clinic, contact Dr. Kouri at or (940) 565-2262.