ST. CLAIRSVILLE – 2020 is not even four months old, but Tamara Tyree, a senior Social Work major at Ohio University’s Eastern Campus, has already had a year to remember.

The Pittsburgh native is slated to graduate with honors in a few short weeks. In addition to achieving her academic goals, Tamara has been selected as the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), Ohio Chapter, Bachelors of Social Work (BSW) Student of the Year. She will be recognized for the state-wide honor at a banquet later this summer in Columbus if the Coronavirus conditions permit. Earlier this year, Tamara was recognized with the NASW, Ohio Chapter, Region V BSW Student of the Year Award.

Dr. Rich Greenlee, Associate Professor of Social Work and Dean Emeritus at Ohio University Eastern, nominated Tamara for both awards.

"Ms. Tyree is one of the most impressive, insightful and caring students that I have had the opportunity to teach in my 30 plus years as a social work educator," Greenlee said. "She is intelligent and hard working. In every class I have had her as a student she comes to class prepared and ready to ask insightful questions regarding abstract, theoretical concepts. She excelled in my research class mastering research design and developing a very thought-provoking research proposal. Her critical thinking skills are at an advanced level and reflected in the high quality of her work."

Greenlee continued, "In addition to being an excellent student, Ms. Tyree has a strong desire and commitment to help vulnerable persons in poverty-stricken areas. Prior to the Coronavirus outbreak, she was doing her senior field placement at the Jefferson County Educational Service Center in Steubenville, which is an alternative education school for students who cannot remain in the public-school system because of juvenile court involvement. This was challenging work, yet she seemed to relish the opportunity to serve these young people."

Tamara described the recognition simply as humbling. "A thank you to the NASW, and Dr. Greenlee has not felt like enough. Aside from the joy of an award, it’s a wonderful feeling to know that people see potential in my ability as a future social worker."

"When I decided to major in social work, I had big plans of changing lives, advocating for vulnerable populations and helping make the world a better and more peaceful place. After my time at the Eastern Campus, these dreams seem even more possible because I have been equipped with the education to make these dreams a reality. My professors have generously shared their expertise, experience and education to help social work students feel competent and prepared for post-graduation."

"Dr. Greenlee, from the beginning, has been a social worker I aspire to be like. He reminds students to continuously learn, to keep humanity at the forefront of our field, and to never settle for the status quo. Dr. Greenlee’s classes provided a safe learning environment that allowed me to learn and make mistakes without fear of judgement. His classes have always been an engaging setting that stuck with me after class ended. As I enter the social work field, I hope to represent OUE and the social work professors well."

Tamara also credited her work experiences for complementing her academic development. These included stints as a Team Leader for a group of children at Kid’s on Campus at Ohio University in Athens where her responsibilities included supervising homework, implementing recreational activities, and acting as a mentor. In addition, she has volunteered at My Sister’s Place, a domestic violence shelter and helped prepare meals for guests at Roots for Faith.

Greenlee added, "This is a great honor for Tamara, the Eastern Campus, the Department of Social Work, and Ohio University. I, along with Dr. Warren Galbreath, the interim associate dean and associate professor of Social Work, and Tracy Pritchard, Tamara’s field coordinator, have marveled at her dedication to her clients, her studies, and the profession. We look forward to the day, with great pride, when we will be able to call her a graduate of Ohio University, and have no doubt that she will have a remarkable career as a professional social worker. Tamara is going to make a real impact on the profession and in her community."

Tamara finished by expressing her appreciation for OHIO Eastern and her family. "Social Work is my hearts passion, and I feel blessed to have the opportunity to pursue this passion as a career. With graduation a few weeks away, I reflect on my time at Ohio University Eastern and I feel so much gratitude. I have been challenged academically and personally by an education that demands the best of its students so that we can be the best for our future clients. Dr. Greenlee, Mr. Pritchard and Dr. Galbreath have been wonderful professors and caring mentors to myself and my peers."

"I also want to thank my grandparents, Janet and Paul Tyree, and my mom, Christy Tyree, for their guidance and support throughout this journey. Thank you to my grandmother for teaching me the importance of courage, to my mom for setting an example of an exemplary work ethic, and to my pap for instilling in me that each person has worth and a story worth hearing. My mom and grandparents have taught me how to love people deeply and genuinely, simply by loving me. Coming from a strong family allows me to go into vulnerable parts of humanity and to give others the love I have been given."

"Wherever life takes me, I vow to make a difference as a Social Worker, and always represent my family, and my alma mater to the best of my abilities."