Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

Research Meets Practice

December 13, 2017 @ 11:30 AM1:00 PM

Brown Bag Lunch & Learn Series

Brown Bag Lunch & Learn Series: Research Meets Practice

Please join us for a showcase of the research of alumni of the GVSU’s School of Public, Nonprofit and Health Administration. This presentation will fuel a discussion for how research can influence practice and how nonprofit organizations can be better consumers of research. The student papers were published in the SPNHA Review, and free copies will be distributed to all event attendees.

Dr. George Grant, Jr., dean of GVSU’s College of Community and Public Service, will welcome attendees.

Presenters and their research topics will include:

  • Shatha Abu Srour, Does the Work of Disability NGOs Seeking Decent Work for Persons With Disability Impact Public Employment Policies in Palestine?
  • Brittany Gray, Exploring Impacts of Administrative Discretion on Human Trafficking Victims
  • Julie Mavis, The Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Program: A Failed Return-to-Work Strategy

Each speaker will present for approximately 15 minutes, and then we will have a discussion with the audience.

This event is FREE!

Attendees are welcome to bring a lunch to this event. Water, coffee, and tea will be provided.

Register Now

Shatha Abu SrourShatha Abu Srour
Shatha Abusrour is from Palestine. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology/Psychology from Bethlehem University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a focus in Nonprofit Management and Leadership from Grand Valley State University. Over the past thirteen years, she has worked and volunteered for various Disabled Persons Organizations (DPOs) and non-governmental organizations on issues related to the rights of persons with disability in Palestine. She has also worked on issues and conducted research specific to women with disability. Shatha has facilitated trainings on disability empowerment.  Her research and practice interests include advocacy, particularly the right to access health services, education, social protection services and employment.  Shatha represented Palestine at the United Nations’ Annual Conference on People with Disabilities Her dream is to contribute towards fostering my country’s freedom and inclusive development at the human, social, cultural and policy levels.

Research Topic: Does the Work of Disability NGOs Seeking Decent Work for Persons With Disability Impact Public Employment Policies in Palestine?
This research paper is concerned with persons with disabilities’ right to access decent work opportunities on an equal basis with others. It explores the impact and effectiveness of advocacy initiatives implemented by disability civil society organizations in Palestine, from the perspective of three key governmental organizations and three relevant non-governmental organizations including disabled people organizations (DPOS). The paper demonstrates the interconnectedness between the social construction theory, advocacy and policies and practices related to PWDS’ access to decent work.

Brittany GrayBrittany Gray
Brittany Gray is a 2011 and 2016 alumnus of Grand Valley State University where she obtained her Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology and Master of Public Administration with an emphasis in Nonprofit Management and Leadership. She is also being published in Public Voices on a partnered paper with Dr. Balfour on surplus populations and ethics pertaining to human trafficking victims, refugees, and immigrant populations. Recently, Brittany concluded her time as Interim Executive Director at The Pantry in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as she plans to pursue a career in anti-human trafficking. Since her 2011 study abroad experience in India, Brittany has developed a deep passion for travel. She plans to combine her love of world cultures and anthropology with nonprofit management skills to operate a rehabilitation center for human trafficking victims.

Research Topic: Exploring Impacts of Administrative Discretion on Human Trafficking Victims
By exploring fictional stories of a human trafficking victim and law enforcement, this paper examines how flawed policy and cultural perspectives can negatively influence administrative discretion. To illustrate how street level bureaucracy may further harm victims of human trafficking, the narratives compare how treatment of individuals may vary based on the perception of them as an illegal economic immigrant, refugee, or victim of modern day slavery.

Julie MavisJulie Mavis
Julie Mavis works for the Disability Determination Service (DDS) within the State of Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Currently she is the Area Administrator for the agency’s Southwest Service Area location in Kalamazoo. In her position she also represents her office on the DDS Executive Council, Succession Planning Workgroup, Clerical Council and co-facilitates quarterly meetings between the DDS and Social Security Administration’s Field Offices in Michigan. She received her undergraduate degree in Biopsychology from the College of Wooster in Wooster Ohio and her MPA from GVSU in 2016. At GVSU she was inducted into the Pi Alpha Alpha honor society, received an Excellence in a Discipline Award and was the recipient of a Graduate Dean’s Citation for Academic Excellence in 2016. In 2016 she received a SSA Commissioner’s Team Award with the DDS Strategic Planning Team. She credits her GVSU Strategic Planning class as the catalyst for starting this effort in her agency.

Research Topic: The Social Security Administration’s Ticket to Work Program: A Failed Return-to-Work Strategy
Social Security’s Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act implemented in 1999 has not found a successful model in returning Social Security Disability and SSI recipients to the workforce. Despite program improvements in 2003, the statistics are not supporting outcomes of recipients finding successful employment situations. This paper investigates the effectiveness of other return to work strategies in the disabled population used in private industry, European countries and SSA supported short term projects that attempt to revise the current SSA model.


December 13, 2017
11:30 AM – 1:00 PM
Event Categories:
Event Tags:


Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy, Grand Valley State University


Dorothy A. Johnson Center for Philanthropy
201 Front Ave SW, Suite 200
Grand Rapids, MI 49504 United States
+ Google Map