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College of Behavioral & Social Sciences

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Joan Rycraft

Chico State holds a special place for alumna Joan Rycraft ‘68, as the institution that provided her with the foundation to a remarkable career in helping others. It is because of this, Joan decided to give back to the students through her scholarships. Last fall (2018) marked the first year of the Joan Rycraft Bachelor of Social Work and Master of Social Work scholarships, which were awarded to recipients Antonio Carlos Hernandez Rodriguez (BSW) and Soraya Ebrahimi-Nuyken (MSW).   

 2018 Scholarship Recipient     2018 Scholarship Recipient

With the support of her father, Joan was fortunate enough to go through her educational career without having to work or rely on student loans. She recognizes that not every student has that luxury and hopes these scholarships will help ease the burden of paying for higher education.

In April 2017, Joan returned to Chico to meet with faculty, staff, and students, and guest lectured for a “Child Welfare” class.  It was a child welfare course taken during her undergraduate program that ignited her passion for working with children and families. She recalls that her interest in child welfare began even earlier as a high school senior learning about child psychology.  A first-generation college student, she attended CSU, Chico in 1968 and received her bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and social welfare.  She then worked in Redding for Shasta County Children and Family Services. Years later, she pursued her MSW at CSU, Fresno, and then worked as the first MSW in Shasta County Child Protective Services, where she worked her way up from caseworker to administrator. In her 40s, she earned a PhD at the University of Colorado, Denver. She is now professor emerita at the University of Texas at Arlington and was a former associate dean and director of UTA’s PhD Program in Social Work.

Her passion for helping children is clear and she had a reputation as the social worker who made all the kids go to school, often walking them into the classroom to ensure they attended. “Most kids, if you support them, will do everything they can to make you proud. This is the motivation, to make them feel like you have their backs,” she said. Joan still receives holiday cards from the now grown children she supported throughout her career.

For Joan, her life’s mission is to make sure all children have the chance at a good life, a mission that continues into retirement. Her time is spent providing forensic case analysis on standards of care for consultation firm Park Dietz, based in Newport Beach as their child welfare expert. Joan also serves on the Jackson County Citizen Review Board in Medford, Oregon, where she now lives.  Joan’s support of children, education now extends to Chico State social work students as well through her generous scholarships.

For more information on how you can help the students and programs at Chico State, please call the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences Development Director, Lise Smith-Peters, at 530-898-3641.

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Contact Us

To learn more about giving options and funding priorities please contact the College of Business advancement team.

Lise Smith-Peters
Development Director
530-898-3641

Generous Donors

George Parrott
George Parrott BSS donor
Helping Hands: Valene Smith-Posey
Smiling Valene Posey