Student Government

The SP2 Student Government is the student governance organization for the School of Social Policy & Practice. To contact the Student Government email

SP2 offers a variety of student organizations funded by the SP2 Student Government. If you’re interested in starting a new student group visit this link for more information. To start a student group you need to have a group mission statement, a chair, a finance chair and a faculty or staff advisor. If you have additional questions, email the SP2 Student Government at


Akanksha Khanna, MSW/NPL ’21 (she/her/hers)
Spokesperson for the student body; coordinates student government meetings; actively listens to the concerns and suggestions from the student body and works with SP2 administration to meet the needs of students; facilitates Deans & Students meetings.

Vice Chair

Loran Grishow-Schade, MSW, MSSP’21, ML’24 (them/they/theirs)
Supports the student government chair and stands in during his/her absence; helps to coordinate and facilitate meetings and activities for students; serves as primary point of contact for SP2’s student-led organization leaders

Vice President - Finance

Ava Sambriski, MSW ’21 (them/they/theirs)
Manages budget for student government; helps to allocate funds to student groups, works with SP2 business office to coordinate purchasing procedures and submit budget requests; communicates financial procedures to SP2 student groups; insures that SP2 student groups are following purchasing procedures.

Vice President - Communication

Manages internal communications to SP2 student and external communications and relationships with other Penn graduate student groups.

Vice President - Community Action

Piper Riley, MSW ’21 (she/her/hers)
Supports the student government’s mobilization and programming initiatives in an effort to encourage and increase community action and social engagement among all SP2 students.

Financial Aid Chair (FAC)

The Financial Aid Chair (FAC) will be an advocate for the student body in matters regarding communication and dissemination of information between the student body and SP2 Financial Aid Office (FAO). This may include but is not limited to providing monthly updates from the FAO to students, supporting the Financial Aid Office in providing clear and relevant information to SP2 students, and communicating the emergent needs of students to the FAO. The FAC is not an individual counselor nor a substitute for the Financial Aid Office staff. The FAC is only a liaison between SP2 Financial Aid; the FAC is not a liaison between Penn Student Financial Services and SP2.

Vice President - Field Affairs

Tabatha Scales-Lanier, MSW ’22
The Field Chair serves as a liaison between the Student Body and the Field Office. This position is responsible for maintaining regular communication with the Field Director and Associate Director. The Field Chair develops mid-year and post-year student surveys to gather information on field satisfaction. This position also includes coordinating student forums to discuss field related questions, needs, and comments.

MSW Academic Review Commitee


Cohort Student Representatives



MSW: Madelyn Guerra, MSW ’21

MSW Part-time: Katherine Miller, MSW ’22


MSSP: Mathew Katz, MSW/MSSP ’21

GAPSA: Laura Miles, MSW ’22 and Hannah Cao, MSW ’21

Sequence Committee Representatives

Policy Sequence: Megan Gafvert,  MSW ’22/ MSSP ‘22

Human Behavior Sequence: Shaina Roberts, MSW ‘22

Social Change Sequence: Karim Sharif, MSW ‘22

Foundation Practice Sequence: Lizzy Schlichting, MSW ‘21

Research Sequence: Autumn Yates, MSW ‘21

Advanced Clinical Practice Sequence: Claire Rosenberg, MSW ‘21

Advanced Macro Practice Sequence: Natalie Schweizerhof, MSW ‘21

Committee representatives work closely with our faculty to bring the student perspective to curriculum planning.

MSW Governance Committee Student Representatives

First Year Representative: Lizzie McDonald, MSW ‘22

Second Year Representative: Katherine Miller Walsh, MSW ‘22

Leadership for the MSW degree program is provided by a group consisting of the program director, plus four-five members of the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2)’s Standing Faculty, a representative of the Field Cabinet and the Field Director. The MSW Governance Group answers to the Dean of the School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2).

Policy and Procedures Committee Student Representatives

MSW Representative:  Piper Riley, MSW ’21

NPL Representative: Nichole Jackson, NPL ’21

MSSP Representative: Judy Zhu, MSSP ‘22

The Committee on Student Policies and Procedures is responsible for developing, reviewing, and/or recommending policies and procedures regarding students. In addition, this committee provides oversight of the selection procedures for student awards and the excellence in teaching awards given to faculty. The committee also serves as the main faculty link with the admissions office for student recruitment. This committee consists of three members of the Standing Faculty, appointed by the Dean. The faculty as a whole elects the chair of the committee.

SP2 Grievance Committee Student Representatives

MSW Representative: Shaindy Black, MSW ‘22

MSSP Representative: Caroline O’Brien, MSSP ‘21

NPL Representative: Dennis Canty, NPL ‘21

Grievance Procedure: Students are expected to read the following policies and guidelines before filing a grievance. Faculty are expected to be familiar with and to review the grievance guidelines before advising a student to file a grievance. A grievance is a claim that action has been taken by a school representative which is: (1) arbitrary and capricious; (2) discrimination on the basis of race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, color, national or ethnic origin, age, disability, or status as a Vietnam Era Veteran or disabled veteran; (3) not in compliance with the School or University of Pennsylvania procedures or regulations. A student may file a grievance at any point in the program. An academic evaluation may not be the subject of a grievance.

MSSP Governance Committee Student Representatives

Yue Qiao, MSSP ’21

Amanda Hall, MSSP+DA ’22

Leadership for the Master of Science in Social Policy (MSSP) degree program is provided by a group consisting of the program director, plus designated members of the School of Social Policy & Practice’s (SP2) Standing Faculty and staff. The Governance Committee addresses student policies, program curriculum, and program activities.

NPL Governance Committee Student Representative

Marilyn Akwo-Bekolo, NPL ‘21

Leadership for the Master of Science in Nonprofit Leadership (NPL) degree program is provided by a group consisting of the program director, plus designated members of the School of Social Policy & Practice’s (SP2) Standing Faculty, instructors, alumni, and staff. The Governance Committee addresses student policies, program curriculum, and program activities.

SP2 News

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Faculty & Research

Michael and Lisa Nutter to Launch Economic Mobility Initiative at SP2

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SP2 Alumna Receives Society for Social Work Leadership’s 2021 Kermit B. Nash Award

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SP2 Alum Honored for Ongoing Gender Identity Research, Work

For years, Loran Grishow-Schade, MSW ’20, MSSP ’21, has proven to be a prolific leader and fully-immersed pioneer in work...

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“Always Something New to Know”: MSW Student Alisa Branch on Being a Non-Traditional Learner

Even after a three-decade career in the human services field, Alisa Branch still felt that she had more to learn,...

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