ATLANTA — Robin Hartinger-Saunders has received the 2023 University at Buffalo School of Social Work (UBSSW) Distinguished Ph.D. in Social Welfare Alumni Award.
The award was established in 2013 to honor outstanding University at Buffalo School of Social Work alumni who have made noteworthy contributions to social work practice or research and who, by their positive attitude and drive to make a difference, have added distinction to the social work profession, according to the university.
Hartinger-Saunders, an associate professor of social work at Georgia State University, has committed more than 30 years to the field of child welfare, promoting child and family health and well-being by exploring individual, family, community and organizational factors that intersect to shape the experiences and outcomes for children, youth and families with previous child-welfare system involvement. She is the principal investigator and program director of two child-welfare workforce initiatives in the School of Social Work, the Title IV-E Child Welfare Education and Training Program and the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute (NCWWI) Workforce Excellence Program.
Although Hartinger-Saunders was unable to attend the university’s Celebration of Excellence event held this spring to commemorate and honor her accomplishments, she sent along an acceptance speech thanking Professor Peter Lyons at Georgia State for nominating her and for his 14 years of outstanding mentorship.
She also acknowledged her esteemed colleagues in the Georgia State School of Social Work for being an integral part of her professional growth and development as a researcher and scholar, noting, “I can honestly say, every one of them has actively contributed to who I am today.”
Hartinger-Saunders recognized her dissertation chair, Barbara Rittner, for her ongoing presence and influence in her personal and professional life. Rittner has retired from UBSSW.
“Dr. Rittner continues to be an exceptional mentor, providing me with valuable insights, engaging me in critical dialogue, offering invaluable feedback on my professional contributions, and challenging me to think about my ongoing professional growth and career trajectory,” she stated.