Terri Spahr Nelson, MSSW ’88, BSW ’87, is the recipient of the 2015 Charles I. Wright Distinguished Alumna Award presented by the School of Social Work and its alumni organization, the Social Work Alumni Network (SWAN).

From left to right: Noel Busch-Armendariz, Terri Spahr Nelson, and Jennifer Luna-Idunate at the 2015 Alumni Reception
From left to right: Noel Busch-Armendariz, Terri Spahr Nelson, and Jennifer Luna-Idunate at the 2015 Alumni Reception

Spahr Nelson is psychotherapist, consultant, educator, and author with more than 30 years of experience working in mental health and behavioral sciences, and specializing in victims of violence and trauma. She is a military veteran, twice awarded the Army Commendation Medal. Spahr Nelson was a subject matter expert for the Department of Defense on the development of their Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program, chair of the military subcommittee of the National Task Force To End Domestic and Sexual Violence, and consultant to the National Agenda on Violence Against Women: Violence Against Women in the Military. She has provided numerous trainings and retreats for women and helping professionals, and has been interviewed by national and international media including CNN, NPR, 60 Minutes, BBC, Al Jazeera, Asia Times, Newsweek, The Village Voice, and others.

Spahr Nelson is the author of several publications, including For Love of Country: Confronting Rape and Sexual Harassment in the U.S. Military (Routledge) and the nationally-distributed booklets Coping With Sexual Assault: A Guide to Resolution, Healing and Recovery, which has been printed in English, Spanish, Braille, and large print, with versions for college students, military victims, veterans, teens, and professionals. She is also the editor of the Reflections from Women book series (Sugati Publications), a portion of which profits go to charitable agencies serving women and girls.

She has been recently appointed Director of the Bachelor’s of Social Work Program in the Department of Family Studies & Social Work at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, a position that she will start this summer. Spahr Nelson also maintains a private psychotherapy practice, provides consultations and trainings for national and international programs, and continues to author publications on coping and trauma.

The Charles I. Wright Distinguished Alumni Award is presented by The University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work and the Social Work Alumni Network (SWAN) annually to a distinguished alum who reflects social work values, demonstrates dedication to the social work profession, and a commitment to clients, public policy and/or the community.