Lorraine has lived in Belfast (the largest city in the North, and second largest on the island of Ireland) for nearly 20 years, and is originally from London. She is in the first year of her Queen’s University Social Work program. Lorraine works in a substance misuse treatment center in Belfast and had previously volunteered at a homeless drop-in center and a shelter program for non-abstinent alcoholics in Belfast. Lorraine’s experiences with clients, friends and family and an awareness of the many points at which addiction affects family life have motivated her to pursue a Social Work career. The CODA Social Work Scholars Project attracted her with its opportunity to gain a broader understanding of the evidence-based treatments and programs available in Portland. Lorraine has a nine-year-old son, and she enjoys spending time swimming, going to the gym and socializing with friends.


Kathryn is from Portadown (which is located in County Armagh and is about 25 miles from Belfast) and is completing her first year of the Queen’s Social Work degree program. Kathryn worked for eight years as a Special Needs Assistant in a Primary School, specifically with children with Autism. Her interest in Social Work and the CODA Social Work Scholars Project stems from her time volunteering in a not-for-profit organization serving individuals with substance use and mental health disorders, helping to enable them to integrate back into the community. Kathryn is looking forward to learning more about research and treatment models for dual-diagnosis patients and how this care differs between the USA and Northern Ireland. Kathryn loves family adventures with her two sons, ages 5 and 3, and also enjoys reading and socializing with friends.


Su is completing her first year in the Queen’s University Social Work program. Su moved to Northern Ireland 11 years ago to work as a Family Support Worker for a community organization, followed by a local Primary School. Su previously worked for an organization delivering drug education programs to schools and youth groups. She is keenly interested in learning more about crisis response and treatment for families who struggle with addiction and how best to support families for the best outcomes. Su enjoys playing tennis, walking and knitting in her free time. She and her husband have four children.


Dannielle is from Portadown and she is completing her second year in the Queen’s Social Work program. She also holds a First Class Honors BA Criminology degree. Dannielle is a fully qualified Samaritan volunteer and also volunteers at Hydebank Wood College for young male and female offenders. Her work with individuals and groups from marginalized populations has motivated her to pursue work as a Probation Officer. Dannielle’s experiences working with people with substance use disorders sparked her interest in the field and in the CODA Social Work Scholars. She is interested in learning how social workers can partner most effectively with clients, and looks forward to learning about the methods of treatment and rehabilitation available in Portland compared to the options available in Northern Ireland. Danielle enjoys walks, running, and has a keen interest in traveling.


Hamish lives in Donaghadee, a small coastal town about 20 miles from Belfast. He is in the first year of the two-year track of the Queen’s Social Work program. He also holds a degree in Community Youth Work from Ulster University. Hamish works for the YMCA North Down as a Youth Support Worker in Charge. The agency provides outreach to young people on the streets who are misusing alcohol and drugs and provides a safe environment and support for these teenagers. Hamish became interested in Social Work during a placement in Australia where he worked in a residential unit for teenagers at risk of being homeless. The CODA Social Work Scholars Project attracted him because of the focus on patient-centered care and ongoing support for clients and their families. He is also interested in CODA’s Research department and its influence on improving outcomes. Hamish enjoys rugby, beach walks and spending time with family.


Jenny is originally from Edinburgh, and has lived in Belfast for the past 10 years. She is in the first year of the two-year track of the Queen’s Social Work program, and also holds an undergraduate degree in Sociology. Before beginning her degree program, Jenny worked with young adults with additional needs, supporting them with daily-living, work and social skills. She now works for a homelessness charity with hostels in the Belfast area. Her interest in Social Work grew through volunteering and work experience in which she enjoyed building relationships with individuals and supporting them as they seek to live fulfilling lives. Jenny was attracted to the CODA Social Work Scholars Project as a means of developing a greater understanding of the best practices for working with individuals living with drug and alcohol addictions. She also looks forward to learning how services in Northern Ireland differ from those in Portland. Jenny enjoys hiking, camping, traveling and yoga in her spare time.


Cliona is from North Belfast. She is in the first year of the Queen’s Social Work program. She volunteers with a Special Religious Education group, working with people who have learning disabilities. Cliona’s interest in Social Work comes from her desire to support people who are at vulnerable stages in their lives, helping them to make the best-informed decisions for safe and healthy futures. Cliona looks forward to learning more about the ways in which CODA and its peer agencies in the States approach alcohol and substance misuse and mental health issues in vulnerable populations. She believes that many of the practices delivered across CODA can complement services in Northern Ireland. Cliona plays camogie (the female version of the Irish sport hurling, which, to Americans, resembles a blend of lacrosse and field hockey) She is also a member of Scouting Ireland.


Chloe is from Donaghadee and is in her first year of the Queen’s University Social Work program. She works in a Care Home serving elderly individuals. She has also been involved with various youth organizations. Chloe was attracted to Social Work as a way to work directly with people in need, and for the opportunity to use advocacy as a means to challenge the unjust effects of related stigma. She wants to learn more about the specific treatment models available to CODA clients, and is especially interested in productive strategies to educate the public and reduce stigma. Chloe has a two-year-old daughter, and loves spending her free time reading, walking her dog, and serving as a Queen’s Students’ Union representative for the Social Work and Social Sciences department.

Project News

2018 Scholars: They Came, They Saw, They Conquered!

The eight 2018 CODA Social Work Scholars made the most of every minute they spent observing CODA treatment programs, the Washington County (Oregon) Drug Court, Central City Concern’s sites, and lectures by experts in the field. They brought energy, curiosity and sharp observations to the group discussions…and managed to find time to explore a bit of Portland as well.

UPDATE on June 30: They made it, safe and sound…remarkably good-humored after a long, long flight.

UPDATE on June 29: This year’s group of CODA Social Work Scholars is heading to the Pacific Northwest! Again led by Anne Campbell of Queen’s University, Belfast, this is a gifted group of Social Workers-in-training. They have an impressive depth of volunteer and career experience and are looking forward to their two weeks in Portland.