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King University Student Wins Top Social Work Organization Award

March 18, 2019

BRISTOL, Tenn., March 18, 2019- Jason Abernathy of King University has been named the Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) Student of the Year by the Tennessee Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW).

A 1992 graduate of Dobyns-Bennett High School, Abernathy enjoyed careers in the U.S. Marine Corps and law enforcement before accepting a position with TN Lifeline Peer Project, a state-wide organization dedicated to removing the stigma associated with addiction. Soon after accepting the position, he returned to the classroom, earning an associate’s degree from Northeast State Community College. He was awarded a full scholarship last year to complete a BSW at King through the College Dream Scholarship program.

While enrolled at King, Abernathy continues his role as a Certified Peer Recovery Specialist for Lifeline Peer Project. He recently joined NASW, he said, adding that the skills he has learned through the organization and through his classes at King have allowed him to be a more effective mentor for those struggling with addiction.

“The thing I love most about King is that I feel like I belong,” he said. “I have full access to wonderful professors and the class sizes are small. I also love the values that King represents because it is a Christian university. It’s been a wonderful experience for me, and I’m so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been given.”

The BSW Student of the Year Award will be presented to Abernathy in Nashville on March 27 during Social Work Day on the Hill. The annual event coincides with the national celebration of Social Work Month. NASW is the world’s largest membership organization of professional social workers.

“Jason not only excels academically, but has an unmatched depth of compassion for meeting the needs of others,” said Professor Jodi Helbert, coordinator of King’s BSW program. “Each day, he shares an uplifting devotional. I find that simple act serves as a reminder and a testament to avoid complacency by acknowledging the presence of God in our lives.

Dr. Helbert continued, saying “One of our primary goals in the King BSW Program is to produce trauma-informed social workers whose mindset is on ‘service’ not ‘serve us.’ Jason certainly exemplifies our service-oriented mission in his striving toward societal well-being. There are not enough positive adjectives to describe this wonderful young man!”

Abernathy lives in Piney Flats, Tennessee, with his wife, Paula, and their 13-year-old daughter, Peyton.

For additional information about the BSW Program at King, please contact Dr. Helbert at or call the Admission’s Office at (800) 362-0014.