The Champions program is the Silver School of Social Work's graduate student ambassador program. Our Champions come from a variety of programs and are here to speak with you about their experiences at NYU Silver. If you would like to connect with a Champion, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Champions in Full Time Programs
Gabrielle Aiosa-Perrin |Fairfax, VT | Accelerated 16 Month Program
Undergraduate Institution: Boston University
I chose to attend NYU Silver because I wanted to develop a
trauma-informed clinical lens, while focusing on social justice issues in New York City. The experience and expertise of the professors, combined with the broad range of electives offered, guaranteed I would receive a well-rounded social work education. Email Gabrielle.
Undergraduate Institution: St. Joseph's College- Brooklyn
I chose to attend NYU because of its reputation, and its clinical focus. NYU Silver has challenged me in ways that I have never been challenged, and I am grateful for that. It allows me to self-reflect and become a better social worker for the historically underserved and disenfranchised populations that I plan to serve. One piece of advice I would give to incoming students is to take advantage of everything NYU has to offer and participate in school events or programming. Sometimes that one panel can lead to an interest you never thought you had or a connection to your dream job. Email Shamire.
Jessica LaFlam | Bethel, CT | Two Year Program (Westchester Campus)
Undergraduate Institution: Western Connecticut State
Jessica LaFlam is in her second year of the two-year MSW program at NYU Silver. She is also a fellow in the Zelda Foster Palliative and End-of-Life Care program. Jessica is a student of the Westchester Campus, also taking electives at Washington Square. Jessica is involved in the Student Leadership Council and is a Westchester representative on the Graduate Student Association. Jessica has particular interest in oncology and palliative care social work in hospital settings. Email Jessica
Claudia Matos |Long Branch, NJ | Two Year Program
Undergraduate Institution: Pace University
Claudia Matos is a 2nd year MSW student specializing in working with incarcerated individuals with mental illness affected by mass incarceration and institutionalized racism. Currently, Claudia is a 2nd year intern on Riker's Island doing counseling. Email Claudia.
Marly Mathes | Chicago, IL | Accelerated 16 Month Program
Undergraduate Institution: University of Wisconsin- Madison
Hello! I am currently a 16-month social work student, graduating in May 2019. I am a career changer--I was previously a bilingual public school teacher in Chicago prior to starting this program in January 2018. I came into this program knowing that I wanted to work with children and families in some capacity. Through my classes, professors, field work, and other students, I'm beginning to broaden my interests and ideas of how I can use this degree after graduation. The program has opened my eyes to the different avenues and opportunities this degree could provide me as I begin to think of my plans after graduation. Email Marly
Connie (Khanh) | New Orleans, LA | Accelerated 16 Month Program
Undergraduate Institution: Tulane University
Originally a New Orleans native, I moved to New York City 5 years ago and been infatuated with the area in and surrounding NYU. When I decided in fall 2017 to get my second Masters in Social Work, I chose NYU because of the rich culture and history of the area, particularly its ties to monumental moments in social justice. Because I already had a Master degree in Public Health and had experience with research and working at the mezzo and macro level in health advocacy, I wanted to attend a school where I could gain more experience in direct clinical practice. Thus, I applied and was accepted to NYU--the rest is history in the making. Email Connie
Anna Nathanson |Teaneck, NJ | Two Year Program
Undergraduate Institution: McGill University
Prior to starting at Silver, I worked as a case manager at HomeBase, a New York City eviction-prevention program, and as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cameroon. I chose NYU for its New York City location, its reputation for excellent clinical education, and because I was invited to be a Peace Corps Coverdell fellow. My first year placement is in an international high school and my interests include immigration, adult mental health, and post-traumatic growth. At NYU, I also work in a lab that researches sexual violence and public health and I am a Know Your Rights student facilitator. - EMPOWER lab
Carly Siuta |Chicago, IL | Shanghai-NYC Full Time Program
Undergradute Institution: University of Illinois at Chicago
I chose to attend NYU's MSW program in Shanghai and New York because I really wanted to spend one full year of my masters degree living, studying, and working in the field in a different country. With a bachelor's degree in policy and public administration and ten years of work in the nonprofit sector, it was a tough choice between pursuing an MPA or an MSW. However, the strengths-based approach and commitment to anti-racist and anti-oppressive practice that are foundations of social work have given me knowledge, perspective, and a professional orientation that I never would have gained from a different degree. Prior to beginning my MSW I was a Peace Corps Volunteer, and I really hope to work outside of the US again in the future. The Shanghai/New York program and the macro practice FLO was really the perfect fit for what I was looking for in a graduate program. Email Carly
Breanna Drew |Yonkers, NY |Two Year Program
Undergraduate Institution: Seton Hall University
I am a second year-year graduate student and I commute from Westchester, which is an hour away, to the Washington Square Park Campus. I chose NYU Silver because of its clinical focus, and the small class sizes. The study abroad programs and electives, which are hard to choose from since they are all so interesting, also aided my decision to attend Silver. One piece of advice for incoming students would be to take advantage of all that NYU has to offer. Email Breanna.
Isabelle King |Cleveland, OH | Two Year Program
Undergraduate Institution: University of Pittsburgh
I chose NYU for several reasons: I found that the curriculum was
extremely flexible-- an important component to me since I knew I wanted a taste of many different areas of social work while in school. In addition, the NYU community is tightknit and the collaboration between Silver and other graduate schools, New York City and globally, was apparent. Lastly, the students and faculty at NYU are diverse and passionate, which is very representative of the profession and ethics of social work. Overall, NYU has exceeded my expectations, which is why I could not be happier to be a Silver Champion and represent the amazing MSW program! Email Isabelle.
Meryl Makielski | Mishawaka, IN | Two Year Program
Undergraduate Institution: University of Dayton
My primary interest in social work is with displaced populations; NYU is a great place for this, with its position in the heart of NYC, a diverse city built by immigrants. I am completing my field placement at The Zolberg Institute on Migration and Mobility at The New School, focusing on how to foster connections between direct practitioners and global migration policy-makers. My ongoing interest area is with displaced communities, reintegration, and capacity-building strategies. Finding a second-year field placement focused on both international issues and policy at Silver was a challenge due to the school's clinical focus. Yet, one of the best parts of a social work degree is how wide the field of work is-- there's a place for social workers in nearly every employment sector. For new students, I recommend starting to network and learn about opportunities as early as possible; don't be afraid to take a non-traditional social work path in your education and career. Email Meryl.
Erin Miller |Pikesville, MD | Accelerated 16 Month Program
Undergraduate Institution: Indiana University
Erin is a student at NYU Silver in her final year. She chose social work because of her goal to help people help themselves. NYU has given her the hope and skills to make her feel like her goal is realistic. She has loved all of her professors, finding them personable, knowledgable and
inspiring. Erin has found her field placements invigorating as well. Her first placement was at the 14th St. Y where she worked with two year olds, and her second placement is at the High School of Hospitality Management. Before starting Silver, Erin was working as a graphic designer and felt unfulfilled. NYU Silver has reinstated her excitement
for the future and her passion for her fellow human beings. Email Erin
Ryan Shams |Texas | Accelerated 16 Month Program
Undergraduate Institution: Columbia University
Ryan is in the 16-month accelerated program at Silver. His field work experiences have been at an outpatient substance abuse and mental health clinic and a psychoanalytic training institute which offers low fee psychoanalysis and psychodynamic therapy to low-income populations. Ryan studied Post-Colonialism and Critical Theory as an undergraduate at Columbia University where he studied under critic and author Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. He was a working actor in TV, film, and theater performing with the international touring company of AFTERMATH, a documentary-style play about Iraqis affected by The Battle of Fallujah. Other experiences include teaching yoga and improv comedy to young adults with autism and working at the Bowery Mission's free medical clinic for the homeless and others in need. Ryan is a member of the Phi Alpha Honors Society at NYU. He is a former member of the United States Fencing Team, placing 8th in the Junior World Championships in Belgium. Email Ryan
Elijah Thompson | Chicago, IL | Advanced Standing
Undergraduate Institution: Central Connecticut University
After applying to a short list of top ranked social work schools, I elected to attend NYU after learning of the vast opportunities to study both clinical theory and macro oriented practice. I was immediately attracted to the dynamic urban environment that is New York City, and knew attending this institution would help me develop a strong professional network. Prior to attending NYU, I wish I knew how spread out New York City is and the importance of living in a reasonable distance from the school. One important piece of advice I would like to offer, is that it is important to research and seek out as many professional development opportunities as possible and to develop relationships with our faculty and staff.
Danielle Whistler |Laguna Niguel, CA | Two Year Program
Undergradute Institution: Cal State Fullerton
I chose NYU Silver School of Social Work because I knew it would be the best program to fulfill my goal of developing a theoretical foundation paired with intensive clinical work training. Also, the NYU Silver School building is this historical 19th-century townhouse located right outside Washington Square Park that provides an environment that makes you eager to learn the second you walk through the doors! My advice to incoming students is to build relationships with everyone around you since your peers and professors can serve as a community of inspiration and support.
Champions in Part Time Programs
Natalie Asalgado |Miami, FL | Extended Program
Undergraduate Institution: Brown University
Natalie chose to attend NYU Silver because of its flexible curriculum through the Extended program and historical focus on clinical field placements. She is currently placed at the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights, where she advocates for the best interests of unaccompanied immigrant children. This placement has urged her to learn more about how social workers can organize alongside community stakeholders to enact changes at the macro policy level. On campus, Natalie is secretary of the Latinx Social Work Student Organization, which aims to create a supportive community among Latinx students at Silver. She is also a member of the Student Leadership Council, which fosters leadership skills through professional and academic development opportunities. Further, Natalie manages a mentorship program for first-generation college students of color through NYU’s Center for Multicultural Education because she is passionate about helping others navigate higher education and beyond. Email Natalie
Chris Vargas | New York, NY | 32 Month Program
Undergraduate Institution: CUNY Brooklyn College
Christopher Vargas is a proud Dominican Graduate Student working on obtaining his Master’s in Social Work at the NYU Silver School for Social Work. He is currently in the 32 Month Program for Working Professionals. His experience at NYU has been a tough but very enjoyable ride. Chris always knew he wanted to help people in some way, but didn’t know how he wanted to do it. He aspires to be a clinical psychotherapist or a medical doctor. Because of his busy schedule, working full-time at Planned Parenthood of New York as CAPP Sexuality Educator and Trainer, as well as volunteering at Mount Sinai Hospital, he was worried he wouldn’t be able to have enough free time to attend graduate school. Out of all the programs he searched for and found, this program fit best. It also helped that the school was located a couple of blocks away from his job. During his tenure at NYU, Chris feels he has procured a great amount of knowledge relevant to the mental health field; learning mental disorders, therapeutic methods, the importance of research, and more! Chris also feels that he’s gaining a lot of therapeutic experience at his field placement at the Ali Forney Center, which is a crisis center for LGBTQ homeless youth. His thoughts on the program overall: the classes challenge you, the professors are amicable and encouraging, the students are inspiring and friendly, and the program is one of the best programs out there for aspiring mental health professionals! Email Chris
Casey Scott | Queens, NY | Extended One Year Residency Program
I live and breathe Social Work! NYU has given me the front seat to micro, meso and macro work in the classroom, in the institutional structure and in field. The professor I have had are knowledgeable, supportive, understanding, patience and encourage learning both in and out the classroom. They brought real life to every social work concept, theory and framework. My experience was more than what I expected and I am truly grateful, I applied to NYU!