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2012 Alumni Awards

Outstanding Recent Alumni Awards

V. Clare (Chiesa) Morris, MSW ’09, has worked for over 15 years in the social service field with a focus on at-risk youth and marginalized populations. In 2007, combining her passion for cooperative learning, social service and technology, she partnered with childhood friend, Santana Kenner, to begin the work of iGotITtoo in an effort to bridge the gaps in digital inequality in New York City. In 2010, iGotITtoo received a grant from Google, Inc. to further services that were currently being provided by volunteers. iGotITtoo offers programming focused on building community and access to and knowledge through already present technology resources by engaging volunteers to share their skills with underserved communities in New York City. By providing services that increase participant’s viability and focus on the strengths of individuals; iGotITtoo continues to build community through technology.

Sarah Tarshis, MSW ’09, is a social worker with many years of experience in the health and human service sector. Committed to the work of social justice, working with immigrant and refugee populations, Sarah is dedicated to field of human rights, specifically to the cause of women’s empowerment and anti-poverty initiatives. Sarah is the Senior Economic Empowerment Specialist at Sanctuary for Families, the largest domestic violence agency in New York State dedicated exclusively to serving and sheltering domestic violence victims, sex trafficking victims, and their children. Over the last 2 years, she has participated in a unique initiative which is committed to “engineering” living wage workforce development solutions tailored to the needs of some of New York City's most vulnerable residents: domestic violence victims who in so many cases are mothers with children who reside in city-wide shelters. As someone who is on the front lines of this important initiative - she is working toward merging clinical and counseling practices with workforce development programming centered on job and career readiness, IT skills training, literacy upgrading, GED facilitation, and ESOL instruction. Sarah was a founding member and organizer of RISE, a grassroots collective of social workers and activists in NYC who organize community based social justice conferences, events and trainings. Sarah also serves as Co-Chair for the Domestic Violence Economic Justice (DVEJ) Task Force Workforce Development Working Group committed to finding creative solutions and effective responses that help survivors of domestic violence make the transition from welfare to work.

 

Distinguished Alumni Award

Jayne M. Silberman, Ph.D. ’85, is a member of the first doctoral class of the NYU Silver School of Social Work. She has held teaching positions at Hunter College’s School of Social Work as a tenured Associate Professor, and as an adjunct instructor at NYU Silver, and the Social Work and Behavioral Sciences division at Mount Sinai Medical Center. While teaching, she also had a private clinical practice. In addition to her professional accomplishments, Dr. Silberman’s lifelong involvement with philanthropy has been expressed in a variety of ways. She served for many years as Co-Vice Chair of the Lois and Samuel J. Silberman Fund, Community Funds Inc., until it was restructured last year. She is currently Chair of the Faculty Awards Committee for the Fund. Dr. Silberman has enjoyed being an active member of many non-profit boards and committees and presently sits on the Manhattan board of Jewish Home Lifecare. Additionally, for the last ten years, Dr. Silberman has pursued fine art photography. Her first book, In the Herd: A Photographic Journey with the Chincoteague Ponies and Assateague Horses, was released in September.

 

Making a Difference Awards

Elinor Seevak, MSW ’85, sought her master’s degree from the Silver School of Social Work as a continuation of her commitment to humanitarian and social justice work. Her service on the Dean's Advisory Council dates back to the first meeting on December 11, 1996. She has given tirelessly as a volunteer and philanthropist ensuring the future of social work education at New York University. Additionally, she is a board member of The Acting Company, a founding member of The Youth Foundation and a trustee of Facing History and Ourselves. She has also been involved with the New York Women's Foundation, the Women's Campaign Forum, and supports numerous other charities. Ms. Elinor A. Seevak lives the notion that investments we make today help to make a difference tomorrow.

Howard J. Aibel retired recently as a provider of independent arbitration and mediation services in resolving large complex corporate commercial disputes. In addition to assisting in the resolution of contract and financial disputes through mediation, he has arbitrated disputes involving space technology, biotechnology, software development and the licensing of intellectual property. Mr. Aibel received the AB degree magna cum laude in economics from Harvard College, and a JD cum laude from the Law School. He is a retired partner of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae L.L.P., where his focus was on international dispute resolution. Mr. Aibel joined the firm after he retired in 1994 from the post of Executive Vice President and Chief Legal Officer of ITT Corporation, having served as General Counsel since 1968. He was a trustee of the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights and, additionally, was a Vice President of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and a member of its Executive Committee. He and his late wife Kathy were ardent supporters of off and off Broadway theater companies. Mr. Aibel is presently a Vice Chair and Trustee of the Westport Country Playhouse where he has sponsored productions for the last several years. Previously he had served as Chairman of the Alliance of Resident Theatres/NY, a theatrical arts service and advocacy organization for the not for profit theater industry in New York and is now Chairman Emeritus. Furthermore, Mr. Aibel was a director and first vice president of the Westport Arts Center and presently is a member of WAC’s music committee and has been a concert sponsor. He was a director of South Shore Music, Inc. and through the years of its existence, sponsored many of its summer chamber music concerts. Mr. Aibel is also committed to nature education and conservation, serving as a Consulting Trustee of Earthplace, the Nature Discovery Center of Westport, and until recently was a member of the Conservation Commission of the Town of Weston.

Nancy Wender, LCSW, MSW ’96, started her private practice in 1999 and works with adult individuals and couples. Her clinical interests include family-of-origin influences, life cycle changes, relationships and depression. She founded Tribeca Downtown Associates, a suite of offices in which four full-time therapists have their private practices. Prior to beginning her private practice, she worked at the St. Mark’s Place Institute for Mental Health, a fee-for-service outpatient mental health clinic in the East Village and Greenwich House’s parole and outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs. In November 2011, Ms. Wender and another colleague began the “Thoughts on Psychotherapy” speaker’s series in the Tribeca Downtown Associates suite. Ms. Wender completed two post-masters institute training programs including the Ackerman Institute for the Family and the Adult Psychodynamic Psychotherapy Program at the New York University Psychoanalytic Institute, under the auspices of the New York University Medical Center, and completed a basic training certificate program in divorce and family mediation at the Center for Training & Mediation. Ms. Wender embarked on her career in social work as a result of a career change, and she brings a variety of skills from the nonprofit and business communities including advertising account management, development at two nonprofit organizations and her own consulting firm working with not-for-profit groups.