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2013 Student Awards

Diane Greenstein Memorial Fellowship

Rachel Copeland, LCSW and RPT-S, is a doctoral candidate at the Silver School of Social Work at New York University. Under the guidance of her mentor and dissertation chair Dr. Liliana Goldín, Rachel’s dissertation research focuses on eliciting qualitative life histories from poor mothers in Costa Rica who had an unintended pregnancy in adolescence. This research is set against the backdrop of intercountry adoption, where children from the developing world are adopted by families in wealthy countries. Her dissertation will contrast the experiences of birth mothers in Costa Rica with adoptive mothers in the United States in order to provide a fuller context of key players in intercountry adoption. In addition to over a decade of work as a clinical social worker, she spent four years as a forensic interviewer at a child advocacy center, she has testified as an expert witness in numerous criminal proceedings and child custody cases, and she has led agency-based trainings in play therapy techniques. Rachel is a teaching assistant for the MSW Costa Rica Study abroad program and teaches clinical practice classes in the MSW Program. After graduation, she hopes to continue researching in the area of international social work. 

Robert Moore Award for Excellence in Scholarship

Victoria Dexter, PhD, LCSW, is the Vice President of Mental Health Treatment at Safe Horizon. She has over 12 years of direct service experience and more than 16 years of experience as a social work administrator. In her eight-year tenure at Safe Horizon, Victoria established the Safe Horizon Counseling Center, Safe Horizon’s only outpatient mental health treatment facility, as a Center of Excellence specializing in the evidence-based, trauma-informed treatment of child and adult survivors of interpersonal violence. She is currently the Principal Investigator for a multi-year federal child trauma grant through the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Victoria received her doctorate from NYU in 2012 for her dissertation, Research Synthesis and Meta-Analysis of Empathy Training Studies with Helping Professionals. Under the guidance of her dissertation chair Dr. Jeane Anastas, this work addressed the question of whether or not empathy can be taught by synthesizing relevant studies from 50 years of empathy training research. Meta-analysis was performed with eighty empathy studies that met predetermined inclusion criteria. A large overall effect was found, and training variables positively associated with outcome were identified.

Silver Spirit Award

Beth Diesch, MSW '13, is originally from Iowa but was raised by her Mom in Northern California. From an early age her Mom taught her the importance of empathy in everyday life and always encouraged her to maintain positive relationships with others, even above personal hardship. Beth has always been grateful for the influential role her Mom has played in her life. Beth earned her BA in Film Theory and Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and began her interest in social work after making wonderful friendships in school and volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Indonesia. Beth has thoroughly enjoyed her time at Silver School and feels she has grown the most through her experience leading Phi Alpha's Pi Pi chapter and her volunteer work surrounding Hurricane Sandy relief. She loves her two cats, loves to travel and hopes to pursue a career in policy work.

Daniel Cabrera, MSW ‘13, comes from a family of caregivers with a history of community service, advocacy, and education. After two decades of youth advocacy and volunteer service Daniel decided to advance his efforts through the Master of Social Work program at New York University, where he applied his experience in community building, outreach, education, and advocacy to direct practice and program development with adolescents in schools. During his time at NYU Silver School of Social work Daniel became an active member of the school community Sandy Relief work in Staten Island & Red Hook, Graduate Student Association Marketing & Public Relations representative, Orientation Leader, Student Leadership Council, Social Work Champion, Event Moderator, Student Mentor, Strawberry Festival event staff, and annual fundraising for City of Hope, Multiple Sclerosis Society, American Brain Tumor Association, Joyful Heart Foundation, and Prostate Cancer Foundation: Movember.

Global Social Work Award

Haley Feldman is a graduating senior at NYU's undergraduate school of social work. She was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. Her interest in social work lies in clinical practice with refugees and in trauma. Through social work, she hopes to promote empathy, care, and respect within the world. She is honored to be a part of a profession that seeks to engage with the complexities of the world, on both a micro and a macro scale.

Outstanding POPS Project Award

Samantha Maietta, MSW '14, received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Professional Writing from University of Hartford in 2011. Samantha’s first-year field placement, The Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC) at Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University, has provided her with an opportunity to work closely with children diagnosed with developmental disabilities, in a clinical setting. During her time at CERC, Samantha increased her knowledge and clinical skills in the field of developmental disabilities and has assisted in the diagnostic process and conducted individual psychotherapy with this population. She has also co-developed and co-implemented an informational parent workshop that strived to educate parents on their child’s disabilities while providing resources and parent support.

Sarah Josephson, MSW '14, is an MSW student at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work’s Extended Program. Her particular interest in gerontology and community building was the impetus for her POPS project—SHOP (Shopping-squad Helping Older People). The program links volunteers, with elderly individuals living independently within the same neighborhood. SHOP proposes to facilitate bi-monthly meetings between the two, to enable volunteers to shop and deliver groceries to participants. Sarah is a member of the Phi Alpha Honor Society and is recipient of a Wasserman Funded Internship Award this semester. Sarah comes back to school following a varied career in media as broadcast editor and producer. Sarah’s pieces have aired on HD Net’s Dan Rather Reports, ABC’s World News, NPR and exhibited at the Museum of Jewish Heritage. Sarah is a graduate of Barnard College, where she studied Islamic History and literary Arabic, which she applied in the years after graduation at an Israeli/Palestinian think tank in Jerusalem.

Ching-Yee Ng, MSW '14, was born and raised in Hong Kong and immigrated to the United States in 2005. At a very early age she already knew what she wanted to be when she was older, a social worker. Her passion to help others did not fade even when facing the challenges of immigrating; she has taken every opportunity to grow in all aspects. She is currently an intern at Chinatown Neighborhood Naturally Occurring Retirement Community, where she mainly serves the Asian population. She has observed that Chinese immigrants are usually not willing to share and talk about problems, especially mental health related problems, due to the cultural issues. She recognizes that it is difficult for the Asian population to receive aid in the United States and understands their struggles of adapting, which is why she strives to make the lives of immigrants of all ethnicities better. Ms. Ng is a student of life and hopes that she can learn more everyday so that she can better understand and serve those in need.

Silver Citizenship Award

Madelyn Miller is a September 2012 graduate of the doctoral program at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. As a psychotherapist, educator, and consultant, she specializes in working with adult survivors of trauma and loss, teaching and training on these issues, and supporting the well-being and resourcefulness of colleagues and programs closely engaged with survivors’ experiences. Issues of childhood sexual abuse, adult sexual violation, and human trafficking, as well as disaster, genocide, war, and political violence, and experiences of refugees and those seeking asylum are included. She is an adjunct associate professor at the school and a lecturer at Hunter College School of Social Work. Since 1997 she chairs the Disaster Trauma Committee at NYC-NASW, incorporating continuing learning within a global frame, collegial support, and a context for community. Her work in the aftermath of disaster includes direct response with various programs, support and training with colleagues and community groups, and continuing education through presentations, workshops, and collaborations. Considering the complexities of clinical work with survivors, along with a community perspective after collective trauma and loss, her work highlights attention to the experiences of those working with survivors, and what is sustaining as they move forward.

Alexandra Frank, MSW ‘13, has worked in a men’s maximum security jail, foster care prevention, disaster relief, and has been an intern with the NYC Department of Probation since September 2012. Following Hurricane Sandy, she volunteered at a temporary disaster relief shelter at Brooklyn Technical High School providing crisis counseling to individuals displaced from an adult-care facility for the severely and persistently mentally ill. The primary focus of her interests is in criminal justice research and policy and, in particular, ways to reduce recidivism. Alexandra is the founder of SWOPP - Social Workers on Public Policy, a student group focused on educating and empowering students about local politics, voting, and policy issues. Alexandra recently completed an independent study titled Running in Circles: Which State Prison Release Policies Create Recidivism? This paper, which was written with Silver School professor Dr. Robert Hawkins, has been accepted for presentation to the Society for the Study of Social Problems national conference that takes place in August 2013.

Social Justice Award

Emmy Tiderington, LMSW is an activist, instructor and researcher working towards social and economic justice for underprivileged populations. Currently, she is a doctoral candidate at the Silver School of Social Work researching the provision of services for formerly homeless, mentally ill adults and works as a Research Scientist on a National Institute of Health grant on recovery from homelessness, mental illness and substance abuse. Her research and activism is informed by over a decade of experience as a service provider and a clinical supervisor in housing and mental health services for individuals with serious mental illness. Her service within the university has included a 2-year position as Academic Advocate on the SSSW Doctoral Student Association, organizing efforts with the Graduate Student Organizing Committee (GSOC/UAW Local 2110) and she has been an invited panelist on several university event panels, including SSSW Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration Week "50 Years Forward: The Cost of a Dream Deferred.” Outside of the university her activism has included involvement in direct actions and as a working group member with Occupy Wall Street to draw attention to economic inequality, relief efforts providing disaster mental health services as a volunteer member of the NYC Medical Reserve Corps and Occupy Sandy relief efforts, and participation in National Women’s Liberation direct actions aimed at increasing access to birth control and affordable health care for all.

Alice Berliner is a graduating senior at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work, double majoring in Politics. Alice was born and raised in Los Angeles, California and began working towards her dream of immigration reform as a senior in high school. She worked with the CLEAN Carwash campaign, fighting to unionize car wash workers; and the New York Hotel Trade’s Council (NYHTC), who represent 75% of New York City’s hotel industry. In September 2012, Alice began her field placement at Make the Road New York (MRNY), a community-based organization geared toward advocating for immigrant rights and low-income communities. Through MRNY, she works with ninth grade students at Bushwick School for Social Justice, where together they develop Social Action Projects about social justice issues.

Excellence in Leadership Award

Christopher Lynn-Logue is a graduating MSW student at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work. His interests in social work are in child welfare reform, improving foster care and increasing the amount of adoptions from foster care. He is from Brooklyn, NY and earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology from Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. In his first year at the Silver School of Social Work, he immediately became a member of the Students of Color Collective and was elected to the Graduate Student Association (GSA) as one of the First Year Representatives. Christopher was elected President of the GSA in his second year. As President, Christopher has worked to build a stronger sense of community amongst the student body, and do everything possible to ensure that every student is having the best experience possible while they are at Silver and NYU. Much as he did himself, Christopher has encouraged students to get active within the school community and to take advantage of everything NYU has to offer.

Cordelia Brady is from West Hartford and Mystic, CT. She is graduating with a Bachelor’s in Social Work and a Minor in American Sign Language. This year, Cordelia was the co-president of the 2012-2013 Undergraduate Student Government Association at the Silver School of Social Work. Before this role, she served for one year as the Junior Class representative and two years as a student delegate. Cordelia completed her Junior and Senior year field work at Henry Street Settlement's Urban Family Center, a transitional and supportive shelter for homeless families. She worked as a case manager for individual families as well as assisting the employment team.

Lily Tagg is a graduating senior in NYU Silver School of Social Work’s BSW program. She currently serves as Co-President of the NYU Silver Undergraduate Student Government Association, and is a Resident Assistant at Gramercy Green Residence Hall. Lily has been actively involved in a leadership capacity to develop and engage the NYU community as a whole since her freshman year, but her dedication to the Silver community has been tireless. Lily’s passion for social justice and service is evident through her work with Silver and the USGA, through partnerships with organizations such as KEEN, Starlight, and Bowery Mission. Lily was honored to earn a selective spot in Deputy President Diane Yu’s specialized honors course on leadership in Spring 2012. Lily’s clinical interests involve trauma work and working within the criminal justice system. She is currently doing her field work at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office in the Domestic Violence Bureau. Next year, she will continue with her social work education by pursuing her MSW degree.

Dean’s Award for Innovation in Social Work Practice

Titilayo Oluwafunmilayo Kuti, MSW ‘13, believes her social work degree compliments her background in marketing, recruitment, engagement, mentoring, and solutions focused decision-making. Ms. Kuti received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of California at Los Angeles and spent several years in corporate settings following graduation. After collaborating with entrepreneurial leaders in the field of education and supplemental international learning franchising, Ms. Kuti made the move to New York to enhance her skills in community engagement and development. Her ability to identify needs in the community and formulate action plans to close gaps in services, fuels Ms. Kuti’s force in social justice and diversity related issues. As a higher education intern in the Office of Student Affairs, Ms. Kuti has enhanced her leadership skills while also exploring her passion for supporting diverse students by developing and organizing student programs and events.

Michael Fiore is a graduating senior at NYU’s Silver School of Social Work. He will be obtaining his bachelor’s degree in social work in May of 2013 and has been accepted in to the advanced standing master’s program at the Silver School of Social Work. Michael is passionate about working with our nation’s aging population and pursuing a career as a professional social worker in palliative and end-of-life care. Michael is not only passionate about our elders, but he is also passionate about improving the ways in which we prepare for, cope with, and face death as a society; Not only for the individual, but for families and the greater community. As an, “Out and proud,” member of the LGBT community, Michael hopes to continue to advocate for equal treatment in this vulnerable community. Michael is honored to accept this student award and looks forward to beginning his graduate studies at NYU in the fall of 2013.