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2015 Student Awards

Diane Greenstein Memorial Fellowship

Andrea Cole

Andrea Cole, LCSW is a doctoral candidate at the NYU Silver School of Social Work. She holds an M.S.W degree from Boston College Graduate School of Social Work and a B.A. in psychology from the University of Virginia. Andrea is also an adjunct lecturer in the NYU MSW program and has been practicing at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens for the past 6 years. Andrea’s primary research interests include trauma and PTSD, young adult development and mental health, immigrants and refugees, and intervention and implementation research. Andrea’s proposed dissertation is a mixed method examination of the impact of community violence on young adult mental health and development. She is collecting primary data from young adults (ages 18 to 30) living in public housing in Manhattan and plans to use structural equation modeling and grounded theory techniques to analyze the relationships between different types of violence exposure, PTSD symptom clusters, optimism, employment and educational status.

Robert Moore Award for Excellence in Scholarship

So Young-Park

So-Young Park’s (PhD ’14) dissertation focused on the longitudinal dynamics of contextual risk factors on depressive symptoms and suicide ideation among Asian Americans across three developmental time periods using the National Longitudinal Study on Adolescent Health (ADD Health) data set. Her dissertation project was funded by the Okura Mental Health Scholarship for Asian and Pacific Islander Social Workers from the Okura Mental Health Leadership Foundation, and by the Diane Greenstein Memorial Fellowship from the NYU Silver School of Social Work. She continues research on health and mental health disparities among ethnic minorities identifying socio-environmental risk factors. She draws upon her extensive research and clinical experiences to serve as an adjunct faculty member teaching a variety of BSW and MSW courses.

Silver Spirit Award

David Kwon

David Kwon, BSW '10, MSW '15 may not have discovered the joyful power of social work if it hadn't been for NYU informing him back in 2006 how he didn't have to create a brand new major to combine his passion for history and for social activism. NYU convinced him that social work is the major he wanted to create all along, and since then, David has learned and experienced as much as he could to work towards preventing and eliminating poverty and homelessness. As both an NYU alumni and a student, David has witnessed a lot of accomplishments and changes here at NYU. He himself has become involved in a number of such events as he secretary/treasurer of the Student Collective for Global Social Work. He has assisted the leaders and members of this student group with coordination of events, record-keeping, and with promotion of fundraising campaigns. He has been an advising member of many other student efforts as well, most notably with Graduate Student Association (GSA), Student Leadership Council (SLC), Latino Social Work Student Organization (LSWSO) and with Silver Atheists Agnostics and Secular Humanists (SAASH). For David, being a part of NYU Silver School of Social Work largely means utilizing his clinical training and direct practice experiences to affect greater societal and political change. For this purpose he is always glad to collaborate with his colleagues and take on various social work roles. He is proud to be a NYU social work student where he has been encouraged to  integrate the micro people-to-people skills into the more macro policy practice and community organization work

Margaret Woods

Margaret M. Woods, MSW ’15, is the sixth generation of her family dedicated to service to others. It was through life experience and reflection upon her family member’s service to others in the fields of education, nursing, childcare and hospitality services that she sought out her niche in her family’s legacy of service and found social work. Being an alumna of NYU, (B.S., Stern), Silver School of Social Work fit perfectly into her new career plans. Since her arrival she has become active as Secretary of the Graduate Student Association, Mentor and Co-Founder of the Silver Foxes Mentoring Program, Student Leader for The Gerontology Student Collective, NYU America Reads and Counts Tutor, Silver Social Work Champion and a recipient of the Wasserman Internship Grant. Her passion to work in the field of Gerontology pays tribute to Evie, Beanie, Mamie, Isabell and Thelma, the women in her family, whose shoulders she stands upon as she continues to carry the baton of service to the next generation. She dedicates this award to her Nana, Isabell Anthony Robinson (1914-2010), who would have been 100 years old this year.

Global Social Work Award

Brittany Armstrong

Brittany Armstrong, MSW ‘15 is originally from Tampa Bay, Florida and in her 2nd year of the two year MSW Program. She is co-leader of the Student Collective for Global Social Work (SCGSW) and a member of Phi Alpha Honor Society, the Sexual Assault Awareness Month Committee, and the Student Leadership Council. Last year Brittany served as the Event Coordinator for the SCGSW, where she organized monthly alumni events for students interested in working in the field of Global Social Work. Brittany currently interns with Safe Horizon’s Anti-Trafficking Program where she provides intensive case management services to survivors of sex and labor trafficking. She has also participated in two study abroad courses through NYU Silver, one in Ghana where she performed a community needs assessment and another in Buenos Aires, Argentina where she conducted program evaluation, both in partnership with the McSilver Institute of Poverty Policy and Research. Brittany is passionate about global social work, both domestically and abroad, and plans to pursue this passion through advancing human rights and social justice by working with immigrants and refugees.  

Outstanding POPS Project Award

Matthew Houston

Matthew R. Houston, MSW '16, is completing his first year of fieldwork with Care Coordination at Callen-Lorde Community Health Center, which serves New York City's LGBTQ community. Matthew has been interested in the intersection of technology and mental health since working as a research recruiter for a number of biopsychosocial studies launched through Hunter College. With support and guidance from the mental health providers and clients at Callen-Lorde, Matthew formulated a proposal that sought to utilize a Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) wellness tracker to enhance the delivery of therapeutic services. The mobile app tracks mood states, symptoms, and aspects of lifestyle, and will help clients and therapists identify triggers, behavioral patterns, improve client self-reporting, and hopefully allow for empowering therapeutic interventions.

Silver Citizenship Award

Tamara Levin

Tamara Levin, BS ’16, is a junior at the NYU Silver School of Social Work with a minor in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. Although she became a junior in the spring semester, Tamara still serves as the sophomore representative for the Undergraduate Student Government Association and is the chairperson of the Professional Development Day conference. Volunteering in a domestic violence shelter in high school, she saw its effects on both women and children. She then worked with the county government to advocate for the expansion of Women’s rights in areas such as domestic violence and childcare. Since starting NYU, she has continued this work and also works a weekly shift on crisis support hotline for RAINN (the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network). She has become more interested and involved in the policy aspects of social issues as the Vice President of the Social Workers in Public Policy Club. She has been a manager of the New York University Varsity Wrestling Team for the past two years.  This past semester Tamara was chosen to represent the Silver School of Social Work in the University Leadership Honors Course. She hopes to use the lessons she has learned to during her time at Silver to found a not for-profit this summer focused on developing cost-effective methods to help victims of sexual assault and other related issues.

Lauren May

Lauren May, MSW '15, has been serving as an advocate for the homeless community for over six years.  She began working with issues of homelessness at St. Edward's University in Austin, Texas. Lauren volunteered for three years at the Austin Resource Center for the Homeless, assisting in preparing and serving breakfast weekly . Lauren's passion for the homeless community extended from Austin to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where she served as a staff member at the First Church Shelter, and as a Resource Advocate at the Harvard Square Homeless Shelter. Lauren's leadership culminated at Harvard University, where she served as Director at the St. James Summer Shelter. Currently, Lauren is the inaugural Homeless Shelter Coordinator for The First Presbyterian Church in the City of New York. In this role, Lauren schedules, trains and oversees a seasonal men's respite shelter, and its rotating team.of over one hundred weekly volunteers. Lauren has served as an overnight volunteer at the summer shelter run by Park Slope's Congregation Beth Elohim, and is also a weekly volunteer with the morning soup kitchen at Central Synagogue. Lauren has volunteered with fundraisers and awareness campaigns, such as the Department of Homeless Services HOPE Survey, the 'Don't Walk By Campaign,' and the Housing Works' annual 'Fashion for Action' fundraiser.

Emma Zhou

Mi (Emma) Zhou, MSW ’15, was raised in Shanghai, China, and came to the United States in 2013 as an international student in the Silver School. Her early experience of volunteering in hospitals aroused her passion for working with patients near the end of their lives. In 2014, she was selected as one of the fellows of the Zelda Foster Fellowship in Palliative and End-of-Life Care, and became dedicated to introducing palliative care to the Chinese community. In her current internship on Palliative Care Team at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center, she paid extra attention to Chinese-speaking patients and families: She introduced palliative care to them, helped them navigating in the healthcare system in the United States, and linked them to hospice and bereavement resources in the United States and in China. In her spare time, Emma volunteered with the Hospice Care Program at Visiting Nurse Service of New York, and visited Cantonese-speaking hospice patients on a weekly basis to provide company and emotional support. Currently, she is working with three patients and their family members, who expressed appreciation for her ongoing support. Emma is also one of the three co-presidents of Chinese Student Support Group. Besides hosting the biweekly meetings and organizing events for the group, she also made efforts to help group members understand palliative care and the healthcare system in the United States. Emma will continue to work on bringing palliative care to the Chinese community.

Social Justice Award

Carlette Quinto

Carlette Quinto, MSW ’15, was born and raised in Los Angeles, California, and her preferred gender pronouns are she, her, and hers. Carlette received her Bachelor’s Degree from Antioch University Los Angeles with a Concentration in Psychology and a minor in Urban Community Environment. It was during her time at Antioch that she found her passion and interest in social justice and began to engage in conversations of racism in her classrooms. Through her studies at NYU Silver, and her current field placement at the Undoing Racism Internship Project (URIP), she has been able to engage and organize (individually as well as with a number of social work students from various New York schools) in anti-racist and anti-oppressive social work practices, including: restorative justice, policy, research, advocacy and social work school curricula changes. Carlette currently serves as one of the 2014-2015 Co-Presidents for the Students of Color Collective (SOCC), Treasurer for the Phi Alpha Honor Society-Pi Pi Chapter, and Committee Member of the Sexual Violence Awareness Committee (SVAC). She is part of the Macro/Micro Field Learning Opportunity (FLO) and the Global Learning Opportunity (GLO), and is also working on a research initiative at McSilver Institute with LGBT asylum seekers. Carlette believes conversations about race/racism and intersectionality are crucial to have in our classes, institutions, and everyday lives, and her hope is for social work students, and the social work profession as a whole, to continue engaging in these important conversations in order to best serve and provide to communities continually impacted by institutionalized racism.

Steven Pokorski

Steven Pokorski, came to NYU Silver from Chicago with the intention of pursuing social work practice with families and children. During his first internship, he was placed on an Assertive Community Treatment Team within the field of severe and persistent mental health treatment. After this life-forming experience, Steven chose to pursue a career focused on evidence-based mental health practice. Today, as a graduating MSW student, Steven has been hired by the Institute of Community Living as a mental health clinician. Working within a new community model of care, Steven is actively participating in research and program development that will reshape many aspects of mental healthcare to best fit the diverse needs of this population. As an active voice for the racially marginalized, Steven fights to insure that discussions of ethnicity, race, and culture are happening as the mental health system evolves. As a member of the LGBTQ community, Steven knows firsthand the importance of discussing sexual preference with clients and of advocating for their individual rights. Looking to the future, Steven plans to pursue direct practice for the first several years of his career and later move into non-profit management.

Excellence in Leadership Award

Elizabeth Chon

Elizabeth Chon, MSW '15, is currently the Chapter President of the Phi Alpha National Honor Society-Pi Pi Chapter, co-leader of the Student Collective for Global Social Work, member of the Student Leadership Council, and a Silver Ambassador for prospective and newly admitted students. She holds a B.A. in International Relations from University of Redlands. Prior to returning to school to earn her masters degree, she worked for the United States Peace Corps in Morocco as a Youth and Community Development Program Manager. As a NYU MSW student, Elizabeth has worked with youth and families on an international platform as well as survivors of torture seeking asylum in the United States. Elizabeth hopes to continue utilizing her knowledge and skills in the youth and community development career path, domestically and internationally.

Anahi Galante

Anahi Galante, MSW ’15 (Zelda Foster Fellow, Co-Leader of the Latino Social Work Student Organization and member of Pride in Practice’s leadership team)-- Anahi came to Silver knowing already that social work is a wide umbrella that addresses a myriad of issues surrounding oppression and disparity by empowering people. Anahi had experienced oppression personally and collectively: Anahi survived the Argentine military dictatorship and Anahi had lived through the full range of the immigrant experience; overcoming the barriers of a new culture and language as well as the new social and personal landscapes. Her life has been impacted by multiple losses: Anahi experienced a constant and excruciating paradigm of being alive without knowing if Anahi would be murdered the next day and Anahi lost her 30-year professional career as a dancer/choreographer/dance educator/company director to a freak accident, falling downstairs. Anahi’s back injury taught her important lessons about spiritual recovery and integrity, embracing the unknown, celebrating the life within and letting go of what was no longer available.

Amanda Mays

Amanda Mays, MSW 15 is in her second year at Silver School of Social Work. Amanda has served in many leadership capacities while at Silver such at the Student Leadership Council and Student Member of the Social Justice and Diversity Committee. Through these roles, Amanda has coordinated and facilitated numerous Silver events focused on deepening dialogue about intersectionality and social justice and ensuring access for all students to share their experiences connected to their education and professional work as Social Workers. Amanda has been dedicated to working with communities impacted by marginalization through her internships, first at a school in East Harlem serving predominately African American and Latino children and this year with adults in the LGBTQ community. While at Silver, Amanda has served as a positive voice of encouragement for her fellow students and has engaged in multiple opportunities to embed critical dialogue partnered with affirmative enthusiasm into the culture both in and out of the classroom. After graduation, Amanda intends to continue the work she began at by becoming a psychotherapist and continue to enrich her connection with Silver as a professor in graduate Social Work education.

Nicole McCullough

Nicole McCullough, MSW ‘15 is a social activist, community leader, and emerging clinician who is interested in child welfare and human rights. Ms. McCullough is currently President of the Graduate Student Association at the Silver School of Social Work, where she began her studies in January 2014. She is an active member of the Phi Alpha National Honor Society and a 2015 Presidential Service Award Winner. In January 2015, she was invited to participate in a global studies trip to Tel Aviv, Israel, which has informed her professional perspective and further enriched her interest in international social work. She is an active leader on the University Student Senator’s Committee and also participates in the National Association of Social Work as an appointed Membership Associate. Ms. McCullough will receive her MSW from NYU: Silver School of Social Work in May 2015, and earned her B.A., Communication and Pre-Law Studies at University of the Pacific, California.

Jacqueline Wait

Jacqueline Wait, is a senior at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work and is graduating with her Bachelor’s of social work in May 2015. Jacqueline has a passion for social justice, international public health, and equal education. She spent time teaching both in New York and abroad in Kenya. During the 2014 - 15 school year, Jacqueline was a research intern at Catholic Guardian Services’ Center for Evidence Based Implementation and Research (CEBIR). Along with two other students, Jacqueline received the Social Justice and Diversity Award in 2014 from NYU to implement a foster care mentorship program to better educational outcomes for youth aging out of care. This summer she will be traveling to the Philippines with a group of NYU students to conduct a study on financial management and decision-making.

Dean’s Award for Innovation in Social Work Practice

Rocky Pack

Christopher (Rocky) Pack, BS '15, is a graduating senior at NYU Silver School of Social Work with a minor in Social Entrepreneurship. Rocky believes that social work has given him a unique perspective of interpersonal relationships and advocacy. His social work interests include Freudian psychoanalysis and the intersections of technology and social work. While his background has focused on working with international populations, his passion lies in the efforts to increase efficiency and efficacy within agencies. Throughout his placement at the International Rescue Committee, Rocky has worked directly with clients while also creating more comprehensive and dynamic resources for other staff members. After graduation, Rocky plans to extend his social work knowledge and skills within social ventures.

Kristen Verge

Kristen Verge, ’15 MSW, is finishing her final semester in NYU Silver School of Social Work’s graduate program. At her internship with ICL – The Guidance Center of Brooklyn Heights, Kristen completed a research project identifying oral health needs among adults with severe and persistent mental illness, histories of homelessness, and substance use. She also enacted a campaign to promote the importance of regular dental care and inform Medicaid recipients of their dental health benefits. Kristen is deeply dedicated to providing comprehensive medical and behavioral care to underserved populations, especially women. Kristen completed her undergraduate degree in English and Film at the College of William & Mary. In her spare time, Kristen volunteers with the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, the Breast Treatment Task Force, and the New York Abortion Access Fund. Kristen is also a grant recipient in the Primary and Behavioral Integrated Health Care program and founder of the student group Feminists of Silver.

Previous Student Honorees