Celebrating the Class of 2024

Congratulations Graduates!

Graduation is an opportunity to mark a key milestone in our students’ social work journey and to welcome them into our alumni network. It is a calling together of our community to recognize and celebrate our students’ completion of their studies with us and to confer upon them their degrees. It also marks a beginning, where graduates start the next step in their journeys as social work professionals. Even more so this year, we were excited to come together with families and loved ones at the magnificent United Palace in Washington Heights to honor and cheer for our Class of 2024.

Two graduates wearing violet academic attire and black graduation caps hugging outside in front of a banner with the NYU Silver logo

Our 2024 Graduates

I’m excited for the impact you will make as you take your hard earned knowledge and talents out into the world!

Michael A. Lindsey, Dean and Paulette Goddard Professor
Raeli Chesser headshot

While earning her BS in Social Work, Raeli Chesser (she/her) minored in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies. She has served as Co-President of NYU Silver’s Undergraduate Student Government Association for two years and sat on the Health and Wellness Committee and All-University Events Committee for NYU Student Government Association.

Enya Tellez headshot

Enya Tellez (they/she) is excited to be graduating from NYU Silver with a BS in Social Work and Communicative Sciences and Disorders.  During their time at Silver, Enya served on the school’s Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) each year—this past year as Co-President. 

John M. Pino headshot

John M. Pino (he/him) is a proud Greek Orthodox of Puerto Rican, Greek and Cuban descent. Passionate about advocacy and mental health awareness, John has used his college experience to work with people of all ages in breaking down barriers caused by the stigmas of mental health diagnoses, and address common mental health crises amongst Black Indigenous and People of Color.

Carmen Villavicencio-Hein headshot

Carmen Villavicencio-Hein (she/her) is a licensed clinical social worker who has served youth and families from ethnic and racial minoritized backgrounds in educational and foster care settings for over 15 years. Carmen works as a Supervisor of School Social Workers at the New York City Public Schools, where she co-founded a central-based social work initiative delivering multi-tiered crisis and preventive support.

Sabrina Renee Cluesman headshot

Sabrina Cluesman (she/they) is a PhD Candidate at NYU Silver whose research agenda aims to advance the science of HIV prevention. Their dissertation research focuses on understanding factors related to preexposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use among Black and Latine trans and gender expansive young people and explores the impact of gender minority stress, substance use, and gender affirmation.

Throughout our time here at Silver, we have been fortunate to have the support of a vibrant community of mentors and colleagues who have nurtured our growth and fueled our passions.

Sabrina Renee Cluesman, PhD, ’24

From Leadership at Silver to Impact in the Profession

Students across our degree programs have made an extraordinary and positive impact among their peers, the University, and the wider society. We give special recognition to those graduates who have served on our Student Leadership Council or Silver Peer Leaders, been inducted to the Phi Alpha Honor Society, Pi Pi Chapter or received special University awards honors.

Our lived experiences combined with our Silver education have positioned us to integrate both micro and macro perspectives in all aspects of our work.

Raeli Chesser and Enya Tellez, BS ’24
Being Agents of Change

Katie Deray, MSW ’24

I interpret social work, ideologically, as a disruption of behaviors and practices that are dysfunctional to the wellbeing of a person and the welfare of society . . . As social workers, we are agents of change. Disruption does not have a solely negative intent. We disrupt psychological and societal homeostasis to recalibrate it towards greater safety and equity. NYU has given us access to theory and practices that challenge our own awareness and positions within subversive and oppressive institutions. We have been given a voice. Ask why? Inquire. Ignore distractions and deflections of the dominant power structures; they are meant to divert your focus, attention, and efforts. Good enough is not good or enough.

Katie Deray headshot
The Shoulders We Stand On

Samantha Luxmikanthan, MSW ’24

“We must not forget our community who supported us along the way – including our families, given and chosen, our friends, our mentors and professors, many of whom will be in the audience as we graduate. Thank you, to those that guided us, who believed in us, and were pillars of support. These individuals are a testament to who you are, and who you will be. We must think of how we can support others, as they did for us, ensuring the love and care will continue for generations to come. We need each other, to nourish, to reimagine and to love. We need each other to create the difference we seek for our communities.”

Samantha Luxmikanthan headshot
What it Means to be a Social Worker

Anne Paulsen, MSW ’24

“As we entered our social work programs, we may not have realized the true meaning of being social workers, or what we were really getting ourselves into. But through hard work, sacrifice, and humility, we can understand that being a social worker is a lifelong commitment. Unlike our contemporaries in other fields, we do not speak about the client in theory. We stand with the client through their challenges. What does it mean to be a social worker? It means doing the right thing when no one is looking. It means finding the strength to keep going when we are under-paid and under-appreciated. It means standing up for justice, even when it is not easy.”

Anne Paulsen headshot

We don’t have a cape, or a mask, we can’t fly, or move mountains. What we do have is a special kind of love in our heart, a fire in our soul, and the WILL to make the world a better place.

John M. Pino, MSW ’24

NYU Silver Embraces the Core Values of the Social Work Profession

These core values, enumerated in the National Association of Social Workers Code of Ethics and embraced by social workers throughout the profession’s history, are the foundation of social work’s unique purpose and perspective:

• Service
• Social justice
• Dignity and worth of the person
• Importance of human relationships
• Integrity
• Competence

This constellation of core values reflects what is unique to the social work profession.

Top of a pink graduation cap decorated with pastel flowers, gems, and a pink bow with glitter cutout text that reads It's a beautiful day to change lives

The sacrifice of our ancestors and the challenges they faced and overcame made climbing this mountain a bit easier.

Carmen Villavicencio-Hein, DSW ’24