Outstanding Students Honored at Awards Ceremony

Faculty, staff, and students from the NYU Silver School of Social Work gathered on Wednesday, April 20 for the third annual Student Awards to celebrate students' outstanding work and contributions.

All of the awardees display leadership, are dedicated to the social work profession, and exemplify the values of the Silver School. Individuals from the undergraduate, master's, and doctoral programs, along with student groups, were recognized.

"The future of this profession is in excellent, excellent hands," said Professor Jeane Anastas as she presented the Racial Diversity Coalition with the Social Justice Award. An alliance of four student groups, the Coalition formed in the fall of 2009 with a common goal of promoting social justice and a meaningful dialogue about racial diversity. Among the adjectives Anastas used to describe the group: knowledgeable, committed, and inspiring.

"I have learned just as much in the classroom as I have outside," said Angie Cazares, MSW '11, on behalf of the Racial Diversity Coalition. She said she felt blessed to work with such passionate people.

Many students were humbled as they accept their awards. They expressed their gratitude to faculty and family, who were on hand for the festive occasion. Pandora Yee, MSW '11, note that her mother flew in from Toronto for the event. Yee described Silver Spirit Award as the "cherry on top" of her time at NYU.

Jae Disbrow, MSW '11, recipient of the Dean's Award for Innovation in Social Work Practice, called this a "defining moment as a social work student."

In her introduction of the award, Dean Lynn Videka stated that a new component had been added to the requirements of award, which honors students who demonstrates creativity and innovation in social work practice through a project, proposal, or paper. Starting this year, students must have implemented the nominated projects.

Amanda Raposo, BS '11, one of three Dean's Award recipients, was recognized with this award for a second year in a row. This year, the award acknowledges Raposo's work around youth leadership and sustainable social impact, which led her to develop Friends Beyond Borders, Global Girls, and the Keystone Leadership Retreat as a social work intern with inner-city teens at the Educational Alliance.

The work of doctoral students was recognized with the Diane Greenstein Memorial Fellowship and Robert Moore Award for Excellence in Scholarship. Ben Henwood, PhD '11, was presented with the Robert Moore Award in honor of his dissertation, Working with individuals experiencing homelessness, serious mental illness, and co-occurring addictions: A comparative analysis of service providers.

He said that many think of scholarship as an "individual intellectual pursuit that happens in isolation." But, this is not completely true. He said, "I want to recognize the supportive environment of NYU, particularly from Dean Videka."

The Awards Selection Committee, comprised of Silver School faculty, the dean, and administrators, reviewed all nominated students. A total of six awards were given to nine recipients.

Silver Spirit Award
Rachel Reese, BS '11
Pandora Yee, MSW '11

Dean's Award for Innovation in Social Work Practice
Jasmin Phillips, BS '11
Amanda Raposo, BS '11
Jae Disbrow, MSW '11

Social Justice Award
Racial Diversity Coalition (Angie Cazares, Shara Chambliss, Mckenzie Charles, Shane Fitchett, Andrea Ford, Carrie Marker, Jennifer McCue, Nansi Rivas, Patricia Salgado, Evening Shinerock, Sarina Straussner, Maryam Toloui)

Outstanding Student Program
"What's Your Dream?" - Undergraduate Student Association

Diane Greenstein Memorial Fellowship
Christine Greer, PhD candidate

Robert Moore Award for Excellence in Scholarship
Benjamin Henwood, PhD '11

Students who received awards from New York University and various social work professional organizations were also recognized during the ceremony.

Student of the Year Award, NASW-NYC
Maryam Toloui, MSW '11

Outstanding Student of Distinction Awards, New York State Society for Clinical Social Work
Emine Bislimi, MSW '11, Staten Island Chapter
Angela R. Constantino, MSW '11, Rockland Chapter

President's Service Award, NYU
Gina Braham, BS '12
Shatikwa Brown, MSW '11
Jeremy Schwartz, MSW '11
Students of Color Collective
Undergraduate Student Government Association

Moving Up Day Awards, NYU LGBTQ Student Center
Pride in Practice: Dedication to Education Award

Nia Awards, NYU Center for Multicultural Education and Programs

Alicia Bell, BS '11: Cesar Chavez/Clara Hale Commitment to Community Outreach Award
April Davis, MSW '11: Ronald McNair and Arthur Schomburg Academic Excellence Award
Shane Fitchett, MSW '11: Mahatma Gandhi/Rigoberta Menchu Tum Innovative Response Award
Benjamin Meyer, MSW '11: Philip Vera Cruz/Pete Velasco Mentorship Award