Iris Wang, BS '18, Named Undergraduate Social Work Student of the Year
NYU Silver undergraduate Iris Wang, BS ‘18, has been selected to receive the Undergraduate Social Work Student of the Year Award from the New York State Social Work Education Association (NYSSWEA). The award, which will be presented during NYSSWEA’s 50th Annual Conference in Saratoga Springs on October 6th, recognizes students who demonstrate academic achievement and leadership in the social work community.
In addition to being member of the Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Work and the Alpha Phi Omega service organization, Wang is the former historian and outreach organizer for the School’s Undergraduate Student Government Association and a University Residence Assistant who has earned a place in the National Residence Hall Honorary.
Wang was nominated for the award by her advisor, McSilver Associate Professor Robert L. Hawkins, who is also Assistant Dean and Director of the School’s Undergraduate Program. Dr. Hawkins made particular note of Wang’s central role in developing and implementing the Women’s Health, Well-being, and Resilience Project, in which NYU student researchers partnered with local women to facilitate discussion groups of rural, poor women in villages in the Philippines this past July.
Dr. Hawkins explained, “The discussion groups focused on providing affordable health tips to the local women, shared information and resources about sexual health and violence against women and how to help prevent it, and discussed approaches to being resilient with few resources. Iris co-wrote the curriculum with me and co-trained the student researchers. She also worked with local high schools in the Philippines to discuss health and resilience. Ultimately, the community developed a women’s health group based on Iris’s leadership, and she helped create a model of intervention and education that can be replicated across the Philippines and in other parts of the world.”
Dr. Hawkins also cited Wang's anti-racism and anti-oppressive work, her advocacy for low income students, and her commitment to community service. “In my classroom and in my meetings with her as her advisor,” he said, “Iris has shown that she is focused on learning all she can about the causes and consequences of poverty, and then working toward its alleviation. As a social work student, Iris believes in social justice, equity, and human rights and continuously fights for them every day.”