Q&A with Abby McConnell, BS Class of 2022

Abby McConnell headshotNYU Silver Undergraduate Student Government Association (USGA) Senator Abby McConnell is majoring in Social Work and minoring in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies. She is originally from Orlando, FL and says she loves being in New York. We recently spoke to her about her pathway to social work and her NYU Silver experience.

What motivated you to major in social work?

I wanted to focus on people. I knew before I wanted to do social work that I wanted to work with refugees, but I didn’t know how. I landed on social work because I loved the way that it humanized people. Dehumanization is a major issue in all social issues and so finding a field that centered humanity and dignity was a deciding factor for me.

Why NYU?

I chose NYU when I fell in love with it my junior year of high school. I toured NYU and loved being in the city. For me, NYU combined strong programs with a college experience unlike any other.

What has been your favorite class at Silver far? 

My favorite class was Service Learning with Immigrant Youth with Dr. Rosenfeld. While it was cut short by COVID, I was able to get first-hand experience by tutoring recently immigrated students at Brooklyn International High School. It helped me affirm that I wanted to work with refugees while also allowing me to have an impact on others. This class combined theoretical knowledge and practical application to paint the big picture.  

Do you have a favorite professor? 

My favorite professor at Silver is Dr. Zoila Del-Villar. I had her for Intro to Social Work and I came out of it a different person. Her classes were always engaging and provided me with a framework for moving forward in the rest of my studies. 

What has your Field Learning experience entailed this year?

My field placement is at the Syrian Community Network in Chicago. I did my placement remotely [due to the COVID-19 pandemic] and had lots of learning opportunities. I conducted a literature review focused on programming to develop social capital among resettled refugees. I also got to attend “behind-the-scenes” meetings of what it entails to run a non-profit as well as help clients apply for benefits.

What is your role as the USGA Senator? 

As Senator, I serve as a representative to NYU’s full Student Government Association (SGA) and the University Senate. I represent undergraduate Silver students’ voices and concerns in decision making bodies at the University. This includes sitting on committees such as the Senate Academic Affairs Committee and the SGA Organization and Governance committee. I also host town halls to connect student voices with Silver’s administration.

As you head into your senior year, do you have any advice for the incoming Silver undergraduates?

Silver’s community is unlike any other I have been a part of. Lean into Silver and you will be surprised where it takes you.