CUSSW Students Honored with NASW-NYC Awards

May 16, 2008

For Immediate Release

May 16, 2008

New York, NY – Cory Jones and Nichelle Roberts, 2008 master of social work candidates at Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW), have been selected to receive awards from the National Association of Social Workers-New York City Chapter. The awards will be presented during the School’s Commencement Ceremony at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center on May 19.

Roberts will be awarded with the Georgia L. McMurray Award, which is only given to one student out of all six graduate schools of social work in New York City. The award recognizes outstanding accomplishments and contributions a graduating student has made to services to children and families. This is the fourth consecutive year that a CUSSW student has won the McMurray Award.

“I am delighted and humbled to receive this award,” says Roberts. “My life dedication is to the pursuit of education and equality for all youth. I am most thankful to my parents and brother for their support of my education and goals.”

Roberts specialized in Advanced Generalist Practice and Programming (AGPP) at CUSSW with a focus in school linked and school based services. Born in Trinidad but raised in Bloomfield, CT, Roberts comes from a family of educators. Prior to pursuing her master’s degree in social work at CUSSW, Roberts was an elementary school teacher for seven years. Her experience in the education system exposed her to the work of social workers and their integral role in serving as a bridge between parents, communities and the schools. After graduation, Roberts will be working as a social worker at Jumoke Academy, a charter school in Hartford, CT. In the future, she plans to establish her own urban school to help youth attain their goals.

Jones will be awarded the Student of the Year Award, which recognizes students who have demonstrated professional commitment, identity and values through student leadership, field practice or academic projects.

Jones specialized in AGPP at CUSSW with a focus on contemporary social issues. Prior to coming to CUSSW, she was a case worker for child protective services in Austin, TX for three years. The experience motivated her to apply for her master’s degree in social work. While completing the program at CUSSW, Jones interned at the United States Office of Probation and the CUSSW Social Intervention Group. “It is a great honor to receive this award,” says Jones.“ I was given a great education at the School and feel very fortunate to be among an intelligent and compassionate student body that is so dedicated to this field.” Jones will be returning to her native home of Texas where she will take a supervisory role with the Department of Family and Protective Services. In the future, she plans to pursue a doctoral degree in social work.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 153,000 members. NASW-NYC represents the collective expertise and experience of more than 10,000 members in New York City. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its policy work and advocacy.

For more information, please contact Jeannie Hii at 212-851-2327 or jy2223@columbia.edu.

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CUSSW Students Honored with NASW-NYC Awards

May 9, 2007

For Immediate Release

May 9, 2007

New York, NY – Mary Ellen Santiago and Monique Michelle Sierra, 2007 master of social work candidates at Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW), have been selected to receive awards from the National Association of Social Workers-New York City Chapter. The awards will be presented during the School’s commencement ceremony at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center on May 16.

Santiago will be awarded with the McMurray Award, which is only given to one student out of all six graduate schools of social work in The award recognizes outstanding accomplishments and contributions a graduating student has made to services to children and families. “I am truly delighted to be honored with this award,” says Santiago. “Growing up in the Bronx, I was able to observe some of the pressures poverty causes within the family structure. Social work has provided me an outlet to change people’s lives.”

Born in Tampa, Florida but raised in Bronx, New York, Santiago pursued social work to help find a way to help impoverished individuals better their lives. After graduating from Western Connecticut State University, she applied to CUSSW to obtain her master’s degree of social work in children and family services. A community advocate, Santiago volunteered as co-leader of the Finance Committee that worked to increase funds to support the existing work at the Columbia Student Medical Outreach (CoSMO). She was recently hired as the new Director of Foster Care’s Upper Manhattan Unit of Lutheran Social Services of New York.

Sierra will be awarded the Student of the Year Award, which recognizes students who have demonstrated professional commitment, identity and values through student leadership, field practice or academic projects. “I am honored to be selected for this award,” says Sierra. “My work with various communities has impacted me in many ways. I have learned a lot from the people I serve – they are my inspiration and motivation to continue the work that I do.”

A native of Los Angeles, CA, Sierra studied social policy and international social work at CUSSW. She received her undergraduate degree in sociology from University of California – Santa Barbara. Sierra has worked in Ghana and Uganda, and plans to pursue a career in international development. She is married and currently resides in New York City.

The National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers with 153,000 members. NASW-NYC represents the collective expertise and experience of more than 10,000 members in New York City. It promotes, develops, and protects the practice of social work and social workers. NASW also seeks to enhance the well-being of individuals, families, and communities through its policy work and advocacy.

For more information, please contact Jeannie Hii at 212-851-2327 or jy2223@columbia.edu.

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