For Immediate Release

December 3, 2009

New York, NY – The Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW) is proud to announce that alumni Brooke K. Dayton ‘06MS, Elizabeth Lee ‘05MS, Marcella Tillet, ‘03MS, and Jenna Tutjer, ‘06MS have been named 2009 Emerging Social Work Leaders by the National Association of Social Workers New York Chapter.

“Brooke Dayton, Elizabeth Lee, Marcella Tillet, and Jenna Tutjer are four examples of exemplary alumni who are making significant contributions as social work professionals in New York City,” says Dean Jeanette Takamura. “Each one represents well the excellence that distinguishes our graduates. Each one is a testament to the power of an orientation to scientific inquiry and critical thinking in shaping their work, whether in academia, research, service development and implementation, clinical practice, or advocacy.”

The annual award identifies individuals who demonstrate a unique commitment and dedication to the social work profession and to the improvement of social and human conditions at the local levels through practice, teaching, writing, research, program development, administration, and advocacy.

Brooke K. Dayton joined Goldman Sachs in 2008 as part of the Community TeamWorks (CTW) team within the Office of Corporate Engagement. CTW is the firm’s signature volunteer initiative that engages over 22,000 volunteers each year to participate in team-based service projects with more than 800 nonprofit organizations worldwide. She also manages the firm’s youth mentoring program as well as seasonal employee engagement programs. Prior to joining Goldman Sachs, Brooke was the Manager of Volunteer Programs at Merrill Lynch. She obtained her M.S. in Social Work (Social Enterprise Administration) from Columbia University in New York and her B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Davis. Brooke serves on the Executive Board of Corporate Volunteers of New York (CVNY), an organization that promotes best practices in volunteerism. In her spare time, Brooke enjoys reading and volunteers twice a month at the Association to Benefit Children.

Elizabeth Lee, LMSW, is the Intergenerational Program Director at VISIONS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology from Fordham University and a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University. She has worked in nonprofits for 10 years working with high school teens and seniors. She currently oversees the VISIONS Intergenerational program with a caseload of 70 seniors and a rotating group of 16 high school youth during each session. She is also involved in program creation and program design, which emphasize youth serving seniors, senior serving youth, and mutually beneficial integrated programs. She coordinates outreach and public education on blindness programs as well as services in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. She also works at the Flushing YMCA Beacon Center in Queens assisting in creating educational and recreational programs for youth and adults; she also assists with budget preparation and oversight. She is a board member for the Lower East Side Interagency Council and the Chinatown NNORC, and a member of the New York State Intergenerational Network.

Marcella Tillet, MSSW, has worked internationally and domestically in the HIV/AIDS prevention field. She is currently at The Osborne Association coordinating HIV prevention education programs for female partners of men who are incarcerated. Prior to joining Osborne, Marcella served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Republic of Botswana, where she worked with the Ministry of Health to address the prevention needs of pregnant women living with HIV/AIDS. She is active in a number of workgroups focused on HIV/AIDS prevention and women’s issues: Vice-Chair of the Criminal Justice workgroup of the NYC HIV Prevention Planning Group, overseen by the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, as well as a member of a New York State team participating in an initiative headed by the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors to address the growing rates of HIV infection among women of African descent. Ms. Tillett holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Clark Atlanta University and a Master’s of Science in Social Work Degree from Columbia University School of Social Work.

Jenna Tutjer received her B.A. in International Relations from the University of Southern California in 2003. Upon graduation, she traveled to South America while volunteering in orphanages and special education schools in both Brazil and Peru. It was during this time of service that Jenna realized she wanted to turn her passion for reaching out to marginalized populations into a career. She returned to the U.S. to enroll in Columbia University’s School of Social Work and graduated with her MSW in 2006. Upon graduation, Jenna began working for the Hunter College Liberty Partnership Program (HCLPP) and achieved the licensing requirements to obtain her LMSW. HCLPP serves as a drop-out prevention program that partners with two NYC high schools to provide comprehensive support services to students to encourage high school graduation and college enrollment. Jenna has been with HCLPP for three years and currently serves as the Program Director.

Sixteen individuals were recognized this year at the NASW-NYC awards dinner hosted on December 3, 2009 at Grand Harmony Restaurant in New York City.

For media inquiries, please contact Jeannie Hii via email or 212-851-2327.

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