Four CUSSW Alumni Honored by the New York City Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers
December 4, 2008
The Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW) is proud to announce that alumni Andrea Vaghy Benyola ’98MS, Qin Gao ‘05PhD, Julie Kim Richards ‘96MS, and Alison Snow ’04MS have been named the 2008 Emerging Social Work Leaders by the National Association of Social Workers New York Chapter.
“Andrea, Qin, Julie, and Alison 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.
- Andrea Vaghy Benyola is the Director of Training and Business Development at The Door. She has extensive background in employment and job training services, community-based social services, program planning, development and evaluation. Prior to The Door, Andrea was the Deputy Director of Client Services at Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, where she worked for eight years. She has also worked at the New York Academy of Medicine as the Project Coordinator of two research initiatives to improve the training of graduate social work students; the Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association as the Assistant Coordinator of the Banana Kelly High School, an urban community-based school in the South Bronx; and at the HANDS project, a demonstrative HIV/AIDS independent living skills program for formerly homeless individuals living with AIDS.
- Qin Gao is an assistant professor at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service. Dr. Gao’s research examines U.S., Chinese, and cross-national comparative social welfare policies. Dr. Gao has studied the impact of the 1996 welfare reform and the Earned Income Tax Credit on expenditure patterns of low-income families in the US. Her work on the Chinese social benefit system has been a breakthrough and provides important policy implications for its ongoing reforms. Her current work compares the social welfare provisions in China, South Korea, and Vietnam. Dr. Gao has also continuously strived to bridge the social work professions in China and the US through providing consultations and helping establish collaborative relationships among social work professionals and educators in these two countries.
Julie Kim Richards has spent the last eight years fighting domestic violence at the New York Asian Women’s Center (NYAWC). As the Director of Client Services, she is responsible for the management and oversight of the largest division of NYAWC consisting of more than 20 staff members and interns. Julie helped create Hitting Home, a program whereby NYAWC provides counseling at child welfare agencies to moms whose children are abused or neglected. Hitting Home is the first and only such program in New York City. She has spoken at national and local conferences and also at legislative hearings specializing in issues facing immigrants and children impacted by domestic violence. Prior to her work in the field of domestic violence she spent five years providing therapy to at-risk youth and their families in Harlem, NY.
Alison Snow, LCSW is an Oncology Social Worker at Mt. Sinai Hospital. She is an active member of Mt. Sinai’s Institutional Cancer Committee and is a New York State representative of the Association of Oncology Social Workers. She is the lead author on an article that has recently been published in Social Work in Health Care entitled “The Increase of Treatment Options at the End of Life: Impact on the Social Work Role in an In-Patient Hospital Setting.” Alison is currently the Principal Investigator on an interdisciplinary research project entitled, “Brief Hypnosis for Treatment of Pain and Anxiety in Patients Receiving Bone Marrow Biopsies.” This year in recognition of all of her professional accomplishments, Alison was awarded the “Susan Blumenfield Clinical Excellence Award” in the Department of Social Work at Mt. Sinai.
Twelve individuals were recognized this year at the NASW-NYC awards dinner on December 4, 2008 at Grand Harmony Restaurant in New York City.
For more information, please contact Jeannie Hii at 212-851-2327 or firstname.lastname@example.org.