The Touro College Graduate School of Social Work honored the Class of 2018 last week with an awards celebration at Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y.
“Welcome to the profession!” said founding Dean Steven Huberman, Ph.D.
The festivities began by honoring 58 students who have been able to pursue MSWs because of a $2.5 million federal grant that provides scholarships to economically disadvantaged students.
“These students have defied every odd,” Dean Huberman said. “It’s a myth if you come from difficult circumstances you cannot succeed.
Two recipients, Christian Rodriguez ’18 and Keren Blum ’19, expressed their gratitude for the support of Touro and its senior administration.
“The HRSA grant appeared at just the right time and provided me with the hope I needed to keep moving forward,” said Rodriguez, valedictorian with a 4.0 GPA.
Outstanding Community Service and Leadership Awards were presented to Veronique Green, who is running for a seat on her local community board in Brooklyn; Anita Szalontai, a native of Hungary who led students in partnering with peers from the University of Michigan Flint in a virtual Town Hall on water as a human right; and Sheryl Frishman, who not able to attend.
David Greene and Benjamin Heisler received the Student Award from the National Association of Social Workers-NYC Chapter. Twenty-one students received Dean’s Academic Honors with Distinction for cumulative GPAs of 3.9-4.0.
Raquel Samet received the Dr. Bernard and Sarah Lander Distinguished Social Work Tikun Olam Award, which memorializes the legacies of Touro’s founder and his wife and pays tribute to a graduate student who has overcome personal obstacles to make a difference in the community. Despite multiple challenges, Samet maintained perfect attendance, completed her studies with a near perfect GPA, and earned the respect of peers and professors alike, said Director of Student Advancement Allison Bobick, MSW, LMSW.
Tzipora Langner received the Ohel Leadership Award from David Mandel, CEO of Ohel Children’s Home & Family Services. Jhavon Kornegay received the Research Award for her examination of how working conditions and job stress impact the health of the child welfare workforce.
Director of Social Work Alumni Engagement and Financial Resource Development Eric Levine, DSW, LCSW, presented Deborah Marchuk, LCSW ’12, with the Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award for her commitment to professional excellence, devotion to community service and commitment to nurturing colleagues and future social work practitioners. Marchuck currently provides psychotherapy to children, teens and adults as a social worker at Long Island Counseling and Anxiety Center in Cedarhurst. Also receiving the Distinguished Alumni of the Year award but not present was president of the Alumni Association Bobby Staley ’08.
Numerous students in the school’s fellowship programs were recognized: Farrah Denis, Veronique Green, Lindsay Ingenito and Edwin Taveras in the Aging Education Fellowship; Benjamin Heisler, Ludean Maitland, Christian Rodriguez and Lea Wersan in the Military Social Work Education Fellowship; and Christina Arnao, Ashley Cohen and Jhavon Kornegay in the Evidence-Based Practice in Mental Health Fellowship. Fifteen students received recognition for Excellence in Field Education, and nine students were honored for Excellence in Field Education with Distinction.