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Fall/Spring AY 2017-18 Newsletter

Greetings from the Social Work & Marriage and Family Therapy (MFT) Department. 

There have been considerable changes and activities over the course of the year, including a program merger as reflected in our new name. However, social work remains undergraduate and MFT is graduate only.

Thus, the merger has had minimal impact on how the Social Work program functions; and we are excited to share in this special combined (fall and spring) edition of Progress Notes all of “the progress” we have made this year. 

Dr. Moore

  • Faculty News

    Dr. Penelope Moore celebrates 20 years of service
    Dr. Penelope Moore holds a plaque acknowledging her 20 years of service.

    In addition, Dr. Penelope Moore served as an invited speaker at two events in November. At The Osborn, she addressed “Aging Mastery Core Course: Healthy Relationships,” while at the Westhab-Shiloh Senior Program she addressed “Active Aging.”

    Chris John holding a plaque from Iona acknowledging his ten years of service.Chris John ’02
    celebrates 10 years
    of service

    Dr. Jeanne Matich-Maroney, serving as an appointed member of the CSWE Council on Disability and Persons with Disabilities (CDPD), coordinated and delivered (along with five CDPD colleagues) a presentation at the CSWE Annual Program Meeting in Dallas, Texas, in October 2017. The session was titled Introducing Kaleidoscope Case Studies: Disability-Related Case Studies for Teaching Across the Curriculum. More recently, Dr. Matich-Maroney has been participating as an invited member of a national Disability Curriculum Content Workgroup commissioned by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (an agency of the US Department of Health & Human Services) to develop a curriculum guide for the infusion of disability-related content into the foundation social work curriculum. 

    Dr. Meryl Nadel delivered a presentation at the 35th annual conference of the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors in Atlanta, Ga. The presentation was titled “Infusing Environmental Justice Content in Social Work and Related Courses.” She was also fortunate to share in Iona’s ConEdison grant, which provided funding for the service-learning components of her Sustainability and Community course.

  • Ron Federico Capstone Conference

    The fifteen presenters, some site along the first row and the others stand behind them.

    On Friday, May 4, we welcomed students, faculty, social work colleagues, seniors’ family members, and friends to our 16th annual Ron Federico Capstone Conference. All 15 of our seniors gave outstanding professional presentations based on their field placement experiences. Our keynote speaker was Cheryl Hunter-Grant, LMSW, executive director of the Lower Hudson Valley Perinatal Network and VP, Perinatal Programs, Children’s Health and Research Foundation. The recipient of the 2018 Gero-Ed Community Partnership Award was Maria Provenzano, LCSW of Wartburg Adult Day Care. Field instructors were presented with their certificates by Professor Ilene Haspel, and breakfast and lunch were enjoyed by all. In addition, the graduating seniors surprised the faculty with a very creative presentation (and flowers)!

  • College News

    Two major changes impacting social work at Iona occurred this spring. We said “goodbye and good luck” to Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Ricardo Santos ’00(BSW/MSW). However, we will be saying “hello” to Darrell P. Wheeler, Ph.D., MPH, ACSW, who joins Iona as provost. To paraphrase Dr. Wheeler, “Every school needs a social worker as provost!”

    Darrell P. Wheeler, Ph.D., MPH, ACSW

    Darrell Wheeler Iona College has announced the appointment of Darrell P. Wheeler, Ph.D., MPH, ACSW, as its new provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, following an international search and review of more than 50 candidates. A nationally recognized leader, educator, and scholar, Dr. Wheeler’s appointment will begin July 1, 2018.  
    Dr. Wheeler comes to Iona from the University at Albany (SUNY) where he is currently serving as dean of the School of Social Welfare, vice provost for public engagement, and professor. Previously, Dr. Wheeler held positions of interim provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University at Albany (SUNY), dean and professor at Loyola University Chicago, and associate dean for research and community partnerships at Hunter College School of Social Work. In time, Dr. Wheeler expects to teach a class in the Social Work Department. Students from the Classes of 2003 and 2004 may remember that Dr. Wheeler served as our keynote speaker for Capstone in 2003.

    Ricardo Santos ’00

    Ricardo Santos Following nine successful years as head track coach at Iona, Ricardo Santos was appointed the High Performance Running Team coach at the prestigious Boston Athletic Association (BAA). As a social work student at Iona, Ricardo was an NCAA All-American. As a coach, his teams earned multiple cross country, indoor, and outdoor championships, honors and awards. He received 15 Coach of the Year honors! At the BAA, Ricardo will coach a small group of elite runners and conduct community outreach programs.  Ricardo is one of many social workers who combine athletics with their profession.  If you are another coach, team counselor, etc., please let us know!

  • Annual Departmental Programs

    Alumni Fields of Practice

    Fifteen social work alumni, including some who had not returned before this year, joined us on October 17, 2017, to participate in the Alumni Fields of Practice Event. The evening started with the gathering of members from different graduating classes who enjoyed a light supper. Faculty, alumni, and students all enjoy the opportunity to hear this “report from the field.” Donna Crisp and Penelope Moore organized the program.

    Graduate School Information Session

    The Annual Graduate School Information Session was held on November 16, 2017. Iona College social work students learned about a variety of programs, their requirements, and their characteristics from representatives of 10 MSW programs. The event was coordinated by Donna Crisp and Meryl Nadel.

    Representatives sit at a long table with a red cloth and signs indicating their program.

    Camp Viva

    The Social Work Department and the Office of Mission and Ministry’s Iona in Mission program are pleased to resume our connection with the Camp Viva program of Family Services of Westchester. Due to a later fall semester start date, Iona students will again be able to join the substantial group of Iona alumni who volunteer at this camp for HIV-affected families. 

  • Student News

    During Make a Difference Week 2017,  the Social Work Club sponsored an event called P.A.S.S. A Hand that was held on September 29. The Social Work Club collected over 1,150 sanitary products and distributed them to women affected by domestic violence. 

    The Social Work Club and the Social Work Department jointly sponsored a Thanksgiving basket that was donated to a local family of seven in New Rochelle.

    Mentor/Mentee Event

    Mentors and Mentees show off the baked goods they made. Mentors and mentees gather for a coloring book session.

    The mentors (senior social work students) of the Social Work Program invited their mentees (junior social work students) to a make-and-bake cookie decorating evening on November 13. Mentors and mentees had the opportunity to bond, relax, and enjoy each other's company. Each year, many of the senior social work students serve as mentors to social work juniors and others interested in learning about the Social Work program.

    Phi Alpha Honor Society

    Twelve students were newly inducted into the Phi Alpha Social Work Honor Society, joining the seven students who were already members. Social worker Awilda Bravo, LCSW, from the Lavelle School for the Blind in the Bronx, N.Y., was our honorary inductee.

    Students with certificates pose with supporters and professors at the ceremony.

    Other Student Activities on Campus

    Our students have been very active on campus this year. Among other ventures, we note the following:

    • Campus ministers: Ellie Tompkins and Justin Pellegrino (majors), Jill Mitchell (Diversity and Social Welfare minor)
    • Resident Assistants: Kayla Edwards and Kade Lamontagne
    • Basketball: Alexis Lewis was a standout on the Iona women’s team and won many MAAC honors, including being named to the All-Academic Team. This past season she had 12 double-doubles.
    • Many students participated in Mission & Ministry trips and events. Among these students, Justin Pellegrino led the Peru immersion trip and Kayla Edwards led the Chicago trip.
    • Both Ashlyn Hardy and Kayla Edwards are members of the Iona Praise Dancers.
    • A number of social work majors are involved in the Iona Players theater group, including Jen Millan, Erin Collins, Kade Lamontagne and Amanda Casey.
    • Kayla Edwards was the focus of a “Student Spotlight” in The Ionian.
    • Kade Lamontagne was the focus of “Humans of Iona College” in The Ionian.
    • In addition to the Phi Alpha members honored at Honors Convocation this year, several other graduating seniors were acknowledged:
      • Marta Tejada, Iona Medal for Excellence in the Social and Behavioral Sciences
      • Jillian Mitchell (minor), The Sullivan Award, student graduation speaker, and Homecoming Queen
      • Victoria Finnegan, Honors Program
      • Kayla Edwards, Social Work Departmental Award and Champion of Diversity Award presented by Student Life Diversity Committee
      • Ashlyn Harty, Ron Federico Memorial Award 

    Apologies to the many other social work students who participated in clubs, mission trips, and other activities. Space precluded an exhaustive list!

    The Social Work Class of 2018

    Sitting: Araceli Chavez, Ashlyn Harty, Kayla Edwards, Gabriela Pilarte, Jacqueline Schweitzer, Samantha Schultz, and Elizabeth Tompkins

    Standing: Marta Tejada, Shayla Daley, Erin Haskell, Victoria Finnegan, Alessandra Crimi, Amanda Blakeskee, Marisa Bello, and Bailey Grant.

  • Alumni News

    Graduate School Plans

    The following members of the Class of 2018 plan to enter graduate school immediately: Araceli Chavez, Ashlyn Harty, Kayla Edwards, Gabriela Pilarte, Jacqueline Schweitzer, Samantha Schultz, Elizabeth Tompkins, Marta Tejada, Victoria Finnegan, Alessandra Crimi and Amanda Blakeslee.
    The following alumni plan to enter graduate school this year: Katie Baller ’16, Luis Amador ’12, April Burgos ’16, Myriame Jean-Philippe ’11 and Laura Accurso ’16.
    All were awarded advanced standing status!

    In Other News

    • Bailey Grant ’18 gave birth to baby girl Slate Vivian Scherba on February 6, 2018.
    • Natasha Osamwonyi ’17 has accepted a position with NYC WELL.
    • Keith McPherson ’07 has accepted a position as a Clinical Review Team (CRT) social worker.
    • Shave Thompson ’17 is now an LMSW.
    • In conjunction with her MSW program, Valerie Tommasone ’17 organized a P.A.S.S drive. Students collected over 200 sanitary napkins and ended up with two large bags full of P.A.S.S. kits! The kits were donated to Homeless And Travelers Aid (HATAS), an agency in Albany that provides immediate need for shelter, food and clothing. HATAS was so thankful for the donations.
    • Caroline Zepeda ’16 is an assistant teacher at the Ridgefield Montessori School.
    • Luis Amador ’13, is director of programs at S.T.R.O.N.G. Youth, a gang prevention agency in Uniondale, N.Y., dedicated to promoting positive values through youth empowerment programs and collaborative initiatives. Amador brought eight of his teenage clients and four staff members for a visit to Iona College on November 7. Their day included a tour of Iona (including the residence halls), a meeting with BSU, lunch with the Social Work Department, meeting with and watching the Iona Men's Basketball team, and a meeting with Brother Devlin. The young students quite enjoyed their visit to Iona, and for many this was their first time to a college campus.
    • Kiara Mendez ’14 has worked in Bogota, Colombia, for several years and now returns to the US.  She will continue to work as a social worker for the YMCA.

    If any alumni are interested in serving on the Social Work Department’s Community Advisory Board, please let us know. We value your contributions and guidance!

  • Spotlight on Alumni

    Michael Arterberry ’91, founder and executive director of Youth Voices Center, Inc. (YVC), recently facilitated nine Power of Peace workshops at the Albert Leonard Middle School in New Rochelle. Addressing leadership skills, conflict resolution, teamwork, diversity, empathy and understanding, and decision-making, Michael sought to transform the lives of 225 teenagers utilizing a positive youth development approach. 

    YVC helps adolescents living in diverse communities to dispel negative stereotypes of themselves and others and work toward futures free of violence and bright with promise. The experiential workshops are expressly designed to help young people understand life, responsibilities and challenges, and to provide them with the necessary tools to succeed, take action, and create positive impact for their families, schools, and communities. Michael effectively utilizes the strengths perspective and has received multiple awards for his work. To learn more about his organization, please visit