All it took was a trip to Peru. Last year, Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) Class of ’13 student Andrew Petersen chaperoned nearly a dozen 15-year-olds to the exotic South American nation. Prior to that journey, his aspirations ranged from hopeful philosopher to future athletic trainer. But in Peru, he spent days and nights talking with teenagers and gaining insight into the challenges of contemporary adolescence.
Manhattan native and Graduate School of Social Work (GSSW) Class of '08 alumnus Erik Tischler cares for a diverse population at several facilities in New York’s Hudson Valley region, including the ER and psych units in the Bon Secours hospital system. Given his roots, it’s a position in which he’s right at home.
In the simplest terms, 2014 GSSW graduate Veronica Olivares dedicates the bulk of her energies to providing others with new life. Outside of the classroom, the Jersey City native splits her time between conducting client assessments at the H&L Counseling Center in Queens and providing administrative support to the clinicians at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in Manhattan. On any given day, she can be helping determine a course of rehabilitative treatment for ex-convicts (an extension of her B.A. from Rutgers in Psychology and Criminal Justice) or scheduling appointment times for radiation treatments, all while hitting the books en route to her master's.
While attending high school, Long Island native Yeshaya Lieber befriended an autistic classmate. As the years passed on, the two not only maintained a personal relationship, but Lieber assumed some of the duties an aide would normally oversee. Their multi-dimensional bond had a profound impact on Lieber (“That was a very unique experience to be able to do that and it changed the trajectory of my life,” he reflects). The eventual Lander Arts and Sciences grad would later work as a counselor at the Diamond Summer Program, the only behavior-modification program that exclusively serves Orthodox Jewish enrollees with ADHD, ODD, Asperger’s Syndrome and related disorders.
How is it possible for two people to experience the same traumatic episode and have different reactions to it? Why does the event trigger depression, bouts of rage and substance abuse in one person while the other continues to live a productive, fulfilling life?
It’s a chilly morning, but the Selfhelp Benjamin Rosenthal-Prince Street Senior Center in Flushing, Queens, is warm, inviting and a beehive of activity. The lobby is partially lined with mahjong players while ping-pong tables are getting a workout in the gym a few yards away. And down a long corridor, behind closed doors, nine seniors are actively engaged in lively discussions on current events.
Bianca Colon’s knowledge of the foster care system goes beyond working for foster care agencies. It dates back to her own experiences as a foster child.
Allison Bobick is one of the Graduate School of Social Work’s pioneers. Six years ago, she joined our school to teach a course on Values and Ethics. Soon afterwards, Professor Bobick assumed her current position, director of Student Advancement.
Four years ago and three decades after graduating from college, Pamela Tripsas achieved what she once thought impossible: a graduate degree in social work.
“Three years,” GSSW Class of ’12 graduate Chana Lazar told her husband. Three years until she goes back to school to pursue her doctorate, with the hopes of further researching ideal care for young adults and veterans in nursing facilities.