Class of 2021
Jennifer Agostino is a licensed bilingual social worker in New York. She earned a BA in Communication from Rutgers University, after which she worked in the corporate sector for 12 years. Jennifer decided to pursue her true interest and returned to school to receive a BA in Psychology from Rutgers University and an MSW from New York University. She has advanced training in CBT and is a New York State MAP certified clinician. Jennifer works for NYC Health + Hospitals at a community outpatient mental health clinic in the South Bronx. She provides individual and group therapy with clients ranging from children to older adults. Jennifer has developed the child and adolescent clinic, including the implementation of concurrently run children and parent groups. Jennifer is a strong advocate for children’s educational rights.
Melissa C. Pater, MSW, LCSW earned her BS in Psychology from University of Maryland, European Division. She worked as the Director of Social Services in Washington State long term care and sub-acute rehabilitation facilities before returning to school to earn a MSW with a focus in Gerontology from Virginia Commonwealth University. While pursuing her license as a Clinical Social Worker in New Jersey, Melissa acted as a care coordinator in the hospital setting. Soon after completing her LCSW, she began fulfilling her goal in offering psychotherapy to palliative care patients and their families as part of an interdisciplinary team through Hackensack Meridian Health. Her passion lies in helping individuals and their families cope with emotional and physical challenges after being diagnosed with a serious illness. Melissa is proud to join the Rutgers DSW Class of 2021 where she looks forward to learning from her professors and peers as she hones her clinical and leadership skills.
Micaela Costa is a licensed independent clinical social worker in Rhode Island. She graduated Magna Cum Lude and earned a BSW, BA (in psychology) and MSW from Rhode Island College. Micaela is a member of Psi Chi (National psychology honor society for four-year colleges), Psi Beta (National psychology honor society for community colleges) and Alpha Delta Mu (National social work honor society for four-year colleges) She is also a Certified Case-Manager (CCM) through the Commission for Case Managers, Certified Health Care Social Worker (C-SWHC) and a Certified Advanced Social Work Case Manager (C-ASWCM) through NASW. Micaela began her career working in adult and geriatric psychiatry at Our Lady of Fatima Hospital in North Providence Rhode Island. Her clinical focus and interests were in bereavement and end of life. Currently Micaela is employed by VA Boston Health Care, stationed as the Inpatient Mental Health Social Work Supervisor for Inpatient Psychiatry. Micaela earned Social Worker of the Year for the VA Boston Healthcare System in 2017 and has been together with her spouse for the past 18 years. Together they have one daughter who is 3-years-old. Currently Micaela’s career interests are in teaching and advancing the field of social work to improve quality of care provided to our nations veterans.
Mariama Diallo is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in New York. She received her Masters of Science in Social Work (MSW) from Columbia University in New York. Mariama has a Bachelor in Public Law from the University of Gamal Abdel Nasser (Conakry-Guinea) and a post graduate degree in Conflicts Resolution from the Catholic University of Paris. Mariama began her career at the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)’s Department of Universal Values, in Paris, France. In that capacity, Ms. Diallo designed and proposed educational programs on human rights, with a focus on over 50 African countries that are UNESCO member countries. The purpose of the educational programs was to assist and encourage member countries in educating the youth on human rights issues, particularly the rights of women and girls. Currently, Mariama is a Program Director at Sanctuary for families. Her primary role at Sanctuary for Families is to provide trauma-informed individual and group therapy to survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, civil wars/genocide, and other types of gender violence including female genital mutilation (FGM), forced marriage. Develop curriculums and other training materials, conduct community outreach/education on the issues of FGM, forced marriage, and domestic violence through professional trainings to doctors, nurses, social workers, and school teachers. Provide expert knowledge and testify in courts in the area of FGM, forced marriage, and domestic violence. Facilitate a leadership group training for African girls’ survivors or at risk of experiencing gender violence. Ms. Diallo is the Chair of the Coalition for the Empowerment of African Women and Girls; founder and member of the New York Coalition to end FGM, a member of the UN working group on Girls. Ms. Diallo is an Adjunct Professor at the Metropolitan College of New York and a guest lecturer at Columbia University
Alexandra Farsiou, LCSW has worked extensively with adults and adolescents to enhance life and reduce suffering. Alexandra has received specialized training in modalities including Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and Exposure Therapy. In addition to a focused clinical practice, Alexandra has served as a part-time lecturer on mental health policy at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy of Rutgers University, and as case manager and advocate with older adults and veteran’s experiencing chronic homelessness. Alexandra received her Bachelor of Arts in 2001 from Sarah Lawrence College and Master of Social Work from Rutgers University in 2006. Alexandra has been employed at the Department of Veterans Affairs since 2012 and currently practices in the VA’s telemental health program. In addition to work at the VA, Alexandra maintains a private practice in New Jersey.
Taji S. Karim-Reisch is a Behavioral Health Clinician at Broadway House for Continuing Care. She specializes in palliative and end-of-life care. She received a B.A. in psychology from Rutgers University and Master of Social Work from New York University. As a mental health professional, she is passionate about holistic care. For nearly a decade, she has practiced and studied various elements of the mind-body connection. She is dually licensed as a social worker and massage therapist and uses both in her practice to inspire healing.
Kira Lattanzi, LMSW is a licensed social worker currently in the field of higher education. Kira received her undergraduate degree from Rutgers University and a Masters in Social Work with a dual focus in clinical practice and client centered management/administration from Fordham University. Her background has been in refugee resettlement, where her focus was on supporting recently arrived youth and families in their transition to life in New York City. Through that work she received her SIFI from NYU and began to focus on supporting social work students as they engaged in their fieldwork. She has recently transitioned to Princeton University's Pace Center for Civic Engagement, where her focus is on immersive and experiential learning opportunities. Through this work she thinks about what it means to serve others and the impact that service/field work has on an individual's identity development, connection to social justice and capacity for empathy
Kayti Protos is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Pennsylvania. She earned her BA in Women’s and Gender Studies and Communication Studies from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Prior to earning her MSW from the Middle Tennessee Collaborative MSW Program, Kayti served six years working as a crisis interventionist and advocate for survivors of power-based personal violence. She transitioned into the field of substance abuse treatment and developed programming for emerging adults struggling to maintain sobriety, as well as integrating identity exploration and eating disorder recovery into traditional addictions treatment models. Kayti returned to the Greater Philadelphia area in 2014 to continue her career closer to her family. Currently, Kayti is the Assistant Director and Clinical Coordinator for Bucks Support Services, which includes three specialty private practice programs: Bucks LGBTQ Center, Bucks Eating Support Collaborative and Bucks Recovery Center. She specializes at the intersection of trauma, eating disorder, addiction and LGBTQ+ identities. Her research interest centers on the unique challenges facing transgender and gender expansive clients with eating disorders. Additionally, Kayti is an adjunct faculty member at Holy Family University in Newtown, PA, teaching two courses in their Graduate Counseling Psychology program.
Allison Richardson is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed Chemical Dependency Counselor in the state of Texas. Allison has experience in a variety of settings to include a private practice specializing in serving clients with substance abuse disorders, working with pediatric and adult oncology patients focusing on adjustment to diagnosis and end-of-life issues at the top cancer hospital in the United States, early head start behavioral intervention services, crisis prevention and intervention (CPI) instructor, and provision of therapeutic services for children and caregivers within the child welfare system. She currently provides home and site-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) to primarily low-income minority children and adolescents diagnosed with internalizing disorders. Allison’s passion lies with addressing chronic systemic issues impacting African-American caregivers involved in the child welfare system and seeing a decrease in internal and external barriers to service engagement faced by this population as a result of discriminatory practices. She is committed to developing and improving child welfare policies related to caregiver engagement, family reunification, hiring practices, caseworker/supervisor competencies, and access to high quality mental health services.
Prior to her career in social work, Allison was an active duty staff sergeant in the United States Army and served in a unit which completed two 12-month deployments to Baghdad, Iraq. Additionally, Allison has a bachelor’s degree in music performance, and she is an accomplished flutist who has performed overseas and throughout the United States, to include Carnegie Hall in New York City.
Tara Ryan- DeDominicis is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of New Jersey. After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a degree in social work from Sacred Heart University in Fairfield CT, she completed her masters at Columbia University School of Social Work in New York City specializing in clinical practice with health, mental health and disabilities. After graduating in 2015, Tara was hired as the Director of Programs and Services at The Community Soup Kitchen and Outreach Center in Morristown New Jersey, a non-profit organization that provides nutritious meals in a warm, safe and caring environment, free of charge, no questions asked for over 150 guests per day. In this role, Tara provides clinical inventions in individual and group settings. She also creates, implements and supervises several therapeutic programs including but not limited to music, art, reiki and memoir writing therapy. Tara proudly serves on the social work advisory councils for both Sacred Heart University and the College of Saint Elizabeth. Tara is extremely honored to be part of the Rutgers DSW class of 2021 and looks forward to all that this class can accomplish and contribute to the Rutgers School of Social Work family!
Sherri Wilson received her bachelor’s degree in psychology and communication. She completed a master of social work with a dual emphasis in developmental disabilities and healthcare. Sherri is a licensed social worker and certified school social worker in New Jersey. Throughout her career, her focus has been on working with children and adolescents in addition to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Sherri has worked as a teacher where she taught students with autism spectrum disorder using principles of applied behavior analysis. She transitioned into the field of research as a clinical coordinator for a family genetics study exploring the genetic components of autism and language impairments. As a clinical coordinator, she administered behavioral and cognitive assessments, analyzed collected data, and presented findings at national conferences. Sherri is currently a research associate for the Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey where she helps to facilitate psychiatric genetic research by curating and harmonizing diagnostic data and clinical instruments submitted from researchers worldwide. Sherri also practices as an outpatient therapist in a private group practice.