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School of Social Work Celebrates the Class of 2021 at Virtual Convocation Ceremony
May 18, 2021

On Monday, May 17, Rutgers School of Social WorkCongratulations Class of 2021 hosted a virtual convocation ceremony to recognize our BASW, MSW, DSW, and Ph.D. graduates. 

Families and friends gathered virtually in support of their loved ones who have spent years of hard work completing their programs and tackling countless hours of class time, research, and field work. In total, 996 students earned a degree from the School of Social Work this year, including 835 MSW students, 147 BASW students, 11 DSW students, and 3 Ph.D. students.

Dean Cathryn C. Potter welcomed guests to the ceremony and recognized the many sacrifices our students have made during the pandemic.

Along with the conferral of the degrees, the School presented the following awards in recognition of our students’ outstanding work:

  • Dean’s Dissertation Award: Yuqi Wang
  • Emerging Scholar IIDEA Research Award: Iris Cardenas
  • Outstanding MSW Student in the Clinical Specialization: Martha A. Pender and Dean Alexander Manning
  • Outstanding MSW Student in the MAP Specialization: Marleina Stephanie Ubel
  • Outstanding MSW Student in the Online Program: Sonia LaVonne Bradley
  • Outstanding MSW Student in the Intensive Weekend Program: Simone Alexandra Jarvis
  • Outstanding MSW Student in the Blended Program: Nicole Epps
  • Outstanding MSW Student Studying in Newark: Rodrigo Cardenas Jr.
  • Outstanding MSW Student Studying in Camden: Kareemah Major
  • Outstanding MSW Student Studying in New Brunswick: Elizabeth Helen Antonowicz
  • Outstanding Student in the Camden BASW Program: Amos Koffa 
  • Outstanding Student in the New Brunswick BASW Program: Asia Davis
  • Brian C. Wright Social Work Award: Skyler Noon

In addition, faculty and staff members were presented the following awards:

  • Outstanding Professor in Clinical Specialization: Ryan DiMeglio
  • Outstanding Professor in MAP Specialization: Cassandra Simmel
  • Outstanding Professor for Excellence in Inclusion, Intersectionality, Diversity, Equity and Advancement (IIDEA) Teaching: DuWayne Battle
  • Outstanding Professor for Innovative and Creative Teaching: Marla Blunt-Carter
  • Most Supportive Professor: Anna Haley
  • Exemplary IIDEA Research Recognition Award: Abigail Williams-Butler
  • Outstanding Part-Time-Lecturer: Jennifer Polizotto
  • Outstanding Doctoral Student Teaching in the BASW or MSW Programs: Catie Buttner and Lorraine Howard
  • Most Supportive Staff Award: Arlene Hunter​

Student speaker Marleina Ubel, a member of the MSW Class of 2021, addressed the audience with words of encouragement and support. Rounding out the program were a speech from Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester, the first African American and first woman to represent Delaware in the U.S. House of Representatives, as well as a performance from Christiana (Danielle) Hicks, a member of the MSW Class of 2020 who is a singer, songwriter, speaker, and Top 10 contestant on NBC’s The Voice season 14.

Dean Potter concluded the ceremony with words of encouragement for the Class of 2021. “Graduates, you have been prepared for a fabulous career in social work by an outstanding group of faculty and field instructors," she said. "We wish you great success. We know each of you will find creative ways to make a difference in the lives of the people and communities you serve. You are entering a new world at a time of great crisis and need. You are the future of our profession. You are our hope for a more just future. This is not the end of our time together. You are a Rutgers social work grad now, and you will lead alongside the school for years to come. We are so very proud of you.”

Congratulations, graduates, and welcome to the Rutgers School of Social Work alumni network!

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