For more than a decade, members of the School of Social Work’s Alumni Council have served as ambassadors that interface between the School, the thousands of alumni who earned a social work degree from Rutgers, and the broader social work community. The Alumni Council, which is comprised of alumni who serve in a volunteer capacity, supports future generations of social workers, enhances the professional portfolios of alumni, and keeps graduates connected with their classmates. Council members work collaboratively and actively engage with fellow alumni to promote the School’s reputation and standard of excellence among internal and external stakeholders. The Council also provides recommendations based on trends in the field to School leadership.

Now in its 12th year, we invite you to learn about the most recent cohort of Alumni Council leaders and members and the work they’re accomplishing.

Tawanda L. Hubbard

Tawanda L. Hubbard, SSW’05, SSW’17, Alumni Council President
Tawanda L. Hubbard, DSW, MSW, LCSW obtained her BS in business administration with a concentration in management from Bloomfield College and her MSW and DSW from Rutgers School of Social Work. Dr. Hubbard is an Associate Professor of Professional Practice on the faculty at Rutgers School of Social Work and a Ph.D. candidate in Family Science and Human Development at Montclair State University.

Dr. Hubbard has experience in child welfare, mental and behavioral health, case management, advocacy, and clinical practice and supervision with a small private practice and consulting firm. She is trained in family therapy and EMDR and is certified in REBT and child sexual abuse therapy. She holds a postmasters in clinical practice with adolescents and social work and spirituality. Dr. Hubbard was honored in 2023 and 2022 with the Outstanding Clinical Specialization Professor Award from Rutgers School of Social Work and the National Teaching Leadership Award in Higher Education by JV Educational Consultants in 2021. She is a former president of the NASW-NJ Chapter, CSWE-MFP Doctoral Fellow alumna, and Family Process Institute New Writers Program Fellow alumna. Dr. Hubbard is currently serving as a member of the CSWE Minority Fellowship Doctoral Advisory Council, Group for the Advancement of Doctoral Education in Social Work Advisory Board, NJ 988 Crisis Line Stakeholder Coalition, NJ Rural Health Advisory Committee, NJ Behavioral Health Integration Advisory Hub, and an active member of the National Association of Black Social Workers and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

Dr. Hubbard’s scholarship and practice interests focus on the mental and relational health and well-being of Black women and families; young Black women aging out of foster care and transitioning successfully into adulthood; dismantling structural inequities in human service organizations; inclusive and humanizing pedagogy; and oppositionality and relational neglect in adolescence. She develops curriculum, publishes, and creates and delivers keynotes, webinars, and workshops connected to her scholarship and practice interests statewide, regionally, and nationally.

Why did you decide to join the Rutgers SSW Alumni Council?
My experience as a social work student at Rutgers School of Social Work provided a rich and solid foundation for me as a social worker. As an MSW and DSW student, I experienced a positive learning environment, felt supported, and engaged in diverse opportunities that helped launch and elevate my social work career. As a student, I developed several positive and satisfying relationships with peers, professors, and alumni that helped shape my learning experiences and informed my journey of becoming the social worker I am today. The relationships I formed, positive learning experiences, support, and opportunities continue as a professional social worker. For these reasons, I decided to join the Alumni Council to continue the tradition of nurturing positive relationships between the School, alumni, and students and creating enriching and satisfying opportunities for alumni to stay connected to their most cherished alma mater.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term on the Council?
As a member and current president of the Alumni Council, I hope to fulfill its vision, work collaboratively with my fellow alumni to support the School in achieving its mission, support and strengthen alumni engagement with the School, and enhance student access and positive experiences with alumni. I would also like to ensure a strong infrastructure for the Alumni Council that will support the Council’s work today and, in the future, and grow the Council.

As a leader in the field of social work, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?
There is much to share with someone starting out as a new social worker. One thing that is essential and that you must hold dear is what being a social worker means to you. As you move throughout your career, you will take positions in organizations that will try to define who social workers are and what we do that do not align with what you know about social work. You need to hold dear how social workers define themselves. Audre Lorde says it best: “If you don’t define yourself for yourself, you will be crushed into other people’s fantasies of you and eaten alive.” We are not a monolithic group, but we have core values that speak to who we are and guide what we do. I have heard peers and former students share their experiences about their work, not being social work, feeling disconnected from the mission and our organizing value, social justice, in some of the positions they have held. This feeling of disconnection can creep in, and we have to be aware of it and intentionally prevent it. You have to figure out ways to hold dear what social work means to you, why you became a social worker, and stay connected to the profession’s roots through your engagement with social work peers, associations, and our beloved alma mater.

Tiffany Mayers

Tiffany L. Mayers, DSW, MSW, LCSW, Alumni Council Vice President
Tiffany L. Mayers, DSW, MSW, LCSW obtained her BA in psychology with a minor in social work from Seton Hall University, her MSW from Rutgers School of Social Work, and her DSW from the University of Kentucky. Dr. Mayers is a Director at Rutgers Graduate School of Education and is a lecturer at Rutgers School of Social Work teaching the master’s-level courses Clinical Social Work and Social Policy.

Dr. Mayers has experience working in New Jersey state government in the areas of government records, policy, and urban redevelopment. She is also a part-time mental health clinician with expertise in child welfare, behavioral and mental health services, case management, and private clinical practice. She has been a member of the NASW-NJ since 2012 and is the outgoing board secretary. She also serves as a consultant with NAMI NJ’s African American program, AACT-NOW, as the Central Regional Coordinator, and has been a member since 2008. In this role, she works within the African American community to bring awareness to mental health and eradicate stigma. Her passion stems from caring for a child with ADHD, and learning the importance of education, advocacy, and self-care.

Dr. Mayers has research interests and scholarship contributions that include a focus on bridging the gap between the Black community and the field of mental health in hopes of strengthening families and increasing the utilization of mental health services. She also focuses on eradicating mental health stigma, advocating for stigma-free communities, and works in consultation with programs that provide mental health services in non-traditional safe settings that foster community and contribute to reducing the stigma surrounding mental health.

Dr. Mayers is passionate about mental health overall and delivers workshops and other speaking engagements to put a friendly face to mental health. She is also involved in other organizations serving urban and minority communities such as the Family Support Organization of Union County and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., specifically serving Middlesex and Somerset Counties.

Why did you decide to join the Alumni Council?
I joined the Alumni Council because I wanted to stay connected to the School of Social Work after graduating with my MSW. I knew that joining the Council would allow me to network with other professionals while having a seat at the table to speak for non-traditional social work graduates. Also, my colleagues, including our current President Dr. Tawanda L. Hubbard, spoke highly of the Council.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term on the Council?
I hope to help expand membership of the Alumni Council. I also want to bring social workers together in a much needed, relaxing, and social way. As social workers, we work hard and wear many hats, but it is also important for our own self-care that we unwind and just connect socially.

As a leader in the field of social work, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?
My advice to new social workers is to carve out your niche in the field! Be certain of the areas of social work that you do not want to work in and focus your efforts in the areas that fulfill your passion. Sometimes our work as social workers goes unrecognized and undervalued, but when you are working in your purpose, the journey will always feel worth it!

Josh Collins

Joshua Collins, RC’06, SSW’18, Alumni Council Secretary
Joshua Collins, LCSW, LCADC, CCS is a proud Rutgers graduate working as an EMDR certified clinical social worker. He is passionate about learning and helping the people he serves. His origin story was deeply shaped by his own lived experience of intergenerational addiction, experiencing the shame of stigma, and being a caretaker for his grandma for the rest of her life following the death of his mother. Following a decade of being a barista at Starbucks and delving into meditation at silent retreats, he was able to get past his fear and return to school. Currently, he is employed as a clinical coordinator and therapist at an addiction and mental health treatment center. He recently became a father. He has a love of comics, animation, fandom, and spending time outdoors.

Why did you decide to join the Alumni Council?
As someone who went back to school as an older student, I had a lot of gratitude for just being there. I had gotten a lot of satisfaction from being involved as a student and a great love of Rutgers. For me, that extended to wanting to be a part of the Alumni Council.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term on the Council?
During my term, I hope to be a part of the process to enhance the value of being a Rutgers alum. I feel inspired by the leadership on this council to work hard towards our mission.

As a leader in the field of social work, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?
Get clear on who you are, or find at least enough clarity to not lose yourself.

Dawn Apgar

Dawn Apgar, SSW’93, GSNB’02, Alumni Council Member
Dawn Apgar, Ph.D., LSW, ACSW, is currently an Associate Professor at Seton Hall University. Dr. Apgar joined the faculty at Seton Hall University in 2016 after serving as Deputy Commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Human Services, the largest department in New Jersey state government with more than one-third of the state workforce (15,000 employees/ contracted staff) and an annual budget of more than $18.7 billion. Prior to becoming Deputy Commissioner, Dr. Apgar was an Assistant Professor at Marywood University and the Director of the Developmental Disabilities Planning Institute at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She has extensive direct practice, policy, and management experience in the social work field.

Dr. Apgar also writes and does research on social work licensure and has served as chairperson of the New Jersey Board of Social Work Examiners. Many of her publications are used by states across the country to assist social workers with passing the licensure examinations.

She is a past President of the New Jersey Chapter of NASW and has been on its National Board of Directors. In 2014, the Chapter presented her with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Why did you decide to join the Alumni Council?
I earned both my MSW and PhD at Rutgers University. The faculty and my classmates had a profound impact on my development as a social worker. I joined the Alumni Council to “pay it forward” by creating opportunities for current students. Additionally, social work is about relationships. I want to help Rutgers alumni benefit from the large professional network that comprises fellow graduates.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term on the council?
I am a “doer,” so I want alumni to feel better connected to the School and each other as a result of structured and unstructured networking events. I also want to recruit new alumni leaders onto the Alumni Council. I have been helped by others in my social work career. I want to use my position on the Alumni Council to help students and alumni grow professionally and realize their social work goals.

As a leader in the field of social work, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?
Enjoying your professional journey is important. I have learned from every job that I have had since graduation. Sometimes the most growth has come from adverse situations. Social work is a relatively small professional community, so always treat coworkers and others with respect. Your professional reputation is your most valuable asset, so never burn bridges!

Erin Capone headshot 2024

Erin Capone, MSW, Alumni Council Member
Erin Capone, MSW considers herself to be a human conjunction, someone whose purpose in life is to connect others with the people, places, and things they care about most. This is what drew her to philanthropy and to her current role as assistant dean of development for NYU Silver School of Social Work. Erin leverages over 16 years of fundraising experience to increase philanthropic revenue, engage stakeholders, and advance the School’s priorities. Erin also serves as a lecturer with Rutgers School of Social Work, teaching Fundraising & Marketing in the MSW program. Erin began her career as a children’s social worker after graduating with an MSW from NYU and a BA in social work from Rutgers School of Social Work.

She previously served as director of development for Rutgers School of Social Work and The Andrew Goodman Foundation, and executive director of Overcoming Obstacles. She speaks nationally on the topic of social and emotional learning with youth, with past media appearances on NBC, FOX, and the Solutions Webcast hosted by Clemson University. She is passionate about the intersection of social justice and philanthropy and the important role social workers play within it, which is the focus of her research in the DSW program.

Why did you decide to join the Alumni Council?
Rutgers School of Social Work has played such a pivotal role in my life: it is where I was first introduced to social work, it is where I spent seven years of my career, and it is where I am earning my third social work degree. It is a true honor to be able to serve the School as a member of the council so that I can give back to others what was invested in me. Prior to joining, I also had the pleasure of seeing firsthand how dedicated, talented, and innovative the members are, and I knew it would be a good opportunity for my own growth to learn from them.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term on the Council?
The main thread of my career has been connecting people with the institutions that they care about so they can create impact together. As a Council member, I hope to help create those pathways for our alumni to meaningfully engage with the School. I also hope to help our School community widen its sights on what social workers can accomplish and the places and spaces where they can make a difference. Our field is at a critical juncture that will require us to fully step into our unique training to effect change in between and among systems, and not solely as clinicians.

As a leader in the field of social work, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?
During my time at Rutgers, I would have never imagined the trajectory my career would take. Looking back, I can see that a big factor in my success has been staying open to the possibilities. So, my first piece of advice is to stay flexible and open-minded about the types of positions you pursue. My career has also required the ability to educate others on who social workers are and our unique value. So, my other piece of advice is to be firm in your social work identity and help the world learn how best to partner with you.

Frank Alumni Council

Frank Greenagel, MPAP, LCSW, LCADC, ICADC, CASAC, ACSW, CJC, CCS, Alumni Council Member
Frank Greenagel, MPAP, LCSW, LCADC, ICADC, CASAC, ACSW, CJC, CCS, is a clinical social worker who specializes in addiction and recovery treatment, PTSD, grief, and finding direction. He is licensed in New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. He is the Director of Clinical Supervision at Prevention Links and oversees the first New Jersey recovery high school. He also established and runs the internship program at Prevention Links. Frank is a lecturer at Rutgers School of Social Work. He drives up to Albany, NY, a few times a month in order to serve as the Head Therapist for the New York State Troopers Employee Assistance Program. Frank served the New Jersey Governor’s Council on Alcohol & Drug Abuse from 2011 to 2022 and was the Chairman of the New Jersey Heroin & Other Opiates Task Force. He served on the Board of Directors for Hazelden-Betty Ford from 2014 to 2017 and on the NASW-NJ board from 2018 to 2020. In 2018, the President of the New Jersey State Senate, Stephen Sweeney, appointed Frank to the New Jersey Youth Suicide Prevention Advisory Council. Frank is an Army veteran who wrote a play about the military that made some people in the Department of Defense very upset with him. His use of profanity, love of sports, occasional frustration with humanity and background as a borderline juvenile delinquent usually make him a hit with almost every crowd.

Why did you decide to join the Alumni Council?
I was the keynote speaker at a New Jersey Association of Mental Health and Addiction Agencies conference about nine or ten years ago, and people from the School of Social Work and Rutgers Foundation were there and asked me to join.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term on the Council?
Great question. I am a lifelong educator. I started substitute teaching when I was 22. I taught English in Tokyo when I was 26. I taught high school English in Elizabeth, New Jersey after that. I began teaching at the Center of Alcohol Studies in 2007, Essex County College in 2008, and Rutgers School of Social Work in 2011. I am still teaching. I love the classroom, but it is micro level work (maybe it is mezzo). I look at the Alumni Council as something that can impact, change, improve, and advance students’ social work education. I’ve been training and supervising other social workers since 2010. I oversee an intern program that takes 25-30 students a year from over a dozen different universities. There are major problems in the practicums that most schools offer. Anyone in a social work leadership position that knows me knows that I have been talking about the problems and offering up solutions for well over a decade. Finally, I want to advance the profession. I want social workers to be highly regarded and well compensated. So much of what I do is an attempt to advance our entire profession.

As a leader in the field of social work, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?
Don’t pick a job, pick a supervisor. Find someone that loves teaching and supervising and will help you develop to be the best social worker you can be. You should also consider working a full time job and a part time job after graduation. There are financial reasons for this, but that is not why I suggest it. By working two very different social work jobs, you double your network, you double your learning, and you increase your ability to help others and stand out compared to your peers. This should be discussed with your family and loved ones, so that they don’t feel slighted. Also, it is something that should be done early in the career and only for a few years.

Daveen Mann Alumni Council

Daveen L. Mann, MSW, Alumni Council Member
Daveen L. Mann, MSW is a true social worker at heart for her family, friends, church, and community. She accepted her divine purpose and began her career with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency over 25 years ago. She is an experienced leader and an exceptional role model to her staff and peers. Daveen is passionate about encouraging others to thrive holistically — mind, body, and spirit. Currently, Daveen is also a practicum instructor for the Baccalaureate Child Welfare Education Program, an active member of the Communication Workers of America Local 1037 Union serving on the Executive Board as Vice President of Primary Level and Shop Steward, as well as a domestic violence response advocate after completing her training through the Domestic Violence Intervention Certificate program in 2023. Most importantly, Daveen loves to travel, spend time with her family, and help others through volunteerism. Daveen serves on the Women’s Council and in the R.E.A.C.H. ministry at the Abundant Life Family Worship Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey. She also volunteers by serving at local food banks or with Girlz vs. World, a non-profit agency that focuses on community partnerships, empowerment, and self-determination through activities, education, mentoring, and hosting youth and family events.

Why did you decide to join the Alumni Council?
As an alum of the first public child welfare intensive weekend program (now currently known as the Intensive Weekend MSW program) cohort, I was encouraged by Dr. Ericka Deglau to consider joining the Alumni Council so that there would be representation for the Intensive Weekend MSW program. I connected with the Alumni Council and accepted the invitation to become more engaged in the School of Social Work community, which afforded me opportunities to maintain a connection with former colleagues, professors, and my alma mater and be an ambassador for the Intensive Weekend program.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term on the Council?
I want to bring more exposure to the Intensive Weekend program and the School as a whole and forge more connections during my term on the Council. The School is a large community with so many facets. It’s my hope that alumni attending a School activity or event will lead them to get involved and support the School.

As a leader in the field of social work, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?
My advice would be to be open to possibilities and extend grace to oneself. There are so many different opportunities in social work. However, self-care and self-preservation are key to being successful in this field. So, be gracious to yourself as you are to others.

Issata Oluwadare

Issata Oluwadare, RC’05, SSW’09, Alumni Council Member
Issata Oluwadare, MSW is a dynamic leader with 10 years of leadership experience in higher education. She is also a content creator, bestselling author, entrepreneur, motivational speaker, certified life coach, minister, and consultant for women in leadership and business. She has a passion for mobilizing historically marginalized communities through speaking engagements, leadership workshops, professional development opportunities, and conferences. As a wife and mother of two, Issata writes about infant loss and special needs parenting, supporting local organizations through her family’s organization, Manny’s Village. She uses her family’s journey to encourage others to hope through a children’s book, Mighty Manny, which debuted at number #1 and made the bestsellers list on Amazon. The book has been featured on Yahoo,, Fox, and CBS.

Issata believes in role modeling imperfect, authentic leadership. As the founder of The EZ Breezy Life, she supports a network of women spanning 50+ countries. She is also the host of “The EZ Breezy Life with Issata O.,” a Goodpods Top 100 podcast in Christianity and spirituality, dedicated to highlighting the experiences of everyday women striving for healthy, well-balanced lives and relationships.

As the Principal of Issata O. Inc., Issata provides consulting and coaching to support nonprofit leaders and business owners through speaking engagements, one-on-one coaching, and brand consultation. Since its inception in 2019, Issata O. Inc. has engaged in over 40 invited presentations focused on leadership, business basics, and women’s issues. They have hosted over 50 women’s empowerment and development events, engaging over 4,500 participants worldwide through their Small Business Saturday series and reaching women in over 80 institutions of higher education. She has supported high-powered clients in launching their business ideas, books, and brands.

Issata is pursuing her Ph.D. in Higher Education Leadership, holds a certificate in Women’s Leadership from Yale School of Management, and a certificate in Leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion from Northwestern University. When she is not working, Issata enjoys a quiet and peaceful life with her partner, two children, and a large extended family.

Why did you decide to join the Alumni Council?
I joined the Alumni Council because my time at Rutgers School of Social Work had a transformative effect on me, both personally and professionally. Even after nearly 15 years, the gratitude I hold for the education and experiences I received there is immense. It shaped me into the professional I am today, broadened my perspective on the world, and, in many ways, helped me grow as a partner and mother. Giving back to a profession and, specifically, a school that has enriched my life so deeply feels like a tremendous honor and privilege.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term on the Council?
My aim during my term is to be a positive influence, especially for those just stepping into the field or pondering how to leverage their social work degree to become a force for good in their communities and the broader world. When I was a student at Rutgers, we embraced a mantra: “Jersey Roots, Global Reach.” My ambition is to inspire and enable my fellow alumni to embody this principle fully, to make a difference both locally and globally.

As a leader in the field of social work, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?
To those newly navigating the field of social work, my advice is simple: trust your instincts. Our career paths will present a myriad of opportunities—some will be golden, while others might veer us off our intended course. Keep your core purpose in sharp focus; it will act as your compass, guiding you towards opportunities that not only allow you to uplift others but also live a life that’s in harmony with your values. Remember, it’s entirely possible to make a significant impact and find joy in your work.

Kyle Smiddie

Kyle Smiddie, NLAW’11, SSW’11, Alumni Council Member
Kyle Smiddie has been an attorney in the Special Litigation Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice since 2011. He holds a JD and MSW from Rutgers University. In his work, he enforces the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act (CRIPA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). One focus of this work has been on the use of solitary confinement in jails and prisons, especially as it relates to prisoners with mental illness. Another focus has been ensuring that persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities are getting the services they need in the most integrated setting appropriate to their needs. He currently leads two Consent Decrees–one with the Hampton Roads Regional Jail in Portsmouth, Virginia, and one with the Commonwealth of Virginia, focusing on persons with developmental disabilities. He is also the lead attorney enforcing an MOU regarding the Massachusetts Department of Corrections’ use of suicide watch. Before joining the Civil Rights Division, he worked on issues regarding prisoner re-entry, affordable housing, adequate education, and foster children. He was raised on a 40-acre farm in rural Ohio.

Why did you decide to join the Alumni Council?
I joined the Alumni Council first because I’d never served on a board before and I was simply honored that I was asked and felt that I owed it to the School that had given me so much and wanted to see if I could help. I also really liked the idea of being able to learn from other successful accomplished alumni.

What do you hope to accomplish during your term on the Council?
My goals are hopefully not too grand. I’d like to think we could grow the alumni donation pool, but also I hope to inspire at least a handful of students and/or alumni when talking about the great work graduates are doing in the field.

As a leader in the field of social work, what advice would you give to someone just starting out in their career?
Keep a timeline of what you’re doing and look back at it because over the course of your career you’ll learn lessons by reviewing your past that you can use in your present to direct your future. And never be afraid to ask someone you admire out for coffee; they will likely be flattered if they’re a good person, and then use that coffee time wisely to chart your next path.