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Convocation 2021

Rutgers School of Social Work will host a virtual convocation Convocation Ceremonyceremony to celebrate the Class of 2021 on Monday, May 17th at 2 p.m. Programming will include remarks from Dean Cathryn C. Potter, M.S.W., Ph.D. and other guests as well as the conferral of all degrees and presentation of awards to students. Registration is required to attend this event

We encourage you to join the conversation on social media in the days leading up to the event and on the day of the event. When you do, please tag and/or mention the School of Social Work’s FacebookTwitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram accounts, and use the hashtag #RUSSW2021 in your posts. 

Questions? Visit our Convocation FAQ page.

Order of Exercises 

  • Presentation of the National Anthem
  • Opening Remarks
  • Faculty & Staff Award Presentations
  • Student Speaker
    • Marleina Ubel, MSW '21
  • Conferral of Degrees and Presentation of Student Awards
    • Ph.D. Student Award Presentation
    • PhD. Degree Conferral
    • DSW Degree Conferral
    • MSW Student Award Presentation
      • Laura Curran, Ph.D., Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs
    • MSW Degree Conferral
      • Mark Lamar, MSW, Executive Director, Office of Field Education
    • BASW Student Award Presentation
    • BASW Degree Conferral
  • Convocation Speaker
  • Performance
    • Christiana Danielle, MSW '20
  • Closing Remarks


Speaker & Perofrmer Biographies

Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester is the first African Lisa Blunt RochesterAmerican and first woman to represent Delaware in the U.S. House of Representatives. She serves as an Assistant Whip for House Leadership and sits on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. As the Energy and Commerce Committee’s only former statewide health official, Congresswoman Blunt Rochester understands health care from a number of different perspectives – as an implementer at the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, negotiator while serving as State Personnel Director, and advocate as CEO of the Metropolitan Wilmington Urban League. She is focused on reducing the cost of health care and prescription drugs for middle-class families, addressing the disparity in outcomes for communities of color, and tackling our nation’s opioid and addiction epidemic. Congresswoman Blunt Rochester serves as a Member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, comprised of more than 100 members united with the common goal of tackling opioid addiction.

Christiana Danielle, an Indiana native, is a singer/songwriter, national recording artist, Christiana Danielle Hickspublic speaker, and mental health advocate. Christiana graduated with her Bachelor of Social Work from Huntington University in 2017  where she was an all-American track athlete, student ambassador, recipient of Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges, and campus worship leader. Her unique tones and creative vocal arrangements made her a Top 10 stand out on season 14 of NBC’s The Voice. She was coached by 15-time Grammy award winning Alicia Keys. Keys describes Christiana in her memoir entitled, More Myself, as a “woman who oozes individuality….bright and glittery and vocally gifted. Capable of shining under pressure and was the type of unique artist that America doesn’t see enough of.”

Although Christiana’s newfound stardom was exciting, her tenacity for education and mental health led her to New Jersey where she earned her Master of Social Work and certification in Violence Against Women and Children from Rutgers University in 2020. Christiana recently released her debut EP, “Growth,” in November of 2020. She describes this project as an eclectic work of art that takes the listener on a journey of emotional growth through the context of a relationship. This R&B/soul album is unique in that each song encapsulates a nod to the different subgroups of the genre. Christiana prides herself on having “message music” as each of her songs tells a story.

Christiana continues to destigmatize mental health, racial disparities, and discrimination to marginalized communities through her profession as a mental health consultant to non-profit organizations and adjunct social work instructor at Vincennes University. 

Christiana is also currently working on a mental health album that shines a light on depression, anxiety, sexual assault, and trauma that will be accompanied by a curriculum curated to discuss the implications of each song topic on daily life. Her goal is to combine her passions of singing and mental health to help others become more mindful, mentally healthy, and conscious of their impact on themselves and the world around them.

Marleina UbelMarleina Ubel is graduating from Rutgers School of Social Work’s Blended Online MSW Program with a concentration in Management and Policy. She earned her bachelor's degree in philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where, as a Philosophy in an Inclusive Key Summer Institute (PIKSI) Fellow, she spent a summer at MIT working to make the discipline more inclusive. Marleina was named a 2020-21 Kathleen Crotty Fellow through New Jersey Policy Perspective (NJPP) and a Fellow at the Eagleton Institute for Politics at Rutgers. Her work has been focused on poverty, inequality, and public policy, specifically the impacts of taxation and the carceral system. She was recently awarded a fellowship from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) and in this role she will continue to analyze public policy and advocate for social justice.

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