Field sites needed for msw interns

Are you interested in becoming a field instructor and hosting an intern at your agency?

The Field Education Department would like to invite interested alumni to supervise first and second year interns for the upcoming academic school year, 2014-2015. Our social work students provide service to communities while gaining experience in practice. The field instructor provides educational support, mentorship and field experience for students, including weekly supervision, review of process recordings and a written eavluation. The Department is seeking new and exciting field placement opportunities in a variety of sectors, including administration, programming, direct practice and group practice. Students are interested in work with veterans, social justice, mental health and disabilities field, aging, foundations, and human resources management. If you are interested, please contact the Columbia School of Social Work Field Education Department at (212) 851-2314 and complete the New Placement Request form.

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Don't forget to send us your Class Notes for the next issue of AlumniNotes. Post a class note online in our alumni directory or email us with your latest news. We can't wait to hear from you! Read our latest Class Notes here.



Columbia University School of Social Work mourns the loss of alumnus Robert Langer, who passed away on March 22, 2014 at the age of 83.

Langer, who received his MA in 1952 from Brooklyn College and his MS in 1954 from the New York School of Social Work (now CSSW), began his career as a psychiatric social worker for the U.S. Army at Fort Gordon, Georgia. He went on to work with United Way-supported organizations across four states. Notably, he served as the Associate Executive Director of both the Health & Welfare Council of Metropolitan Saint Louis and the Calhoun County Community Council in Battle Creek, Michigan, where he championed a community-wide health facilities study (one of the first in the country) that resulted in a successful three-million-dollar capital campaign for area hospitals. Bob also worked with the Community Services Planning Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania, as well as New York’s Federation of Jewish Philanthropies, and served as the Associate Executive Director of the National Assembly of National Voluntary Health and Social Welfare Organizations. He spent a year lecturing at Washington University’s George Warren Brown School of Social Work.

Bob served for many years on the NASW Board of Directors, occupying leadership positions in five chapters across Michigan, Missouri, New York, and Pennsylvania and acting as president of three. He chaired the NASW-PA Ethics Committee for more than ten years and, in 2007, was the distinguished recipient of the NASW-PA Lifetime Achievement Award.

A generous supporter and friend of CSSW, Bob was a member of our Mary Richmond Society of donors and worked to establish the Charles H. Jordan Loan Fund. Within both the School and the University at large, he served on several boards and committees. From 1978 to 1981, he was a member of the University’s Alumni Trustee Nominating Committee, and in 1980, he chaired the Dean’s Search Committee. Bob was, for many years, a member of the CSSW Advisory Council and a valued member of the CSSW Alumni Board of Directors from 1977 until his death.

For his generosity, his many contributions to his alma mater and the social work profession, Bob will be remembered, and greatly missed.


March Micro-Challenge a Success

Thank you to all who supported the March Micro-Challenge. The first $10,000 of CSSW Annual Fund gifts made in March was matched 1:1. We exceeded all expectations and raised over $30,000 from the CSSW community in one month! Thank you for supporting students so they can attain a Columbia School of Social Work degree and claim the tradition of excellence all Columbians have in common.

You can still support CSSW by investing in social work education and acknowledging the capacity and leadership promise of our students. Make your gift today!


William Schwartz Memorial Scholarship Fund

Dr. Lawrence Shulman ‘61 has generously endowed a scholarship in memory of William Schwartz, professor emeritus of social work of CSSW, to benefit our students.

Mr. Schwartz taught and mentored many alumni throughout his tenure. He was a member of the CSSW faculty from 1962 until his retirement in 1977. He is the author of numerous scholarly articles on services to people in groups as a developmental and rehabilitative force for mutual aid. He was recognized for the major role he played in improving standards of practice, supervision and teaching. The Practice of Group Work was co-edited by Professor Schwartz and published in 1971.

To learn more about the William Schwartz Memorial Scholarship Fund or to make a contribution, contact Gretchen Knudsen at or call (212) 851-2368.

Class notes

Cindy J. Aaronson ’85, ‘01Ph.D. is Secretary of Anxiety and Depression Association of America, as well as a member of the Board of Directors.

Dominic Abordo ’13 is Program Coordinator, Lifeline, for Mental Health Association of New York City (MHA-NYC) in their Network Operations Division where he coordinates the day-to-day operations of the Veterans Crisis Line, including the development of network policies and procedures, coordinating and maintaining network communications, and monitoring crisis center performance and providing assistance as needed.  He will also begin work on content and program development for the other branches of the Lifeline including Ayudese, Asian LifeNet, BRAVEline (an anti-bullying hotline), the Disaster Distress Helpline, and the NFL Lifeline.

Miriam Abramovitz '67 '81PhD and Dr. Jennifer Zelnick of Touro College are partnering with the New York City Chapter of NASW, Human Services Council, United Neighborhood House, The Coalition of Behavioral Health Agencies and Social Service Employees Union Local 317 in a survey focused on the human service workforce. Their goal is to reach 3,000 human service workers in the public and non-profit sectors and to have them complete the Human Service Workfoce Study survey. The New York Nonprofit Press is the media sponsor. To read the story regarding the study, click here.

Janet K. Acker '89 received her Ph.D. in Social Welfare from University at Albany, SUNY in May, 2013.  Her dissertation was titled "Influences on Social Workers' Approach to Informed Consent Regarding Antidepressant Medications".  After having served as Visiting Assistant Professor of Social Work since 2012, Janet was recently appointed Assistant Professor of Social Work at the College of Saint Rose, in Albany New York, beginning July 1, 2014.

Laura Althoff '03 launched her own consulting firm, Althoff Consulting LLC, last year.  She provides change management consultation services to individuals and organizations with special emphasis on high tech companies.

Kelly Barneche ‘11 recently co-authored an article for the journal Global Social Welfare entitled "Case Management for Immigrant Survivors of Torture: An Examination of HealthRight International’s Access to Support and Services for Survivors of Torture Program (ASSIST)." 

Tara Batista will graduate next week with a Ph.D. in Social Work and Enterprise Administration. She successfully passed her dissertation defense on April 1st and deposited her dissertation on empowering foster care youth. 

Howard Blas ’90 received the 2013 Covenant Award for Excellence in Jewish Education.  Howard serves as director of the Tikvah Program at Camp Ramah in New England (for campers and young adults with disabilities) and as a consultant on disabilities camping to the National Ramah Commission.  He teaches Jewish Studies to children with a range of special needs and circumstances and prepares them for bar/bat mitzvah.  Howard is also a freelance writer.

Morgan Boecher ’13 is putting his SEA and business minor degree to good use as Communications Marketing Manager at Caramoor Center for Music and the Arts in Westchester County. His former Columbia Business School professor reached out to him about the position while Morgan was living in Florida, having just published his comic book about the transgender experience through a successful Kickstarter campaign. Now he is happily using his creative and management skills to benefit a beloved arts nonprofit. Feel free to check out his comic at

Diana Diaz Torres ’99 completed her successful 15 year career as a bilingual school social worker in District #32, and has been running a non-profit organization, The Stephanie Marie Burgos Scholarship Inc., since 2008. The program is in memory of her deceased niece who tragically passed in 2005, and was created to assist low income college bound students faced with social and academic adversity.  They now have seven scholarship recipients, with the third recipient graduating this May 2014 and will be entering Columbia University for graduate school. Their first two graduates are currently on their board leading the program. Click here for their blog spot.

Kimberly Dougherty ‘00 is co-author of a recent article in Trial magazine on “Gender Equity in the Law.”  Kimberly is one of the few women practicing in mass torts.  In the article she discusses unconscious gender stereotypes, how they affect women attorneys and what both men and women can do to achieve gender equality in the profession.  The article, co-authored with Houston attorney Sofia Bruera, was published in Trial magazine’s March 2014 issue.

Michael A. Dover ’80 serves as Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping.

Samantha Elkrief ‘11 started her own business as a health coach, Samantha works with people looking to improve their health by making diet and lifestyle changes.  She also teaches cooking classes and make natural deodorant.

Liz Estabrooks ‘13 submitted a presentation proposal based on her final policy paper written for Professor Jane Waldfogel (U.S. Military Culture: Why Current & Recommended Policies Are Not Enough) to the 19th International Conference & Summit on Violence, Abuse & Trauma, in San Diego in September.  She received notice that it has been accepted as part of Keynote Panel. Liz will be with two other presenters who will discuss sexual assault.

In April 2013 Marshall Feldman ‘88 presented at the Health and Difference conference in Melbourne Australia.  The conference addressed the health needs of the LGBTI community. His presentation, "Aging and the Stonewall Generation,” focused on the unique psycho-social needs of gay men over fifty and included a model for a support group that he facilitates.  Marshall also published a paper on this topic and has developed a training which he presented for the San Francisco Department of Public Health, the AIDS and Social Work Conference and at area graduate schools.

Bridgit Dengel Gaspard ’05 wrote a chapter in The Voice Dialogue Anthology: Explorations of the Psychology of Selves and the Aware Ego Process.

Frances A. Gautieri ‘67  is the recipient of the 2014 NASW-NYC Lifetime Achievement Award.  She was honored on May 15, 2014 at NASW-NYC's 2014 Annual Meeting.

Muriel Gibbs ’99 retired from Weston United as Managing Director of Residential Services, where she worked for nine (9) years and moved back to Barbados in the Caribbean.

Linda Greenberg ’66 presentated "The Impact of Cultural Differences on Countertransference" at The American Psychoanalytic Association Meetings in January 2014.

Joanna Hill ’02 (nee Greenberg) is opening a supportive counseling practice for adults in the San Francisco East Bay: Moraga, CA -

Kelly Imperial '14 is now the Associate Director of Admissions and Development for the NYIT Vocational Independence Program.  Her article titled, "Helping Students on the Autism Spectrum Navigate the College Search and Application Process" was published in the April 2014 issue of Exceptional Parent magazine.

Lawanda Innocent '13 was the Keynote Speaker for NYC Children’s Services “Access to the Future: Education and Vocation Fair on April 26, 2014.

Jimmie Jones ’78 retired in July 2013 from the NYC Department of Social Work where she was employed as an early childhood social worker.  Jimmie is a former psychiatric social worker at St. Vincent's Hospital & Medical Center.

In November 2013, Sarah Kirshenbaum ’09 was promoted to Program Director at St. Mary's Center for Women and Children in the St. Mary's Home Program for Parenting and Pregnant Teens.  Sarah was previously employed as a clinician for three years at the same organization. 

Stephen E. Knezek ’96, RN, is in private practice in New Haven, Connecticut and provides psychotherapy, clinical supervision, student field supervision, and consultation on building and maintaining a thriving private practice.  He also provides individual tutoring for the LCSW licensure exam and co-leads a monthly support meeting & networking group that is free and open to all social workers and students at Connecticut Mental Health Center in New Haven, Connecticut.

Marisa Lloyd ’10 is recently passed her licensing exam is an LCSW.  She works at Oakes Children’s Center in San Francisco California.

Mary E. Lutz '87DSW is conducting a feasibility study to democratize neighborhood planning through the 59 Community Boards of NYC. This project involves representative pedestrian interviews and quickly mapping their responses at the census tract level. Successful pilot studies have been conducted in Flatbush Brooklyn and West Harlem.

Jason Marchwinski ’13 is working at the Institute for Family Health as a mental health clinician specializing in Eye-Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Prolonged Exposure therapy for psychological trauma.

Julie Ridge ’94 is President and Founder of the Frank Ridge Memorial Foundation, Inc., which was launched this August 10th in Manhattan.  

Cynthia Pincus Russell ’59 recently published Coming Home about the process of running a home hospice for her sister, and only sibling. (Sunstone Press, N.M.)  Dr. Russell runs the Connecticut Institute for Psychosynthesis and Act 11 Counseling in Stratford, CT. and has an active practice of teaching, counseling, and supervision.

Michael Sands ‘85, MBA is the co-author of Mike & Margareth's No-Nonsense Guide for Couples: How to Manage Conflict, Communication &  Compromise in Your Relationship (ebook:  2012, paperback:  2013).  He appeared with his co-author on February 5th on WBAI's program, The Positive Mind, which is hosted by  Armand Dimele, a psychologist.  His website,, was established in 2014.

Susan Schmidt ’95 is a consultant on child welfare and immigration issues. She was hired last summer as a senior research consultant by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) office in Washington, DC, to conduct interviews with unaccompanied minors from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico, focusing in particular on their reasons for leaving their countries of origin and what their journey was like to the U.S. The first report from these interviews, titled “Children on the Run," was released recently by UNHCR, and can be accessed here. Susan is also a consultant for Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights at the University of Chicago, and she is a trainer on “Working with refugee and immigrant families in the Minnesota child welfare system” for the MN-Department of Human Services, Child Welfare Training System. She also volunteers as a guardian ad litem (GAL) and an adjunct instructor in the BSW program of the College of St. Scholastica’s Twin Cities social work program

Alissa Schwartz ‘08PhD  is founder and principal of Solid Fire Consulting (, an organizational consulting firm providing facilitation, program evaluation, leadership development, and strategy planning to non-profits, with a special focus on human rights and social justice, arts and culture, and children and youth. Based in New York City and serving non-profits throughout the United States, Alissa is passionate about building vibrant non-profit, social, and philanthropic communities. She is currently co-editing a special issue of the journal New Directions in Evaluation that is focused on the intersection of evaluation and facilitation. 

Tom Sedgwick ’88 received the Dr. James R. Dumpson, Jr. Chapter Service Award from NASW-NYC.

Elizabeth May Shull ’93 retired in 2012 as a psychotherapist from the Post Graduate Center, West, an in out-patient mental health clinic. Previously Elizabeth was at Western Queens Outpatient Mental Health Clinic and in private practice. She recently celebrated her 57th wedding anniversary and the birth of her 8th grandchild. Elizabeth still volunteers with St. James' Church, New York and is currently involved with family care, and enjoying cultural events in New York,  reading, and Tai Chi. 

Dr. Lawrence Shulman ’61 is receiving the CSWE 2014 Significant Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Education Award for his dedication to excellence in scholarship and research, pedagogy and curriculum development, and organizational leadership.  The Distinguished Recent Contributions in Social Work Education Award recognizes a social work educator’s achievements within the last 10 years. 

Mark Somerville ’84 has been the Director of Mental Health at Palisades Medical Center in NJ since September, 1991. Mark is also an adjunct professor at St. Peter’s University in Jersey City and has had a private practice for 25 years. 

Cristy St. John '10 recently joined Primary Care Development Corporation (PCDC) with the Performance Improvement Practice, specializing in High Impact HIV Prevention, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Prior to joining PCDC, Cristy worked at The Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS), Clinton Foundation / Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI), and Charity: Water holding various positions providing research and program support.  Additionally Cristy is working in collaboration with Rebecca Straw '08, founder of the AdVenture Project, for the AdVenture Project's Spring Gala on May 20th for tech & media entrepreneurs who want to impact social change. For information contact: @Ad_VenturePro or myself @CristyStJohn

Nicole Stephen ’08 (nee Miessner) completed her doctorate in Health studies from Plymouth University in Plymouth, Devon, England on 26th March 2014.  Her thesis was on end-of-life communication in respiratory disease.

Hannah Selene Szlyk ’11 finished a two year post-Masters fellowship at The Menninger Clinic in August 2013.  She earned her LCSW in Texas October 2013 and worked as primary clinician at the Houston Eating Disorders Center and as a therapist at Southwest Psychotherapy from Fall 2013-Summer 2014 where she spoke to grade school students and at University of Houston Graduate School of Social Work on body image and assessment of eating disorders.
She will be starting a PhD program in Social Work at UT-Austin in August 2014.

Dara Taylor ‘13 is now Brief Strategic Family Therapist (BSFT) for the NY Foundling.
Prior to that, in the summer of 2013, she had a 3 month unpaid internship as a research assistant for the Center for an Urban Future.

Louise Teiga ’89 was nominated for the 2013 Health Care for the Homeless Clinicians' Network Outstanding Service Award and selected for a Local Hero award from the HCH Clinicians' Network, “to recognize her dedication, commitment, and ongoing work to end homelessness.” This award was presented at the national conference in Washington, DC on Thursday, March 14, 2013 during the Clinicians' Network membership meeting.  Look for link

Ed Tilley ‘89 married his long-time partner, Dave MacLeod, in Washington, DC on April 13, 2014.  The couple resides in Wilmington, NC, where Ed is in private practice.

Tiffany Walker ’12 is Program Coordinator for the RU Ready for Work program, a school-based youth development program created and administered by the Office of University-Community Partnerships (OUCP) at Rutgers University-Newark. The program is designed to facilitate improved academic achievement while providing students with self- and career exploration opportunities enrolled in Newark high schools. In addition, the program introduces students to a broad range of social, cultural, and interpersonal enrichment opportunities to enhance their development and to spark their interest, curiosity, and participation in their own community and the world beyond.



DaughterKristin Battista-Frazee '94 (2014), The Pornographer's Daughter, Skyhorse Publishing.

The Pornographer’s Daughter is an insider’s glimpse into the events that made Deep Throat and pornography so popular, as well as what it was like to come of age against the backdrop of the pornography business. Available now for pre-order.





SandsMichael Sands '85 (2013), Mike & Margareth's No-Nonsense Guide for Couples: How to Manage Conflict, Communication &  Compromise in Your Relationship (ebook:  2012), Create Space Independent Publishing Platform

Mike & Margareth's No-Nonsense Book for Couples establishes specific rules and techniques for improving relationships. A core premise of this book is that almost ANY problem in a relationship can be resolved as long as the parties are truly committed to each other, and NO problem can ever be resolved if the parties talk to each other in a hurtful, disrespectful, or aggressive way.




in memoriam

We acknowledge with great sadness the passing of the following alumni and faculty. They will be missed for the pride that they brought to the school for their work.

Felton S. Alexander ‘63 
Catherine Amon ‘93 
Elizabeth P. Anderson ’49 
Belvin R. Blandford ‘54 
Katherine B. Boros ‘70 
L. Mathilde Bradford ‘53 
Jean S. Brindley ‘57 
Eric D. Brown ‘51 
Francis T. Browne ‘81 
Mildred S. Burr ‘54 
Claudia A. Caldwell ‘74 
Christine B. Carpenter ‘53 
James P. Clarke ‘54 
Gladys R. Cohen ‘55 
Corina Crespo ‘97 
Iris Gerber Damson ‘88 
Suzanne H. Dettmer ‘46
Estelle Julia Doyle ‘87 
Jimmie S. Fant ‘63 
Hertha Fischer ‘64 
Mary L. Fleischner ‘70 
Mildred D. Goliger ‘62 
Theresa Virginia Gorski ‘01 
Marian C. Gray ‘49 
Gladys Guyton ‘49 
Joyce V. Haerr   

Jo W. Harmon ‘78 
Nettie Z. Hass ‘70 
Natalie Isaacs ‘55 
Isis Istiphan ‘53 
Raymond R. Johnson ‘72 
Dona Johnson-Lee ‘66 
Anna Mae Jones ‘86 
Kate I. Kahan 
Milton M. Kaplan ‘47 
Sylvia N. King ‘56 
Rev. Ronald E. Kohls ‘63 
Eleanor Olga Kremen ‘84DSW 
Gloria J. Kwok
Robert Langer ‘54 
Norma L. Lauring ‘68 
Leah K. Lauter 
Mary I. Leblanc
Catherine D. LeClerc ‘82 
Paul F. Levine ‘60 
Erna L. Lindenbaum 
Barbara A. Macleod 
Ruth Ellen Marcoux ‘84 
Zerish Ulrica Mattis ‘96 
Suzanne Naomi Mellin ‘85 
Hallee P. Morgan ‘73 
Grace B. Mortensen ‘55 

Judith C. Musick ‘81 
Helene Johan Newman ‘65 
Margaret M. Palmer ‘54 
Annabelle Patiky ‘55 
Pauline J. Phillips ‘65 
Dolores Prince ‘77 
Nancy S. Protos ‘64 
Richard Punch ‘70 
Mary E. Richards ‘48 
Martha Rosten ‘65   
Charles N. Samberg ‘48 
Judy S. Sandler ‘61 
Julia R. Schwendinger ‘50 
Dorothy Dando Somers   
Ellen W. Sorkin ‘52 
Kathryn Spath-Tucci ‘95 
Catherine St. John ‘48 
Eleanor Stier ‘64 
Judith A. Storms ‘68 
Lauramae S. Thomas ‘61 
Ruth E. Townsend ‘45 
Felicia D. Van Praagh ‘58  
Edith Ettlinger Weiss 
Louis A. Wheaton ‘69 
Virginia A. Woodman ‘39 
Fannie A. Zanft ‘63