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Sociology

Concentration In Human Services > Alumni Testimonies

Allison Lattin (1999)
Master’s in Social Work and Director of Community Investment, United Way of the Greater Capital Region, NY
“The Concentration in Human Services program (or in my day the Concentration in Direct Care Practice) provided me with a solid foundation for a career in the human services.  The program emphasizes core values, which human service professionals need to work from such as the dignity and worth of each and every human being.  While in the program, I was provided an abundance of opportunities to experience a wide variety of client populations and modalities of working with people.  The course work also had a richness in quality bringing us to learn about the work of Augusto Boal, Paulo Freire, Maria Montessori and Carl Rogers.

The program set me up to come into the human service world with a broad perspective of how to work with people, as well as a drive to work to improve our systems for helping people.  Today, after nearly ten years after completing the program, I see more than ever how valuable my experience was.” 

Jessica and Charles ShipmanJessica M. Shipman (2001)
Clinical Supervisor of Crisis Services and Transitional Housing, WI
“Going through CHS with you, John, and the rest of the class is one of the best educational experiences that I've ever had. In fact, I'm attending a graduate program, Master’s in Community Mental Health at Southern New Hampshire University, which has a very similar format because I had such a positive experience. Some of the best memories that I have of my time New Paltz are the days that I spent with the other members of my CHS cohort. They provided the support and encouragement that I needed to continue on with my degree, even when it was time for all of us to take statistics. Studying social welfare in Denmark is another experience that I continue to draw upon. Having the opportunity to see how another country treats the people, who receive mental health services, was eye opening, and I try to reflect that experience in the programs that I am now supervising. Of course, spending time site-seeing in Copenhagen was fun too. The CHS curriculum was challenging and prepared me to be a leader in the field.”

Lauren Honigman (2002)
Master’s in Social Work and currently at graduate student at Western New England School of Law
“The Concentration in Human Services Program has shaped my professional, academic and personal life in a variety of ways!  The experience was the first time that I had ever learned about social inequality in this country.  The discussions about the stigma in mental health, white privilege, and the hardships of foster care stand out in mind even today.Lauren Honigan Throughout the program, I was forced to confront my fears, biases, and own personal misunderstandings.  I have been most inspired by the passion and honesty of Mette and I can honestly say that if not for the Human Services Program, I do not know what path my life would've taken today.  After New Paltz, I went to the University of Maryland in Baltimore City to obtain a Master’s in Social Work.  For two years following grad school, I provided mobile mental health services to children considered severely emotionally disturbed.  Feeling like I wanted to do more in the realm of social justice and civil rights, I decided to enter law school and am presently a few weeks away from my first round of finals at Western New England School of Law.  I cannot say enough about how formative the program was for me and I am so grateful for the opportunities given me!”

Martha Zabetta, AKA CeeCee (2003)
Evaluations Specialist, NY
“My name is Martha Zabetta, most people know me by "CeeCee", and I graduated in 2003 from the Concentration in Human Services. I enjoyed my internship at Teen Seen, where I worked with at risk youth in need of an outlet to express and be themselves. We provided guidance, afterschool assistance, recreational services, workshops for college preparation, and health education. I also had the privilege of becoming an intern for Greystone Programs, where I learned to provide effective supervision and supported adults with Autism achieve their personal goals and become active members in their community.Martha Zabetta My last internship was with St. John's Bosco, where I had the opportunity to work in a group home to provide a safe and comfortable environment for children with a history of abuse and neglect.

After graduation, I moved back to NYC and worked as a Development Analyst for Platform Learning, a company designed to build after school programs in schools in need of improvement under the "No Child Left Behind” law. I moved with the company to expand these programs in Atlanta, GA. Three years later, I moved back to NYC and now I am currently working as an Evaluations Specialist with a health care organization that evaluates and provides therapeutic services to children in Early Intervention and Special Education. I am also in the process of applying to graduate school for an MPH/MSW degree. My experience at New Paltz, and with the CHS, has been a rewarding experience. It has provided me with great opportunities and has continued to allow me to grow and move forward with a career in the Social Services and Public Health field.”  

Lisa M. Farrell (2004)
Foster Care Worker, NY
Lisa Farrell“The CHS program is awesome! It is a challenging and rewarding experience. For myself, it allowed me the opportunity to grow academically as well as exploring different fields of the Human Service world. The people in my cohort are amazing and I still remember the Ropes Course! Since graduation, I have worked in the foster care field, helping kids in care. Just this year, I have decided to move on and am considering other avenues in life….maybe graduate school. Thank you, Mette and Donna!!”

Danielle Zakrzewski (2005)
Licensed Master Social Worker,
Certified Brain Injury Specialist,
and
Family Clinical Social Worker, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY

Zakrzewski“My name is Danielle Zakrzewski, and I graduated from the cohort in 2005. My tenure with CHS was nothing less than exceptional. From the course load, to the field placements, and even to the thesis, I felt more than well-prepared to go on to graduate school and then commence my career in the field of social work. In addition to the academic aspects, the camaraderie between fellow classmates and me in the cohort added to my learning experience and development both as a student and as an individual; we truly learned from one another. Mette and Donna are outstanding, and I could not have asked for better instructors and mentors. I continue to maintain contact with them to this day. In fact, I was invited to speak at the CHS cohort graduation!

After graduating from the CHS, I went on to obtain my Masters. I received a dual Masters, both in Social Work and Sociology. During the process obtaining my MSW, I had the ability to experience 2 field placements, one with Adult Protective Services in Orange County and the other at Benedictine Hospital in the Oncology Support Program. I then took the licensing exam to become an LMSW. With my experiences, I began working right after graduation at the Northeast Center for Special Care in Lake Katrine, NY, which is an inpatient rehabilitation and long-term care facility serving individuals with brain and spinal cord injuries. I worked there for 2 years and obtained a certification as a Brain Injury Specialist. I then decided it was time to pursue different areas of social welfare. I voyaged down to NYC and immediately took a position as a Family Clinical Social Worker at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, working as the Family Therapist in the Substance Abuse Treatment Program. Here I am floating between 3 programs, including a methadone clinic and a program called New Divisions Recovery Center for addictions other than opiates. I receive referrals from certified substance abuse counselors to assist with difficult cases or those individuals requiring psychotherapy or family counseling. I also run a treatment group to assist with processing and the development of healthy coping mechanisms. In addition, I am in the process of applying for my LCSW and in the beginning stages of applying to a Ph.D. program in Social Welfare or Cognitive, Social, and Developmental Psychology, still deciding between the 2 programs. I am very excited about the prospect of working toward my Ph.D. None of my accomplishments would have been possible without my baseline educational foundation from the CHS. The cohort motivated and drove me to accomplish anything I felt passionate about. It paved the way for my entire professional career. I look forward to giving back to the profession by being an educator in a university in the near future after obtaining my Ph.D. Many thanks to the CHS!”

James FallarinoJames V. Fallarino (2005) 
Public Affairs Director, Long Island Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) Services Network
“I was recently promoted from the Director of Youth Services to the Public Affairs Director for the organization.  My work includes community organizing, public policy and increasing the visibility of the organization and the community it serves throughout the region, state and country.  I love being able to work with the GLBT community in such a direct way.  Having the opportunity to serve the community and (hopefully) create positive change is exactly what I wanted to do with my career!  I was part of the Human Services Concentration and especially in my previous positions at the agency, that course work was relevant on a constant basis.  My agency uses the principles of positive youth development, which I gained a strong understanding of while at New Paltz.  Since so many of the New Paltz sociology professors had a backgrounds in activism, I learned a great deal from them and am now able to apply it to my work.”

Jordan Ann Farnham (2005)
Bronx District AttorneyJordan Fardham
“I believe that New Paltz truly gave me the foundation to make the career choices I did. I graduated from New Paltz in May of 2005, majoring in Sociology and with a Concentration in Human Services. I am a graduate of the City University School of Law. CUNY Law School is the only law school in New York whose mission is law in the service of human needs. I am currently working at the Bronx District Attorney's Office and am very excited this job.  Throughout law school I had the opportunity to partake in a number of internships in the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office working in the Domestic Violence Bureau. It was there I was able to assist in court proceedings, conduct intakes and work with victims of domestic violence. The summer before that I worked at Legal Aid - Juvenile Rights division. During that summer I worked with attorneys, who specialized in Child Protection Cases. In both of these internships and in my job at the DA's office, they all require a basic understanding of humanity and an ability to use the skills I acquired while pursuing a degree in Sociology and Human Services. My educational background has helped me to understand and work with people from all walks of life. I came into this field already knowing how to relate to clients and the type of professionalism and compassion that it takes to truly be an advocate for a person or a community. I treasure the experience, education and relationships with professors and peers I made while attending New Paltz.”

Megan Haderer (2005)
High School Guidance Counselor, Maryland
“It is always a great thing to remember, where we started and came from and to show ourselves how far we have come. After graduating SUNY New Paltz, I returned back home to Buffalo, NY, and attended Niagara University to work on my Master’s in School Counseling. While attending NU, I worked for People Inc. for a year in a few different group homes. Primarily, I worked at a house that served children with autism, and I also help organize and open up a house in my home town that served young adults with Down Syndrome. Graduating with my Master’s in School Counseling from NU in May 2007, I then was offered a position in Maryland for the St. Mary's County Public School District as a Counselor in one of its High Schools. I am happy to say that I am still here for my second year and looking at pursuing my CAS in Organizational Change, Administration I track.

Looking back at my time in the CHS cohort, I will always have the fondest memories and feeling of a family. We all learned and grew together as students, professionals, and adults. I always enjoyed my sociology classes because the majority of students were already comrades and put a fast track on frank discussions of topics.”

Briana Kane (2005)
Caseworker at Rural Ulster Preservation Company, Graduate Student in School Counseling Program, Department of Psychology, at SUNY New Paltz

The CHS program was a great stepping stone into the human services field.  The program’s hands on approach really opened my eyes and enhanced the learning experience. The internships helped to make the transition into the work world a smoother one and also opened a lot of doors for me.  Shortly after graduating, I moved to Denver, Colorado, to complete a year long AmeriCorps volunteer project with an organization called Mile High Youth Corps.  AmeriCorps is a full-time domestic volunteer program, somewhat similar to Peace Corps. The focus of the program at Mile High Youth Corps was to use service to the community, particularly in the form of environmental conservation, as a tool for youth development.  I worked side by side with local teens on community improvement projects and coordinated team-building activities for the crew.    
Most recently, I have been employed as a caseworker at Rural Ulster Preservation Company, serving low-income families in Ulster County.  The roles of my current position are to meet with families to assess their eligibility for subsidized housing, act as their advocate to find adequate housing, and to help connect them with other services in the community that they may be in need of.  I am also a graduate student in the new School Counseling program at SUNY New Paltz.

Jessica TiradoJessica Tirado (2006)
Global Affairs Graduate Student with a Concentration in Human Rights and Humanitarian Assistance at NYU  
“The CHS provided the perfect combination of macro-level sociology studies and practical, hands-on experience with individuals directly affected by the social structure at the micro level. I had the opportunity to work with abused and runaway adolescents in a temporary crisis shelter; serve and advocate on behalf of individuals suffering from hunger and poverty in Poughkeepsie; and work alongside a probation officer at Dutchess County Community Corrections, in fulfilling my fieldwork credits. These experiences provided invaluable perspective to me, and put a human face to the many social issues that I studied in my sociology classes. Since graduating, I’ve worked for a non-profit that serves 100 formerly homeless men and women with chronic mental illnesses, volunteered as a tutor/mentor for refugee children from Darfur, and traveled to Rwanda and the Thai-Burma border to do humanitarian work. In January 2009, I will begin a Master’s program at NYU in Global Affairs, with a concentration in Human Rights and Humanitarian Assistance. The CHS was a major catalyst in developing my interest and passion for working in human services, and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to participate in it.”

Kathreen MalfucciKatherine Malfucci (2006)
Soon to be Occupational Therapy Student, NY
“I graduated in 2006 with a degree in Sociology with a Concentration in Human Services and the knowledge I gained from this concentration was truly invaluable.  What I found to be the most insightful were my field experiences.  They each really shed light on my strengths and weaknesses and this exposure gave me the opportunity to pinpoint what career path was in fact in store for me.  I am currently applying to graduate schools in New York to pursue a Master's degree and certification in Occupational Therapy.  I am looking forward to my future in this field and the experiences I had with the participants and fellow human services workers during my tenure at New Paltz are memories I'll carry with me forever.”

Carolyn O'NeilCarolyn O’Neal (2007)
Adoption Case Worker, NJ
“My experience in the Human Services was one I will never forget. It was challenging, but made me part of the person that I am today. The internships built my experience and credibility in the field and increased my passion for helping others. I graduated May 2007 and I'm currently an adoption case worker for the state of New Jersey. I help find relative or select adoption homes for children in the foster care system.” 

Kat Raynor (2008)
Youth Education Coordinator, Battered Women’s Services, NY

"A couple of weeks after I graduated from the Concentration in Human Services, I started working for Battered Women's Services. My position is the Youth Education Coordinator which means that I go in to High Schools and Middle Schools to do presentations on teen dating violence. Working at Battered Women's Services is the perfect job for a recent college grad like myself because I'm able to work directly with people. I really enjoy my job and it's definitely challenging, but not for any of the reasons I expected.  I thought it would be emotionally draining and that it would be difficult to listen to such painful stories all day. Kat RaynorHowever, as it turns out, working with my clients is the best and most rewarding part of my day. I remember how hard it was during my internship and I ended up taking a lot of stuff home with me, and I expected it to be even worse now that I would be doing this every day. Fortunately, this is not the case at all and I owe this to all the amazing work we did in the concentration on self-care and setting boundaries, among many other things. I find that my major challenges generate from the transition from student to working woman. However, this is something that I would struggle with no matter where I was working, and now that I've made my niche here I'm doing really well. The education I received from the CHS is the main reason that I feel so prepared to handle this job in a competent and professional manor. I owe a lot to CHS and it is and always will be an integral part of who I am."

Noemi Gonzalez (2008)
MSW student, Lehman College, NYC

Noemi Gonzalez“One of the memories that I know I will keep forever is the fact that our cohort was very close.  I like the fact that we still keep in touch and talk about things that happened, while we were in New Paltz.  The friendships that I made while in the cohort are ones that I will keep forever.  I made three really good friends (Laura, Carolyn and Janyne), and we still talk to each other and talk about what we are doing and how different being separated is compared to being in the same classroom for an hour and 15 minutes twice a week.  Right now, I am in graduate school at Lehman College as a first year, full time student getting my Master's in Social Work. One of the things that I miss about being in the cohort is the closeness that we all shared.  It is definitely different now that I am in grad school and everyone is a new face, besides the two, who were also in the Concentration.  I hope to keep contact with the friends I made as well as the professors that impacted each and every one of our lives for years to come.”