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UAlbany's School of Social Welfare Announces Scholarship Endowments
Oct. 24 event honors scholarship recipients and donors

Contact(s):  Catherine Herman (518) 956-8150

Scholarship winner Elizabeth Ernst

Elizabeth Ernst of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., has won the Nola R. Hooper Scholarship. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (October 20, 2008) -- The University at Albany's School of Social Welfare will announce new scholarship endowments and honor its scholarship award winners and their donors during a luncheon Friday, Oct. 24, at noon at the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Albany, 405 Washington Avenue.

The event, which kicks off UAlbany's Homecoming/Family Weekend & Reunion, honors scholarship recipients and their donors. Other invitees include alumni, friends of the University, government officials, and faculty and staff. Other weekend events include UAlbany Day on October 25th, when the University opens its doors to showcase how it puts the "World Within Reach."

"I am so pleased to showcase our scholarship honorees – who have such a bright future in social work – and I'd like to thank all those who have supported the endowments to make these scholarships possible," said Dean Katharine Briar-Lawson. "That generosity supports the vital mission of UAlbany's School of Social Welfare."

The new scholarship endowments that will be announced are:

• The Nola R. Hooper Scholarship, established by Dean Briar-Lawson and Hal Lawson in memory of the dean's grandmother;
• The Kathryn Zox Scholarship Endowment, named for alumna Kathryn Zox and established by her mother Ellen Wasserman; and,
• The Charles and Charlotte Buchanan Endowed Scholarship for a Capital Region Sponsor-A-Scholar.

The luncheon honors all scholarship awardees over the past six years. The School of Social Welfare provided 40 student scholarships this past year. Two scholarship winners, Elizabeth Ernst and Laura Bertini-Colon, will be the event's guest speakers.
Ernst, of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., was awarded the first Nola R. Hooper Scholarship in May 2008. She has just completed her first year as a master's degree student, and had a field placement at Philip Livingston Middle School in Albany, where she honed her skills in. teaching, communication, crisis, and conflict resolution.

The Hooper scholarship is given to a student who has shown a commitment to developing innovative school-based services to promote the well being of children, youth, and families through effective social work programs and service in schools.

"It is amazing to be recognized for a task that I believe is critical to the future of our youth. There is a great demand for social work in our school systems, as young adolescents and children are not always capable of asking for the support that may make a substantial difference in their lives," said Ernst. "I believe this scholarship will help me reach my goals in the future by providing pride in my career choices and the motivation to continue giving a voice to those who are often unheard."

Laura Bertini-Colon has won a scholarship through the Internships in Aging Project.

Laura Bertini-Colon of Schenectady, N.Y., has won an Internships in Aging Project scholarship. (Photo Mark Schmidt)

Bertini-Colon, of Schenectady, N.Y., is in her final year in the M.S.W. Advanced Standing Program and is receiving a scholarship through the Internships in Aging Project (IAP). She returned to school following a successful career in the insurance field, earning a bachelor’s degree from UAlbany in 2008. During her time at UAlbany, she has maintained a stellar academic record while raising a family and participating in her community as a volunteer and mentor. Bertini-Colon's internship involves working with seniors in their homes – assessing seniors’ needs, advocating for services, and providing counseling when needed. She plans to continue working with older adults after graduation.

IAP trains M.S.W. students to be leaders in services for older adults. The project at UAlbany was one of six sites which created a curricular and field practicum program in geriatric social work that is now a model for other U.S. social work schools. The model is based on student rotations among sites serving older persons. Students learn about leadership in service delivery, agency management, and interagency coordination. The IAP scholarships are given to provide students with the experience of working in local social service agencies or on initiatives for the aging in government agencies. The students are chosen for their leadership potential.

The mission of the School of Social Welfare is to further social and economic justice and to serve people who are vulnerable, marginalized or oppressed, a mission implemented through education, knowledge development, and service that promotes leadership for evidence-based social work with a global perspective. The School was ranked 12th among social work schools nationwide in the most recent U.S. News and World Report. In addition, School of Social Welfare faculty consistently rank in the top five of all schools of social work nationally for their research and scholarship and the School is ranked second in per capita productivity.

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Educationally and culturally, the University at Albany-SUNY puts "The World Within Reach" for its 18,000 students. An internationally recognized research university with 56 undergraduate majors and 128 graduate degree programs, UAlbany is a leader among all New York State colleges and universities in such diverse fields as public policy, nanotechnology and criminal justice. With a curriculum enhanced by 300 study-abroad opportunities, UAlbany launches great careers. For more information about this globally ranked University, visit For UAlbany's extensive roster of faculty experts, visit

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