Alumni & Community

SSW Alumni Network

Thank you for your interest in the School of Social Welfare alumni community. You can remain connected with the school and other alumni, and support current students – your future colleagues!


Stay Informed

For more information, please contact Alyssa Lotmore at [email protected].

Stay Involved

Help a Student in Their Career Path

Connect with Other Alumni

Connect with a Professor

Interested in Job Postings?

Subscribe to the MSW Alumni Listserv for job postings and other announcements from our alumni and community partners.

  1. Compose a message to: [email protected]
  2. No subject line
  3. In the body of the email, type the following: Subscribe MSWSUNYA First Name Last Name
  4. Send the email
  5. You will get a response from the LISTSERV with a link to click on. Click on the link, and you are registered.
Stay Invested

Please consider supporting SSW and students - Every gift counts!

For more information, please contact Alyssa Lotmore at [email protected].

School of Social Welfare Alumni at the Saratoga Race Track

Pictured: Marcia Rabinowitz '79 '82Doris Ramirez-Romero ‘85 ‘87, Yvette Milillo ‘82 ‘84, Sheena MacGregor-Pilz ‘07 ‘08 (center), Alyssa Lotmore ‘07 ‘08, at the UAlbany Alumni Day at the Races, July 2022.



Student Profiles and Awards

As a student in the School of Social Welfare, you earn more than a degree. You become part of a community of students, faculty, staff and alumni. Our students are doing great things in the classroom and in the community.


Scholarship Awardees

The generosity of donors makes lives brighter, provides meaningful opportunities, and makes the dream of higher education possible for many students at UAlbany.

During the scholarship application period, accepted and current students may apply for scholarships online.


Meet a few of those social welfare students (below) as they share heartfelt words of gratitude for their scholarships. 


Shalini Barrow
Shalini Barrow


"I am truly grateful to have been awarded the Stephanie Wacholder Scholarship. This generosity ensures that I can purchase the necessary textbooks, subscriptions, and equipment I need to succeed in my academic endeavors. I have not been in a classroom setting in over 6 years and admittedly, I was nervous about how well I would manage with working full-time, attending school part-time, and the cost associated with graduate studies. Financial support from community partners makes the journey easier and makes my dream of becoming a social worker more tangible."





Brendan Boehm
Brendan Boehm



"Receiving this scholarship gives me a feeling of validation for the hard work I've put into revitalizing my academic career. When I was failing out of community college, the idea of grad school was beyond ridiculous. To be recognized with a scholarship definitely feels good."






Mahamadu Sillah
Mahamadu Sillah



"I cannot say 'thank you' enough for the generous scholarship I was awarded. This scholarship has helped me tremendously. I look forward to someday being able to give back to students who are trying to further their education like myself."







Complete list of 2021-2022 Scholarship Awardees

Student Profiles

Some of our students, both past and present, have been on our radio show and shared their experiences about being in the program. 

Sebastian Vidal



Listen: Sebastian Vidal, BSW '20




Jessica Rogers



Listen: Jessica Rodgers, BSW '20, MSW '21




2021 University at Albany Lavender Awards

Several members of the School of Social Welfare family were honored with 2021 Lavender Awards. The Lavender awards celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and allied faculty, staff, and students for their work in promoting LGBTQ+ equity at UAlbany. Read more

Lavender Awards SSW 2021
Community Engagement
Social Workers Radio Talk Show
The Social Workers Radio Talk Show logo

The School of Social Welfare has a radio show. The Social Workers Radio Talk Show airs live on UAlbany's WCDB 90.9FM in Albany, NY. Our mission is to use the medium of radio to educate and enlighten our university and extended communities about social work trends and current practices provided by social workers.

Hosted by Dr. Eric Hardiman and Alyssa Lotmore, LMSW.

For all episodes, visit the show's website.


Community and Public Service Program (CPSP)

For more than 35 years, the Community and Public Service Program (CPSP) has been central to community engagement efforts at the University at Albany. Find out more about this credit-bearing undergraduate community service initiative.


Social Justice

Resources Offered at the SSW
The Gathering

“The Gathering” is a group in the School of Social Welfare that openly discusses social justice issues about race, ethnicity, social work activism, sexual orientation, gender, religious affiliation, physical and mental ability, and immigration status.

The Purpose of “The Gathering”:

  • To bring a deeper understanding of social justice issues in social work practice.
  • To make inclusiveness a habit practiced by everyone in the School of Social Welfare and beyond.
  • To raise participants’ awareness of their own privilege and power, and acknowledge the impact of this privilege and power in their lives.
  • To create a positive and inclusive campus climate for all.
  • To help participants gain a better awareness of, and challenge their own assumptions, about diversity, equity, and inclusion.   

For more information and the semester meeting schedule, contact Dawn Knight-Thomas.

SSW Faculty at Katherine Briar-Lawson Lecture

Pictured: Stephanie Wacholder, Katharine Briar-Lawson, and Hal Lawson at the Inaugural Katharine-Briar Lawson Lecture in 2017. 




The Katharine Briar-Lawson Lecture

To honor and pay tribute to Dr. Katharine Briar-Lawson, this lecture series is designed to educate the campus and surrounding communities on a broad range of topics related to the research and practice of social work. Currently a professor of social welfare and dean emerita of the School of Social Welfare, Dr. Briar-Lawson has been a leader in social work for over 40 years, spearheading innovative university partnerships with public, private, and non-profit sectors at local, national and international levels. Dr. Briar-Lawson has received multiple awards and honors in recognition of her service to UAlbany, the Capital District, and the social work profession.

Examples include the University at Albany's Academic Laureate Award, the highest honor for a faculty member; the Sage College Award for Higher Education Leader in Character Education; the Outstanding Social Work Dean for Aging from the John A. Hartford Foundation; the National Association of Social Workers' International Rhoda G. Sarnat Award; the Council on Social Work Education’s Lifetime Achievement in Social Work Education Award; and the NASW Social Work Pioneers Award. 


Support Our Initiative



Past Lectures

Algorithms in social work: Data-driven practice or dystopian future?

by Melanie Sage, PhD, MSW

Watch the recording of the 2023 Lecture



Melanie Sage

Melanie Sage, PhD, MSW, conducts research at a Fortune 100 company, where she informs strategy about how to increase equity, safety, and trust for the public. Formerly on the faculty at University at Buffalo School of Social Work, she has numerous publications about the impact of social media and resilience with technology in child welfare. She is a co-author of the book Teaching Social Work with Digital Technology, a trauma-informed motivational interviewing consultant and trainer, and a goldendoodle mom, which isn't offensive at all to her grown children.


Media coverage via UAlbany News


"Calling In the Calling Out Culture: Lessons from a Lifetime of Feminist and Anti-Racist Activism"

Loretta Ross 

Watch the recording of the 2022 Lecture 



Loretta Ross

Loretta Ross is an award-winning, nationally-recognized expert on racism and racial justice, women's rights, and human rights. Her work emphasizes the intersectionality of social justice issues and how intersectionality can fuel transformation.

Ross is a visiting associate professor at Smith College (Northampton, MA) in the Program for the Study of Women and Gender, teaching courses on white supremacy, race and culture in America, human rights, and calling in the calling out culture.

She has co-written three books on reproductive justice: Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice, winner of the Outstanding Book Award by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Bigotry and Human Rights; Reproductive Justice: An Introduction, a first-of-its-kind primer that provides a comprehensive yet succinct description of the field and puts the lives and lived experience of women of color at the center of the book; and Radical Reproductive Justice: Foundations, Theory, Practice, Critique. Her current book, Calling In the Calling Out Culture, is forthcoming in 2021.

Ross appears regularly in major media outlets about the issues of our day. She was recently featured in a New York Times piece, "What if Instead of Calling People Out, We Called Them In?"

She was a co-founder and the National Coordinator, from 2005 to 2012, of the SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective, a network of women of color and allied organizations that organize women of color in the reproductive justice movement. Other leadership positions have included:

  • National Co-Director of the April 25, 2004 March for Women’s Lives in Washington D.C., the largest protest march in U.S. history with more than one million participants.
  • Founder and Executive Director of the National Center for Human Rights Education (NCHRE)
  • Program Research Director at the Center for Democratic Renewal/National Anti-Klan Network where she led projects researching hate groups and working against all forms of bigotry with universities, schools, and community groups
  • Founder of the Women of Color Program for the National Organization for Women (NOW) in the 1980s
  • Leading many women of color delegations to international conferences on women's issues and human rights.

Ross is a rape survivor, was forced to raise a child born of incest, and is a survivor of sterilization abuse. She is a model of how to survive and thrive despite the traumas that disproportionately affect low-income women of color. She is a nationally-recognized trainer on using the transformative power of Reproductive Justice to build a Human Rights movement that includes everyone.

Ross serves as a consultant for Smith College, collecting oral histories of feminists of color for the Sophia Smith Collection which also contains her personal archives.

She is a graduate of Agnes Scott College and holds an honorary Doctorate of Civil Law degree awarded in 2003 from Arcadia University and a second honorary doctorate degree awarded from Smith College in 2013. She is pursuing a PhD in Women’s Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. She is a mother, grandmother and a great-grandmother.


“White Supremacy: Psychological and Social Impacts in the U.S."


Dr. Joy DeGruy Biography

Dr. Joy DeGruy

Dr. Joy DeGruy is a nationally and internationally renowned researcher and educator. Her pioneering publication, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome (PTSS): America’s Legacy of Enduring Injury and Healing, addresses the residual impacts of trauma on African descendants in the Americas.

With this book, and decades of research and practice experience, Dr. DeGruy has established a framework for understanding how the past has influenced the present. She has developed multiple evidence-based interventions for communities of color that eliminate non-productive attitudes, beliefs and behaviors and build upon the strengths gained from the past to heal.

For over two decades, Dr. DeGruy served as an Assistant Professor at Portland State University’s School of Social Work and now serves as President and Chief Executive Officer of Joy DeGruy Publications Inc. She holds Master’s degrees in Social Work and Clinical Psychology, as well as a PhD in Social Work and Social Research.


Lecture Resources

Dr. DeGruy spoke about the psychological and social impacts of white supremacy in the United States, and the responsibility of social work to mitigate these impacts.

Below are some of the resources mentioned in Dr. DeGruy’s lecture:

Hounmenou, C. (2012). Black settlement houses and oppositional consciousnessJournal of Black Studies, 43(6), 646-666. Retrieved April 29, 2021.

Little, B. (2021, March 26). How the Nazis were inspired by Jim Crow. History.

McDermott, S.P. (2018, August 22). Jane Addams, Ida B. Wells, and racial injustice in America. Jane Addams Papers Project.

Philippe Shock Matthews. (2017, May 31). The axiological journey of the African-American with Dr. Edwin Nichols. YouTube.

Ross, A. (2018, April 23). How American racism influenced Hitler. New Yorker.

Skloot, R. (2011). The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks. Broadway Paperbacks.

Smith, D.L. (2012). Less than human: Why we demean, enslave, and exterminate others. St. Martin’s Griffin.

Stevenson, H.C. (1994). Validation of the scale of racial socialization for African American adolescents: Steps toward multidimensionality. Journal of Black Psychology, 20(4):445-468.

Swetlitz, I. (2016, April 4). Some medical students still think black patients feel less pain than whites. STAT.

Washington, H.A. (2006). Medical apartheid: The dark history of medical experimentation on Black Americans from colonial times to the present. Doubleday.


“A Transformative Approach for Social and Economic Integration of Vulnerable Communities: Project TELEMA”

*Postponed due to COVID-19


Dr. Aybe Tasse Biography

Dr. Abye Tasse

Dr. Tasse currently serves as Chief of Mission, Ministry of Social and Humanitarian Affairs, Republic of Congo, where he is leading the development and expansion of social work education. This assignment follows and builds upon his leadership in development of social work education and social development in Ethiopia, Mauritania, and Comoros. In each of these positions, Dr. Tasse demonstrated exceptional leadership in both academic and management skills that enabled the transfer and contextualization of knowledge to create sustainable social work education systems. His capacity to navigate complex systems and bring together academicians, policy-makers, and practitioners from many cultures to achieve the goals of social work and social development is unsurpassed.

Dr. Tasse has provided leadership in social work and social development globally for many years, including as past president of the International Association of Schools of Social Work (IASSW). An especially impactful aspect of Dr. Tasse’s work with IASSW has been his leadership of the Global Agenda, which unites the work of three international bodies: IASSW, International Federation of Social Workers, and International Council on Social Welfare. Dr. Tasse’s work has been widely recognized internationally with an Honorary Doctorate in Social Sciences and Social Work from the VID Specialized University in Norway and the Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Academiques for contributions to the Ministry of Education by Decree of the Prime Minister of France.

Dr. Tasse’s personal story is as compelling as his professional accomplishments. Born in Ethiopia, at an early age he was forced to flee amid great civic turmoil after the overthrow of the Emperor Haile Selasse. He made his way to France where he claimed asylum and eventually gained French citizenship. These personal challenges have informed his scholarship. Dr. Tasse is one of the foremost scholars on migration and social work. He has published extensively and provided numerous lectures around the globe on this topic. The massive movement of peoples around the world in recent years due to civil unrest, war, and persecution based upon race, culture, religion, and poverty, and the challenges experienced by receiving countries including the United States, is a compelling and timely topic. Dr. Tasse has a unique perspective on the historical global experience of migration, the current challenges, and informing the path forward to address the many aspects of this phenomenon.


“Vulnerable Families and Social Justice: The Professional Challenge”


Dr. Carol Wilson Spigner Biography

Carol Spigner

Carol Wilson Spigner, DSW, retired from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice after having served as associate professor/clinician educator for a decade. At Penn, Spigner directed the social policy program and taught policy and macro practice. Prior to her arrival at Penn, Dr. Spigner had been the Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau at the U.S. Department of Health and  Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (ACF) and was responsible for the administration of federal child welfare programs. As part of that work, Spigner provided leadership in developing guidelines to the states on maltreatment and oversight of research and demonstration programs focused on neglect.

Dr. Spigner has served on the Pew Commission for Children in Foster Care, the Mayor’s Child Welfare Review Panel for the City of Philadelphia, and the Workgroup for the Michigan Racial Equity Task Force. She was a senior associate at the Center for the Study of Social Policy, Washington, DC, and the director of the National Child Welfare Leadership Center.

She has held professorships at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Spigner has published articles in the areas of cultural competency, permanency planning and relative care.

Dr. Spigner has received numerous awards including: the University of Pennsylvania’s 2008 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching; The Black Administrators in Child Welfare’s 2008 George Silcott Award for Lifetime Achievement; University of Southern California’s Award for Lifetime Contributor to the Development of Policies and Programs for Underserved Populations; the National Association of Black Social Workers’ Outstanding Contributors Award; and the National Association of Public Child Welfare Administrators’ Award for Leadership in Public Child Welfare.

A native of Los Angeles, Dr. Spigner began her career working for the Los Angeles County Departments of Adoption and Probation and received her undergraduate degree from the University of California at Riverside and her graduate degrees from the University of Southern California.