The offices of Career Services and Leadership Management, Development and Alumni Relations, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at Columbia School of Social Work are excited to host our 2nd Annual Communities of Color Roundtable Networking Event on Monday, September 16, 2019!
Please join us for a fun evening of mingling with some of our distinguished alumni of color from various concentrations and careers. This will be a great opportunity to expand both your knowledge base and network of contacts within a safe and supportive community, whether you are seeking to learn about potential career paths or hear their unique perspectives, insights, and advice as professionals of color in the field.
The list of featured alumni can be found below.
Monday, September 16, 2019
6:00 – 9:00 pm*
Columbia School of Social Work
1255 Amsterdam Avenue, Room 311/312
Suggested attire: business casual
*Check in at 6:00 pm; main event at 6:30 pm. Students who arrive after 6:30 pm will not be allowed entry.
Space is limited. Pre-registration is required. Refreshments will be served.
Please RSVP on our Eventbrite page by Wednesday, September 11.
What to Expect
RESIDENTIAL STUDENTS: The event will be similar to that of “speed-networking.” After a 30-minute panel featuring select alumni guests, students will have the opportunity to meet with individual alumni at designated tables and engage in two rounds of 30-minute group conversations. Following the two rounds, there will be 30 minutes of informal, open networking to provide students and alumni additional time to connect with one another.
ONLINE STUDENTS: You will have the opportunity to view a 30-minute introductory panel featuring select alumni guests and then network virtually with alumni via Zoom.
All those who identify as students of color are welcome to participate!
James Singletary ’10 (Panel Moderator) – Associate Director of Field Education at Columbia School of Social Work
James is a 2010 graduate of Columbia School of Social Work who comes to us with 16 years of experience in human services, higher education, and parish ministry. Prior to joining our school, he served as Program Director at Harlem United where he managed and oversaw nine government contracts totaling 1.9 million dollars, as well as the day-to-day operation of the H.O.M.E. Program that provided supportive services to LGBTQ youth and young adults living with HIV. In 2010, he accepted a call to The Riverside Church and served as the Director for Children, Youth, and Families in the Education Ministry up to and through 2015. During his tenure at the Riverside Church, he expanded the program portfolio by adding six new program initiatives during his first year as director. Additionally, in 2015, he led a group of nine high school students to the White House to meet President Obama after competing in the Annual White House Student Film Festival. His students were awarded First Prize for their documentary film on Mentoring in Harlem.
Since 2008, he has taught as an Adjunct Lecturer in the African Studies and Communications Departments at CUNY. While a graduate student at the Columbia School of Social Work, he had the privilege of providing support as a research assistant to Dr. Mincy at the Center for Research on Father’s Children Family and Well-Being. He provided research assistance on two qualitative studies (Income Support Policies for Low-Income Men and Noncustodial Fathers and A Qualitative Look into the Lives of Unemployed Young Black Bermudian Men and the Gender Gap in Educational Attainment).
In addition to his extensive practice in the field, he also holds a Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary and a Master of Fine Arts from The New School.
Kainen Bell ’17 – Development Coordinator at love.fútbol
Brazil has always had a special place in Kainen’s heart. As a kid, his dream was to visit but it seemed impossible. Surprisingly, during college he received a scholarship to visit Brazil and since then his dream has been to live there. In 2018 he received a Fulbright Fellowship to research about Social Projects in Brazil and this is where he met love.fútobl. What started as a research project later turned into a life changing partnership. Currently, he specializes in Fundraising and the Salesforce database system, and lives in Brazil.
Kainen has degrees in Business: Information System, and Social Work from the University of Washington and Masters in Social Work Degree from Columbia University.
*NO LONGER ABLE TO ATTEND* Krystal Bostick ’16 – Director of Youth Development and Counseling at Harlem Educational Activities Fund (HEAF)
Patrick Burden ’12 – Program Coordinator, Care Management at Mount Sinai Health Systems
Patrick Burden currently works for the Mount Sinai Health System as a Program Coordinator in the Care Management Program, providing clinical supervision for the social workers and care coordinators providing direct services to patients.
In this role he also develops workflows and initiatives to better engage patients in meaningful care. Prior to this, and before attending CSSW, Patrick worked at The Choice Program with AmeriCorps, serving youth with justice-system involvement in Baltimore. Soon after graduating he began working at Mount Sinai Hospital as a Preventable Admissions Care Team (PACT) Social Worker, a role he held for over 3 years before moving into his current role.
Aside from his work in Care Management at Mount Sinai, Patrick also facilitates wellness groups for fellows and residents in graduate medical education and serves as a Wellness Advisor for medical students in the Icahn School of Medicine. Patrick has also presented at numerous academic conferences in the United States and internationally on topics including social workers in healthcare, health inequity, and community engagement in healthcare.
Tiffany Jules ’08 – Director at Services for the Underserved
Tiffany Jules is currently working at Services for Underserved (SUS) as the Director of the SRO Intervention Project in the Bronx. At SUS, Ms. Jules is responsible for managing two Ryan White HIV/AIDS care coordination programs which are funded by both the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and Public Health Solutions. Every year, the SRO Intervention Project provides care coordination services for close to 500 HIV positive individuals with a history of homelessness, substance use and mental health issues. Ms. Jules supervises a team of 13 full-time staff members as well as BSW and MSW interns. Before coming to SUS, Ms. Jules worked at Partnership for the Homeless as the HIV Prevention Program Manager and managed the activities for two CDC evidence-based interventions for young women of color who were HIV positive or high risk for becoming infected with HIV. She also partnered with leadership to distill lessons learned from front-line staff in order to develop a better understanding about the connection between housing instability and HIV prevention. In addition to her job as a Director, Ms. Jules serves as a trainer for Safe Talk, an intervention for suicide alertness, and assisted with the implementation of a Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) grant on HIV and hepatitis C testing for individuals experiencing mental health issues. She is also an adjunct professor at Touro School of Social Work and serves as a member of the Public Health Solutions’ community advisory board. Ms. Jules graduated from CSSW in 2008.
Sharon Kim ’17 – Program Manager at Uptown Hub, New York-Presbyterian
Sharon Kim is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and Project Management Professional (PMP) committed to social change on a systemic level, especially related to youth and families. She is also focused on inclusivity and diversity initiatives that promote different perspectives so people can feel seen, included, and celebrated.
Currently, she works as a Program Manager at New York-Presbyterian (NYP), where she directs one of five “Youth Opportunity Hubs,” a first-of-its-kind effort to knit together community-based providers funded through the Manhattan District Attorney Office’s Criminal Justice Investment Initiative. She leads a team of clinicians and programming staff to connect youth and young adults in Washington Heights and Inwood to a full range of wraparound services with the goal of promoting retention in education and career opportunities, improved well-being, avoidance of system involvement, and continued prosocial activities. She also worked at NYP prior to pursuing her MSW as a Program Coordinator for the Lang Youth Medical Program, where she led health enrichment and college readiness programs for middle and high school students from Washington Heights/Inwood.
While at CSSW, she interned at Vera Institute of Justice and Children’s Aid Society and also spent her summer in between at the Adventure Project as a Development and Fundraising fellow. She graduated in 2017 with a focus on social enterprise administration.
Jewel Mack ’92 – Deputy Director of the Qualitative Review and Evaluation Unit at NYC Administration for Children’s Services
In her current role at the NYC Administration for Children’s Services, Jewel oversees the agency’s case record review practice, highlighting program strengths and areas for improvement with an emphasis on quality case practice. She has extensive experience working for ACS, spanning 34 years, during which she served as an Analyst, Administrative Staff Analyst, and now a Deputy Director.
Nick Horace Ogutu ’17 – President of Safari Yangu Immigrant Stories & Coordinator of Amnesty International Bronx Chapter
Nick Ogutu is a Community Organizer, Social Worker and Human Rights Activist, who is passionate about advocating for people of African Descent around the world. He has presented speeches at the UN New York and at Amnesty International Conferences. He was also featured with Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in the recently released Netflix film titled, Knock Down The House.
Nick’s passion as voice of the marginalized, oppressed and those discriminated around the world has been captured through his selfless activities and volunteer campaigns with numerous Human Rights organizations.
He is the Coordinator of Amnesty International Bronx New York Chapter. He is also the Founder and current President of Safari Yangu Immigrant Stories, an organization he started while he was a student at CSSW. He holds an MSW from Columbia School of Social Work in International Social Welfare and service to Immigrants and Refugees.
Nick has successfully initiated and engineered human rights advocacy campaigns including New York Immigrants storytelling forums, DACA 5K Run in Bronx, Ethiopia Human Rights conference, Burundi Peace Rally, Oromo Justice Conference and Rally, Anti Police Brutality Rally in Kenya, Candlelight and Prayer Vigil for The Lives Lost in The Shootings in Minnesota, Baton Rouge and Dallas. On 10/1/2019, his organization, Safari Yangu and the Teachers college will host a panel discussion for 10 Governors from Africa who will be in New York for the annual UNGA meetings. His organization, Safari Yangu Immigrant Stories major highlights include the recently released BBC Documentary, My Stolen Childhood. The story of a young African girl sold as a slave by her parents and later rescued into foster care by a US family. Safari Yangu was the first to feature the story on video before BBC took it up and made an award-winning documentary.
Despite the physical and emotional challenges he faced after a horrific car accident and being homeless, he came to New York to begin his graduate studies at CSSW. He outdid the odds and graduated with honors and dived into serving the New York community with passion and dedication. He has been recognized by local political, business and religious leaders in the Bronx and Harlem. He was part of the New York Immigration Coalition (NYIC) team that successfully campaigned for the “Greenlight legislation” recently signed into a State Law by Governor Cuomo granting all New Yorkers the privilege to apply for Drivers License regardless of their immigration status. He is currently the director of community affairs for Harlem Artisans Market, an indoor market and community center he founded through his organization, Safari Yangu.
Cathleen “Cat” Plazas ’10 – Senior Director of Program and Curriculum Evaluation, NJPAC’s Arts Education Department
Cathleen “Cat” Plazas is the first Senior Director of Curriculum and Program Evaluation for NJPAC’s Arts Education Department. In her current role, Cathleen provides leadership and vision through evaluation in the ongoing planning, implementation, and development of the different genres offered at the Center for Arts Education: theatre, dance, jazz, poetry, film, and hip hop. Cat has been combining her love for the theater and for social work practice by working in arts education administration for about 7 years. Her previous experience in arts education includes working at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) as well as the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in Orlando, Florida. As a first-generation Colombian-American and a Millenial, Cathleen believes that the future of arts education lies in collaborative new approaches that exemplify diversity and access to all when it comes to arts education. She also believes that the arts make all of us better people and in creating spaces where students can grow by discovering their own artistry.
Cat received her MSW from Columbia School of Social Work in 2010 with a concentration in policy practice and focus on international social welfare.
Shanehi Shah ’15 – Social Impact Consultant (Self-Employed)
Shanehi Shah is a consultant with experience in corporate social responsibility and non-profit management. On the corporate side, she worked for Starwood Hotels, Capital One Bank, and the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation. On the non-profit side, she previously worked with Upward Bound and the Coalition for the Homeless. She has expertise in CSR strategy, corporate volunteerism, philanthropy, DEI, and program management. She is excited to for her decision to spend Oct-Dec 2019 on two businesses. The first is Blockbreaker – a 3-session coaching model designed to help entrepreneurs and other professionals break through their blocks and reignite their momentum. The second is Drawbridge – a strategy to foster social activism and learning. Drawbridge will enter its market analysis and R&D phase. More to come on it in January 2020!
Yaya Yuan ’17 – Program Director at StreetSquash
Yaya Yuan began her career as a classroom teacher at the Fudan International School in Shanghai, China, where she also oversaw the after-school program. Upon returning to the U.S., she worked as Program Director at LitWorld, a non-profit dedicated to empowering women and girls from around the world. Prior to joining StreetSquash, Yaya worked as Deputy Director of the Harlem Community Justice Center, where she oversaw community alternatives to incarceration. She holds a B.A. from Grinnell College and a Master’s of Science in Social Work from Columbia University.
Nadine Rose Carole ’13 – Operations Program Manager at Facebook
Nadine Rose Carole is currently an Operations Program Manager for the Infrastructure Data Center team at Facebook, where she focuses on people initiatives, including building employee resources and training on career and project management. She previously worked as an instructor on program management for General Assembly, program manager at AT&T Foundry, and project manager at Google. She also founded her own company, Galley, an online marketplace for food vendors to find and book commercial kitchens.
A common thread throughout her professional career has been managing people and projects. Nadine believes in creating community and is passionate about working with people and building inspiring product. Her mantra is – “it’s all in the details”. She earned in MSW from Columbia University in 2013 with a focus on social entrepreneurship and management.
Kameron Mims-Jones ’19 – Policy Advocate at California Food Policy Advocates
Kameron Mims-Jones is Policy Advocate for California Food Policy Advocates, an Oakland-based non-profit organization focused on increasing low-income Californians’ access to healthy food. There, she is a member of the CalFresh team, whose work is focused on implementing policies to improve access and participation. She is a passionate advocate for policies that promote social and economic justice for historically marginalized individuals and communities. She received her MSW from Columbia School of Social Work in 2019.
Nicole Wong ’19 – Director of the Sexual Assault and Violence Prevention Office at Vassar College
Nicole Wong (she/her) is currently the Sexual Assault & Violence Prevention Office Director at Vassar College. As the SAVP Director, Nicole provides survivor-centered support and advocacy to individuals impacted by sexual and interpersonal violence, coordinates on-campus violence prevention trainings and workshops, and works closely with the SAVP student interns on events and programming throughout the year. Previously, Nicole was the Violence Prevention Educator at Vassar where she developed and implemented sexual violence prevention events and programming for students and employees in the Vassar College community. She also worked in the anti-violence field at the Center for Victim Safety and Support (CVSS) in Poughkeepsie, NY where she held the positions of High Risk Case Manager and Coordinator of Advocacy. At CVSS, Nicole provided counseling, advocacy, and safety planning services to victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, supervised direct service staff, as well as coordinated daily program activities.
Nicole earned her MSW at Columbia School of Social Work in Advanced Clinical Practice with a focus on Health, Mental Health, and Disabilities and her B.A. in Sociology and English from Vassar College.