Alumni of the Social Work Program

Alumni

Maura Fleming '15

Maura Fleming

Class of 2015

Syracuse, NY

Why did you choose Siena College?

When I came to Siena for the first time, I immediately fell in love with the campus. After I went on a tour and stayed with a student over night I not only knew it was the right school for me, but gained confidence in my decision to spend the next four years there as a student. Siena welcomed me with open arms at the accepted students day, which was an opportunity for my parents to see I had truly made the right decision as well - we all know how important that is! I will never forget when I first arrived for move in day freshman year and was approached by one of the admissions staff who helped unload my car and called me by name without having to introduce myself. Immediately Siena felt like home to me...and I never looked back!

Why social work?

To make money of course! Had to say that, because that is something people often say to me when they ask why I do what I do. I actually came to Siena hoping to one day pursue a career in medicine and found that social work was a better fit for me. I was first introduced to social work on a service trip I took to Jamaica freshman year with the Franciscan Center for Service and Advocacy. On this trip were many students enrolled in the social work program at Siena College. This trip reinforced my thirst to serve others and gave me an opportunity to learn from my peers about the opportunities I could have should I pursue a career in social work. Immediately after our return, I submitted an application to the social work program and am forever grateful for the faculty who supported my goals as well as challenged me to pursue opportunities that were at times outside my comfort zone. At the time I had no clue where these experiences would take me, but I could not be any happier to be where I am today. My social work professors are who I consider to be my "mentors for life" and I am forever grateful to Siena for giving me that.

What was your most meaningful experience at Siena?

One of my most beloved professors, Donna McIntosh, once told my class to "get off the sidelines and make change in the world" - this is something I will never forget. I remember thinking long and hard about this and brainstorming ways to do this as a 20 year old college student. At that time, I thought I would have to "sit on the sidelines" until I graduated and went on to get my first job in social work. I was proven wrong when I heard about an organization whose mission is to end world hunger by 2030. This organization, known as FeelGood, involves the sale of grilled cheese sandwiches to college students on a regular basis, with all proceeds donated to organizations with a proven track record of sustainable hunger-eradication efforts. After hearing about this inspiring movement, I immediately developed a vision to start a chapter at Siena College. During my Junior year, I went through the extensive but rewarding process to get this up and running on campus. Over a span of six months, our chapter raised over $1,500 towards ending world hunger. It was amazing to see how the simple act of making grilled cheese and engaging in hunger-related conversations with students and faculty generated so much money and awareness for our club. Much thanks to Donna McIntosh, FeelGood and Siena College for giving me a platform to challenge myself in this way and gain this type of experience as a student!

What is your current position?

I am currently the Capital Region Program Manager at the Alzheimer's Association located in Albany, NY. I am responsible for providing care and support to those affected by Alzheimer's Disease as well as delivering educational programs and training's to both community members and health care professionals in Albany and Schenectady Counties. Our annual "Walk to End Alzheimer's" will be held this year on September 24th at Siena College! Looking forward to getting back to Siena for our  largest fundraising event!

In what ways did Siena prepare you for life and work after college?

In addition to working for the Alzheimer's Association, I am enrolled as a  graduate student at Sage College of Albany pursing a masters degree in Health Services Administration. Siena prepared me for this big commitment and helped me gain the confidence I needed to continue my studies in graduate school. Thank you, Siena for truly giving me the "education for a lifetime" that was promised to us by faculty and staff!

G. Hakim Collier '12

G. Hakim Collier

Class of 2012

Schenectady, NY

Why did you choose Siena College?

It's a pretty funny story, but to make it short Siena was always my first choice as a senior in high school. During the summer of my junior year in high school I came to Siena for a program to experience the School of Business, more specifically the accounting program. So, it was my opportunity to stay on campus, sit in the classrooms and eat food from Saga one summer. After that I said, "this is it." I didn't actually arrive to Siena until my sophomore year as a transfer.

Why social work?

I often get this question and I think long and hard and then the words come to mind "I didn't choose social work, social work chose me" and as corny as it reads and sounds, it's the truth. I came in as a business major ready to run a company but soon realized "this isn't it." There was a buzz about the Social Work program and I was encouraged to talk to Donna Mcintosh, department chair at the time, to get more information about the program and ask as many questions as I could. After talking to Donna I went ahead and I enrolled in two classes (Intro to Social Work and Communications in Social Work). I faced some challenges but something about social work felt right for me. Primarily because it extended beyond course work and reached what I wanted to do as a profession coupled with who I was as a person.

What was your most meaningful experience at Siena?

Among so many meaningful experiences I would have to say my relationship with the Social Work Department. Each person played a significant role in shaping me as a student and now as a practitioner. They believed in my potential and often reminded me of my potential while highlighting my progress.

What is your current position?

I currently work full time at Albany Medical Center in their Department Of Medicine as a mental health specialist. I am also the Domestic Violence Coordinator with Community Fathers Inc in Schenectady, NY and lastly I am an adjunct professor with Schenectady County Community College.

In what ways did Siena prepare you for life and work after college?

Siena as a college prepared me in ways of time management and networking. While in school I was doing a lot outside work and the expectation for the classes, professors and myself was that the work needed to be done without excuses.I have a few friends that I still keep in touch with but to take it a step further, most alum I encounter, no matter the year, I share an immediate bond with.

Robin Mac Hattie '07

Robin Mac Hattie

Class of 2007

Scotia, NY

Why did you choose Siena College?

I grew up in the area and had heard of Siena's reputation. When I began my college search, I knew I wanted to stay close to home and that I wanted to go to school for Social Work- Siena fit both criteria! I scheduled a tour and fell in love with the campus as soon as I saw it. The information gained on the tour just made me even more excited, I felt like I had found my school. My parents, however, were not sold as quickly as I was due to the cost (and partially because I hadn't looked at any other schools). I was so sure that Siena was the place for me, that I did not apply to any other schools. Luckily for me everything worked out perfectly and I was not only accepted, but offered a financial aid package that won my parents over. I still have the Siena sweatshirt they gifted me upon telling me that my dream had become a reality!

Why social work?

I've always had a love for helping others. I changed my mind A LOT about my future career growing up- a dental hygienist, a psychologist, a guidance counselor- but the common theme had always been a desire to help others. As soon as I sat down in my very first class at Siena, Intro to Social Work, it immediately became clear that this was the perfect path for me. The emphasis on strengths, advocacy, and integrity match my own personal core values. I was attracted to the possibility of being able to work with any population in any setting- hospitals, schools, foster care, non-profit agencies, nursing homes, hospice, military, etc. I continue to value this aspect of the profession, as it allows for a vast array of life experiences.

What was your most meaningful experience at Siena?

Siena afforded me many meaningful and memorable experiences. I have maintained a connection with a few of my professors and have had the opportunity to return as a guest lecturer and alumni representative in the Social Work Program's recent accreditation process. In addition, I fully believe that my internship experiences were invaluable in preparing me for all aspects of my career. I completed internships with Rensselaer County Probation and Unity House's Domestic Violence Shelter as part of my social work education. I also completed internships with Albany County Family Court, the New York State Legislature, and two summer fellowships in Boston with Northeastern University School of Law's Domestic Violence Institute as part of my political science minor. These experiences gave me real-world experience in service provision, conflict resolution, problem solving, and crisis intervention while being closely supervised and supported by a seasoned professional in the field.

What is your current position?

I currently work full-time as the Victim Advocate Coordinator for the New York Army National Guard (NYARNG) in the Sexual Assault Response Coordinator's office. But, I will be leaving my full-time position and will be the new Administrative Coordinator with the Social Work Department here at Siena! I am a First Lieutenant with the NYARNG and will remain in the Guard as a part-time Soldier (one weekend a month, 2 weeks a year), serving as a Behavioral Health Officer.

In what ways did Siena prepare you for life and work after college?

As I mentioned previously, my internship experience prepared me for situations and challenges that would present themselves in my career. Siena's Franciscan values supported my continued development into a compassionate, professional, well-rounded and open-minded individual. Last but certainly not least- juggling schoolwork, internships, part-time jobs, work-study, and social/family obligations certainly prepared me for the fast pace of life and made me an expert in prioritizing!

Audra Di Bacco '01

Audra Di Bacco

Class of 2001

Bridgeport, CT

Why did you choose Siena College?

I chose Siena College for the size and great atmosphere as well as the great athletic opportunity it provided me. The women's basketball coaching staff and the connections I built with them during the recuiriting process led me to Siena. 

Why social work?

I chose the field of social work because even at a young age, I always felt that I had the ability to help people. Therefore, it made sense to go into a program that would allow me to help others on a daily basis. As a young athlete I was provided opportunities through athletic departments to work with young children and these experiences made me realize that I wanted to have a career in the field.

What was your most meaningful experience at Siena?

I believe that there were many meaningful experiences that I had while attending Siena, each equally impactful on my life. My experiences as a student athlete as well as my connections and experiences with the professors and classmates in the Social Work Program are what I remember most vividly.

As a young student athlete the relationship I built with my college coach, Gina Castelli, was one of the most meaningful experiences I had during my time at Siena. She was more than a basketball coach; she cared for all her players as if they were her own children. She was there for all the good and bad times, making sure that I never quit on myself of my hopes and dreams. She was a great role model and inspiration, to me. I continue to have a positive relationship with Coach Castelli and we continue to talk regularly about basketball and life.

The Social Work Program, had many great professor and the lessons I learned from them have carried over into my professional career. I continue to keep in contact with professors, and they utilize me as a field educator for students to obtain valuable social work field experiences. To be out of college and working in the field for almost 16 years, and still have a connection, shows the impact they had on my life.

What is your current position?

I am currently a school Social Worker in East Greenbush Central School District, where I have worked for the last 11 years. I also coach soccer and Unified Basketball at Columbia High School. I also have been the girls Varsity Basketball Coach at Catholic Central High School for the past 10 years.

In what ways did Siena prepare you for life and work after college?

Siena's Social Work Program provided me with very valuable class/book knowledge, and field experiences so that when I graduated I had the tools to find a job and be a successful social work professional. 

Kathy Grant (Romero) '11

Kathy Grant (Romero)

Class of 2011

Why did you choose Siena College?

I chose Siena College because of their strong Social Work program and having the option to pursue my masters after graduation in one year. I also chose Siena College because the Higher Education Opportunity Program (HEOP) allowed me to attend Siena.

Why social work?

Connecting people with support and resources has always been a passion for me. When looking into degrees, I found that Social Work allowed me to do exactly this and so much more. Being in the field now for 5 years, I have been able to explore different areas of my degree and push myself in directions.

What was your most meaningful experience at Siena?

My most meaningful experience at Siena was my first Social Work class with Donna McIntosh that solidified my major for the profession. Her passion to the profession and making it fun and engaging allowed me to see how much I can do as a Social Worker.

What is your current position?

I currently work at In Our Own Voice Inc, a LGBT people of color non profit organization. I am the Social Worker for the agency developing our clinical program, securing and supervising interns/volunteers. In addition, I currently work on facilitating national training and technical assistance for domestic and sexual violence providers working with LGBT survivors.

In what ways did Siena prepare you for life and work after college?

Through my study abroad travels, I was able to build on my understanding of diverse communities/cultures. Siena's social work program also provided a strong foundation for me when I attended the Master's program and in my current work.

Nora Boyle '10

Nora Boyle 

Class of 2010

Why did you choose Siena College?

Coming from a small Catholic high school with a strong emphasis on community, I knew that i wanted to go to a college that made me feel at home and had the same values. Fortunately my aunt and uncle attended Siena and introduced me to the college. As a child,I spent many Sundays going to mass at St. Mary of the Angels Chapel and attending Siena athletic events. Not only did Siena already feel like home, but academically it turned out to be the perfect fit me. Siena has the challenging Social Welfare program and phenomenal reputation, that i was looking for.

Why social work?

As a child, my parents encouraged my siblings and I to engage in giving back to the community.I was introduced at an early age to poverty, community action, and social justice. On Saturdays we worked at soup kitchens and helped out with church outreach programs.  These childhood experiences molded my worldview; they taught me simply that it is our responsibility to do what we can to better the world around us.

As I got older I became interested in how policy determines the delivery of healthcare and social service programs, and the importance of advocacy in creating these policies. I knew that I wanted to seek a profession that would allow me to represent good policies that help to build stronger and healthier communities. A degree in social work seemed like an obvious choice for me.

What was your most meaningful experience at Siena?

My most meaningful experiences at Siena were while completing my Senior year Social Work internship. Senior year i was selected to intern at Troy High School as a intern crisis counselor. I met some wonderful students and learned so much from the feelings and experiences they shared with me. That internship taught me the importance of being fully present. I quickly learned that many people do not have anyone in their lives who take the time to really listen to them. I learned that the simple act of a present ear can be a very powerful gift. To this day, that internship has made a lasting imprint on me.

What is your current position?

Currently, I am the Policy Director at a government relations law firm in Albany. Primarily, I represent healthcare organizations who provide services to rural and underserved areas in the State.

In what ways did Siena prepare you for life and work after college?

Siena prepared me for the outside world by teaching me the importance of going the extra mile.  The teachers at Siena encouraged and supported students to not only go above and beyond the task, but to also pursue the curiosity they have in the subject. Finding interest in the subject (even statistics) helped me to grow beyond the curriculum. I find this to be helpful in my career. It allows me to find a deeper interest in the field and keeps me interested and excited.

Amanda Ricciardi '11, LCSW

Amanda Ricciardi, LCSW

Class of 2011

Why did you choose Siena College?

I was originally attracted to Siena College for two reasons 1: it’s location, I grew up in Westchester County and I wanted a school that was not too far from home, and 2: it’s size, I wanted a school that was not too big where I would be in a classroom and the professors would know my name.  Upon visiting Siena I found that I loved the atmosphere that it provided.  Siena felt more like a community than just another institution, it was warm and friendly and I loved the fact that everyone, no matter how far a person was away from you, held the doors open for each other.

Why social work?

I entered Siena as a Math major and ended up switching to Social Work in my Freshman Year.  I chose Social Work due to the fact that I have always had a strong desire to help those in need and be of service to others.  First semester freshman year I took introduction to social work and it expanded my eyes as to how I could do that in this profession and how I could really make an impact in the world.

What was your most meaningful experience at Siena?

My most meaningful experience at Siena has to do with the connections I made with my professors.  The professors at Siena were more than just professors, they were role model, life coaches, therapist, substitute-parents, they were everything and much more. My professors taught me so much both in and outside the classroom, they have made a life-time impact on my life.

What is your current position?

Currently I work for an agency could Cayuga Centers as a family support social worker providing community based interventions to families in need.  My program, the family support program (FSP) is designed for families where there is a child/children at risk of foster care placement, or in need of an intensive program.  The goal of Family Support is to reduce the risk of removal, and reduce CPS reports.

In what ways did Siena prepare you for life and work after college?

Siena prepared me for life after college due to the fact that of the strenuous nature of the work that Siena demanded.  Siena demanded so much out of its student’s from the workloads that they gave, to the internships that they required, to the after-hours events that were mandatory, that they really taught me how to balance life and how life would be when I entered into the real world.

Department Chair

Donna McIntosh

Donna D. McIntosh

Professor of Social Work

310 Rosetti Hall

(518) 783‑4261