Maura Fleming headshot

Maura Fleming '15, BSW, MHA

New York State Department of Health

Hometown: Albany, New York

Major: Social Work

Current Involvement: In addition to my full-time job, I am a proud adjunct faculty member at Maria College!

Involvement while at Siena: I was a member of the AmeriCorps Scholar program during my sophomore year at Siena. As an AmeriCorps scholar, I served as the Assistant Summer Youth Program Director at the Albany United Methodist Society located in Arbor Hill. In addition to my service work at Siena, I worked for the Siena College Alumni Relations Office as a Student Assistant for the summer alumni events held on campus and at the Saratoga Race Course. Finally, I was a member of the Social Work club for three years and founder and President of the FeelGood (aka “grilled cheese”) club for two years.

How do you involve yourself in your community?

I am extremely committed to supporting individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers. I have participated in the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s and the Longest Day event for the last five years.

Describe a typical day in your life.

My weekdays consist of working with a team of individuals who are committed to the implementation and success of Alzheimer’s caregiver support programs that we oversee across New York State. Many of my coworkers have directly cared for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and/or their caregivers and have an unwavering commitment to the work that we do. On Tuesday evenings I have the privilege of teaching healthcare management at Maria College, which is something I truly look forward to each week. In the evenings, I enjoy exercise and spending time with my fiancé (Devin Hurley ’14). I am a member of Orange Theory Fitness in Albany and do my best to get to classes throughout the week. I am also a member of a volleyball league in the Albany area, which meets on Thursday evenings. My fiancé and I enjoy spending time with our family and friends over the weekends and particularly enjoy time spent on Lake George in the Adirondacks!

How did your Siena education prepare you for the work you’re doing today?

My internship experiences were invaluable in preparing me for all aspects of my career. I completed internships at Joseph’s House in Troy, NY and the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York as a required component of Siena’s social work program. These opportunities gave me real-world experience in service delivery, public speaking, problem solving and crisis assistance while being closely supervised by professionals who have continued to be my mentors and colleagues.

Describe your professional progression since leaving Siena.

After graduating from Siena in 2015, I accepted a full-time position at the Alzheimer’s Association of Northeastern New York where I spent three years delivering educational programs for family caregivers and professionals, and provided caregiver support through care consultation and support group services. In March 2018, I joined the New York State Department of Health’s Alzheimer’s disease Program as a Program Manager for the Regional Caregiver Support Initiative. My current role involves program planning, implementation and evaluation of Alzheimer’s disease Program’s across New York State. In September 2018, I joined Maria College as an adjunct professor in the healthcare management department.

Siena Favorites

Professor: I am particularly appreciative of my professor and academic advisor, Donna McIntosh, MSW, Department Chair, social work department. Donna always challenged me to put my best foot forward and to “get off the sidelines” and make change in the world. Donna is an activist for many underserved populations and empowers her students to speak up and speak out for what they believe in. She is a true asset to the social work department and the Siena community at large.

Class: Interpersonal Communication Skills taught by Dr. Carla Sofka, BS, MA, Ph.D., social work department. This is the most important class I have taken and it opened my eyes to the power and importance of verbal and non-verbal communication. In my opinion, this should be a required class for every student. Not to mention, Carla Sofka is a FANTASTIC professor.

Location: My roommate of four years and one of my best friends, Julie Sullivan ’15, can attest to my love for sitting for hours on end in Lonnstrom Dining Hall (formerly known as Saga). This was the best spot for me to get work done and socialize all at the same time. Also, why go to the library when you can sit in a comfortable booth and have unlimited access to food and drinks all day?!

Study-break Food: “Saga’s” chocolate chip cookies and coffee, of course.

Residence Hall: Hennepin Hall (Sophomore Year).

Class Year: Junior Year. I started a club on campus called “Feel Good” and had the opportunity to travel to Colorado for the “Big Cheese Summit” to learn more about the club and its cause. I also started dating my fiancé junior year, which I consider to be one of my greatest accomplishments!

Food: Omelets made by Limmy who worked for Siena’s dining services at the time. I have yet to find someone who makes a better omelet.

FeelGood Club

Favorite Siena memory:

Aside from the wonderful memories with my forever Siena friends, I would say that my “favorite” memory is founding a club on campus. This club, 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. 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. I feel very grateful to Siena for giving me a platform to challenge myself in this way and gain this type of experience as a student! Currently, the club remains active on Siena’s campus and I consider it to be a legacy that I left behind.

Advice for current Saints:

Talk to everyone and anyone and prioritize meaningful relationships with your peers and faculty. There is no better community than Siena and its Franciscan values can be felt by anyone who steps foot on campus. There are so many wonderful people to meet and friendships to be made that are guaranteed to last a lifetime. Time goes by quickly, so take the leap and don’t be afraid to make new connections!

Career advice for current students:

  1. Be a good listener
  2. Ask the right questions
  3. Communicate your goals
  4. Network, reach out and follow up
  5. Don’t give up. Persistence is key to success.