Because of the small setting, the interaction with the professors was not rushed and the staff knew the students by first name. The school’s staff and my peers felt like my second family.
Motherhood motivated Claudia Joseph ’12, MSW ’13, winner of the Student of the Year award from the New York City Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW-NYC), to become a social worker. As the single mother of a premature baby with multiple disabilities, Ms. Joseph found herself constantly battling for her son’s rights, a path which led her to pursue social work as a career. “[My son’s] disabilities led me to social work; I had no choice but to become my son’s case manager, spokesperson and advocate in order for him to get the services he needed,” Ms. Joseph said. “I wanted my son to have the opportunity like any other child in society—a chance of a future.”
Inspired to restart her education, Ms. Joseph thrived at Borough of Manhattan Community College, where she earned an associate degree in human services. She was subsequently offered scholarships by New York University, Columbia University and Adelphi University to pursue a bachelor’s degree. She chose Adelphi, given that the social work program at the Manhattan Center allowed her to study and attend classes while “working and still meeting the demands that motherhood required.” After completing a Bachelor of Social Work in 2012, she earned a Master of Social Work in 2013.
Ms. Joseph especially appreciated the close-knit community she found at Adelphi’s Manhattan Center. “Because of the small setting, the interaction with the professors was not rushed and the staff knew the students by first name,” she said. “The school’s staff and my peers felt like my second family because I was able to discuss any problems that I may have been experiencing at any time.”
An active member of the Adelphi School of Social Work Social Action Group since its inception, Ms. Joseph organized and participated in numerous community service opportunities. Most recently, she was heavily involved in the Hurricane Sandy food relief effort and a children’s book drive and literacy program benefiting families at the Salvation Army Bushwick Family Residence.
Ms. Joseph said that she was “shocked” to hear that she was chosen for the NASW-NYC award. “When [Director of Manhattan Center Social Work Programs] Andrew Peters first left me a message on my voicemail, I was concerned; I wondered if I did something wrong,” she said. “I was concentrating on my capstone paper and finals, but it was an extraordinary feeling to have my hard work acknowledged.”