Chireau White (PhD Outstanding Student)

Nominated by Elizabeth Palley, JD, PhD, director of the doctoral program

Chireau White is a 29-year-old, Black, queer woman who is a fourth-year PhD student at the Adelphi University School of Social Work. Her current research interests are focused on organizational and societal contributors to social work burnout. She has co-authored four articles in places such as Safari Yangu, The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology and Clinical Social Work Journal. White is a co-editor-in-chief for the Adelphi Advocate and external reviewer for the University of Houston’s social work journal. She has presented with colleagues at the 2021 New York State Social Work Education Association conference.

While working as a full-time licensed clinical social worker at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, in reproductive mental health, gender identity, and employee burnout, White has also served as an Interdisciplinary Education and Training Experience (IDEATE) fellow. She is an invaluable member of the IDEATE research team. IDEATE is a three-year, $2 million grant-funded program written by a team of faculty from nursing- and social work and led by associate professor of social work Chrisann Newransky, PhD, and assistant professor of nursing Marissa Abrams ’08, PhD ’17. The School of Social Work and College of Nursing and Public Health each received funding from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) to create and financially support a program for nurse practitioner and MSW students to train them in integrated behavioral healthcare, particularly focused on children and adolescents. The grant also includes funding for the creation of a fellowship to enable a doctoral student to evaluate it.

In her IDEATE fellowship, White was instrumental in identifying measures to judge student success. She has also helped to support the collection and analysis of the data. Further, White created case studies for two integrated simulations with nurse practitioners and master’s students in social work on both mental health and addictions. Following the first simulation, she conducted a focus group with participants about their experiences in the simulation. White is currently working with the team to finalize a presentation about this project for the National League for Nursing conference in Las Vegas in September 2022.

Melissa Farmer ’21 (MSW Outstanding Student)

Nominated by Schanica Pickens, assistant dean of student affairs

Melissa Farmer ’21 is a United States Army veteran, a graduate of Adelphi University’s BSW program, and a full-time, advanced-standing MSW student, Class of 2022. She is currently demonstrating the impact of student voices as the co-founder and president of Students for Change. Farmer leads by example. She delivers on promises, thoughts, ideas and suggestions as well as working alongside her team and peers. In her position as president, she acts the part, showing her passion for social justice and advocacy. For Farmer, leadership is not a solo act. She engages her peers, works collaboratively and gains their trust.

Farmer is proud to be a Bronx, New York, native, where she gained humility and valuable life lessons. She currently resides in Hudson Valley, New York, with her two children, who have proven to be the inspiration behind her drive to see substantial changes in areas of social and environmental justice issues. Her professional goals are to pursue a career in macro and mezzo advocacy and she ultimately aspires to become an inspirational speaker. Her creativity and love for seeing the best in people also transcends to her hobbies of thrifting, restoring vintage furniture and poetry writing.

Achnee Thomas (BSW Outstanding Student)

Nominated by Andrew Peters, director of Manhattan Center and interim director of the BSW program

Achnee Thomas is a BSW junior whose passion for community service and social justice comes through in all of her endeavors. Born in Haiti, she immigrated to the United States with her family in 2010, following the devastating earthquake that uprooted their lives. She grew up with an aunt who is a single mother, working two jobs while raising four children. Thomas credits her aunt with instilling into her the values of hard work and dedication.

Following high school, Thomas continued her education at SUNY Orange County Community College (OCC), where she decided to pursue a service profession. She chose a human services major, and an adviser encouraged her to apply to Adelphi’s BSW program in partnership with OCC.

Thomas has thrived at Adelphi. After an excellent junior semester, she was inducted into the Phi Alpha Theta honor society, which recognizes the top 15 percent of students in the social work major. Her field placement is with Adelphi Students for Change, where she works with a team of students to educate their peers about vital social issues. As an intern, she brings a constant positive attitude, boundless energy and creativity to the group. In class, she’s a natural leader, organizing chat groups with her classmates and serving as a role model for integrity and staying motivated. At Adelphi Students for Change, she serves as secretary of the group, and she has helped organize speaker programs and podcasts that have brought attention to topics such as immigrant rights, the Black Lives Matter movement, housing and lead poisoning, and environmental issues. Thomas looks forward to being an advocate and making a difference for vulnerable communities.

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