Congrats to the Fall 2022 – Spring 2023 School of Social Work PhD graduates!

Catri Kleuskens

Catharina was born in the Netherlands and came to the US in 2000 to pursue her social work career with children and adolescents. She received her Masters in Social Work and Psychology from the University of Sittard, the Netherlands. She works with children and adolescents and specializes in childhood anxiety disorders, selective mutism, depression, and Autism Spectrum Disorders. She has a practice on Long Island, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.

Gareth Schumack

Gareth obtained both his BA in Psychology and MBA from Wagner College. At Adelphi, prior to his doctoral studies, he received an MA in Psychology. Gareth is excited to be completing his doctoral degree, where he researched the academic experience of Black men during the COVID-19 pandemic. After completion, Gareth is looking forward to spending time with his partner and three children. He plans to continue his work in Higher Education as a Student Affairs practitioner while working towards publishing and presenting his findings.

Hebah Khalifa, LCSW

Hebah Khalifa received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Hunter College and Master of Social Work degree from Fordham University. She is a Licensed clinical Social Worker who has over a decade of experience. She currently practices full-time at NYU Langone and has a private practice. Hebah uses an integrative approach with a variety of evidence-based methods including Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing (EMDR), Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and SE (Somatic Experiencing).

She has taught graduate level courses at Kean University and Touro College in Social Welfare Police, Human Behavior, Generalist Practice, and Psychopathology. Her research passion lies in addressing health care disparities for racial, ethnic, religious, gender, and sexual minorities. Hebah’s dissertation research hopes to expand the knowledge base of FGC/C/M (Female Genital Cutting/Circumcision/Mutilation) by giving voice to women directly impacted by the practice and provide insight into how they give meaning to their lived experience of FGC/C/M. This knowledge can provide beneficial in helping professionals provide culturally competent care for women who have experienced FGC/C/M.

Jamie Benavidez-Hatzis, LCSW

Jamie R. Benavidez-Hatzis is a Latina social work clinician, educator, and Ph.D. candidate at Adelphi University, School of Social Work. Her current scholarship explores survivors’ help-seeking pathways to mental healthcare and critically examines Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) as a course of treatment related to sexual trauma, and what constitutes evidence of EMDR’s effectiveness in achieving healing and growth from the perspective of survivors. Jamie’s dissertation is the culmination of thirty years in service, across various contexts, to sexual assault survivors. Jamie is actively involved with EMDRIA’s Humanitarian Assistance Program (HAP) and has practiced internationally working with first responders during the Syrian refugee crisis at Camp Moria (Lesvos, Greece) and most recently during the COVID-19 public health crisis. Jamie teaches two advanced-year electives at Adelphi University’s School of Social Work MSW program on traumatic stress and coping and affirmative practices with LGBTQIA individuals. Jamie’s published work includes a co-authored article that discussed and illustrated the role and impact of the intersection of supervisors’ and supervisees’ social identities and associated power and privilege within the supervisory context in trauma-impacted agencies. Before becoming a social worker, Jamie led a distinguished professional recruitment, retention, and employee development career with major national and international law firms in Manhattan. During her tenure with the firm Nixon Peabody, LLP, she was privileged to lead a team that designed and implemented an employee morale program. The team’s success led to Nixon Peabody being named one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Places to Work in 2008 and being awarded a perfect score by the Human Rights Campaign on their Equality Index.

Ricky Demirakos, LCSW

Ricky Demirakos received a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Sociology at Stony Brook University, Master of Arts in Psychology at Adelphi University, Master of Social Work at Adelphi University, and is completing his PhD in Social Work at Adelphi University. Ricky works full-time as an executive leader at a mental health organization serving people with mental illness and substance use conditions and works as an Adjunct Professor at Adelphi University’s School of Social Work. Ricky is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 13 years of experience working with adults and youth having served as a caseworker, clinician, and overseeing operations in managerial and administrative leadership roles. Ricky has had opportunities directing OMH-licensed services, expanding new programs and streamlining services for individuals with mental health and substance use issues. Ricky’s research interests include working with underserved and minority populations around acculturation, access to mental health treatment, and how COVID-19 has impacted mental health services. Ricky is a loving husband to his wife, Morgan, and a proud father to two sons, Nico and Gianni.

Santiago Martinez, LMSW

Santiago Martinez Jr. is a seasoned licensed master social worker, private practice psychotherapist, and PhD candidate at Adelphi University’s Graduate School of Social Work with over 20 years of experience in social services. His experience in direct practice includes working as a case manager for HIV/AIDS patients with the New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation as an Employee Assistance Program Social Worker with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Labor Relations. Currently, Santiago is a social worker for high school students with disabilities at the New York City Department of Education while providing psychotherapeutic services in private practice.

Additionally, Santiago’s academic experience includes having served as a faculty field liaison at Adelphi University, providing academic advisement for graduate students in the social work program, working as a field instructor for both undergraduates and graduates, and working as a graduate assistant, where he collaborated with an international social work team. Moreover, Santiago was an adjunct professor at Yeshiva University, Wurzweiler School of Social Work, teaching Advanced Clinical Practice I and II. As a PhD candidate, his research interests include social media, gangs, unattached gang-affiliated relationships, groupthink, and child development.

Shavone Hamilton, LCSW

Shavone Hamilton is a clinical social worker at Duke University Hospital in Durham, North Carolina. As a member of Project COMENT (Caring for People with Opioid Misuse through Evidence-Based Treatment). Shavone partners with a multidisciplinary team to evaluate individuals living with Opioid Use Disorder and to assist them with their transitions to supportive services in communities throughout North Carolina and neighboring states.

As a social worker for over 25 years, Shavone has held a variety of roles in direct clinical practice and nonprofit administration in New York-based community behavioral health organizations. Shavone’s dissertation examines the lived experiences of self-identified Latinas in senior management positions in human service organizations.

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