Thursday, December 22, 2011


Sixteen residents of the region graduated Dec. 10 from the Master of Social Work program at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.
            Dr. Livingston Alexander, president, greeted the graduates and their guests, recognizing the continuing social challenges for the region and praising the students’ commitment to attaining a post-baccalaureate degree while working and raising families.
            Also speaking were Dr. Lambert Maguire, professor and associate dean of academic affairs in the School of Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, and Lynn Coghill, director of the MSW program at the University of Pittsburgh.
            Two graduates, Karen A. Emerson and Oxana A. Panol, both of Bradford, shared reflections during the ceremony.
            “Our heroes are not famous,” Emerson told her fellow graduates. “Our heroes are the social workers who paved the way before us and caused us to be taken seriously by our profession.”
            Panol related stories of learning English as a child in Russia, of finding a place to belong in America and of completing her graduate degree – all of which were dreams of hers.
            Stephanie Eckstrom, Pitt-Bradford MSW program coordinator, encouraged students to start a client-focused, strength-based social justice movement.
            In addition to Emerson and Panol, those graduating were Becky Henretta, Eric Peters, Lori Shield, Jeffrey Slaughenhaupt Jr. and Tony Sowers, all of Bradford; Joleen Grolemund of Kane; Jamie Himes of Hazel Hurst; Yvonne Polaski of Johnsonburg; Michelle Straub of St. Marys; Tricia Adams of Salamanca, N.Y.; Sheila Collins and Jennifer Studley, both of Olean, N.Y.;  Stacy Lockwood of Great Valley, N.Y.; and Brian Spako of Allegany, N.Y.

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