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Future social worker helps New Orleans

A trip to post-Katrina New Orleans proved to be “an absolute life-changing experience” for Kristine Anderson.

The 23-year-old Master of Social Work student from Brooklyn visited New Orleans with other MSW students during spring break 2008. The group stayed for a week, assisting parents, seniors and others still recovering more than two years after the hurricane.
Anderson worked the phones and helped coordinate the arrival of needed goods, such as blankets and sheets.

“You learn the skills every day in textbooks, but when you have to work through a system you’re not familiar with, it’s totally different,” she said. “The people there were great and it was a wonderful learning experience.”

Anderson continued her generosity a few months later by interning on campus with Upward Bound, which helps low-income high school students ages 14-17 prepare for college life. Anderson was even able to use her undergraduate minor at Buffalo State College by teaching a dance class to the students. Like New Orleans, the experience was rewarding.

“I found that I want to work with adolescents,” she said. “I felt like a big sister or mentor to them.”

Anderson will graduate in December and hopes to do social work in New York City or Albany, helping the disadvantaged get to college and excel.

Brian Flynn, director of admissions  and student services for the College of Community and Public Affairs’ Department of Social Work, foresees a bright future for Anderson.

“Kristine is going to make an excellent social worker,” he said. “She’s resourceful, easy to work with, smart and dependable. She’s a terrific representative of what this department believes in.”

For Anderson, Binghamton has been a “perfect fit” as a graduate school.

“It’s nice to slow down and enjoy the simple things in life,” she said. “That’s why I like Binghamton. It’s beautiful. If I’m having a stressful day, I can walk by the river near the Downtown Center. It’s been like a dream.”

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Last Updated: 10/14/08