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Student Spotlight

Taylor Zummo - May 2017

My name is Taylor Zummo and I am an Advanced Standing Student in the School of Social Welfare. I completed my Bachelor's in Social Work at Stony Brook University and I am anticipating to graduate in May with my Master's degree. My passion for social work began at a young age. Growing up in a single parent home has shaped who I am and has fueled my passion for helping others. Currently, I am interning at the Stony Brook University Food Pantry. Throughout this internship, I have been able to expand upon my social work skills and have been able to pursue my passion of working with communities who face issues with food security. While at the Food Pantry, I have created a strategic plan, operations manual, and a volunteer manual to provide this organization greater sustainability. On Wednesday's, we have brought in a volunteer who works with a local organization to help the guests of the Food Pantry apply for SNAP Benefits, also known as food stamps. We hope to expand this program throughout the Spring Semester and beyond. I have also focused on increasing awareness of food security on campus and I am in the process of developing educational workshops that can be utilized by all members of the campus community. Throughout my Master's degree, I have been involved in volunteer work outside of my academics. Last year, I traveled to Flint, Michigan with five other classmates from the Social Work Bachelor's program. Together, we helped distribute more than 10,000 bottles of water, baby wipes and hand sanitizer to Flint residents after connecting with the pastor of Riverside Tabernacle. We collaborated with several Long Island organizations that helped us collect the supplies and raise $2,000, which was directed to the Flint Child Health and Development Fund. This past winter, I worked with an organization to support a local veterans shelter. We had a very successful turkey drive, collecting fifty-one turkeys, and an ongoing food drive through the holiday season to help stock their food pantry. I hope to continue my work with the Stony Brook University Food Pantry after graduation to continue our effort in reducing food security on our campus. I would like to pursue a career in advocacy, prevention, and education efforts. Although my current focus is on food security, I plan to do advocacy work for women's rights, refugees, and undocumented immigrants. 

 


Previous Student Spotlights

 Mecca Phinizy 

Mecca Phinizy  is a first year MSW student taking classes at the Manhattan campus. In addition to her studies and family responsibilities, Mecca devotes time as an intern at "Lawyers For Children", advocating for youth who have requested assistance with housing, education, counseling, vital documents, medical and mental health issues.  As a Foster care alum and with her personal experience, Mecca understands well, the needs of those in the foster care system.  She has been an advocate in the field for 14 years. Her passion is being a fierce advocate and a motivational speaker. She has spoken at the French Embassy and the Administration for Children Services, among many other organizations and foundations that have invited her to speak.   

Since 1984 "Lawyers for Children" has been advocating, educating and empowering youth in foster care and pushing for comprehensive reform of the foster care system. In her role, Mecca has provided social work advocacy to abused and neglected children, children in foster care, and children in high conflict custody cases— ensuring that every young person represented finds the love, safety and true sense of family that they need.  By providing the representation and resources those in need deserve— lending a voice in the decisions that affect them, guidance in evaluating their options and support for the next steps in their lives, Mecca is living the mission, values, and skills of the profession of social work.