Blanca Alvarado, MSW, PhD, has been a professor of Sociology and Social Work at Austin Community College for the last 16 years. She holds an interdisciplinary PhD in Sociology and Social Work (Boston University), MSW degree from CSULB, and an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of California, Berkeley. The majority of her social work experience comes from working in K-12 schools in California, as a School Social Worker; working as a Middle School Teacher in the Mission District in San Francisco and in East Los Angeles, CA; as a Community Worker for Children’s' Hospital in Los Angeles; working as an Advocate and Counselor in a domestic violence shelter with families and children in San Pedro, CA; as a Youth Worker in group-homes for youth (GLASS - Gay And Lesbian Adolescent Social Services and Hollygrove in Hollywood, CA); as an ESL Instructor and Community Builder for a non-profit community organization (Roca, Inc.) where she taught GED classes to gang members and ESL classes to recently arrived immigrants from Central America, in Chelsea, MA; as a Research Assistant working with the Wampanoag Tribe in Martha’s Vineyard; and as a Program Evaluator for The Higher Education Coordinating Board in TX.


Robert M. Bennett, PhD, LISW is an assistant professor in the Indiana University School of Social Work at Indiana University South Bend. He earned his Master of Social Work and PhD from The Ohio State University College of Social Work. His master’s thesis, “The Poverty Attributions of Professional Social Workers,” was a study that led to development of the Poverty Attribution Survey (PAS), which is a measure of social workers’ explanations of poverty. Rob was a post-doctoral fellow in mental health social work at OSU’s Counseling and Consultation Service where he provided services to persons, couples and families, and groups. His dissertation, “Enhancing Our Understanding of Human Poverty: An Examination of the Relationship Between Poverty and Material Hardship,” was a novel approach to poverty measurement that connects income poverty and material deprivation through sensitivity and specificity statistics. Rob’s teaching passion is culturally-responsive social work, community and social policy social work, ethics, and research and statistics. His current scholarship grows out from his work on social workers’ poverty attributions and is an evaluation of outcomes from a poverty simulation, a high-impact practice, on social work students’ explanations for poverty.


Steve Burghardt, MSW, PhD, is a professor of social work at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College-City University of New York. A community organizer since the age of 17, he has been an anti-racist educator and activist throughout his career. The author of ten books and many articles. His most recent books are The End of Social Work: A Defense of the Social Worker in Times of Transformation (Cognella, 2020) and (co-authored) A Guide for Sustaining Conversations on Racism, Identity and Our Mutual Humanity (Cognella, 2017).


Dr. Halarewicz is a NYC based licensed social worker, educator, and researcher studying elder abuse and impact of disability, ageism and sexism on inequities in aging. She was born in Poland, earned her doctorate in Social Welfare from CUNY Graduate Center and her MSW from NYU. She currently works as an Assistant Professor at Mercy College and teaches social work at Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.


Carla Silva is a doctoral student at The Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Carla aspires to conduct research on the intersection of food justice (food apartheid and food sovereignty) and identity, as it relates to mutual aid; its merger of direct practice and social action; racial/ethnic identity development and preservation; and the advancement of equitable social policy and reform.


Melanie Sonsteng-Person is a PhD candidate at UCLA and a social justice scholar focusing on identifying the institutional conditions that produce and maintain violence and trauma throughout communities and schools. She has worked in the fields of education and violence prevention in Boston, Brooklyn, and Detroit.



Pilar Bonilla is a proud social justice work student completing her master’s degree at Silberman

School of Social Work at Hunter College. Pilar identifies as an Indigenous Latine, first-generation, disabled, cisgender woman and considers herself a lifelong learner. Pilar was born in Lima, Peru, and although she came to the United States at a young age, she has never forgotten her roots. She is passionate about improving the healthcare system for both service users and providers. Her goals include making healthcare accessible to all regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, immigration, disability, and socioeconomic status. After graduation, Pilar plans to make her goals a reality through social advocacy, research, and practice. Pilar is aware of the impact of her chosen profession and strongly believes that healed social workers can heal the world.

Pilar was nominated and selected to receive the Future of Social Work Leadership Award by the

Latino Social Work Coalition and Scholarship Fund. As a social justice warrior, Pilar is an active

member of the Silberman Student Advocacy Collective (SSAC), Payment for Placements (P4P),

the Social Worker Equity Campaign (SWEC), the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), and the Association for Community Organization & Social Action (ACOSA).


Meghan Jarpe is an assistant professor at Aurora University in Aurora, IL and has received her PhD from the Crown Family School at University of Chicago. She is a macro social worker with experience managing peer to peer outreach programs and doing youth work in Michigan, Brooklyn, and Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on funding for human service organizations and maximizing the potential for nonprofits to do empowering work that promotes social justice.


Sandy Lyons has been a social worker for more than 60 years. A group worker and community organizer at heart, Sandy now lives in Boston and works with families of young children. She has been a long-time advocate for social justice.


Dr. Barbara Ella Milton, Jr. is currently a retired clinical social worker, not by choice but by circumstance. She actively fighting cancer and other chronic health challenges. Writing is a tool that is helps her cope with ongoing physical and emotional pain. She is grateful that her spirit is strengthening one day at a time. Dr. Milton Jr. has found her voice and has some things to say... she like to write about her lived experience, her resilience research and her activism. Dr. Milton Jr.’s mission is to put love and hope into the world.


Rosalie Smiley, MSW, LMSW, MPH, PhD, is a professor of social work at the California University of Pennsylvania. As a faculty member, her primary teaching assignment is in the MSW program. The focus of her 30 plus year career in social work has been in the areas of families, children, and youth in juvenile justice, child welfare, community-based residential programs, substance abuse treatment, and interventions services. She is certified as a USA Mental Health First Aide Youth Trainer, Chronic Disease Self-Management trainer, and Strength-Based Family Worker (SFW) Trainer. She is an advocate for social justice and equity for human rights. She is the recipient of the 2019 Presidential Distinguished Merit Award for Excellent in Service from the California University of Pennsylvania.


Jennifer Willett is in Reno, Nevada where she works on environmental and climate justice research in partnership with frontline communities to create change. She earned her MSW from SUNY Buffalo and PhD in Social Work from UConn. She previously worked as a social worker on housing issues in New York City and as an evaluator in Connecticut.