Awards Ceremony 2022

The Rhode Island Chapter of NASW will be hosting its 2022 Award Celebrations on Thursday, October 20, 6:00 - 8:00pm ESTThe ceremony will take place at Chelo’s Banquet Facility (2225 Post Road,  Warwick, RI). Join us in the celebration of our phenomenal award honorees, who have demonstrated excellence in social work and public service in our communities. Click here to register.


  • Lifetime Achievement Award: Robert "Terry" Peck 
  • Social Worker of the Year - Older Adults Award: Katherine Tsamourtzis
  • Social Worker of the Year - Children and Families Award: Kelsey Trubia
  • Social Worker of the Year - School Social Work Award: Rose Molina
  • Robert S. Burgess Community Service Award: Deborah Siegel
  • Nancy H. Gewirtz Social Action Award: Jayashree Nimmagadda
  • Promising Practitioners Awards: 
    • Rhode Island College: Gwendolyn Vargas
    • Salve Regina University: Annie Avila
    • Providence College: Clara Oliva

Event tickets: $45 (click here to register)

Did you know you can congratulate an honoree by purchasing an ad on our website or for the ceremony’s program book? Scroll to see our options, rates, and deadlines.  R egistrations for the ceremony are closing on Thursday, October 13.For questions about the ceremony, please reach out by email at or phone (401) 274 - 4940. 

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Registrations are closed for: 

  • program book ads
  • sponsorships 
  • website banners

Meet our 2022 Award Honorees:





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Save the date!

NASW-RI Chapter Awards Ceremony 2022

Date: Thursday, October 20 (6:00 - 8:00pm est) | At: Chelo’s Banquet Facility (2225 Post Road,  Warwick, RI).

A special thank you to our chapter’s awards committee members for their support and dedication in planning this year’s award ceremony. Click here to register. Online registrations are closing on October 13. For questions about the ceremony, please reach out by email at or phone (401) 274 - 4940


NASW-RI Chapter 2021: Awards Ceremony

The National Association of Social Workers Rhode Island Chapter will be hosting this year’s Awards Celebrations virtually on Thursday, October 21, 2021. The ceremony will take place on Zoom from 6:00PM to 8:00PM EST. REGISTER TODAY!   Join the Chapter on October 21, to celebrate and recognize these phenomenal social workers and allies for their work and support to our communities during these past two years.

For questions about the event, please reach out by email at or phone 401-274-4940



  • 6:00pm: Ceremony begins
  • 6:00 - 6:05pm: Welcome remarks from NASW-RI President
  • 6:05 - 7:55pm: Award presentations (there will be breaks during the ceremony)
  • 7:55 - 8:10pm: Breakout rooms open for each honoree 
  • 8:10pm: Ceremony ends

Congratulatory Messages:

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Congratulatory Message for Promising Practitioner Sidney Butler, BSW  (Salve Regina University) 

The Salve Regina Social Work Department sends warm greetings to Sidney Butler! Sidney is indeed a promising social worker who embraced the challenges of the COVID pandemic by making sure that services and programming continued without interruption while serving her clients at Mentor Rhode Island and the Women's Resource Center during her senior field internship. Sydney is an outstanding advocate who consistently works on behalf of those who are marginalized. From: Social Work Department Salve Regina University

Congratulate an Award Honoree

Would you like to reserve an Ad honoring a 2021 Award recipient? Place a congratulatory ad and/or message with us. See the ad options below:

  • Full Banner Ad $175
  • Half Banner Ad $100
  • 70-Word Message $50

CLICK HERE to Purchase an Ad

Final ads are due no later than Friday, October 15, 2021. After purchase, submit a copy of your ad or message by email (PNG/JPG format) to Crisbelly Medina Adames at If you need assistance creating an ad, feel free to email Crisbelly. Send us the text/message and images you would like displayed in the ad, and we will create an ad in the size you purchased.

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RI Awards Bio - Peter  (1)

Meet our Social Work Award Honorees:


Peter Slom recently retired after working for over 25 years for the State of Rhode Island, Department of Children, Youth and Families. Peter spent over 21 years working at the Rhode Island Training School (RITS), the State’s juvenile detention center. He left there in 2018 after serving as their Associate Director. He also worked at the RITS as the Deputy Superintendent, Acting Clinical Director, Unit Manager and Clinical Social Worker. Peter spent the last 3 years as the Department’s Associate Director/Substance Use Disorder (SUD) Liaison. He was responsible for assisting hundreds of family members with substance use concerns, working with community providers, establishing the Department’s Peer Recovery Coach program, assisting pregnant and post-partum mothers with SUDs, providing training to DCYF staff members and overseeing the DCYF Fatherhood Initiative. 

Peter earned his undergraduate degree from Providence College (1978) and his Master of Social Work Degree from Rhode Island College (1996) as well as completing the University of Rhode Island’s Substance Use Certification Program in 1994. He has served on numerous community boards and chaired the Right to Vote campaign (2004-06) that successfully gave individuals on probation or parole the right to vote in all elections. Peter is also a formerly incarcerated person who has advocated for ex-offenders for almost 3 decades. 

Peter is currently Vice President of the Board of Directors of the WARM Center in Westerly and serves on the Board of Directors for the Re-entry Campus Program that offers the opportunity for incarcerated people to work on higher education. He has served as a Field Supervisor for the University of Rhode Island (2012-19) supervising PhD Psychology students at the Wyatt Detention Center, Rhode Island’s Federal detention center. Peter is a frequent speaker at colleges, high schools and other public settings. He has been a featured guest on White House Chronicles, the nationally televised PBS show and The Public’s Radio This I Believe segment. Peter has received numerous community awards including Ocean Tides’ Lasallian Service award, 2020-21 and the RI Parent Support Network Prevention Partner of the Year, 2020. He currently has a private practice focusing on substance use disorders, mental health and anger management. 

Peter lives in Charlestown, Rhode Island with his wife, Julia Anne, and their 2 boys, Sam, 23, and Luke, 19.


Marianne Raimondo is an Associate Professor and the Director of the Health Care Administration program at Rhode Island College. She teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in healthcare management and policy.  She also serves as the Executive Director for the Institute for Education in Healthcare at RIC, which develops and delivers educational programs to health care organizations, behavioral health organizations and social service providers. She has been a leader in designing career ladders and apprenticeship programs to support the advancement and development of the healthcare workforce.

She co-founded and leads the Age Friendly Rhode Island initiative. Age Friendly RI is a coalition of community and state agencies, healthcare and social service providers, advocacy and faith based organizations, academics, and business and municipal leaders who are working to catalyze change and build community that supports and empowers Rhode Islanders as they age. 

Prior to her academic position at RIC, she was a management consultant for healthcare organizations throughout the country, providing education and consultation in quality management, systems redesign, and leadership development. She was a Vice President at Applied Management Systems in Burlington, MA. Prior to that, she was a Senior Vice President at the Hospital Association of R.I. She was an adjunct professor at the Boston University School of Public Health and in the Providence College Health Policy & Management and Social Work program. 

She holds a MS in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a Ph.D. in Public Health from the University Massachusetts, Amherst and a MSW from Rhode Island College. Marianne is also a licensed clinical social worker.


EducationBachelor's Degree in Psychology from RIC in 1993, and Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University in 1998.

Employment History:

    • Employed as a School Social Worker with Cranston Public Schools since 1999; have served as Program Supervisor of Social Work Services and Psychiatric Liaison for the school department since 2010. Currently supervise 30 social workers across Cranston’s 26 schools/educational programs.
    • Have been in private practice working with children, adults, couples, and families since 2007.  Specialize in work with those impacted by chronic Lyme and other tick-borne diseases, trauma and grief, anxiety and depression, and transgender issues.
    • Provided clinical services to children and their biological, foster, and adoptive families in a therapeutic foster care setting.
    • Conducted sexual abuse evaluations with St. Mary’s Home for Children.
    • Provided Clinical SW services to children and families through The Providence Center


    • 2014-2019 Served as LICSW Board Member with the RI Department of Health, Board of Social Work Examiners.
    • 2001 – 2009 Served as a Board Director with the Tourette Syndrome Association of RI.  Served as their Liaison for education and advocacy.  Provided trainings to school departments related to Tourette Syndrome and its relevance to students’ access to FAPE.  Received the Association’s Volunteer Spirit Award in 2005.
    • Field instructor for social work students from BU, BC, Wheelock, RIC, and University of New England


    • Assisted with district-wide development of Cranston Schools’ anti-bullying protocol
    • Assisted with the development of district-wide crisis response programming.
    • Developed virtual SW service delivery programming at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic

Professional DevelopmentProvided multiple trainings across RI related to neuropsychiatric Lyme, anxiety and mood disorders, Social-Emotional Learning, social media student safety, critical school emergency response programming, Functional Behavioral Assessment and Behavior Intervention Plan assessment and intervention, Tourette Syndrome, cultural competency, and Social Work professional ethics.

PersonalMarried to William Gyra and mother of two sons, Nicholas and Jacob Perry. Loves all DIY home projects, crocheting, and pilates

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Neeka Stanley earned her BSW at Eastern College in 2001 and her MSW at the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2002.  Social Work is the ideal profession for her as her core values so closely align with Social Work's commitment to meet the client where they are, honor self determination, recognize society's impact, build on client strengths and seek to build healing on the micro and macro levels.   

Neeka began her career in outpatient mental health clinics in Brockton, MA, where she also served on the CHINS Diversion Panel.   aboutfamilies CEDARR and Seven Hills RI then gave her the opportunity to work with families who had children with special needs and supervise direct care workers.  During this time, she also led the MA Chapter of Jubilee USA, helping places of worship and faith communities advocate on the federal level for debt cancellation and other economic policy changes for developing nations.   

After becoming a mother herself, she returned to outpatient mental health services with Anchor Counseling.  In those five years, she deepened her clinical practice as she pursued training in EMDR, Ego State Therapy and other forms of trauma work.  Neeka began a private practice in 2021 and also began working for Cumberland Counseling.  She is thrilled to offer trauma treatment training to the interns at Cumberland Counseling so that these new therapists are better prepared for the depth of trauma that so many of our clients carry.  

Neeka also enjoys participating in advocacy on the local and federal levels on such issues as equal marriage, debt cancellation for developing nations, adequate funding for services for people with special needs, telehealth access to clinical services, health care for all, and SNAP benefits. She has been active in a variety of faith based social justice efforts.

Neeka lives with her wife, Amber, and their 2 daughters. They are enjoying homeschooling and are active in EnrichRI, directing a preschool and early elementary co-op this fall.


I have been honored and privileged to work with so many wonderful supervisors and colleagues since the beginning of my social work career in 1981. I am a proud graduate of Rhode Island College School of Social Work obtaining both my BSW and MSW at that institution. I am thankful for my field placement at the Forensic Unit, which helped to prepare me for several career chapters in my life.  In my first paid position, I was an Outreach Case Worker for the Key Program. From there I had the opportunity to work in multiple departments at Rhode Island Hospital including Adult-Medical, Emergency Department and Pediatric Outpatient Clinics. Working at St. Aloysius Home was a new experience for me working with boys in a residential treatment facility. It was there that I realized the importance of establishing connections with the residents, families and state agencies. 

At Mental Health Services, which is now Gateway Health Care, I was an outpatient clinician and consultant to Tri-Town Head Start Programs. It was a great diagnostic clinical experience for me. Working in the Outpatient Department of Bradley Hospital, furthered my clinical experience along with allowing me the opportunity to supervise staff and MSW students. My school social work career began in 1997 with Johnston Public Schools. This was a major transition from a therapeutic outpatient setting to a public education setting.  After almost 20 years in that position, I took the leap and returned to Rhode Island Hospital. This time, I assumed a leadership role in the Hasbro Hospital Partial Day Program. I enjoyed the opportunities to learn and grow professionally but I found that I missed the clinical aspects of working directly with children and families. When an opportunity arose to join Scituate Public Schools, I returned to being a school social worker. I now am hopefully at my last career chapter working as a school social worker for Warwick Public Schools. I am grateful to have met, learned from and connected with so many remarkable social workers that have encouraged me to think beyond. My professional goal is to always try to make a positive impact. It is an honor to be recognized for my work with students and families.  

Social Worker of the Year - Addictions Award

Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH has been the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) since April 2015. Dr. Alexander-Scott brings tremendous experience to this position from her work as a specialist in infectious diseases for children and adults, and from her time in academia as an associate professor of pediatrics, medicine, and public health (with a focus on health services, policy, and practice). Dr. Alexander-Scott is board certified in Pediatrics, Internal Medicine, Pediatric Infectious Diseases, and Adult Infectious Diseases. From 2018-2019, Dr. Alexander-Scott was President of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO), the national organization for state health directors, after being elected by her peers. Her ASTHO President's Challenge focuses on "Building Healthy and Resilient Communities."

In her time as Director of Health, Dr. Alexander-Scott has made it RIDOH's principal focus to give every person and every community in Rhode Island an equal opportunity to be as healthy as possible. Under her leadership, RIDOH is committed to addressing community level determinants of health, such as education, housing, transportation, and employment, so that a person's health does not depend on his or her ZIP code. Dr. Alexander-Scott has established as RIDOH's three leading priorities: (1) addressing the socioeconomic and environmental determinants of health; (2) eliminating disparities of health and promoting health equity; and (3) ensuring access to quality health services for all Rhode Islanders, including the state’s vulnerable populations. For her commitment to health equity, Dr. Alexander-Scott has been recognized by numerous local and national organizations, including Grow Smart Rhode Island, the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Kresge Foundation.


Rhode Island Organizing Project (RIOP) | Community Organizer – Social determinates of Health

Marjorie worked with RIOP on an action in 2011 which prevented further budget cuts to Elder programs. She began working for RIOP on the Voices for Better Health in April of 2014. She conducts house meetings and listening sessions at residences, churches and senior centers to understand the kind of health services communities need to keep the elderly and disabled in their homes as they age. Marjorie’s  organizing efforts provide an avenue for Rhode Island’s elderly and disabled residents to have their voices heard by the decision makers responsible for the quality of health care they receive.

Prior to joining RIOP, Marjorie was the Executive Director of the Westminster Senior Center. In her “other life” she was Director of Information Technology for a Tribal Nation and a Six Sigma Process Excellence Coach in the Finance industry.

Meet our Promising Practitioner Award Honorees:   


My name is Tori Butler, and I am a recent graduate from Providence College. The amazing social work education that I received has given me the tools to eagerly begin my masters program in the fall and pursue a career in the macro realm. I aspire to help build resiliency within communities and strengthen relationships along the way. 


My name is Sydnie and I am from Connecticut. I recently graduated from Salve Regina University with my BSW and I’m going to UCONN this fall to get my MSW. What I love about Social Work is having the ability to connect with others. It’s incredible to recognize the resilience and strengths individuals have. 


Logan England (He/Him) is from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. After 17 years as a stay-at-home parent, Logan decided to pursue secondary education in Social Work. He earned his associate degree at Community College of Rhode Island, his bachelor's degree at Rhode Island College, and is completing his master's degree at Rhode Island College. He gratefully accepts this award in memory of his daughter Cassandra. 


My name is Krystal A. Fermin, and I have obtained both my Bachelor and Master of Social Work degrees from Rhode Island College School of Social Work as well as a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Child and Adolescent Trauma.  As a recent graduate, I aspire to utilize my experiences and dedication to support individuals in need while improving the delivery of proper psychoeducation for mental health. My interest in Social Work began when I knew I wanted to emphasize mental health awareness in the Latino communities and communities of color due to the mental health stigma. I currently work at Bradley Hospital as a Master Level Clinician where I am gaining the opportunity of working with different units such as the Adolescent Inpatient Unit, CADD, and ARTs Residential. Working on units that focus on safety and stability of individuals gives me the opportunity to provide patients and their families with the proper care, treatment, and psychoeducation for effective outcomes.  


Maria has a Bachelor's of Individualized Studies in Cultural Studies, Leadership, and Psychology with a Minor in Spanish from University of Minnesota and a MSW from Rhode Island College. Maria currently serves on the Board of the NASW-RI Chapter as Secretary, and previously served as the MSW student representative. Maria has been involved with the NASW Policy and Advocacy Committee and the Student Leaders Committee, helping to organize a virtual Environmental Justice and Social Work panel event in April 2021. Maria has worked on both micro and macro levels, ranging from providing counseling and case management to clients at RI Free Clinic, fostering youth development at Boys and Girls Club, supporting survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence as a Law Enforcement Advocate with Day One, and now working in the field of non-profit leadership at the RI Hispanic Chamber of Commerce (RIHCC). As the Organizational Development and Intern Coordinator at RIHCC, she works to ensure that the organization is adapting its programs, services, protocols, and vision to meet the complex needs of Hispanic entrepreneurs and businesses throughout RI. In addition, she has the pleasure of recruiting, training, and supervising student interns and volunteers working on various projects from colleges around RI. Maria's true passion lies in macro level work, helping groups, organizations, and communities reach their full capacity through increased partnership, team cohesion, and innovation while working to address economic, environmental, and racial injustice.


SAVE THE DATE - NASW-RI Chapter Awards Celebration 2021

Thursday, October 21 (6:00 - 8:00pm EST) |  Virtual Event 


For questions about the event, please email call us (401-274-4940) or email us (

A Special THANK YOU to our Chapter’s Awards Committee members for their support and dedication to this year’s Award ceremony. 


Social Work Award Honorees:

  • Social Worker of the Year - Addictions: Peter Slom, LICSW
  • Social Worker of the Year - Aging: Marianne Raimondo, LICSW
  • Social Worker of the Year - Children and Families: Kimberly Gyra, LICSW
  • Social Worker of the Year - Health/Mental Health: Neeka Stanley, LICSW
  • Social Worker of the Year - School Social Work:  Mary Lou Votto, LICSW
  • Robert S. Burgess Community Service: Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott
  • Nancy H. Gewirtz Social Action: Marjorie Waters, Activist

Promising Practitioners Award Honorees: 

  • Tori Butler, BSW, Providence College
  • Sidney Butler, BSW, Salve Regina University
  • Logan England, BSW, Rhode Island College
  • Krystal Fermin, MSW, Rhode Island College
  • Maria Friedman, MSW, Rhode Island College

*Scroll down to see all honorees biographies below*