SHU Social Work Alumna to Present Scholarship to Junior

News Story:

A junior social work major will be presented with a $10,000 scholarship for her senior year by a 2004 Sacred Heart University alumna who started a charitable foundation to support a variety of causes, including organizations that assist disadvantaged people.

Jaclyn Mirabile, a 20-year-old Northport, Long Island native, will be presented with the scholarship on Thursday, April 24 at the Induction Ceremony for the Social Work Society. The event will take place at 5 p.m. in HC 209. Ondrea Faillace, who graduated from Sacred Heart’s social work program and went on to earn a master’s in social work from Fordham University in New York City, will present the award to Mirabile, a former psychology major.

“I switched over and it was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made,” she said. “I can’t even explain how grateful I am. I’m very honored that they even thought of me.”

“She’s a very good student,” said Professor Elaine Davis, who heads the social work program at Sacred Heart. “She’s been working with elderly persons this semester for her junior field practicum.”

Sacred Heart's social work students enter careers in many areas of social services, including child welfare services, homeless, elderly services, family services, healthcare, substance abuse, school systems, HIV/AIDS, and disabilities.

Before going back to school several years ago, Faillace worked several years in the financial industry where she was responsible for handling charitable giving for her firm’s partners. It was there that she gained the administrative and philanthropic experience that enabled her to start the Charis Charitable Foundation in 2007.

“We’re very pleased about this,” Davis said. “It’s a wonderful testimony to the social work program.”

Faillace wanted to make a donation to Sacred Heart’s social work program because the university provided her with so many opportunities through small classes and frequent one-on-one communication with professors.

“It’s a holistic approach, and I really learned that early at Sacred Heart,” Faillace said. “They didn’t lack in one area. They really help you focus on all aspects of a client’s condition.”

Scholarship criteria included a 3.25 average, demonstrated potential, and a need for assistance. Mirabile will graduate in the Spring of 2009 and plans to get her master’s in social work immediately.

“From there, I want to work in a school setting with children,” said Mirabile, whose long-term goal is to achieve licensure as a clinical social worker.

“Sacred Heart is a really great school,” Faillace said. “They really invest in their students and prepare them for the future—prepare them for real life.”