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Success Stories

Marva Mariner

Marva Mariner; A woman, mother, disability advocate, social worker, researcher.

2015 Alumni of The Year, Marva Mariner (class of 2007), well deserves her place among ASA’s Finest. She didn’t stop pursuing her education after she graduated as a Medical Assistant from ASA, and now she holds an MSW from Columbia University.

“At the age of thirteen I was diagnosed with profound hearing loss. As a mother of two, I recognized early that having an education and the requisite training would not only provide some level of access, but that I could somehow inspire others like me to know that it is possible to achieve and succeed.

I was fortunate to have started the journey of a thousand miles at ASA. With the needed support I was able to obtain an Associate Degree in Occupational Studies which not only motivated me to complete a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Psychology from Mercy College, but also a master’s degree in social work (MSW) with a concentration in Advanced Generalist Practice and Programming from Columbia University School of Social Work (CUSSW).

As a result of my many personal challenges as a woman with hearing loss. I got involved in advocacy, raising awareness about the challenges faced by persons with disabilities (PWD) cross-cutting gender, age, sexuality with the hope of influencing others to do the same. As an advocate I spoke at conferences both within the USA and overseas.

Inspired by the few that believed in me, I pay it forward through community activism and volunteerism. While pursuing my undergrad degree at Mercy, I was aware of students failing and dropping out of school because of financial constraints. To reduce some of the financial burden I started a book loan program allowing students to exchange books without having to purchase.

As a volunteer, I co-chaired CUSSW Disability Caucus and was the past co-chair of the National Association of Social Workers Task Force of African Descent (NASW-TFSWAD, serving over four years. Today, I am the co-founder and co-chair of the National Association of Social Workers Disability Task Force), convener of a three-person newly formed research team. In 2018, our research proposal on the “Effects of Psychosocial Interventions on Quality of Life in Alzheimer’s Disease” was accepted for poster board presentation at the Alzheimer’s Disease International conference in Chicago. Our second proposal entitled “Disability, Social Exclusion and Health Disparities in Older Adults: Social Work Intervention” was accepted for presentation at the Aging in America (AIA) conference in Atlanta. Unfortunately, this conference was cancelled due to COVID-19.

Throughout my educational and career experience, I was a dean student, a McNair Scholar and the recipient of numerous awards inclusive of the Parent Leadership Award from MS61, the Spirit Award from ICS, Alumna of the year from ASA; from Mercy- the Spirit Award, the Department Honors in Psychology – inducted into two international honor societies- Psi Chi (Psychology) and Pi Gamma Mu (Social Sciences) and upon completion of my studies graduated Magna Cum Laude and was recognized for my commitment to excellence with the Alumni Achievement Award.

I am currently employed as a case manager at Heights and Hills. A non-profit organization funded by the New York City Department for the Aging. My responsibilities include providing case management services for Brooklyn seniors residing in their homes and communities.”