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Student Ambassadors

Each year, our School selects representative students from each MSW program to serve as Student Ambassadors. These students share their personal experiences through a series of original blog posts on the SSW Student Ambassadors website. They also welcome questions from prospective UNC School of Social Work applicants about their experiences here.

Through their blog posts, our Student Ambassadors help prospective students learn more about student life at our School. Their honest reflections on the joys and challenges of the graduate student life serve as a great reminder for current students that we’re all experiencing this academic adventure together!


Meet Our Student Ambassadors (2022–2023)

If you are a prospective student, we encourage you to contact our Student Ambassadors who are in the programs and the academic areas of interest that appeal most to you. They will be happy to answer your questions about student life at UNC School of Social Work!

Please note that the abbreviations CMPP (for Community, Management, and Policy Practice) and DP (for Direct Practice) are used to indicate each Student Ambassador’s chosen concentration.

12-Month Advanced Standing MSW Program

Olivia Farmer, Ambassador 2022–2023
Olivia Farmer
Hometown:Charlotte, N.C.
Concentration: Direct Practice
Interests: expecting parents, children and families with a trauma history, generational trauma prevention
Field Placement: Neonatal Critical Care Center at UNC Hospital and Anti-Partum women’s unit
Fun Fact: I studied abroad in France, Germany, and Austria for a month while in college!

Yaquelin Perez-Albanil, Ambassador 2022–2023
Yaquelin Perez-Albanil
Hometown: Moncure, N.C.
Concentration: Community Management and Policy Practice
Interests: educational equity, communities, racial equity, immigration reform, immigrants and refugees, program development
Field Placement: College Foundation of North Carolina
Fun Fact: I love skiing and playing in the snow! Winter is one of my top favorite times of the year.

Lauryn Singletary, Ambassador 2022–2023
Lauryn Singletary
Hometown: Apex, N.C.
Concentration: Community Management and Policy Practice
Interests: writing and creative arts, education, racial equity, storytelling, horticultural therapy and green space, environmental justice
Field Placement: UNC Center for Student Success
Fun Fact: I love to read and I am always looking for new book recommendations!

Rachel Wilson, Ambassador 2022-2023
Rachel Wilson
Hometown: Huntington, W.Va.
Concentration: Direct Practice
Interests: working with older adults and their families through life transitions, coping with grief and death, and supporting the LGBTQ+ community with an emphasis on trans support, wellness, and mental health
Field Placement: Care Management Team at UNC Internal Medicine Clinic
Fun Fact: I like to rollerblade, sew, and knit.


2-Year Full Time MSW Program

Hayley Bayne, Ambassador 2022-2023Hayley Bayne
Hometown: Fayetteville, N.C.
Concentration: Community Management and Policy Practice
Interests: children and families, parenting, child development, child nutrition, ACEs, resiliency, trauma informed communities, trauma informed workspaces, emotional regulation
Field Placement: North Carolina Partnership for Children, Healthy and Resilient Communities Initiative
Fun Fact: I’ve been to all 50 states!

Sandra Candelario, Ambassador 2022–2023Sandra Candelario
Hometown: Mebane, N.C.
Concentration: Community Management and Policy Practice
Interests: immigrant and refugee communities, access to resources, information, and services, mental health in the Latinx community
Field Placement: Refugee Community Partnership
Fun Fact: I love to embroider and to crochet. I love that through these hobbies, that are also forms of art, I connect with my family — with my roots — and that I continue to keep alive our traditions and our culture.

Amy Chance, Ambassador 2022–2023
Amy Chance
Hometown: Hattiesburg, Miss.
Concentration: Direct Practice
Interests: refugee and immigrants, child/adolescent mental health, and trauma informed care
Field Placement: Chatham County DSS Mental Health Unit
Fun Fact: I’m a Christmas Tree Farm Enthusiast!

Shareen El Naga, Ambassador 2022–2023
Shareen El Naga (MSW/MPH dual degree)
Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.
Concentration: Community Management and Policy Practice, Public Health (Healthy Equity)
Interests: health equity and disparity, interpersonal violence prevention, policy, immigration and refugees, abolition, emergent strategy
Field Placement: UNC Refugee Wellness
Fun Fact: I have a huge family, most of whom are overseas in either the Philippines (from my mom’s side) or Egypt (my dad’s side).

Hannah Korycinski, Ambassador 2022–2023
Hannah Korycinski
Hometown: Silver Spring, Md.
Concentration: Direct Practice
Interests: disability justice, child and adolescent mental health
Field Placement: Carolina Institute for Developmental Disabilities (CIDD)
Fun Fact: I collect keychains!

Whitney Miller, Ambassador 2022–2023
Whitney Miller
Hometown: Glenmoore, Pa.
Concentration: Direct Practice
Interests: child and adolescent mental health, school social work, educational equity, trauma-informed care, influence of media on youth development/mental health
Field Placement: UNC Medicine Child and Adolescent Outpatient Clinic
Fun Fact: I have dual citizenship (Canada/U.S.)

Samantha Salkin, Ambassador 2022–2023
Samantha Salkin
Hometown: Greenwich, Conn.
Concentration: Community, Management, and Policy Practice
Interests: policy creation and advocacy, program management, reproductive justice, health equity, intimate partner violence
Field Placement: Public Affairs Office, Planned Parenthood of the South Atlantic
Fun Fact: I love biking!


3-Year MSW — Chapel Hill Program

Katherin Castillo, Ambassador 2022–2023
Katherin Castillo
Hometown: Mount Airy, N.C.
Concentration: Community, Management, and Policy Practice
Interests: dismantling the school-to-prison pipeline, advocacy for reproductive justice, access to higher education for marginalized students, advocacy for first-generational students, working with immigrants, youth and young adults, intergenerational trauma
Field Placement: Bull City Community Schools
Fun Fact: I am a big foodie! I love checking out new restaurants in the triangle!

Darian Buck
Hometown: Raleigh, N.C.
Concentration: Community, Management, and Policy Practice
Interests: childhood sexual abuse awareness and prevention, interpersonal violence awareness and prevention, intergenerational trauma, child development, art therapy, resiliency framework
Field Placement: InterFaith Council for Social Services
Fun Fact: I had to get the full series of rabies vaccinations. I was bitten while attempting to feed a raccoon. Honestly, I would do it again. They are just so cute.


3-Year MSW — Winston-Salem Program

Meghan Lever, Ambassador 2022–2023
Meghan Lever
Hometown: Edmonds, Wash.
Interests: adolescent development, education policy, social emotional learning, eco-therapeutic approaches and nature connection, restorative practices
Field Placement: Winston Salem Forsyth County Schools
Fun Fact: Every grant I have applied for has been a request to incorporate animals in my work, I just can’t stop inviting animals to the office.

Ericka Hurt, Ambassador 2022–2023
Ericka Hurt
Hometown: Charlotte, N.C.
Interests: working with middle and older adolescent who are experiencing homelessness, loss of a parent(s), LGBTQ+ youth
Field Placement: Family Services of the Piedmont High Point Center for Child Wellness
Fun Fact: I was the first student from Winston-Salem State University to attend the Human Rights Campaigns HBCU Leadership Conference.



Ben Balderas, Assistant Director of Recruitment, Admissions, and Financial Aid, 919-843-6284