Meet the Authors, January 29th, 2014



What is This Book All About?

This book is the first volume in what I hope will become a series of volumes in which human service professionals creatively share aspects of their work by submitting poetry, short stories, case studies, personal essays, and academic essays.  This first volume is devoted entirely to the work of students who have participated in my Advanced Standing course at MCNY.  It is filled with wisdom and insight obtained through the experiences of our very best students who will become the political and social leaders of the future.

Over the last several semesters, I have had the privilege of teaching the Advanced Standing course at MCNY, a course designed for students with human service experience prior to matriculation. Through this course, I have met some fascinating and varied people with fascinating and varied stories to tell.    I have been impressed by these students’ ability to make use of a healthy and stringent revision process, which all writers must go through, so that each draft for each essay became deeper and richer. The students in this book began as good undergraduate writers who during the course of the semester developed into graduate and professional level writers.  I felt an imperative to share these exciting essays with the larger community, hence, this book.

Advanced Standing is a program for those students who have had previous experience working in the field of human services.  Students who are accepted to exempt a particular purpose (semester) attend one online course instead of the typical five courses. Dr. Clyde Griffin, of the Human Services Department, conceived and designed the original online course.  In this course students write a portfolio based on their previous experience.

To be accepted into the Advanced Standing class, students must have a minimum of five years previous experience in human services with at least three of those years in one of the specialized purpose areas taught at MCNY.  These are:  Working with Groups, Teaching, Counseling, Community Liaison, or Supervision.   Along with previous work experience, applicants must be good students with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and good writers as demonstrated by a submitted essay and a five-page paper completed for a previous course. Students must also be willing to work independently.  Although I am available to give support and feedback during the semester, this course is 100% online.

The essays chosen for this book represents some of the best writing and thinking in the contemporary human service field.  Some of the essays are intellectual and academic, others are humorous, and still others are moving.  It is hoped that you will read this collection, enjoy it, and choose your favorites as models for your own work.

Vanda Wark, Ed.D, Editor-in-Chief

Message from the President

“Echoes from the Field” gives voice to MCNY students and the people they have served and interacted with.  It is a window to a world too often invisible – “real” realities in sharp contrast to the ersatz realities of cable television.  Under our founder Audrey Cohen, Metropolitan College pioneered the field of Human Services as an instrument of social reform and empowerment.  The reflections of our students as embodied herein are one measure of that commitment and its realization.  As we approach our 50th year of service to the New York Metropolitan Area, I am pleased and proud to convey these reflections as an outstanding example of the quality and dedication of our student practitioners.

Vinton Thompson, Ph.D., President


Ruth LugoMessage from the Dean

As dean of the Audrey Cohen School for Human Services and Education, I am proud of our long tradition and excellence in Purpose-Centered Education, ensuring the preparation of our students to be change agents in the Human Services field throughout our communities. Our students are known to be practitioners, leaders, and the voice of reason when advocating on behalf of groups, families, communities, and individuals. The Human Services program’s hallmark consists of integrated experiential learning opportunities for our students, embedded in our purpose curriculum. Each term, we have students placed in community sites working with our community partners and people across the life span within the field. This volume of Echoes from the Field: Writings from Human Services Professionals is the testimony of individual students after going through a rigorous writing and critical thinking experience in our advance standing program. While reading this book, I urge you to think about how you can also promote empowerment not just at home but in your community and workplace. In Metropolitan College of New York, we value our adult students’ preparedness and past work experiences that are hands-on and cutting edge. This is what our Advance Standing program is about: to be able to articulate stories, share, learn, and develop ways to assess how to manage change and provide better service deliveries in the Human Services field. I am sure you will enjoy it as much as I did.

Ruth E. Lugo, Ph.D. Dean, MCNY School for Human Services and Education

About Metropolitan College of New York

Audrey Cohen, educational visionary and activist, founded the Women’s Talent Corps in 1964. Through development and training for new professional positions, the Talent Corps created employment for thousands of people. It became The College for Human Services, later Audrey Cohen College, and today Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY). MCNY, now celebrating its 50th anniversary, continues the tradition of offering highly motivated learners an education that combines applied skills and professional knowledge to effect personal transformation and positive change in the workplace and community. MCNY is a not-for-profit, accredited, independent college. Full year-round offerings accelerate degree completion, and a unique approach to learning permits close integration of workplace activities and study. MCNY is conveniently located in Hudson Square where SoHo meets TriBeCa at 431 Canal Street, New York, NY 10013 and in the Bronx at 529 Courtlandt Ave Bronx, NY 10451.  For more information on MCNY, visit or call 800.33.THINK.