Rivka Halpert Named Valedictorian for Lander College for Women

Date: June 04, 2012
Media Contact:

Gabe Kahn
212-463-0400 x5404

New York, N.Y. – Rivka Halpert of Far Rockaway, New York has been named the 2012 valedictorian of the Lander College for Women- The Anna Ruth and Mark Hasten School (LCW).

“Rivka Halpert is an exceptional young woman. She is academically gifted and intellectually curious, articulate and poised,” said Marian Stoltz-Loike Ph.D., Touro’s vice president of online education and the dean of LCW. “Rivka has been an outstanding student and I look forward to celebrating her academic and personal successes in the future.”

A member of the LCW Honors program, Halpert is graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology, a subject that she is particularly passionate about. Since enrolling in the College, she has held four internships in the mental health field in an effort to build the skill set that she will need in order to work in that area. She is planning on attending graduate school—either a clinical psychology program or social work—but she is applying to internships for this coming year in order to “get more experience and refine my career goals,” she said.

“I've always wanted to fuse psychology and medicine, and so right now I'm applying for internships in the field of child life, which addresses the emotional impact of illness on children and their families,” she said. Child-life specialists work with children and their families to help them cope with the challenges of hospitalization, illness and disability.

In the spring of 2011 Halpert served as an intern at the New York Obesity Nutrition Research Center at the St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center. While she was there she conducted research on people who lose a significant amount of weight frequently gain it back. The summer before she interned at the Jewish Board of Family and Children Services (JBFCS), a day treatment center for adults with severe mental illnesses, participating in cognitive behavioral therapy training sessions and building interpersonal and other basic skills.

This past summer she held an internship at the Psychosocial Oncology Program at the Albert Einstein Cancer Center assessing the benefits, if any, of yoga and spiritual groups on cancer patients. Also last summer she was a psychology/education intern at the Queens Children’s Psychiatric Center where she worked as a teacher’s assistant.

Her level of knowledge is so advanced that according to LCW associate dean and assistant professor of psychology Dr. Melanie Levine, “It’s as if she’s a junior colleague.”

In addition to her internships, Halpert has repeatedly volunteered in an effort to better her community. Before starting LCW, Halpert worked with a child with Down syndrome so the girl could develop basic skills. In 2010 Halpert volunteered for the New York-Presbyterian Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital, helping parents out and trying to give children with serious illnesses some semblance of normalcy. She also volunteered at Camp Simcha for children with terminal illnesses.

Before attending LCW, Halpert attended Torah Academy for Girls in Far Rockaway for elementary and high school and then spent a year in Israel at Michlalah, a women’s seminary in Jerusalem, Israel.

The Lander College for Women is an undergraduate division of Touro, a student-centered college located in midtown Manhattan where Jewish women follow a rigorous academic program as they pursue their baccalaureate degrees, while continuing and deepening their Torah education and commitment. The Judaic Studies and general academic curricula aim to enrich the students’ general knowledge, to develop leadership skills and to prepare students to enter their chosen academic discipline.