Touro College Graduate School of Social Work Student Alina Kheyson Wins NY State Student of the Year Award

Date: January 05, 2016
Alina Kheyson
Alina Kheyson
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New York, N.Y. - Alina Kheyson, a second year master’s student at the Touro College Graduate School of Social Work has been awarded the Graduate Student of the Year Award by the New York State Social Work Education Association (NYSSWEA).

The honor was bestowed at the association’s annual convention held recently in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., where each year the organization presents a “student of the year award” to one undergraduate and one graduate student in social work who demonstrate strong academic achievement and leadership in school and/or the community.  The winners are selected from among nominations submitted by accredited schools of social work in the state.

“Alina was chosen in recognition of her dedication to excellence in academic achievement, global and interprofessional perspectives, and social work leadership,” said NYSSWEA President Carol Brownstein-Evans, PhD, who presented the award at the annual meeting.

A student with a 4.0 GPA at Touro, Ms. Kheyson was born in the Ukraine and came to the United States with her family at the age of nine. She grew up in Brooklyn and began Brooklyn College straight out of high school at 16, where she majored in psychology and political science.

Originally she pursued training in the medical field, but switched to social work, she said, because she wanted to work one-on-one with clients and was influenced by time she spent helping children in orphanages when she returned briefly to the Ukraine in 2010.

“I realized that illnesses come from whatever you’re feeling. If you’re not able to clear your feelings you will be sick the rest of your life no matter what doctor you go to,” Ms. Kheyson said. “I like psychology more than medicine.”

During her time at Touro Ms. Kheyson has developed a growing interest in New York’s social service system, leading her to earn a certificate in fundraising, non-profit management and grant writing at New York University, as well as attend Spanish classes to learn the language and culture. A recipient of a UJA Federation of New York scholarship for emerging leaders, Ms. Kheyson says her dream is to establish a relief fund serving blind and disabled children and families living in poverty in the Ukraine.

"Alina Kheyson​ is an exceptional Touro social work graduate student,” said Dr. Steven Huberman, dean of the Touro College Graduate School of Social Work. “Every day she seeks to give back to the community. She is caring and a program innovator. We are so proud of her leadership."

Ms. Kheyson expressed her appreciation, “I’m very grateful to the faculty at Touro who have devoted their time and guidance to help get me through the MSW program, shaping me into the professional I am becoming and hope to be – and enabling me to receive this wonderful award.”  

The NYSSWEA provides a forum for social work administrators and students to share information, advocate on behalf of the social work education community and promote activities that support the profession and contributions of social workers.   


About the Touro College and University System

Touro is a system of non-profit institutions of higher and professional education. Touro College was chartered in 1970 primarily to enrich the Jewish heritage, and to serve the larger American and global community. Approximately 18,000 students are currently enrolled in its various schools and divisions. Touro College has branch campuses, locations and instructional sites in the New York area, as well as branch campuses and programs in Berlin, Jerusalem, Moscow, Paris and Florida. New York Medical College, Touro University California and its Nevada branch campus, as well as Touro University Worldwide and its Touro College Los Angeles division are separately accredited institutions within the Touro College and University System. For further information on Touro College, please go to: