By Matthew Biddle
Published September 29, 2023
Tyrone Reese, an MSW student at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, has been named Student of the Year by the New York State Social Work Education Association.
The award recognizes social work students who demonstrate strong academic achievement and leadership in their program or community. Reese will be honored at the association’s annual conference on Oct. 19.
Reese is in his final year of the school’s part-time, online Master of Social Work program. His instructors characterize him as an exceptional student who is engaged, thoughtful and goes “above and beyond.” They also note his commitment to the social work profession and to advancing human rights, trauma-informed practice, and social and racial justice.
“Tyrone’s assignments never felt like mere submissions; they read like passionate pleas and blueprints for change,” says Todd Sage, clinical associate professor of social work, who had Reese as a student in his Interventions course. “Tyrone’s passion for standing up against injustice, advocating for the marginalized and striving for a more equitable society is palpable.”
Reese initially decided to pursue his master’s degree so he could provide greater levels of mental health and clinical support to individuals, particularly for BIPOC and other underserved and marginalized communities.
With more than a decade of professional experience in higher education, Reese spends his workday supporting young adults as they transition to college. As director of student outreach and support at Syracuse University, he sets the strategic vision and oversees non-clinical case management services for the university’s Student Experience division. He previously served as a case manager for students in crisis and has been integral in developing departmental policies and procedures around outreach and education, wellness, behavioral health and sexual assault prevention.
While juggling his career and his graduate studies, Reese also volunteers as a UB School of Social Work student ambassador and as a group leader for an online student peer support network. In addition, he moderated a series of events earlier this year in remembrance of the May 14, 2022, attacks in Buffalo.