Members of RIC School of Social Work Gain National Recognition

Jayashree, Deborah and Gwen

RIC’S own awarded by R.I. Chapter of NASW

Three members of RIC’s School of Social Work have been selected for distinguished awards by the Rhode Island chapter of the National Association of Social Workers (RI-NASW). 

Interim Dean Jayashree Nimmagadda


Honored with the 2022 Nancy H. Gewirtz Social Action Award is Interim Dean of the School Social Work Jayashree Nimmagadda. This well-deserved recognition speaks to Nimmagadda’s more than 10 years of innovative leadership in building the profile of the School of Social Work through grant funding and other entrepreneurial initiatives. Her aptitude for thinking outside the box, advancing the expertise of faculty and working to improve the experience of students has elevated her reputation among social work administrators.

Professor of Social Work Deborah Siegel

Recently retired Professor of Social Work Deborah Siegel has also been honored. She is the 2022 recipient of the Robert S. Burgess Community Service Award. Be it partnering with the House of Hope on homelessness, working with the Rhode Island Free Clinic in providing mental health services to low-income adults or lobbying to end gun violence, Siegel has been on the front lines of advocacy and community organizing for more than 40 years.

Both Nimmagadda and Siegel reflect the tremendous impact RIC faculty have both inside and outside of the classroom; moreover, the students they nurture become leaders in their own right.

RI-NASW awardee
RIC B.S.W. student Gwendolyn Vargas

RIC B.S.W. student Gwendolyn Vargas has been recognized with the 2022 Promising Practitioners Award. Passionate about social advocacy, upon completing her second-year leadership residency at Generation Teach, Vargas’ ultimate pursuit is to impact underserved communities in Rhode Island school systems while amplifying social and political inequity through the arts, particularly by way of poetry and writing. Vargas once again demonstrates that the School of Social Work prepares students to be outstanding practitioners and leaders of change in the community.

“I am so pleased, though not at all surprised, to see so many members of the School of Social Work honored at the RI-NASW annual awards ceremony,” says Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs Helen Tate. “RIC’s School of Social Work has long been a leader in the region, not only recognized for the exceptional quality of our programs but also for the impact the faculty, staff and students have on our community. I look forward to celebrating these well-deserved recognitions.”

The RI-NASW awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, Oct. 20. With more than 120,000 members, the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) is the largest membership organization of professional social workers in the world. The Rhode Island Chapter is dedicated to providing services which promote civil rights, social and economic justice for all Rhode Islanders.