Month: March 2020

Tessa Cugno

Staff member Tessa CugnoTessa recently accepted the position of the Dean’s Administrative Assistant. Tessa has been with the School of Social Work since March 2018 as a Program Assistant in the Dean’s office, working with the MSW and BSW Program Directors. In her new role, Tessa will work closely with the Deans to assist in managing the administrative functions in the Dean’s office. Before her time at the SSW, Tessa worked on the Storrs campus in the Department of Communication. Having grown up in Connecticut, she comes from a family of Husky fans, and is appreciative to be a part of the UConn community.

Trisha Hawthorne-Noble, MSW

Trisha is our new Coordinator for the SSW Office of Student Academic Services. Trisha is a 2018 graduate of the UConn School of Social Work’s Community Organization sequence. She completed her field placements at the University Office for Diversity and Inclusion and the Office of Community Outreach in the Division of Student Athletics. In the final year of her master’s program, she received the Outstanding Senior Woman Academic Achievement Award. This award, co-sponsored by the Provost’s Office, UConn Alumni, and the Women’s Center, is presented annually to women students who have excelled academically and demonstrated high achievement in research and service to the University community. Trisha’s effective leadership in her work with UConn students, her administrative experience and her MSW background all position her well to assume leadership in this critical position.

Lindsey Wessell

Staff member Lindsey WessellLindsey joined the Office of Research and Scholarship/Finance Office staff in November. Lindsay is providing support for all aspects of ORS, including event planning logistics and support, communication, grant development and budget support. Lindsay serves as a liaison between the school and SPS, which will be an especially important role as we strive to increase our research grant writing/funding activities in the coming months and years. Lindsay is familiar with Hartford and with local community agencies.  She previously worked at Riverfront Recapture and at the Community Renewal Team.

Regina Lester-Harriat, LMSW

Regina recently joined the School of Social Work faculty as an assistant professor-in-residence. She earned her MSW in 2008 from UConn and was a long-standing field instructor for the School. While a student, Regina studied casework with a focus on women and children in families. She is a former school social worker with nearly two decades of experience working in public, charter and independent school systems. This spring, Lester-Harriat is teaching Practice with Individuals, Groups and Families and advising students. In addition, she is slated to teach the Direct Practice in Schools course next year. With her rich practice experience, she will be able to integrate her real-life experiences into the classroom. “I’m happy to be returning to UConn where it all started for me,” said Lester-Harriat.

Lester-Harriat’s research Interests include the role of religion in building emotional resilience in women; building emotional resilience in children and adolescents; trauma-informed practice with children and adolescents; child and adolescent mental health disorders; child and adolescent substance abuse; teens and suicide; and the experience of African-American families in the foster care system.

Abigail Jackson

Alumni Relations associate director Abigail Jackson

Abigail recently joined the School of Social Work staff as the Alumni Relations Director. She’s a first-generation Haitian American and a first-generation college graduate. She earned her B.A. in Communications: Public Relations from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio. Afterwards, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA twice; first in Austin, TX then in Baltimore, MD. Originally from Atlanta, GA, she relocated to the Hartford area Summer 2018. Please email her at if you’d like to connect.

Alumni Spotlight: Sarah Howroyd MSW ‘17

Alumni Sarah Howroyd

Sarah Howroyd was born and raised in Manchester, CT. She attended Wheelock College in Boston, MA for her Undergraduate studies.  She received a Bachelor of Social Work degree with Honors while studying there.  Sarah resided in Boston, MA for almost a decade before relocating back to Connecticut in the late 2000’s.  Presently, she lives in West Hartford, CT and loves all things related to health and fitness. Sarah received a Master of Social Work in Administration degree from the University of Connecticut School of Social Work.  Her Focus Area was Mental Health/Substance Use and she was appointed a member of the Golden Key International Honors Society while studying there.  In November 2017, Sarah was presented with the Connecticut National Association of Social Workers (NASW) MSW Student of the Year Award.  This honor is awarded to a student with an above average academic record in addition to having made noteworthy contributions to the professional community beyond the expectations of the field experience. Sarah co-found, designed, and implemented the Manchester, CT HOPE (Heroin/Opioid Prevention and Education) Initiative with Manchester, CT Police Chief Marc Montminy.  The HOPE Initiative is a law-enforcement facilitated community diversion program for people living with Opioid Use Disorder.  The program aims to humanely treat, combat, and diminish the Opioid epidemic by helping those most affected to enter treatment, instead of the criminal justice system.  In June 2017, Sarah was named a Hartford Courant Hometown Hero for her extensive work and commitment to the initiative.  Additionally, she was awarded the first Congressional Connecticut Public Safety Award in the state by Senator Steve Cassano and Connecticut Senate for her, “diligent work in combating Connecticut’s Opioid crisis,” in September 2017. Recently, she was included in Connecticut Magazine’s 40 under 40: The Class of 2020.