Produced by the Department of Media Relations & Publications

Grad Continues Family Tradition of Service:
Kate Rex-Kiss (M.S.W., '10)

June 9, 2010

Kate Rex-Kiss (Photo Credit: Aracelis Diamantis)

For Kate Rex-Kiss, social work is a calling with deep familial ties. Her experience at Lehman helped the new Master of Social Work graduate answer that call, as well as land a prestigious fellowship at the nearby James J. Peters V.A. Medical Center. She'll begin her year-long Geriatric Research, Education, and Clinical Centers (GRECC) Fellowship in a few weeks.

"Social work has been present from day one in my life," says Rex-Kiss. "I guess you could say I was born into it, for my mother began her long career as a social worker shortly after I was born." Rex-Kiss remembers volunteering, donating toys, and participating in fundraisers and rallies with her mother at a young age, knowing even then that she would follow in her footsteps. At Lehman, she found an M.S.W. program that gave her the type of preparation she was seeking.

In particular, Rex-Kiss liked the program's Generalist Practice Approach, which grounds students in several areas of social work, from working with children or adults, to performing administrative or clinical work. "It was that diversity of age, culture, and work experience that made classes interesting," she says. "We were able to learn from each other and not just from the textbooks."

In addition, she says, by attending a program set in the Bronx, "I was learning what would be relevant to the urban population I hoped to work with."

Through the palliative care fellowship she received, which is administered by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, she will join a team of doctors, nurses, and psychologists to provide care for hospitalized patients and their families, especially the seriously ill and the elderly. She plans to also obtain her license in social work during that time and then continue to work in palliative or hospice care-centered settings.

Rex-Kiss is grateful to the Lehman community for the knowledgeable and supportive faculty and staff who helped her as a student. "I believe I speak on behalf of my class," she says, "when I say that we really appreciated the hard work and dedication of the faculty in helping us not just to obtain our M.S.W. but to become well-rounded and educated individuals and professionals."