Student Achievement

Valedictorian Emmanuelle Farrell ’20 Looks Ahead to a Career in Social Work

Julia Fishman

She’s forging a path to work with special needs children and trauma survivors.

May 18, 2020—For Emmanuelle Farrell ’20, working with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities has always been a source of

In high school she assisted students in the classroom and through an internship at a social skills therapy center. When she arrived at Marist, she stayed true to that interest and became involved with the College’s chapter of Best Buddies, an international organization dedicated to increased inclusion for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“Best Buddies facilitates inclusion through efforts such as integrated employment and leadership programs, inclusive living opportunities, and school friendship chapters,” Farrell explained. As President of the Marist chapter, Farrell and the club’s board hosted monthly events for Marist student members and their Buddies (adults with special needs living in the Poughkeepsie area).

She developed a strong bond with her own one-to-one Buddy, James. “We enjoy going to the movies and church together, and we still speak on the phone every week,” Farrell said. “My work with individuals with disabilities has allowed me to build meaningful friendships and to embody the Marist value of service to others.”

A psychology major with a minor in cognitive science, Farrell is from Plainsboro, New Jersey. She is an Honors Program student as well as a member of the Psi Chi and Alpha Chi honors societies. Farrell has represented Marist while presenting her research at conferences of the Eastern Psychological Association, the New England Psychological Association, and the National Collegiate Honors Council. Her research with Marist faculty members and fellow students has included the impact of social media on mental health, the quality of life of individuals on the autism spectrum, and the effects of mindfulness on student well-being.

Farrell notes that numerous members of the Marist faculty have had a positive impact on her, including psychology professors Mary Stone and Elizabeth Quinn. She counts Ryan Kinlaw, Chair and Associate Professor of Psychology, as a mentor.

“Emmanuelle is a committed and organized student,” Kinlaw said. “She gives serious thought to her studies, and such deep consideration of material often leads her to insights others do not have. In the psychological research methods courses, in particular, I was not surprised when project groups in which she was a member produced well-designed project ideas and excellent papers and posters for reporting their study findings. I was especially excited when Emmanuelle and her project partner for the second course in the methods sequence submitted their study as a poster presentation at the National Honors Council conference and were accepted,” said Kinlaw.

This fall Farrell will continue on her path by pursuing a Master of Social Work from Rutgers University. Her goal is to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW). “Although I am interested in serving all populations, I will likely specialize in treating children with special needs or trauma survivors,” she explained. Her long range goal is to pursue a PhD in clinical psychology and to eventually open a private therapy practice.


Kinlaw noted that Farrell’s decision to pursue social work professionally as her next step made sense. “Once I learned Emmanuelle was so involved in work with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, I was not overly surprised,” he explained. “In addition to her commitment and organization in her schoolwork, Emmanuelle always seemed a caring and compassionate person. I know she has the character and skills to make great contributions in social work.”

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