Kathy Greene and Richard (Rick) McGaffigan have a unique story to tell. They are originally from the east coast. Kathy is from Philadelphia and received her undergraduate degree in Human Services from Scranton University. And Rick is from the Boston area obtaining his BSSW from Salem State College. They both decided to go back for their MSW at SDSU after gaining years of work experience. The insight gained directed them to selecting Admin track which is where their paths crossed. However, it was not until they volunteered to campaign for Susan Davis and were assigned as partners to go door to door that they connected. They tried to maintain a somewhat covert relationship at school that is still going after 19 years.
Richard and Kathy graduated with their MSW in 1997 during SDSU’s 100th Anniversary. In her first year of the MSW program, Kathy was in the aging track which continues to remain her passion today. She was also involved with other social work related activities such as Lobby Days and NASW as a student. After graduation, she went on to serve as the Region E Director for the California NASW and was active in local and statewide policy work. Kathy is currently the Vice President of Operations for Silverado Memory Care Communities providing care for those suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. She first started out as a social worker at the first Silverado shortly after graduating from SDSU, then became an administrator for the facility, and she is now VP of Operations. Today, there are over 30 Silverado Memory Care communities. Her passion for the aging and administration is quite apparent. In 2008, she was awarded the prestigious President’s Award the highest honor for Silverado employees. The most rewarding experience about Kathy’s career is being able to cultivate caregivers and social workers to embrace the Silverado culture of love.
During Rick’s time at SDSU, he was involved in the Social Work Admin Network (SWAN), attended Lobby Days, and worked as a graduate assistant. In addition, he had the opportunity to play on the club hockey team providing a second chance at playing college hockey after playing Division II as an undergraduate. His internship at San Diego County Alcohol and Drug Services working on the development and implementation of Drug Courts motivated him to do a thesis that grew into a publication. Following graduation, Rick continued working with Dr. Segars, SDSU professor and partnered on a grant to evaluate the drug court program(s) in San Diego County. Currently, Rick is working for Prevention Research Center/Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation as a program director working with senior scientists on large NIH grants and statewide evaluations. Designing, implementing and evaluating programs that create community level change is rewarding work.
Kathy and Rick’s future goals include retiring and travelling together around the world. They also plan to be professional volunteers and donate their time in various organizations they are passionate about. Some advice they offer to social work students is to start building your networks now. In addition, they each feel that an MSW offers an abundance of diverse opportunities to use social work skills in a variety of fields if you are open to new ideas and experiences.
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Written by: Jennifer Cosio, MSW, PPSC