2017 CAEOP Achiever Award Recipients
CAEOP presented CCSU Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) alumna Dr. Joanne Leon, Ph.D. and UConn Upward Bound alumna Aneela Shah with Achiever Awards at the 31st annual CAEOP Conference. Congratulations to them both for their outstanding accomplishments!
Dr. Joanne León is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been practicing Social Work in the area of mental health and school social work since 1998. She received her Bachelor’s in Social Work from Central CT State University where she is currently a faculty and Chair in the Social Work Department. She received her MSW from University of CT and her PhD. from Smith College in Social Work. Her research interests are in mental health with Latinos, inner-city children’s academic success as well as student retention in higher education. Dr. León is passionate about academic achievement as she is the first and only one in her family to receive a college degree. She immigrated to Hartford, CT from Puerto Rico when she was fourteen and attended Bulkeley High School. She went to college though the Educational Opportunity Program despite being in the U.S. for four years.
She has a State of Connecticut Department of Education Professional Educator Certificate in School Social Work. As a member of the Consolidated School District of New Britain she works with children and families as a school social worker. Her bilingual skills allow her to serve monolingual students and families with the services they need in their native language. Dr. León has a strong commitment to serving underrepresented populations whether it is through direct practice or research. She strives to foster a safe, respectful environment that enable students to demonstrate critical thinking, engage in faculty/student critical inquiry discussions that express social justice issues. She mentors students informally and through student club organizations such as Phi Alpha Honor Society. She models the role of a social work academic professional. She is committed to arming society with culturally competent social workers to be the voice of those who do not have one.
More importantly, Dr. León enjoys spending quality time with her husband and sons Alex and Xavier.
Aneela Shah moved to Hartford, CT from her native country Pakistan to USA in 1998. She started as an English Language Learner (ELL) student at Bulkeley High School and enrolled in the Upward Bound Program. Aneela graduated from Bulkeley in 2002 continued to earn her Bachelor’s degree in Molecular & Cell Biology from the University of Connecticut in 2007 and her Master’s in Public Health from Independence University in 2011.
Aneela worked in Public Health through Area Health Education Center (AHEC), a local non-profit, where she first began working with Hartford youth. Since then, she has been working for 8 years as the Director of Bulkeley High School’s College & Career Center, serving hundreds of Hartford students in preparing them for college. Aneela earned her M.Ed in School Guidance Counseling from Cambridge College in 2017 and is now also working at Classical Magnet School as a school counselor in addition to her work at Bulkeley High School.
CAEOP encourages all Connecticut TRIO and Educational Opportunity Programs alumni to add their name to the New England Educational Opportunity Association Alumni Directory.