Still Celebrating 2020 Grads: Luis Diaz, Master of Social Work Alumnus

“I think Nyack chose me; I didn’t choose Nyack,” reflects Nyack School of Social Work 2020 graduate Luis Diaz.

A true product of God at work doing more than Luis could ask or imagine, he has come a long way from the educational journey that began in earnest when he earned a GED. Detoured in life by distractions that too often deceive and derail youth in urban neighborhoods, grace and mercy continued to follow him as did the prayers of his mother.

With extraordinary resolve, the 2017 alumnus of Nyack’s Bachelor of Science in Organizational Management program went full steam ahead and after graduation entered his master’s degree studies. That is, until COVID-19 restrictions hit the pause button on what he loved so much about studying at Nyack College.

“My biggest challenge in coping with COVID-19 and the online transition was that I was not able to give my fellow students the same level of input in group discussions as I had in the past. When we met in groups, our voices had impact at the core, especially when discussing subject matters that are personal,” he shared in the spring 2020 School of Social Work newsletter.

But his May 2020 graduation was so close at hand, despite the pandemic, Luis found a way to persevere. “The way that I coped with COVID-19 and the online transition was through focusing on my education. With more time on my hands, I was able to learn more about online communication platforms that made it easy to stay connected with my fellow students. In essence, I coped by learning a new way of doing things. Prior to the stay at home order, it was challenging to get online support from others. Suddenly people were eager to help each other because of spending more time indoors.”

Dean of the School of Social Work Dr. Kwiryung Yun recognized that Luis was “a hardworking student who produced good papers.” But achieving his goal was about more than being a good student. Institutional Registrar Evangeline Couchey discovered the motivation behind Luis’s determination and hard work. When she hand-delivered Luis’s degree, she filmed him with his grandmother. He acknowledged that God had put him on the right path. “I’m excited to see what doors He’s going to open. I’m glad I got to give this diploma to my grandmother. Hopefully, it is not my last gift. This is my way of saying to her that I succeeded academically, and she can see that I received my master’s.”

Learn more about Nyack’s School of Social Work.