School of Social Work

2021 Commencement Week Spotlight: Kessy Moreau, MSW

May 4, 2021

Kessy Moreau was thrilled when she was accepted to her top two colleges, but her short list did not include Nyack College. Her family had been a part of a Christian and Missionary Alliance church since Kessy was seven years old. Being the oldest of her siblings, her mother preferred that she not leave the state and was able to convince her to apply for admission to Nyack.

“The weirdest thing happened, that until this day I can only explain as a God moment. I received a letter from my top school stating that there was an issue with my FAFSA and would have to complete it again. I waited to see if Nyack would make the same request,” she explains. Instead the letter she did receive from Nyack informed her that she would be receiving grant money. This aid made earning her undergraduate degree in psychology affordable and a financial relief because she had plans, even before her 2016 graduation, to pursue a master’s degree and eventually a Ph.D.

Her parents tried to sell her on studying nursing, an idea she rejected. The compromise was that she would choose a major in the healthcare field.

“I think they assumed I would study physical therapy or occupational therapy, but the joke was on them when I said psychology,” she quips. “I was always the person that people came to talk to when they were going through life issues. Whether they were my age, younger, or even older than me they always knew that I would listen without judgement and I would offer my honest opinion. I always attributed what I was doing to psychology. I was also very curious about why people behave the way they do, and when it came time to declare my major, it just made sense.”

The 2021 Master of Social Work honors graduate, makes it abundantly clear that—like her snub of a nursing career—she did not want to study social work either.

“All I knew about social workers was that they removed children from their homes. I had a plan to pursue law, which is why I minored in criminal justice. When I felt the call to social work, I ignored it for a couple of months. But I had done things outside of the will of God before and I did not want to go back to that place. I wanted to be obedient to God, so I applied to the program one week before classes started in fall 2018.”

Though obedient to the call, she followed God’s lead…begrudgingly.

“I remember beginning the program with the mindset that I did not want to really interact with other people. I just wanted to finish the program and move on. I also felt that I lacked empathy. After getting the chance to interact with clients through my internship opportunities, I felt like the Grinch whose heart grew three sizes. There is nothing more special than getting to be a part of an individual’s journey.”

Kessy Moreau is a classic example of Nyack’s core value of personal transformation—beginning with the irony that she was not even interested in attending Nyack.

“I don’t think I would have been the person that I am today without Nyack. I found my purpose while at Nyack. I discovered my spiritual gifts while at Nyack. I have encountered Jesus in ways that I cannot even describe. There is something special about Nyack, every time I try to leave, I always get pulled back. Let’s hope the next time I come back, it’s to teach. That would be a full transformation. From student to professor!”

What Kessy will never forget about Nyack is how faculty are accessible to students.

“I remember going through a rough season in life, and before a class started, I saw my professor in the hallway, and I asked her if we could pray either before class started or after. Feeling comfortable enough to ask my professor to pray for me is part of what makes Nyack so special. You do not get that in many schools.”

Having earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees at Nyack, in her rave review of faculty, she does get specific.

“Throughout my time at Nyack, I had the pleasure of being taught by amazing professors in the Psychology Department and the Criminal Justice Department— among them Professor David Chun, Dr. Agnia Assur and Prof. Jennifer Kimble, who are experts in their fields. During my time in the grad program, I had the pleasure of taking classes that Prof. Marcia Herrera taught, a social justice and diversity class and a policy course. I have never met anyone who teaches with such passion and authority. She has a way of captivating her students, and she is knowledgeable in every area. As I am preparing to go out into the field, I pray that I can be the same way.”

Kessy’s advice to prospective students?

“Find your community while you are at Nyack. Find a group of people who will pray with you and for you. Find a group of people who will rejoice with you when things are good and will cry with you when things are bad. Nyack has given me a community and I could not have asked to be a part of a better family.”

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