Psy.D. Award Winner Announced
Samantha Wertheimer, a Year V student in the Psy.D. Program, has been awarded the fifth annual Stephen N. Berk Memorial Award.
The award was established in 2012 to honor a Psy.D. faculty member who passed away in February of that year. Dr. Stephen Berk was seen as a strong role model for students and colleagues on how to balance a stellar career with family — in addition to distinguished career achievement, he was a dedicated father, husband and friend. The department wanted to recognize Dr. Berk’s lifelong work as a clinician, educator and mentor through a scholarship for students who exhibit his outstanding qualities.
“The recipient of this year’s award was chosen from a list of accomplished Psy.D. students,” says Cheryll Rothery, Psy.D., ABPP, associate professor of psychology, director of clinical training, and chair of the department.
“In addition to an impressive record of academic and clinical success, Samantha is our best example of a rising “citizen psychologist,” a term used by APA President-Elect Dr. Jessica Henderson Daniel to describe psychologists who step out of their offices and roll up their sleeves to serve their communities and those in need.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree in Criminology at the University of Pennsylvania, Wertheimer earned her master’s degree in Clinical and Counseling Psychology as part of the M.S./Psy.D. track at CHC.
“I chose the program at CHC because of its holistic approach to teaching and practice,” says Wertheimer. “Not only does CHC offer the unique combination of a program oriented in psychodynamic and family systems theory, but also, it highlights the importance of being a humanitarian, maintaining cultural competence and serving the community.”
While in the program, Wertheimer was chair of the Human Rights Forum, a group of Psy.D. students dedicated to bettering the lives of those in the community. The members hold drives to collect clothing, books, food and personal items for women and children served by Women Against Abuse and refugee and asylee clients served by the Nationalities Service Center and the SSJ Welcome Center.
“It was clear to the faculty that Samantha exemplifies so much of what impressed us about Dr. Berk, and that she will continue Dr. Berk’s legacy of contributions and dedication to the field and the people it serves,” adds Rothery.
The criteria for the award capture the essence of Dr. Berk and are academic excellence, leadership in and beyond the program, commitment to service, sense of humor and joie de vivre, which Wertheimer says comes from helping to better the lives of others.