Commencement Speakers

Tazin Banu, Master of Social Work 2020 Class Speaker 

Tazin Banu is a second-generation Bangladeshi-American woman, who was born and raised in Queens, New York City. She holds a BA in psychology from New York University. 

While at Smith, Banu completed two internships in NYC. Her first was at a psychoanalytic training institute providing psychodynamic therapy. Banu's second internship was at a child welfare agency which provided individual psychotherapy and dyadic attachment therapy. These experiences deepened Banu's understanding of affirming clinical care and set her on a path of lifelong commitment to anti-oppressive practice. 

Tazin has been an advocate for mental health awareness and social justice initiatives in the South Asian community. She founded Bengali Mental Health Movement, a collective that aspires to provide culturally-specific & linguistically-accessible resources for the Bengali community in order to break stigma and bridge the gap in seeking mental health services. Banu is driven by her dedication to accessibility of social services for the Bangladeshi population in New York City, and hopes that her master’s in social work will cultivate her passion towards community healing and wellness.

 

LaTasha Smith, Doctor of Philosophy 2020 Class Speaker

LaTasha Smith is a licensed clinical social worker and received a masters degree In social work from Loyola University Chicago and her Ph.D. in clinical social work from Smith College in April 2020. 

Smith has joined the social work faculty as a professor at Fairfield University, beginning fall 2020, and will teach social justice, assessment, research methods and fieldwork courses. At Smith College School for Social Work, Smith was a Sotomayor Fellow for two years, and is currently an adjunct faculty member. She has also taught at Columbia University School for Social Work, as well as a course on mental health to medical school students at Universal Global Health Equity in Rwanda. Her current research is on internalized racial oppression and mental health from the perspective of African American women clinicians. 

Before her academic positions, Smith worked in a variety of clinical settings including outpatient, inpatient, hospital and private practice, Smith provided intensive brief, individual and group psychotherapy to adults and has experience in treating those with mood disorders, addictions, self injurious behaviors and eating disorders. Particular interests include group psychotherapy, working with trauma survivors and liberation from oppression. She has advanced training in group psychotherapy as a Certified Group Psychotherapist and throughout her career, has consistently worked with survivors of trauma. She currently has an online private practice in New York and Connecticut.

 

Ericka Hart, M.Ed., Commencement Speaker 

Ericka Hart (pronouns: she/they) is a black queer femme activist, writer, highly acclaimed speaker and award-winning sexuality educator with a master’s of education in human sexuality from Widener University. Ericka’s work broke ground when she went topless showing her double mastectomy scars in public in 2016. Since then, she has been in demand at colleges and universities across the country, featured in countless digital and print publications including BuzzfeedWashington PostAllureHuffington PostBBC NewsCosmopolitanLA WeeklyVanity FairW MagazineGlamourElleEssenceFaderRefinery 29 and is the face of three running PSAs on the television channel VICELAND. Ericka’s voice is rooted in leading edge thought around human sexual expression as inextricable to overall human health and its intersections with race, gender, chronic illness and disability. Both radical and relatable, she continues to push well beyond the threshold of sex positivity. Ericka is currently an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University’s School of Social Work and the CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College, a bratty switchy Sagittarius service bottom and misses Whitney more than you.