Macaulay Honors College is pleased to announce the 2023 recipients of the Macaulay Pioneer Alumni Award. Michelle Pelan and Noa Krawczyk, both graduates of the Macaulay at Hunter College class of 2012, accepted their awards at the 5th annual alumni Fall Fête celebration on October 16. The award was created by the college’s alumni community to recognize graduates who embody Macaulay’s values by forging a unique path to success.
Both Michelle and Noa have pursued careers in evidence-based care and advocacy for those in need. Noa’s career reflects her commitment to solving one of the most acute problems of our time: the opioid and overdose death epidemic. And Michelle’s journey as a social worker has made her a leading voice in advocating for mental health care alternatives to incarceration and over-policing.
Macaulay’s Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Brianne Donnelly said, “the entire Macaulay alumni community is so proud of the work that Noa and Michelle have done. They represent how our graduates, just as they did when they were students, are passionate about creating solutions to problems that plague New York.”
Research and relentless advocacy have distinguished Noa Krawcyk as one of the leading scientific voices in her field. Noa is currently an assistant professor at the Department of Population Health at NYU Grossman School of Medicine, and a member of the Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy, a position she’s held since 2020.
Noa’s journey into the field of drug addiction treatment and prevention started during her time at Macaulay. After taking classes related to the topic and participating in the New York Peer Health Exchange Program, she used part of her Opportunities Fund to work in Brazil at an organization supporting communities affected by the crack epidemic. After graduating from Macaulay, she started her research career through the Mt. Sinai International Exchange Program for Minority Students where she collaborated with researchers from the State University of Rio de Janeiro, studying the relation between rates of suicide deaths among agricultural workers and pesticide use. She went on to earn a Fulbright Research Fellowship allowing her to lead her own study exploring barriers to health and social services faced by crack and multi-substance users. And in 2020 she earned a PhD from the Department of Mental Health at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health.
Michelle Pelan is currently the Clinical Director of a felony alternative to incarceration program at the Center for Justice Innovation, Manhattan Justice Opportunities division. In addition to working face-to-face with people charged with felonies to help connect them to social services, she oversees a large team of social workers and case managers.
Michelle’s commitment to social justice was cultivated as a student at the Macaulay, where she completed an honors thesis on the juvenile justice system. After graduating with a B.A. in Sociology, Michelle earned a Masters of Social Work at Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.
Prior to her current role, Michelle served as a social worker at the Center for Justice Innovation to provide alternative to detention and alternative to incarceration options to defendants with mental health issues. Her experience and penchange for leadership find her facing a judge in the Brooklyn courts, running intensive case management, and creating referral system procedures. After witnessing the injustices and difficulties in the court system, Michelle was offered an opportunity to help disempowered groups before arrest through harm reduction. She teamed up with the NYPD to pilot NYC’s first co-response team, where officers and mental health professionals responded together to calls involving the mentally ill.
Congratulations to both our Macaulay Pioneer Alumni Award winners!
2023: Michelle Pelan ’12 and Noa Krawcyk ’12
2022: Zuobin Tang ’05
2021: Liat Krawczyk ’09
2019: Brian Kateman ’11 and Sasha Ahuja ’09
2018: Christine Curella ’08
2017: Mary Pennisi ’08
2016: Thomas Brigandi ’12
Top: Michelle Pelan (left) receives her Pioneer award from Shanna Nevelev; Noa Krawczyk (left) receives her award from Nir Krawczyk ’17.