The social work internship program at CancerCare  serves as a second-year field placement for advanced clinical students who have an interest in the field of oncology social work. It offers students an opportunity to expand their knowledge of the physical, emotional, social and spiritual impact of cancer on a person’s life. Interns can refine social work skills pertinent to working with people who are living with cancer through individual counseling, support groups, education and resource navigation services. Populations include patients, caregivers and the newly bereaved. Supervision and mentorship are provided by oncology social workers specializing in psychosocial oncology.

Educational Objectives

Our program is guided by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) Social Work Competencies that graduating MSW students are expected to acquire in their master’s program. In addition to the CSWE competencies, this internship will:

  • Integrate classroom theory and learning with practice in a real-world setting
  • Broaden the social work student intern’s knowledge of oncology social work
  • Address the multi-faceted experience and dynamics of a cancer diagnosis
  • Build competencies related to crisis points in the cancer trajectory
  • Educate the social work student intern on the different types of cancer and current treatments
  • Develop the social work student intern’s understanding of how to address the psychosocial and practical needs of people affected by cancer
  • Expand and refine fundamental clinical skills
  • Provide training on an array of clinical modalities and evidence-based techniques
  • Further develop the social work student intern’s professional identity as a social worker


The CancerCare Social Work Internship Program is comprised of both experiential and didactic components through the provision of direct services and participation in our comprehensive training program.

Direct services include:

  • CancerCare Hopeline — Student interns will staff our national Hopeline alongside our social work staff providing information, education, financial assistance, support and referrals to callers impacted by cancer.
  • Counseling Services — Interns will provide short-term, strengths-based counseling that is supportive as well as goal-oriented to address both the emotional and practical challenges that arise from cancer.
  • Resource Navigation Services — Student interns will engage in our unique resource navigation model to provide essential cancer-focused guidance, information and resources to help clients better cope with cancer.
  • Support Groups — Interns will have the opportunity to co-facilitate support groups via video-conferencing, over the telephone, in-person and online using a password-protected message board format.
  • Community Programs — Interns can contribute to our community programs, including workshops for those impacted by cancer.

The Student Internship Training Program includes:

  • In-Service Trainings — Trainings are facilitated by CancerCare Staff who have expertise on a variety of psychosocial oncology topics including cognitive behavioral therapy for cancer clinicians; evidenced-based interventive techniques; cultural humility; working with special patient populations; caregiver issues; end of life; grief and bereavement; and professional identity.
  • Student Process Group — Group supervision provides a venue for student interns to further develop their clinical expertise in psychosocial oncology through discussion, clinical case presentations and mutual support.
  • Supervision — Student interns receive dedicated supervision with their assigned field instructor, as well as task supervision with other staff.
  • Professional Development Trainings — Students can also engage in monthly Social Work professional development trainings featuring guest speakers who present on an array of topics surrounding a cancer diagnosis, treatment and psychological/emotional impact.

Meet Our Current Students

Sarah Naibzada
Social Work Intern

Sarah Naibzada is a second-year master of social work student at New York University. She attended Montclair State University for her bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in social work. Sarah’s professional areas of interest include group and individual work with adolescents and early adults as well as generational trauma.

Christina Pugliese
Social Work Intern

Christina is a third-year student at NYU Silver School of Social Work pursuing her master’s degree. She attended the University of Rhode Island for her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Christina’s professional areas of interest include working with children, older adults, groups, and international social work.

Sara Tarascio
Social Work Intern

Sara Tarascio is in her last year of the Social Work BSW Program at Iona University. She aims to get her masters after she graduates in the spring. Her professional areas of interest include working with mental health, addiction, and in the medical social work field. She has a passion for social work and has wanted to be in this field since she was young.

Michelle Weiner
Social Work Intern

Michelle Weiner is a second year master of social work student at Wurzweiler School of Social Work | Yeshiva University. She attended Touro College for her bachelor’s degree in psychology. Michelle’s professional areas of interest include working with children, adolescents, and young adults, particularly in oncology social work.

Sara Whelan
Social Work Intern

Sara Whelan is a second year master of social work student at New York University Silver School of Social Work. She attended Penn State University for her bachelor’s in psychology and criminology. Sara’s professional area of interest include working in a pediatric oncology unit of a hospital helping children and families impacted by childhood cancer.

Melanie Nebavlakis
Social Work Intern

Melanie Nebavlakis is a third year master of social work at Touro College. She attended Brooklyn College for her bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a minor in Thanatology. Melanie’s professional areas of interest include working with the bereaved and engaging in practice in a hospital, hospice or palliative setting.

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