Born and raised in Brooklyn by way of Puerto Rico, Shamika Vargas is a licensed clinical social worker who has worked with justice involved families for almost 15 years. She is currently the director of mental health services at a Queens-based nonprofit dedicated to the reentry and healing of formerly incarcerated women and their families. In this role, she marries her love of program development and management and clinical practice. She is a passionate advocate in interagency collaborations aimed at reforming the criminal justice system and improving outcomes for women, particularly those at the margins. She is also an adjunct lecturer at the Columbia University School of Social Work teaching courses on mass incarceration and reentry in the Spring and contemporary social issues in the Fall. Her approach to teaching and facilitation focuses on understanding the roots and history of the oppression we see today and identifying where we now come in as thought leaders and change makers.
Shamika is particularly passionate about the experience of BIPOC women as providers and consumers of social services. She facilitates training workshops and 1:1 coaching sessions with seasoned and emerging professionals in topics related to professional development, trauma-informed care, DEI in the workplace, and gender and race in carceral and reentry systems. She received her B.S.W. from Marist College and her M.S.W from Columbia University, but her greatest work is seen in her only son, Joseph.