We are proud of our alumni and the positive impact they are making in their communities.
Adolfo Reyes, MSSW ‘73, is working on a contract-basis serving hospice and home health clientele in the Rio Grande Valley. He turned 74 this year.
Chris Finch, BSW ‘78, has spent his entire social work career in the U.S. Virgin Islands. He started as a foster care social worker, was executive director of Lutheran Social Services of the Virgin Islands for 15 years, and commissioner of the Virgin Islands Department of Human Services for eight years. In 2017, after Hurricanes Irma and Maria hit the islands, he put his consulting work aside and went back to Lutheran Services to direct their disaster response work. He is now wrapping up a job as director of Lutheran Disaster Response, for which he has been managing a volunteer program to repair hurricane-damaged houses of low-income senior citizens and persons with disabilities. He recently became chairman of the board for the only hospitals on St Croix and St Thomas. In 1988 Chris earned a Master in Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School at Harvard University.
Sharon Morgan, BSW ‘78, is a Structured Literacy Dyslexia Interventionist. She enjoys working with dyslexia students in Austin. She received her Master of Education in Advanced Literacy Instruction from Concordia University in 2011.
Bob Teague, MSSW ‘93, is the assistant dean for admissions and student services at the University of California’s Berkeley School of Social Welfare.
Monica Furey Peloso, MSSW ‘94, is in her seventh year on the Cheyenne Mountain School District Board of Education, and third year as president. She is also president of the Colorado Association of School Boards, representing all 178 school districts in Colorado. She recently began teaching in the University of Colorado Springs’ newly launched Social Work Program.
Don Binnicker, MSSW ‘94, has been elected to the board of directors of Texas CASA. He is CEO of CASA of Tarrant County, and has almost 19 years of experience working in Child Protective Services of Tarrant and Travis Counties. AT CPS, his roles included investigations supervisor and supervisor of specialized units for child fatalities, sexual abuse, several physical injuries, school investigations and high-profile media cases.
Paul Mott, BSW ‘95, invites people to check out his Facebook blog A’Pauled – A Shared Life Journey.
Dorie J. Gilbert, PhD ’96/ MSSW ’92, has been named Dean of the Brailsford College of Arts & Sciences at Prairie View A&M.
Lauren Michelle Barrash, MSSW ‘01, is a business development/physician liaison for Houston Methodist Hospital. She obtained an MBA from Rice University in 2008. In 2017 she started her surprising best role yet when she became a mom.
Michelle Ballan, PhD ‘02, is professor and associate dean for research at the School of Social Welfare and professor of family, population and preventive medicine at the Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University. She is the recipient of the 2020 SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, and the first social work professor at Stony Brook University to win this award.
Heidi Ann Shanklin-Spock, MSSW ’04, BSW ’02, has worked as an aging life care manager in Austin for more than 13 years. She recently started her own aging life care management company, Spock Care Management LLC, assisting seniors and their family members. Her background in home health and hospice, as well as her work as an LMSW, have been beneficial to her role as an aging life care manager.
Candi Gadison, MSSW ‘07, is the executive director and owner of Intervention Services, PLLC, a small mental health counseling agency in Georgetown, Texas. The agency provides school-based mental health services to schools in Central Texas. They’ve expanded to provide outpatient counseling services and have partnered with psychiatric nurse practitioners to increase access to mental health services in rural communities.
Stellamaris Bonney, MSSW ‘08, BSW ‘01, is the behavioral health ombudsman for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. She’s helped two of her children graduate from college, and is currently assisting her youngest daughter obtain an engineering degree from George Washington University. She is looking forward to retiring soon to focus on growing her business and working as an advocate in the United Nations for a third-world country or Nigeria, where she was born.
Noelita Lugo, MSSW ’09, running for the Austin ISD school board District 8, At-Large seat.
Ilene Blumberg, MSSW ‘10, is a program manager at Integral Care in Austin.
Velma Metz, MSSW ‘10, is a psychotherapist at Baylor Scott & White.
Colette Nies, MSSW ’10, is running for Comal County Commissioner, Precinct 3.
Stephanie Eisenbaum, BSW ‘11, is a case manager at Houston Methodist Hospital.
Cheryl Jones Jobe, MSSW ’11, is the director of donor relations for The Visiting Nurse Association of Texas. She recently got married and lives in Irving, Texas.
Lucrece Pierre-Carr, MSSW ‘11, is a director of the Crisis Services Unit in the Behavioral Health Services Section of the Health and Human Services Commission, overseeing public mental health crisis, forensic, and jail diversion programs across Texas.
Fuji Robledo, MSSW ‘11, is a doctoral student in the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Darady Bitter, MSSW ‘12, is a senior social worker for the Department of Veteran Affairs in Austin.=
Daniela Boyce, MSSW ‘12, is a social worker with the Dell Medical School at UT Austin and Dell Children’s Medical Center.
Sarah Hogan Garnto, BSW ’12, and her husband welcomed baby boy William on April 18, 2020. They currently live in Nashville, Tennessee.
Tara Moore, MSSW ‘12, has her private practice and also works for the HALO Project, an organization that serves foster and adoptive parents, in Edmond, Oklahoma.
Cesar Sandoval, MSSW ‘12, reached five years of employment as a clinical social worker with the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota. He was awarded the Mayo Clinic Social Work Individual Achievement Award in 2019. This year he married his fiancé, whom he met in the Peace Corps after graduating from UT Austin.
Jennifer (Bliss) Foreman, BSW ‘13, is a licensed clinical social worker with Tralee Crisis Center in Pampa, Texas. She received her master of social work from Texas State University in 2014.
Delilah Dominguez, MSSW ‘14, is a third-year student in the Quinnipiac University Physician Assistant (PA) Program. She received the American Academy of PA’s Student of the Year Award, which honors a student who has demonstrated exemplary service and leadership. Since becoming a PA student, Delilah has been committed to advocacy and social justice. She has dedicated more than 240 hours of her time to volunteer work. She graduates in October.
Cynthia Jimenez, BSW ‘14, is a neighborhood relations coordinator for the City of El Paso’s Police Department. She graduated with a Master of Science in Social Work degree from The University of Texas at El Paso this past May. She shared that completing internship hours during a pandemic was challenging, but she is eager to see how these unprecedented times affect best practices for social workers around the globe. At her job, Cynthia supervises the Police Area Representative Officers under the Central Regional Command. She greatly enjoys the challenging and rewarding opportunities that stem from connecting the community with the El Paso Police Department.
Hailey Butchart, MSSW ‘15, is a school social worker at Global Preparatory Academy at Riverside 44 in Indianapolis, Indiana.
Maija Gutekunst, MSSW ‘15, BSW ‘13, is a case manager at St. David’s Health Care in Austin. She and her husband have welcomed their second child into their family when they adopted their daughter Isabella earlier this year. Isabella arrived in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic and they are in love with her.
Faith Sandberg, MSSW ‘15, BSW ‘12, moved to Iowa to take a job as senior advisor with the Iowa Department of Human Services. She received a master of public affairs from the LBJ school in 2015. She married David Rodriguez on December 14, 2019.
Caroline Gonzales, BSW ‘16, is a social worker with Hospice Austin. She received her master of social work from UT Arlington in 2017.
Molly Cook, MSSW ‘17, is outpatient program director for Niznik Behavioral Health in Dallas.
Callie Jones, MSSW ‘17, has obtained her LCSW and is developing a private practice called Kleer Counseling in Austin.
Natalie Jorn, MSSW ‘17, has moved from direct practice to fundraising for the DoSeum-San Antonio’s Museum for Kids. She loves the fact that the flexibility of her LMSW allowed her to make this move.
Luis Quintero, MSSW ‘17, is a medical social worker at Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin.
Joanna Windom, MSSW ‘17, BSW ‘12, moved to a new group therapy job in November 2019. In February of this year she transitioned from group therapist to UR specialist. She lives in Lewisville, Texas, and is working toward her LCSW.
Yeonwoo Kim, PhD ‘18, is an assistant professor in the University of Texas at Arlington’s College of Nursing and Health Innovation. She was recently awarded an R03 grant titled “Neighborhood Socioeconomic Environments and Social Disparity in Child Obesity: The Fragile Families & Child Wellbeing Study” from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD).
Dora Gonzalez, MSSW ‘19/MA’19, BSW ‘16, is a bilingual social worker with Austin Voices for Education and Youth.
Melina Acosta, BSW ‘19, is a site coordinator for Communities in Schools of San Antonio. She is working toward obtaining her LCSW. Melina will be featured in an audio interview for Active Minds’ (ActiveMinds.org) virtual Send Silence Packing exhibit in honor of Suicide Prevention Month.
Alexandra Anne Lawson, MSSW ‘19, BSW ‘12 is a school social worker at KIPP Austin Public Schools
Mikayla Lewison, BSW ’19, was a legal assistant at Scott H. Palmer, P.C. in Dallas during her gap year after graduating from UT. In August 2020, she began her legal career as a 1L student at St. Louis University School of Law, Class of 2023.
Audrey Spanko, MSSW ‘19/ BSW ‘11, is running for Texas Senate District 1.
Reese Brinkley, BSW ‘20, is a mentor for SWEEP (Social Work Education Enhancement Program), which serves undergraduate students at the Steve Hicks School.
Toni Moreno, PhD ‘20, is assistant director for Hispanic and First-Generation Student Retention at Texas State University.