We are proud of our alumni and the positive impact they are making in their communities.
Terri Spahr Nelson, BSW ’87; MSSW ’88: One of my longtime endeavors is being the owner of a small publishing company that focuses on resources for sexual assault and trauma survivors and professionals–a topic close to my heart. This has been a collaborative effort that includes a diverse national advisory council of survivors and experts with a wide range of expertise. We have been offering our publications for 20 years in English, Spanish, Large Print and Braille for adults, college students, teens/parents, military, veterans and professionals. I am proud to announce our newest booklets became available in January 2022: Coping with Sexual Assault for Male Survivors and Their Loved Ones, Coping with Sexual Assault for LGBTQIA+ Survivors and Their Loved Ones. In the process of developing these publications (and in my private practice), I have learned so much about survivors and resilience. The prevalence and risk of sexual assault especially among LGBTQIA+ persons is heartbreaking. I do this work because I know these resources are vital. I trust they will reach survivors to let them know that healing is possible and they are not alone.
Michele Moore, BSW ’92: I have the pleasure of serving on the Board of Directors for the Henk I. Robinson Foundation where we believe that every child deserves the right to dream of what is to come. We provide schools in disenfranchised communities around the world with the necessary tools and equipment. We traveled to Accra, Ghana in 2021 to offer support to over 350 students and teachers of Marfokrom Basic School. It was an awesome feeling donating supplies including laptops for the teachers; transforming and creating a small library, a science lab, an outdoor gardening area, among numerous other projects. Everyone seemed so grateful for the support, and the children were beyond amazing.
John Thomas, MSSW ’97: I was named the Executive Director of the Peer Mentored Care Collaborative and Director of Population TeleHealth and Care Innovation. Additionally, I received a promotion to Associate Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology.
Jane Norwood, MSSW ’85, PhD ’02: I am surprised to find myself still employed in the social work field at the age of 75. After retiring from a 23-year career at the agency currently known as Family and Protective Services, I started receiving calls from friends and colleagues searching for help with time-sensitive projects. I accepted an assignment as training director for a nine-month technology modernization program for the state of Indiana. Nine months became 18, and I enjoyed every minute. The next call came from a colleague in California. She was County Director for the Human Services Agency which included Child Welfare Services. Her county was due to complete the federal and state required Child and Family Services Review and the person on her staff who was assigned the documentation resigned to accept a promotion to another agency. The CFSR report requires intensive data interpretation and hundreds of pages of narrative. I was happy to relieve the rest of the staff of that burden so that they could spend their time doing the really important work of using the CFSR findings to improve practice. Now back in Austin I still work remotely (part time) for HSA providing analysis and explanation of the federal quarterly Quality Performance Measures and the state required process measures and, of course, managing the CFSR when it comes around. I love my job. It allows me to play with two of my favorite things, numbers and writing, and I feel that I provide a service to my brother and sister social workers who may not enjoy data analysis and documentation as much as I do. They seem to appreciate what I do.
Nicole Gollis Golden, MSSW ’04: I am the new Executive Director of Texas Gun Sense, a statewide nonprofit that advocates for strategies to prevent gun violence.
Carly Bassett, MSSW ’08: Founded Moonstone Counseling with Grace Gould, MSSW ’15, a group psychotherapy practice in Austin in March 2020. After winter storms of 2021 impacted the community, the group dedicated time and resources to provide short-term therapy at no-cost to individuals in need of mental health services. Due to the high demand for the free services, Moonstone partnered with ATX Mental Health Fund to raise additional funds, and serve even more clients. Fellow clinicians in the area also volunteered time and support to this cause. Carly spoke to the Statesman about collective trauma following the storm, and about community resources in this article.
Gloria Chen, BSW ’09: I’ve been hired on as the Transplant Social Work Supervisor for the new Abdominal Transplant Center at Dell Seton Medical Center at UT Austin. I’m excited to be starting this new transplant program at Dell Seton!
Sarah Robinson, MSSW ’10: My husband and I welcomed a baby girl in February 2019, and we opened a new group practice during the pandemic in 2020, and moved into our own office building later that year!
Ratonia Runnels, MSSW ’01, PhD ’12: I currently serve in a dual role as the Grace Project Director at Legacy Counseling Center in Dallas, Texas. Legacy Counseling provides mental health and substance abuse treatment to men and women living with HIV/AIDS. It is an LGBTQIAA friendly community. The Grace Project National Conference for Women Living with HIV/AIDS is the largest country in the world specifically for women living with HIV. I feel honored and blessed to lead such a wonderful and necessary program.
Aftyn Behn, MSSW ’16: I was hired as the National Campaigns Director for RuralOrganizing.org working in key 2022 senate states. It’s a big dela, and UTSSW played a major role in my professional trajectory!
Wysonda “Torri” Smith, MSSW ’16: I just left my previous employment at BS&W McLane Children’s Medical Center as the emergency department social worker after a little over 4 years. I just accepted a job as a victim services counselor for the Austin Police Department.
Danielle Redhead, BSW ’19: In October 2020, I started a new position at the UT Youth Engagement Center in Houston. The UT Youth Engagement Center is located within the Longhorn Center for School Partnerships under the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement. We are partnered with 9 HISD schools to assist students with Join UT Youth Engagement and receive guidance on your college journey. UT Youth Engagement assists students with college applications (no matter the college/university), scholarships, FAFSA/TASFA, community service, leadership development and more!