Leslie “Les” Letulle, MSSW ’69, has enjoyed a twenty-seven year career with the Menninger Clinic after social work professor George Thorman sparked his interest in family therapy. When Menninger relocated to Houston, Mr. Letulle served an additional ten years at the Family Service and Guidance Center in Topeka, KS. In addition to professor Thorman, he feels special gratitude to Martha Williams and Lou DeMoll, among others, for their tutelage and support.
Joan Framo Runfola, MSSW ’75, is a private psychotherapy practitioner and oncology social worker in northern New Jersey. She is also the director of CANHELP, an information and support service for people with cancer to help them find and choose evidence-based cutting edge, complementary and alternative treatments.
Libby McKnight, MSSW ’81, has recently joined the team at Deaf Access Solutions in Washington, D.C., as a staff interpreter.
Debra Rimmer, MSSW ’88, is the owner and director of Ottawa-based Compassion Wise, which provides support for stressed caregivers, professionals, and employees, and provides them with tools and plans to master the delicate balance of caretaking and self-care.
Libby Kuffner Nealis, MSSW ’96, currently serves as the director of policy and advocacy for the School Social Work Association of America (SSWAA) specializing in federal education and mental health policy. She also supports policy and programming for behavioral and mental health services in schools for the NEA Healthy Futures.
Linda E. Benavides, MSSW ‘99, is an assistant professor at Widener University.
Allison Behr, MSSW ‘03 currently works as care manager for Amerigroup conducting clinical reviews to aid psychiatric hospitals in determining the medical necessity of treatments such as inpatient psychiatric hospitalization, inpatient detoxification, psychiatric residential treatment, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient care. She also supervises Austin-area LMSWs training to become LCSWs. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kathryn “Katie” Grant Dilley, MSSW ’05, currently works as the program director of Forest Side Assisted Living but is transitioning to the eastern shore of Maryland in February, where she will assume the role of deputy director of mid-shore mental health.
Tiffany Kay Carpenter, MSSW ‘06, was recently promoted to the position of director of clinical intervention services at Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch in Oldham County, Texas. She comes to the position with five years’ experience as a clinical intervention specialist at the same facility.
Shamyla Tareen, MSSW ’06, is a therapist in private practice in Columbia, MD, a counselor at Montgomery College, and a clinical supervisor at the International Cultural Center in Gaithersburg, MD. Shamyla misses the sunny and relaxed vibe of Austin but is enjoying her challenging and amazing three part-time jobs back in her home state.
Tracy Bannister, MSSW ’08, is a special education teacher for Fairfax County Public Schools near Alexandria, Virginia. She completed her field placement in Hawaii before moving to the Washington, D.C. area, where she previously spent two years with the IAFF Foundation.
Amelia Popham, BSW ’08, is a social science research analyst at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services where she currently evaluates anti-poverty, employment and training programs funded by Health and Human Services.
Meredith E. Bagwell-Gray, MSSW ‘09, is excited to be completing her dissertation, a qualitative descriptive study of sexual health among women who have experienced intimate partner violence. She also holds a position at Chrysalis Shelter for Victims of Domestic Violence and loves working in direct practice as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence.
Tiffany Oscar, MSSW ’09, is currently completing her MPA at American University and works as a training coordinator at Lutheran Social Services in Washington, D.C.
Yolanda Rodriguez-Escobar, PhD ‘10, was recently promoted to the position of associate professor at Our Lady of the Lake University’s Worden School of Social Service in San Antonio. She served as the director of the BSW program for two years. She loves to mentor non-traditional/first-generation Latino students, and her passion is to teach both policy and practice courses.
Katherine Sanchez, PhD ’11, MSSW ’92, was recently awarded two prestigious research grants: $400,000 from National Institutes of Health to reduce mental health disparities among Hispanic populations and $200,000 from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid to screen Hispanic patients for depression and connect them with education and treatment options. She is an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Arlington, where her research focuses on integrated health care and the provision of socio-culturally, linguistically adapted models for the treatment of co-morbid mental and physical illness.
Amanda C. Baker, MSSW ’12, BSW ’09, is a clinical social worker for the Children’s National Medical Center. She was recently appointed as the chair of D.C.’s Human Trafficking Task Force direct service committee. Amanda is working to create D.C.’s only housing program for survivors of human trafficking by utilizing and mobilizing faith communities. She recently returned from working with the A21 campaign at the Greece/Macedonian border to provide refugees with crisis intervention.
Mark Elliott, MSSW ’12, opened a private practice and facilitates an intensive outpatient psychotherapy group with UT undergraduates at the Counseling and Mental Heath Center.
Emily Knox, MSSW ’13, works for the City of Austin as a crisis intervention social worker, where she assists individuals in crisis situations including natural disasters, post-trauma, and housing displacement. Emily comes to the position from Harbor Hospice, where she counseled patients and families planning end-of-life care.
Rebecca Lengnick-Hall, MSSW ‘13, is a PhD student at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. Her research seeks to identify organizational factors that affect the implementation of evidence-based practice.
Marissa Bortenstein, MSSW ’14, serves as the director of social services at Brush Country Nursing and Rehabilitation, a skilled nursing facility providing hospice and long-term care and rehabilitation therapy in Austin.
Shanté Johnson, MSSW ’14, is a partnership specialist at Big Brothers Big Sisters Lone Star in Dallas. Ms. Johnson is an indispensible administrator in the mentor2.0 program, Big Brothers Big Sisters’ technology-enriched, email supported one-to-one youth mentoring program targeting high school students. Facilitating partnerships between Big Brothers Big Sisters, schools, companies and individuals, mentor2.0 supports high-impact mentoring relationships, providing high school students with the support and guidance they need to graduate high school and succeed in college and the workforce.
Katherine Keegan, MSSW ’14, manages the AmeriCorps VISTA Program at the Literacy Coalition of Central Texas in Austin, where she provides support for twenty AmeriCorps VISTA members at seventeen different Texas non-profit agencies. VISTA is a national service that supports community efforts to overcome poverty in America.
Tara Powell, PhD ’14, is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign where she has developed a school-based psycho-educational program to help children develop positive coping strategies in response to trauma and stress after a disaster. Tara also just completed a pilot study of post-disaster intervention for health care workers in Saipan and is commencing research on the impact of a post-disaster mental health program in Nepal.
Paula Yuma, PhD ’14, just finished her first semester as an assistant professor at Colorado State University and is expecting baby number two! She studies the effects of environmental, economic, and social characteristics of neighborhoods on the health and well being of individuals. Her dissertation examining the effects of community characteristics on physical activity in mothers and children received the Outstanding Dissertation Award at the University of Texas in 2015. Currently, she is working with the North Austin community and the Austin Police Department on a community revitalization initiative known as Restore Rundberg. She has published most recently in Pediatrics and the Journal of Trauma and Critical Care Surgery. She has teaching experience in the areas of research methods and theory and enjoys taking social work students into the community for service learning.
Samuel Elder, MSSW ’15, is a community support specialist for Thresholds of Chicago, an agency that provides heath care, housing, and other assistance to people with mental illness.
Bar Lehmann, MSSW ’15, is a community support specialist for Community Connections and a part-time research assistant for UT Austin’s Center for Addiction Research.
Evelyn Marquez, MSSW ‘15, BSW ‘13, recently contributed to Women on the Run, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugee’s report on refugees fleeing El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Mexico. Evelyn currently works as a social worker at Austin’s People’s Community Clinic, where she provides screening, assessments, crisis management, and therapy for individuals with depression and anxiety.
Claire Riesenberg, MSSW ‘15, is a family assessment social worker with Child Protective Services at the D.C. Child and Family Services Agency in Washington, D.C.
Elyssa Schroeder, MSSW ’15, is a survivor and program advocacy policy analyst with the Texas Council on Family Violence in Austin. Her professional interests include policy, program development, and aftercare facilities for victims of gender-based violence.