We are proud of our alumni and the positive impact they are making in their communities. Below, we celebrate the accomplishments that have been shared with us.
Are you a Steve Hicks School alum who would like to submit recent news? Submit your update here.
Wade Wilson, MSSW ’67, would love to hear from members of the class of 1967. Wade has recently closed his practice and is enjoying retired life. You can contact Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org. He promises not to visit without notice!
Charlotte Cooper, MSSW ‘69, closed her practice as a psychotherapist in 2014. Since 2010 she has worked as a consultant for NASW/TEXAS assisting members who are psychotherapists with reimbursement issues, and consulting on proposed legislation that affects patients and providers. Charlotte wrote, “This is one of the jobs I have had that is the most fun.”
Judy Schlotzhauer, MSSW ‘72, retired from community mental health work. She currently volunteers with Texas State Advocates and Texas NASW, as the Region 7 Board Representative. She wrote, “If you retire, consider volunteering your time with NASW!”
Rebecca L. Hegar, MSSW ‘75, recently retired and is professor emerita with The University of Texas at Arlington’s School of Social Work. Her daughter, Anna N. Hegar, is a UTA BSW ‘18, and granddaughter Emmy Neal, age 5, can whistle The Eyes of Texas! They all now live around La Grange.
Susan Kraus, MSSW ’78, has had a busy life in Kansas since graduation. She worked at Washburn University’s counseling center, taught graduate level classes and supervised social work interns at the University of Kansas, and maintained a private practice with a focus on women and relationship issues. She also wrote, as she puts it, “pretty much anything I could manage to complete in-between work, teaching, raising two kids (including a daughter with autism), house chores, carpool, marriage… basically a few decades of the working-mom tightrope.” She is an accomplished travel and fiction writer. She has published three novels (Fall from Grace, All God’s Children, and Insufficient Evidence), a series in a Kansas university town with a social worker protagonist. Insufficient Evidence tackles campus sexual assault in the hookup culture, Title IX, the legal system, and social media. Her writing has been described as genre-bending: a combo of socially responsible fiction, mystery thriller, and relationship/family dynamics. Learn more at susankraus.com
Ilene Federman, MSSW ‘82, has recently retired after 34 wonderful years as a LCSW.
Sharon McCauley, BSW ’86, was a full-time social worker at Robinson Development Center and Mexia State School for 12 years. She switched to long-term care for 14 years, and during the past six years she has worked in skilled home care. She has two sons, one of whom has been diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes. Sharon has been actively involved in the PTA at her sons’ school, and has served on multiple committees in leadership roles. Her goal is now to serve as the social worker at her sons’ school, and to obtain her master of social work degree. She is proud to have done all of the above while working full time as a social worker and mom. Her motto is, “If you care enough, it can be done.”
Lynn Marie Thompson, MSSW ‘87, is a visiting scholar at the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health at the University of California, San Diego. She researches factors that lead to long-term, drug-free remission of autoimmune diseases.
Martha Mosier, MSSW ‘90, has been appointed to the Texas State Board of Social Work Examiners. She is the vice president and chief operating officer of Hospice Brazos Valley in Bryan, Texas.
Ron Ayer, MSSW ’91, is the author of a new novel, Skubalon Storm: Secession, God & Country in a Possible World (Milwood Books, 2018). The novel is a futuristic comic satire on Texas politics and religion. Kirkus Reviews notes, “the plot is ingeniously inventive…” Learn more at skubalonstorm.com
Catherine Benavidez, MSSW ‘96, has retired as a social work case manager from Del Sol Medical Center in El Paso, where she worked for almost five years. She is now planning to volunteer for a community-based organization or agency that helps meet the needs of the most vulnerable.
Jessica (McDeavitt) Knudsen, MSSW ’99, has recently relocated back to Texas to become president and CEO of Clarity Child Guidance Center in San Antonio (claritycgc.org), which provides inpatient and outpatient behavioral health services for children ages 3-17. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
Tonya Lippert, MSSW ‘03, is the author of Goodbye, School (Magination Press, 2019), a picture book that shows children that there are ways to say goodbye that honor their love for something. She is also the author of a short story, “Misreadings,” which is part of the anthology Strongly Worded Women (Not a Pipe Publishing, 2018) and coauthor of Transforming ADHD (New Harbinger Publications, 2017). Tonya received her PhD from UTD. As a licensed clinical social worker, she works for Kaiser Permanente running mental health therapy groups and interviewing children and teens about concerns of abuse. During her free time, she writes for all ages.
Adam Redd West, MSSW ‘04, is an assistant professor at Western Kentucky University. He received his PhD in Human Development and Family Sciences from UT Austin in 2013. His research focuses on premarital and early marital relationships, romantic relationship education programs, and parenting in the context of chronic illnesses.
Raina Whitfield, BSW ‘05, is a senior manager with Transperfect, a family of companies providing language services and technology solutions for global business.
Erika Lindsay Flax, MSSW ‘11, is excited to announce that, in addition to serving as the program director with Center for Discovery in Fairfax, Virginia, she has opened her own private practice in the northern Virginia area. She is seeing clients of all ages and supervising LCSW candidates.
Clarissa Joy DiSantis Humphreys, MSSW ‘12, joined Durham University (United Kingdom) in August 2016 as the student support and training officer for sexual violence and misconduct. Hers was the first position of its kind in the UK. Clarissa is also registered with the Health & Care Professions Council in England, and is an accredited sexual violence liaison officer. She maintains her LMSW and LCDC status in Texas. In her free time, Clarissa volunteers as the mental health advisor for American Veterans Archaeological Recovery.
Courtney Stollon, MSSW ‘12, BSW ‘09, joined the Social Work Alumni Network (SWAN) Board in June 2018 and is now president-elect.
Jill Fiorillo, MSSW ‘13, BSW ‘12, received an award from the Central Texas African-American Family Support Conference in February 2018 for her work as a forensic social worker at Austin State Hospital. She is thankful for the mentorship she received from professor Mitch Sudolsky, who was her clinical supervisor, and for the opportunities she received as a research assistant for professors Mary Velasquez and Kirk von Sternberg.
Jaclyn Griffith, MSSW ’13, moved to Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2016 and became an LCSW. She worked for two years as a therapist at an inpatient psychiatric hospital, on a unit with people who had recently attempted suicide. She now provides therapy in a private practice that focuses on integrative wellness. Jaclyn takes a humanistic approach and specializes in working with people suffering from intrusive thoughts, depression and anxiety disorders, and suicidal ideation. She is thankful every day for the strong clinical foundation that she received at UT Austin.
Jocelyn Chamra-Barrera, MSSW ‘14, is a bilingual support coordinator at the Christi Center. She has recently joined the Social Work Alumni Network (SWAN) board.
Lizzy Ball, BSW ‘15, is a senior case manager at CuraLinc Healthcare. She got her master’s degree from Texas State University in 2016.
Eden Hernandez Robles, PhD ‘15, is director of Empower Change, the Paso del Norte Center for Mental and Emotional Wellbeing. The center promotes collaboration among expert faculty and mental health professionals at The University of Texas at El Paso, New Mexico State University, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, William Beaumont Army Medical Center and the Department of Veterans Affairs. The center also provides professional development opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students.
Sydney (Ramirez) Zuiker, BSW ’15, got married, moved to Houston, and works as a community education specialist for Crime Stoppers in the Safe Schools Institute. With her team, she educates students, school staff and parents on topics such as cyber safety, bullying, and teen-dating violence. She is proud that the safe schools program, since its inception in 1997, has removed more than 300 weapons from school campuses before they could be used to harm any students or faculty. She feels privileged to get to work every day to make Houston and Texas safer places.
Adam MacDonald, MSSW ’16, found his calling in research and therapy after working in emergency rooms and state hospitals. He is now part of a UTHealth research team that focuses on new ways of delivering person-centered, strengths-based, non-traditional mental healthcare. He also works with individuals and couples at a local group practice in Austin.
Molly Platz, MSSW ’16, has stayed within the Steve Hicks School of Social Work family, working for the Texas Institute for Excellence in Mental Health and the Institute for Military & Veteran Family Wellness. Her duties include mostly management, outreach and communications. She has worked in collaboration with Texas HHSC to implement an adult mental health program throughout the state, and contributed to a number of projects aimed at integrating research and practice to support military/veteran connected families. Molly has really enjoyed blending her clinical, person-centered training with her administrative, “big picture” skills. She is also thankful for having been able to pursue her personal passion for supporting community initiatives associated with reproductive/sexual
health and safety.
Ellen Barg-Walkow Wilder, MSSW ’16, is currently a middle-school social worker at Austin Discovery School (ADS). She provides individual and group counseling to students, facilitates restorative justice circles, and provides referrals for staff and families. She is passionate about collaborating with other mental health professionals to provide better services to students and families at ADS. Ellen has recently completed EMDR training to increase her skills to support survivors of sexual trauma. She also manages a small client caseload as a volunteer intern at Capital Area Counseling. Ellen married her husband, Thomas, in January 2018. They are enjoying married life in Austin.
Erica (Sheley) Woodall, MSSW ’16, got married and has a new name! She is completing her third year as a school-based, mental-health provider with Intervention Services in Williamson County. She is excited at the prospect of completing her supervised hours in May, and hopes to be an LCSW by July of this year.
Cynthia Alonzo, BSW ’18, is the direct support provider supervisor to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities at Down Home Ranch. She is starting to look into graduate social work programs. As a first-generation college student, she is finding the graduate school application process challenging
to navigate. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kcie Driggers, MSSW ‘18, is working as a geriatric care manager for Senior Services of Austin. She has recently joined the Social Work Alumni Network (SWAN) board.
Kimberly Garcia, MSSW ‘18, BSW ‘17, is a bilingual therapist with the Children’s Assessment Center in Houston. Kimberly provides therapeutic services and promotes holistic healing for children and their families who have been impacted by sexual abuse.
LaDawnya Hooks Gonzalez, MSSW ‘18, is working as a therapist for Waterloo Counseling Center’s Project VALOR (Veterans and Loved Ones Restored). Veteran mental health is a personal passion of LaDawnya, who has many connections to the military/veteran community, including both of her parents, who are Texas veterans. While she was in the master of social work program, she was fortunate to complete her final field placement at the VA Outpatient Mental Health Clinic.
Colleen Maher, MSSW ‘18, is currently working as a school-based therapist for Integral Care. She has recently joined the Social Work Alumni Network (SWAN) and has been elected treasurer.
Amanda Shea Mills, MSSW ‘18, is a clinical social worker at Foundation Communities in Austin.
Kayla Richards, MSSW ‘18, is working as a pediatric neurosurgery social worker at Dell Children’s Medical Center. She has recently joined the Social Work Alumni Network (SWAN) Board and has been elected board secretary.