HOMETOWN: El Paso, Texas. CURRENTLY: Project coordinator for off-site services, Austin Child Guidance Center, Austin. MOST INFLUENTIAL PROFESSOR: Tammy Linseisen trained me to be the social worker that I am. I learned from her the importance of supervision, and that to best serve clients we have to learn about and challenge ourselves. MEMORY FROM FIELD: September 11 happened the morning that I was in my first field placement, with Child Protective Services. It was so raw. In many ways this set the tone in terms of how to be in the field – the professional use of self, and learning to process and manage your emotions to be most effective serving your clients. SOCIAL WORK INSIGHT: Trust the process. I remember getting frustrated with this at school because I didn’t know what it meant. I wanted to know exactly how to help my client and what was the right thing to say. And then with time I could really make sense of it: the fact that you will learn from your clients, and they will tell you if you are asking the wrong questions. That’s the epitome of being client-centered. DO YOU BLEED BURNT ORANGE? I do! I sucked it all up when I was in graduate school, I had season tickets for football and everything. And beyond sports, the university is incredibly reputable and I had a very positive experience at the School of Social Work. I don’t know how I could not be proud of being a Longhorn.
Alexa Levin Markoff, BSW ’73, is the director of development at Rape Victim Advocates in Chicago. This is the only rape crisis center in the city that has a single focus on sexual assault and gender-based violence.
Dawn Waldron Nelson, MSSW ’90, recently moved her private practice office to Rockwall Counseling, in Heath, Texas, where she enjoys a two-minute commute. Nelson sees children and adults for a variety of issues and provides social work supervision to those seeking advanced social work licensure. She is also a clinical instructor in social work at Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Herschel Knapp, MSSW ’95, has published the textbook Practical Statistics for Nursing Using SPSS (SAGE Publications, 2016). Another textbook, Introductory Statistics Using SPSS, will be published in October 2017. Both books come with downloadable data sets and tutorial videos to facilitate optimal learning. Knapp earned a doctoral degree in social welfare from UCLA in 2001.
Jennifer Luna Jackson, MSSW ’95, recently celebrated her 20th year working at the UT Austin School of Social Work. She continues to serve as director of career services and alumni relations. Her favorite part of her job is hearing about all the successes from our alumni at all stages of their careers.
Norma Gaytan Gonzalez, MSSW ’98, is a medical social worker at El Paso VA Health Care System. “If I help people, at least one person every day –because I might see six or seven people a day, plus all the calls I make and the walk-ins – that gives me a sense of accomplishment,” she says.
Elva Gaytan Smallwood, MSSW ’98, is a social worker in the special exempt unit at at El Paso VA Health Care System. She does registries for exposures hazards such as Agent Orange or oil well fires during military service, does intakes for patients who are being considered for organ transplants, and runs a support group for them. She loves it when she runs into old clients in the hallways and they tell her what’s new in their lives.
Amy Gaudet, MSSW ’00, accepted a position as a medical social worker at Texas Children’s Hospital last year after a fifteen-year-long career with Communities in Schools Houston and KIPP Houston Charter Schools.
Ramón R. Gómez, MSSW ’01, recently celebrated his tenth anniversary with the UT Austin School of Social Work, where he currently serves as the director of student and community affairs. Gómez loves his job and is grateful to work with such amazing colleagues that truly want to make this world a better place!
Diane Yentel, MSSW ’01, has been named as the new president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition, an organization dedicated to preserving existing federally assisted homes and housing resources, expanding the supply of low income housing, and establishing housing stability as the primary purpose of federal low-income housing policy.
Teri Geffner Schroeder, MSSW ’03, married fellow counselor William Schroeder in 2014 and opened a group counseling practice, Just Mind, in Austin, TX. As co-directors, Schroeder and her husband enjoy a busy practice and are looking forward to opening a second location in late 2016 or early 2017.
Izabel Caetano Francy, MSSW ’04, loves working as a faculty and staff therapist at the University of California San Diego. In March, she and her husband purchased their first home, where they live with their two young boys.
Carlye Levine, BSW ’04, received her MSSW in 2005 from Columbia University and returned to Austin in 2008. She worked as a hospice social worker for four years before joining Jewish Family Service in Austin in 2012. Levine received her LCSW earlier this year, and was recently promoted to senior adult services director. On March 23rd, she gave birth to her second son.
Marian Mahaffey, MSSW ’05, completed her final field placement in Romania in 2005 and went back the following year to teach as an assistant professor in social work at the University of the West in Timisoara, Romania. Mahaffey began in her current position as graduate program coordinator at the UT Austin School of Social Work in June 2006, and recently celebrated ten years of service with the university. She joined the Seton Social Work PRN pool in 2011 and earned her LMSW-AP in 2012.
Jessica Ramos, MSSW ’06, is the public policy director for the Texas Council for Developmental Disabilities.
Sharlie Velasco (formerly Gabb), MSSW ’07, is a senior social worker at Pathfinder, The Menninger Clinic’s community integration program in Houston. She has also maintained a small private practice for several years. In order to keep with the level of stress endemic to the social work field, she has resorted to running. To date, she has four marathons in the United States, and one in Belize.
Carly Bassett, MSSW ’08, worked for Hospice Austin for seven years before taking a position at Family Eldercare in 2015 as an in-home psychotherapist for home-bound older and disabled adults. Carly has also opened a private practice in Austin focused on helping clients experiencing grief, loss, and trauma. The practice offers clinical supervision as well. She has one daughter, Ruby, and will welcome a son in October.
Jessica Poor, MSSW ’09, works in mental health in rural Australia and recently got married.
Rebecca Shue, MSSW ’09, had a private practice in south Austin where she provides in-home and community-based counseling for children, teens, and adults. Since graduating, Shue has completed evidenced-based training in trauma-informed and EMDR therapy, and she is working towards full EMDR certification. An adjunct instructor for Indiana Wesleyan University’s online social work program, she enjoys educating future social workers from a Christian worldview. Recent courses have covered minority group relations, human behavior, social work practice, and social policy.
Brittany Bouffard, MSSW ’10, has returned from working in international mental health in Palestine, Jerusalem, and rural Tanzania. She landed in Denver, CO, where she is a therapist in community mental health and is opening a private practice. She came to these experiences after a fellowship and staff role at the University of Michigan’s counseling center.
Pamela A. Malone, PhD ’10, recently had her book, Counseling adolescents through loss, grief, and trauma, published by Routledge. She has presented at the Association for Death Education and Counseling for the past three years. She maintains a private practice in Austin, where she provides LCSW supervision. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Katy Marvel, MSSW ’10, currently works as a primary program therapist at Meridell Achievement Center, a residential treatment center specializing in psychiatry and neuropsychiatry for children and adolescents in Liberty Hill, TX.
Leesa Oliver, MSSW ’10, is a social worker with the Fort Bend County Mental Health Public Defender’s Office in Richmond, TX. Oliver collaborates with other providers, community organizations, and stakeholders to advocate for, develop, and improve access to social services for people in the criminal justice system dealing with mental health issues.
Anna Parris, MSSW ’10, has recently accepted a position as researcher at the University of Texas’ Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk. She left Child Protective Services after over six years of working as a child welfare and education collaborator.
Eden Robles, PhD ’10, joined the 2016 National Research Mentoring Network Steps Towards Academic Research Fellowship Program this past summer. She also received a fellowship award from the Interdisciplinary Training Institute on Hispanic Drug Abuse at the University of Southern California. Robles is a BUILD postdoctoral scholar at the School of Psychology in The University of Texas at El Paso.
Robin Drell, MSSW ’11, recently embarked upon a fruitful career as a social worker in the Cook County Health and Hospitals System in Chicago.
Affie Eyo-Idahor, MSSW ’11, has served as a program administrator at Western Oregon University since 2012, supporting first generation and culturally underrepresented students to reach their higher education goals. Eyo-Idahor married in 2013 and will celebrate her daughter’s second birthday this year.
Seth Horton, MSSW ’11, completed a fellowship in psychosocial rehabilitation at the Doris Miller Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Waco, TX, and subsequently accepted a job as a social worker at the Durham VA Medical Center in Durham, NC. After earning his LCSW in 2014, Horton has served in both the primary care and supportive housing divisions at DVAMC. He currently works in a newly established community-based case management program called ERANGE, which serves veterans living with serious mental illness in rural communities. Horton married his wife in 2011, became a father in 2012, and enjoys creating and performing electronic music.
Margaret Hughes, MSSW ’11, has worked as a medical social worker since graduating. She currently works for Humana in Austin, TX.
Mia Roldan, MSSW ’11, provides therapy to children, families, and adults from her private practice in central Austin. She is also the co-author of Voices of Strength: Sons and Daughters of Suicide Speak Out (New Horizon, 2008), a self-help book addressing parental suicide. Roldan and her co-author Judy Zionts share the results of their survey of children of a parental suicide, linking these responses to the insights of therapists, clergy, a criminal investigator, and others to promote healing and recovery. You can learn more at MiaRoldanAustinTherapy.com.
Jill Apilado, MSSW ’12, lives in Brooklyn, NY, and provides short-term therapy at an outpatient primary care clinic located in the Bronx.
Amber Hunter, MSSW ’12, received her LCSW in 2015 and subsequently opened a private practice in Austin, TX. In addition, Hunter works with adults experiencing life transitions and relationship struggles and survivors of trauma at Safe Place. She has also completed her training in EMDR and is beginning a year-long training program in interpersonal neurobiology with Bonnie Badenoch.
Ossenia Jeff, MSSW ’12, recently obtained her clinical social work licensure and opened a private practice, Acuity Psychotherapy Solutions, in the Houston area, TX.
Elizabeth Peña, MSSW ’12, was promoted to the position of development director at the Central Texas Food Bank.
Kelly Erin Chirhart, MSSW ’13, lives in Victoria, British Columbia, and has worked as a manager in the Health Services Policy Division at the Ministry of Health since 2014. She focuses on the policy area of aging adults with developmental disabilities and their health needs.
Adrienne Diaz, MSSW ’13, recently left a full-time position at Hospice Austin to begin working for a startup hospice agency in Round Rock. Since graduating, she has also been busy raising two young children.
Emily Fenves, MSSW ’13, is pleased to return to Austin after a two-year absence. She has joined the social work team at North Austin Medical Center’s Kidney Transplant Center, where she works directly with potential kidney recipients as they await transplantation.
Desiree Ramirez, BSW ’13, is an administrative assistant at the Baylor Center for Developmental Disabilities, where she contributes to the Baylor CARE program. Ramirez is looking forward to earning a graduate degree from Baylor University’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work, where she is currently enrolled.
Emily Knox, MSSW ’13, plans to open a franchise of Assisting Hands In-Home Care Services in the Austin area this fall.
Arlette Rangel, BSW ’13, has recently enrolled in the University of Houston’s master of social work graduate program, where she will begin attending classes in the fall.
Sarah Ryan, MSSW ’13, is a social worker in the emergency department of University Medical Center Brackenridge, Austin’s only Level I trauma center. In addition, she works at St. David’s North Austin Medical Center and assists professor Marilyn Armour in ongoing restorative justice research and outreach. She recently celebrated her first wedding anniversary with her husband; the two of them, along with their beloved basset hounds, are looking forward to moving into their first home this summer.
Kaylee Currie, MSSW ’14, works as an inpatient medical social worker on a Level I one trauma unit. Currie has nearly completed her clinical supervision hours and looks forward to earning her LCSW in the near future.
Jillian Kolb, MSSW ‘14, recently completed her clinical supervision and is studying for the LCSW exam. Kolb has spent the last two years working for the Hope Alliance Crisis Center in Williamson County as a therapist for survivors of domestic and sexual violence. She happily anticipates her marriage and completing her licensure this fall!
Donald “Keith” Montgomery, MSSW ’14, has earned his LMSW and LCDC and is working toward his LCSW in a supervision group led by Arlene Montgomery alongside four classmates from the UT Austin School of Social Work. Montgomery also sees clients at Capital Area Counseling on a full-time, volunteer basis.
Megan Morgan, MSSW ’14, BSW ’13, accepted a position as the sexual assault advocacy coordinator for the SAFE Alliance in April of this year. In her new role, she supervises about thirty volunteer sexual assault advocates who provide crisis intervention, referrals to community resources, and a calming presence to recent sexual assault survivors in Travis County.
Ciera Ray, MSSW ’14, returned to her hometown of Zephyr, TX, upon graduation and began working as a case manager for the Center for Life Resources in Brownwood, where she provided psychoeducational training and basic needs assistance for adults with severe mental health issues. Ray married her husband in September of 2014 and in the same week took a position as a therapist at a juvenile correctional facility, where she provides individual counseling, group counseling, and family therapy to young men. She looks forward to completing her supervision and becoming an LCSW this year.
Christan Reed, MSSW ’14, began her career in the non-profit sector as a residential treatment center program manager for conduct-disordered youth. After two years in this field, Reed recently resigned and founded her own nonprofit, Be Mindful Inc., dedicated to educating the public about the benefits of mindfulness, meditation, and other holistic health practices. She leads psychoeducational groups with at-risk youth in Dubuque, IA, at no charge. To learn more, please visit www.bemindfulinc.com.
Wendy Whipple, MSSW ’14, BSW ’13, accepted a position with University Operations HR Services at the University of Texas at Austin in February of this year.
Esmirna Corona, MSSW ’15, works as a medical social worker and is looking forward to obtaining her LCSW.
Kathryn Lewin, MSSW ’15, recently earned her LMSW and works with the Austin SAFE Alliance as a parent-child specialist to prevent child abuse.
Stephanie Terra, MSSW ’15, is a recent recipient of a ten-month long New York State Senate Legislative Fellowship.
Grecia Ramos, MSSW ’16, has been accepted to the University of Southern California’s School of Social Work and will begin a doctoral program this fall.
Collin Jevne, MSSW ’15, recently relocated to Seattle to begin working with the mobile crisis team at the Downtown Emergency Service Center.