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Class Notes

Promotion? New Grandchild? Published a book? Honored with an award? You can share your news and updates with fellow alumni in the Class Notes section of the SSW website.

  • Morrie ONeil, MSW '89

    Morrie O'Neil is a Senior Technical Writer for the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, DC. He lives in Arlington, VA.

    March 19, 2023
  • Lacea Zavala, MSW '07

    After working 20 years in the field of child welfare, Lacea Zavala, MSW, LMSW made a career switch to instructional design and is now back at the U-M SSW as a Learning Experience Designer in the Online MSW Program. In addition, in January of 2023, Lacea and colleague Jamie Garrison launched the non-profit Rising Sage with the mission to assist single mothers in SE Michigan to overcome barriers to access of wellness practices such as yoga, mindfulness, and mental health support.

    March 1, 2023
  • Stephanie Chang, MSW '14

    State Senator Stephanie Chang, MSW/MPP ‘14, has received the Ford School’s Neil Staebler Distinguished Service Award for her dedication to excellence in public service. She will be honored during a Policy Talks @ the Ford School event in which she will discuss environmental justice with U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib and newly appointed Director of the Wayne County Health, Human & Veterans Services Department Abdul El-Sayed.

    February 10, 2023
  • Taylor Bonner, MSW '19

    During her time at the University of Michigan's School of Social Work, Taylor specialized in Management of Human Services and Community and Social Systems while accepting a field placement at the State Appellate Defender's Office in their Juvenile Lifer Unit supporting their resentencing Work. Currently, Taylor is working in Atlanta, Georgia with the Southern Center for Human Rights as a Civil and Human Rights Investigator on their Impact Litigation Unit. Here, Taylor is successfully challenging the conditions of confinement across the deep south through prison and jail investigations, parole advocacy, resentencing work, and promoting policies that advance decarceration and racial justice.

    February 3, 2023
  • Maureen Tyra, MSW '82

    Maureen Dolan Tyra, LCSW, MSW '82 is the Director of Social Support Services at VyncaCare, a palliative care organization providing care via telehealth for patients in CA, OR and WA. She is also a Respecting Choices® certified Advance Care Planning instructor and facilitator. She educates her staff in the nuanced skills around engaging patients in end-of-life planning conversations, and won't rest until all adults everywhere have their Advance Health Care Directive completed.

    January 22, 2023
  • William Cabin, MSW '04

    I have been re-appointed to a two-year term as a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Evidence-based Social Work. In addition, I have the following recent publications:

    Cabin, W. (2022). “What Were They Thinking?”: The Exclusion of Medicare Home Health from Providing
    Supplemental Social Needs Benefits. Home Health Care Management and Practice.

    Cabin, W. (2022). “It’s Just Too Much”: The Financial Calculus in Hospice. Home Health Care
    Management and Practice. Published online June 8, 2022:

    Cabin, W. (2022). The Hospice Algorithm: Capitalizing on Death and Dying. Home Health Care
    Management and Practice, 35(1): 3-12.

    January 11, 2023
  • Dr. Brittany Davis, MSW '08

    Dr. Brittany Davis (formerly Byers), MSW '08, recently completed her PhD in social work at the University of South Carolina. Her dissertation research examined longstanding Black residents' meanings of place identity and gentrification-induced social and cultural displacement, and their actions against such displacement. Additionally, she utilized a secondary analysis and introduced an integrated, innovative way to examine gentrification-induced social and cultural displacement. This involved the integration of photovoice data into a GIS Story Map. The photos and Story Map will be utilized by the community to support their efforts to maintain the historic identity of their neighborhood. As a result of her innovative, and impactful research, Dr. Davis is a recipient of the 2023 Society for Social Work and Research Outstanding Social Work Doctoral Dissertation Award.

    Dr. Davis' new adventures will be serving as an Online Assistant Social Work Professor and a Senior Analyst.

    December 22, 2022
  • Jun Sung Hong, MSW '06

    Dr. Jun Sung Hong (MSW 06) was named one of the top 100 contributors to the social work journal scholarship, according to an article entitled, "Who are the Top 100 Contributors to Social Work Journal Scholarship? A Global Study on Career Impact in the Profession", which was featured in the Research on Social Practice journal.

    December 9, 2022
  • Karen Gordon, MSW '92

    Karen Faith Gordon, MSW '92 is the founder and owner of Karen Faith, LLC, a mental health practice focused on the journey of aging. Scope of practice centers around counseling individuals, couples, and families as they navigate the myriad changes that accompany the aging process. Primary themes include caregiver stress, grief & loss, coping with diagnosis, hospice & end-of-life, depression, anxiety, loneliness, and isolation. To further address these issues in a collective space, Karen created Elements Every Day, housed within the Karen Faith, LLC space, to create community engagement. Offerings include affinity/support groups, educational opportunities, gentle & adaptive yoga, mindfulness practices, culinary workshops, and art therapy. Karen earned her Specialist in Aging certificate with her MSW, and her passion for working within this demographic has continued to deepen throughout her personal and professional life.

    November 24, 2022
  • Meredith Mason-Ramler, MSW '11

    Dr. Meredith Mason-Ramler, MSW 2011, has been recently promoted to an Associate Professor of Human Services and Social Work at the Gateway College. In addition to serving as the Program Coordinator of these subjects, Dr. Mason-Ramler has been promoted to Assistant Dean of the Allied Health Professions Division, also as Gateway College. Furthermore, Dr. Mason has received a renewal of her Ohio Social Work License (LISW) in clinical mental health practice.

    November 17, 2022
  • Barbara Rachelson, MSW '79

    Barbara Rachelson won her 6th term serving as a state representative in the Vermont House. Barbara represents part of Burlington, VT. Barbara is also lecturing at the University of Vermont and is a consultant at three different businesses: Simple Grants, Boules Consulting, and GrantExec. Barbara currently serves on the Vermont Judicial Nominating Committee and is a board member of the national organization, HRK (Human Rights for Kids:

    November 14, 2022
  • John Paul Abenojar, MSW '05

    I attended the Society for Social Work Leadership in Healthcare 57th Annual Meeting and Conference in Nashville, Tennessee. I presented a poster with titled Directors of Social Services: Overlooked Leadership Needs at Skilled Nursing Facilities. I was recognized for presenting the best poster that demonstrates social work excellence in leadership.

    October 20, 2022
  • Andi Blaylock, MSW '95

    On October 10th 2022, Andi Blaylock (formerly Yakovitz) joined Emerson, a St. Louis-based company, in the newly created position of Director of Wellbeing. In this global role, Andi will be responsible for creating strategies and programs to support employee well-being across four pillars of health: physical, mental, financial, and social.

    October 13, 2022
  • Maeda Galinsky, MSW '61, PhD '63

    Dr. Maeda J. Galinsky (1934-2019), MSW '61, PhD '63, will be named as an NASW Social Work Pioneer by the National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) in October 2022. She is being honored for her many achievements in the field of social work during her lifetime.

    October 7, 2022
  • Richard Hoefer, PhD '89

    Dr. Richard A. Hoefer, PhD '89, will be named as an NASW Social Work Pioneer by the National Association of Social Workers Foundation (NASWF) on October 15th, 2022. He is being honored for his many achievements in the field of social work.

    October 7, 2022
  • Megan Gilster, MSW '03, PhD '10

    Megan was promoted to Associate Professor in 2020. In 2022, she began serving as the director of the PhD program in Social Work at the University of Iowa.

    September 11, 2022
  • Lynne Walter, MSW '05

    Lynne Walter, MSW '05, was named the 2022 NASW-NC Myrna Miller Wellons Advocate of the Year, and on June 28, Lynne was recognized at the North Carolina General Assembly for this honor and had the courtesies of the North Carolina House Gallery extended to her.

    September 9, 2022
  • Diane Alexis Nafranowicz, MSW '76

    Diane Alexis Nafranowicz (MSW 1976) recently retired from the University of Michigan--Ann Arbor. Diane provided student services support to Michigan Law students, serving over four decades as Director of the Lawyers Club.

    August 31, 2022
  • Karen Lincoln, MSW '96, PhD '02

    Karen D. Lincoln, PhD, MSW, MS, a graduate of the PhD Joint Program, has been awarded the 2022 James Jackson Memorial Award. Read more here:

    August 3, 2022
  • Dr. Harry Hunter, MSW '77, PhD '11

    On July 1, 2022, I was appointed Associate Teaching Professor for the University of Southern California, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work, Los Angeles, CA.

    July 28, 2022


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