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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.

  • Bruce Thyer, PhD '82

    Bruce Thyer, Ph.D. 1982 (Social Work and Psychology), was recently appointed as a Distinguished Research Professor at Florida State University, where he has been a Professor since 2002. In 2016 he was inducted as a Fellow into the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.
  • Sirene Lipschutz, MSW '11

    Sirene-Rose Lipschutz recently began working as Tribal Therapist in Flagstaff, Arizona, working with the Navajo and Hopi in Tuba City, Arizona and with the Havasupai at the floor of the Grand Canyon.
  • Aneeta Pearson, MSW '14

    Aneeta Pearson launched in March 2017, a site that features child welfare news from around the world, not covered through mainstream media. ICW News features news through discussion, interviews with child welfare professionals, and recommended literature. Child welfare professionals interested in being interviewed related to a story, please contact Aneeta through the website.
  • Karen Gordon Rosenberg, MSW '92

    Karen Gordon Rosenberg’s experience in the field of geriatrics spans two decades. Her involvement with Caring Across Generations, a national organization, included two visits to Washington, D.C., to collaborate with others from around the country to raise the national consciousness on aging, caregiving, and access to dignified care through dialogue and advocacy. In November 2017, she presented at the Interdisciplinary Conference of the Aging and Society Research Network on the following topic: The Case for Care Management: Changing the Trajectory of Aging.
  • Elda M. Dawber, MSW '71

    Elda Dawber's novel about childhood trauma and recovery, "Wait Until I'm Dead!" is available at It recently received an exceptional review in Dignity: A Journal on Sexual Exploitation and Violence at, highlighting its value in the prevention of child sexual abuse and the treatment of survivors.
  • Grace Chee, MSW '09, PhD '16

    Dr. Grace Chee, Ph.D., M.S.W. U of M SSW class of 2009, defended her doctoral dissertation on March 25, 2016. She has accepted a teaching position at the Singapore Institute of Management (SIM), beginning in January 2017. She will be teaching human lifespan development and introduction to social work courses.
  • Miriam Connolly, MSW '04

    Miriam Connolly was hired as Director of the Blavin Scholars Program at the University of Michigan.
  • John Nielsen, MSW '72

    Recently retired from a career as an administrator, educator, and therapist at Michigan State University, Pine Rest Mental Health, Calvin College, and Western Michigan University. Looking forward to new ventures as a grandparent and volunteer.
  • Michael Gillespie, MSW '03

    I have recently received tenure and have been promoted to Associate Professor of Sociology at Eastern Illinois University. Since completing my Ph.D. in 2010 from Western Michigan University, I have been teaching Social Statistics and the Sociology of Poverty and Social Welfare at EIU. My research has focused on changes in social welfare programs and their impacts on historically marginalized populations, rural and micropolitan food insecurity, and the location, access, and utilization of food pantries by food insecure populations.
  • Chris Carpenter, MSW '75

    Recently retired after almost 40 years in social work, case management and department leadership in hospitals in Vermont and Maine. Over the years, was active on the Boards of the Society for Social Work Leadership in Health Care and the American Case Management Association. Currently serving as Chair of the National Board of Case Management certification and also enjoying other volunteer work in the Burlington, VT area, travel, leisure, grandchildren and not carrying a pager!
  • Linda Turner Katz, MSW '66

    Linda (Turner) Katz spent 40+ years in the child welfare field, as a foster/adoption worker, supervisor, manager, University of Washington lecturer, and retired after 10 years as director of the Court Appointed Special Advocates Program at the King County (WA) Superior Court. She served as a volunteer CASA for 40 years. Since retirement she has published a memoir, Sing Me Awake, about Mississippi in the 60's and her SSW friend, Donna Higgins. Her second book, Rise Up! Discoveries in an Urban First Grade, will be published in March 2017. She lives in Seattle with her husband, and has a grown son.
  • Amy Ellwood, MSW '83

    Amy Ellwood, MSW ’83, retired after 25 years of service at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. She was awarded the academic rank of Professor Emerita of Family Medicine and Psychiatry. She continues teaching on a volunteer basis in the psychiatry residency and child/adolescent psychiatry programs. She was also recently named the Outstanding Psychotherapy Supervisor of the Year by the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Fellows.
  • Jim Toy, MSW '81

    James “Jim” Toy, MSW ’81, was honored by NASW-Michigan with the 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award in recognition of his outstanding social work practice and his continued commitment to the principles of social justice.
  • Laurie Carpenter, MSW '05

    Laurie Carpenter was selected to receive NASW-Michigan’s 2016 Public Citizen of the Year award, along with her Co-Director Michael Hood, for their work in Flint, MI, during the Flint Water Crisis. They founded Crossing Water, a volunteer-run NGO, in response to the crisis, and lead social worker-led Rapid Response Service Teams in providing resources and education to the most vulnerable residents in Flint.
  • Susan Sefansky, MSW '76

    I am celebrating 40 yrs in the profession in May. I have started a new social work program at the Wayne County Medical Examiner's Office in Detroit. I have had a paper accepted to the journal Health and Social Work entitled " Involved in the Business of Death: Social Work's Role in Post-Mortem Care" for an upcoming issue.
  • Grace Chee, MSW '09, PhD '16

    Grace Chee, Ph.D., M.S.W successfully defended her dissertation, "Chinese grandparents' ethnic and racial socialization of their Chinese-White biracial grandchildren in the San Francisco Bay Area," in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at Michigan State University. She successfully defended her dissertation on Friday morning on March 25, 2016. She is currently on the job market.
  • Brad Palmertree, MSW '14

    Brad A. Palmertree was recently selected as a Policy Fellow with the Network for Social Work Management. The inaugural fellowship program is an eight-month leadership and professional development experience aimed to equip participants with core management competencies to inspire, organize, and work effectively with others to advance the public good. The fellowship concludes with a poster project addressing a public policy issue, which will be presented at the Network's annual conference in Los Angeles held in June. Brad's poster will present a policy advocacy framework for the treatment, mitigation, and prevention of Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
  • Scott Tharp, MSW '07

    Scott Tharp recently published an article entitled “Using Critical Discourse Analysis to Understand Student Resistance to Diversity” in the Fall 2015 issue of Multicultural Education.
  • Robert Fogel, MSW '73

    Fogle has retired from the National Association of Counties as a senior legislative advisor after 28 years. Presently, he consults for the National Association of Regional Councils and is vice chair of the Rider’s Advising Council, Washington Metro System.
  • Jennifer Cervi, MSW '12

    Jennifer Cervi is the coordinator of the Collegiate Recovery Community at University of North Carolina, Wilmington (UNCW). She works with students in recovery, advocating campus-wide and nationally to erase the stigma of addiction.


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