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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.

  • Betty Brown Chappell, MSW '71

    In May 2019, Betty Brown Chappell, MSW '71, was elected as a trustee of the Eastern Michigan University Foundation. Trustees provide guidance and oversight to development initiatives.
  • Eric Shanburn, MSW '94

    After decades in the social service, non-profit, and church ministry fields, in May of 2019 I took a position leading Concordia University's newer Social Work program, as BSW Program Coordinator.
  • N. Vanessa Vaughn Jackson, MSW '06

    I currently work in multiple capacities, in light of current problems in society and as a parent, I wrote a children's book to increase protective factors against childhood sexual abuse. I currently work in a private practice, I co-own Behavioral Health Consultants, LLC (www.bhconsultantsllc.com) and I started a nonprofit (Get the Word Out- www.G-two.org). I work with the UM School of Social Work (ART), and I work at Michigan Medicine psychiatric emergency services (PES) on the weekend.
  • Laurie Lytel, MSW '89

    Laurie Lytel, MSW '89, continues teaching as a lecturer in the School of Social Work at the University of Nevada Las Vegas for direct practice classes. She also has a private practice, with mostly troubled teens, which she loves. She is politically active in our troubled times, trying to work for candidates who promote social justice.
  • Laura Wernick, PhD '09

    Laura Wernick, PhD '09, was granted tenure at Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service in 2018.
  • Eileen Heisman, MSW '78

    Eileen R. Heisman, President and CEO of National Philanthropic Trust, was awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award from Carnegie Mellon University College of Fine Arts on Friday, May 17, 2019 at the 69th Annual CMU Alumni Awards Ceremony in Pittsburgh, PA. Eileen received her Bachelor's degree from Carnegie Mellon in 1976 before completing her MSW at the University of Michigan School of Social Work in 1978.
  • Brittney Williams, MSW '17

    A workshop abstract I co-authored--"Forgotten Identity: Dementia in the Aging LGBT+ Population"--was accepted for presentation at the 37th GLMA Annual Conference on LGBTQ Health. The workshop seeks to educate providers on the unique needs and experiences of LGBTQ individuals navigating a dementia diagnosis; and suggest best practices which are more responsive to these needs and experiences.
  • Beth Spencer, MSW '83

    Co-owner of Dementia Care Books with Laurie White (MSW 1986). We just published a new book: Moving a Relative & Other Transitions in Dementia Care. www.dementiacarebooks.com
  • Roxanna Duntley-Matos, MSW '98, PhD '11

    Dr. Roxanna Duntley-Matos received the Women's Empowerment Award from the Mexican Consulate in Detroit during an International Women's Day celebration in March 2019.
  • John Knapp, MSW '04

    I am currently serving as the superintendent of the Mogadore Local Schools in Summit County, Ohio. The skills and knowledge from the University of Michigan School of Social Work assist me every day in making decisions that reflect holistic approaches towards student success. The path to this position did require additional training and professional experiences as a building administrator and teacher in two other districts. I am thankful for my time to learn and grow at the University of Michigan School of Social Work.
  • Nancy Kriseman, MSW '82

    I have a private practice specializing in working with older people and their families. I have published three books: The Caring Spirit Approach to Eldercare: A Training Guide for Professionals and Families, 2005; The Mindful Caregiver: Finding Ease in the Caregiving Journey, 2014; and Meaningful Connections: Positive Ways to Be Together When a Loved One Has Dementia, 2017.
  • Jau-Yu Lin, MSW '98

    I am a social work supervisor in a High-Risk Family Service Project with a team of 8 workers. Since 2014, we have helped over 700 vulnerable families in Taipei, Taiwan. It is a tough job to empower and intervene those families combined with mental illness and substance abuse problems. l appreciate the University of Michigan School of Social Work sending Ongoing overseas over the past 20 years, which has encouraged me to keep devoting my enthusiasm in the field of social work.
  • Perry Ohren, MSW '90

    I have been the CEO of Jewish Family Service of Metropolitan Detroit (JFSMD) since 2011. Prior to that, since 2004, I worked at JFSMD, first as the Director of Older Adult Services and then as the Chief Program Officer. I worked for the Jewish Federation in Detroit as its NORC Director, helping older adults to age in place. Before that I worked for Detroit’s Jewish Vocational Service, supervising and managing a variety of programs and services including refugee employment services, supported employment services and school to work transition. Before this I worked at Wayne State University supervising a program that trained students to work in the Child Welfare arena. I started my professional career at JFSMD in the early 1990s as a clinical social worker in a family violence intervention program. I have served on the following Boards of Directors: Network of Jewish Human Service Agencies (NJHSA), Metro In-Home Solutions, Association of Jewish Family and Children’s Agencies, Oak Park Business and Education Alliance, Greater Detroit Network of Social Innovators, KADIMA and the Wayne State University School of Social Work Board of Visitors. I am currently the Chair of the Board of the NJHSA.
  • Susan Zinn Eisinger, MSW '66

    I continue to volunteer with CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) in the Family court where among other things I am the field supervisor for an MSW student. This uses my skills and knowledge of social services in the community. I also am on the grant making committee of a women's Giving Circle that pools our money and makes grants to programs that increase the self sufficiency of women and girls. I continue to be politically active locally and last fall put in a 17-hour day working at the polls.
  • Jen Rubin, MSW '91

    Jen Rubin recently published a book, We Are Staying: Eighty Years in the Life of a Family, a Store, and a Neighborhood. The book is a memoir of Radio Clinic (a NYC small business her family owned for 80 years) and tells the story of the political economy of urban American through the life of Radio Clinic. We Are Staying is also an immigrant story, a grandfather-father-daughter story, a story of the unique character a family business brings to a neighborhood, and a reflection on what has been lost as stores like these disappear. Details on how to buy the book can be found here: https://www.rubinjen.com/we-are-staying--the-book.html
  • Roxanne Duntley-Matos, MSW '98, PhD '11

    Roxanna Duntley-Matos, '11 PhD was selected in October 2018 by the Michigan Government Hispanic Latino Commission as one of the 50 Top Latinas in the state for her scholarly and community organizing achievements. Duntley-Matos was nominated for her leadership efforts during the Flint water crisis and her humanitarian musical missions with Puerto Rico and Mexico.
  • Jessica Wiederspan, MSW '08, PhD '17

    Jessica Wiederspan, PhD '17 dissertation research, "How the Ideology of the American Dream Persists in an Era of Economic Insecurity" is cited in The Washington Post, "Donald Trump's grotesque fraud". https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2018/10/03/donald-trumps-grotesque-fraud/?utm_term=.a2accef3dbaf
  • Angela VanSchoick, MSW '07

    Angie VanSchoick LMSW, LCSW was recently selected as a Director for the National Association for Court Management (NACM), serving a 2-year term. She has been the current President for the Colorado Association for Municipal Court Administration (CAMCA) since 2016 and looks forward to the additional role she'll be serving within her profession.
  • May Benatar (I was Kolodny while at U of M), MSW '69

    49 years after graduating from the University of Michigan, School of Social Work, I'm still a practicing social worker, working mostly with survivors of childhood trauma and dissociative disorders. I wrapped up a long career in NJ about 8 years ago when my husband and I moved to the DC Metro area to be closer to children and grandchildren (5 to date). My office is in Silver Spring, MD. In 1999 I fulfilled a long deferred ambition to get my Ph.D. and I did so at NYU, completing a doctorate in one of the few remaining clinical programs in Social Work at the now re-named Silver School of Social Work. I recently published my first book which I think is of interest to both lay readers and clinical communities: Emma and Her Selves: A Memoir of Treatment and a Therapist's Self-Discovery. Writing and speaking about the book has been an exciting journey for me. And I love hearing from readers.
  • Ariana Thelen (previously Flood), MSW '15

    Ariana (Flood) Thelen is working in professional counseling and therapy at Identity Counseling, specializing in life transitions, family dynamics, elder concerns, grief counseling as well as anxiety and depression. She previously worked as a skilled nursing social worker, coordinating services for safe community living and transitions post-acute care, counseling in anxiety, depression, end of life, as well as interdisciplinary team (IDT) collaboration and policy improvement.


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