Katie Richards-Schuster, AM, PhD, is an associate professor at the University of Michigan School of Social Work. She received her doctorate in Social Work and Sociology from the University of Michigan and her AM from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration.
Her research focuses on understanding the strategies and approaches for engaging young people in communities, the contexts and environments that facilitate youth engagement across settings, and the impact of youth participation in creating community change. She is a leading scholar in using participatory research and evaluation approaches with young people and communities. She has written multiple peer-review articles and book chapters and has led community-engaged and national projects focused on youth participation. She has presented on youth participation in national and international conferences and co-chairs the Youth Focused Evaluation group within the American Evaluation Association.
Current projects include an evaluation of a system-wide youth participatory evaluation within a large urban school district, a youth-led community assessment and data dialogues project, and a project to distill best practices in youth participation within social work.
Dr. Richards-Schuster is also the Director of Undergraduate Minor Programs and is the founding director of the Community Action and Social Change undergraduate minor in the School of Social Work. This minor is the second largest at the University of Michigan and draws over 200 students from nine schools and colleges across campus.
Youth participation, community organization, youth-led community change, and community-based participatory evaluation and research.
Diana Seales is a seasoned advocate for environmental justice with a wealth of experience in project management and community organizing. Her work centers around building alliances between environmental organizations, communities and advocacy groups to address environmental health and justice concerns. Seales has honed her skills in grassroots community organizing and has been instrumental in establishing several non-profit institutions.
In addition to her advocacy work, Seales is deeply committed to researching various environmental and social issues. Her research interests include exploring Indigenous perspectives on climate change and resistance, as well as grassroots innovations and Indigenous futurism. Through her multifaceted work, Seales is dedicated to promoting environmental justice, empowering communities and advancing social and ecological well-being.
Joseph A. Galura is an advisor/lecturer for the undergraduate minor in Community Action and Social Change. He also is a lecturer in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts and has developed, implemented and taught service-learning courses in Sociology (Project Community), Education (LUCY: The Lives of Urban Children and Youth), and American Culture (Asian/Pacific Islander American Studies). His classes, projects and publications draw on work in criminal justice, chemical dependency, community organization, urban schooling and the Filipino American community. He is the former Director of Project Community: Sociology 389/325, as well as the founding editor of the OCSL Press, the publication arm of the Edward Ginsberg Center for Community Service and Learning at the University of Michigan.
Community service learning, especially how this pedagogy affects student outcomes; diversity, spirituality, and social work practice; the experiences of Filipino Americans, particularly in metropolitan Detroit.
Abigail Eiler, MSW '06, is a licensed clinical social worker and educator with 20 years of experience working in tribal and non-tribal communities across the country and in Canada. In 2014, Eiler started as a LEO Lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Social Work and joined the governing faculty in May 2018 as a clinical assistant professor. She was promoted to clinical associate professor in September 2023 and became the Director of Undergraduate Minor Programs in August 2023. She teaches various interpersonal practice courses to MSW and PhD students enrolled in the school’s MSW program, as well as instruction in the school’s Community Action and Social Change Undergraduate Minor. She deeply values teaching about social justice and implementing its principles into her clinical practice. She utilizes an anti-racist framework and makes intentional strides to address privilege, oppression, diversity and social justice (PODS) theories, research, and practice central to her social work pedagogy.
Her clinical and macro experiences are driven by her commitment to child welfare and include family support services, trauma-informed care, and cultural humility. She has worked in many community-based organizations and currently holds a leadership position in the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. She has supported over $10,000,000 in research efforts over the past 15 years with emphasis on improving mental health screening and services for youth ages 10–24.
Eiler played an active role in the implementation of the Behavioral Health Collaborative Care program in the Department of Family Medicine’s Ambulatory Care Unit at Michigan Medicine and brings that experience into the Interpersonal Practice in Integrated Health, Mental Health, & Substance Abuse Pathway. Additionally, PEiler is the former Director of Mental Health & High Performance at the University of Michigan Athletic Department where she successfully supported student-athletes and coaches in their journey to record-breaking championship years through innovative and culturally responsive service implementation.
Eiler is the former President of the National Association of Social Workers-Michigan Chapter Board of Directors. She also served as the first Chair of the Big Ten’s Mental Health & Wellness Cabinet.
Breanna Rivera-Kloeppel (she/her/hers) is the CASC social media coordinator. She is an MSW student looking to pursue a career in macro social work, specifically in policy. She completed her bachelor’s at the University of Minnesota where she studied family social science and wrote a peer reviewed journal article on mitigating compassion fatigue in mental health professionals. It was this work that led her to want to create systemic change and sent her on the path of macro level studies. She joined the CASC team as she is passionate about social justice and equity and wants to foster it in undergraduate spaces. Fun fact: she loves DIY projects for her apartment.
Couper Tanko (she/her/hers) is a CASC field intern this semester. She is an MSW student in the Interpersonal Practice in Integrated Health, Mental Health, and Substance Abuse pathway. She completed her undergraduate degree at U-M in LSA’s Sociology department. During this time, she was an America Reads team leader and tutor, where — in conjunction with her sociology courses — she discovered her passion for social justice, equity and the importance of taking care of each individual’s mental health. Originally from Chicago and a proud alumna of Chicago Public Schools, Tanko had a multicultural high school experience, which had a profound effect on opening her eyes to the need for social justice leaders within all communities.
University of Michigan
School of Social Work
1080 South University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1106