Class Notes

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Mary Kaplan, MSW ’74, who is retired, recently published The Practice of Social Work with Older Adults (Health Professions Press).

Muffin Lord, MSW ’76, retired in 2017 from Rutgers University as the director of honors program and scholarship administrator. 


Ellen Fink-Samnick, MSW ’83, the owner of EFS Supervision Strategies, LLC, was named the 2022 NASW of Virginia Social Worker of the Year.


Patricia Guinn, MSW ’95, is a deacon and parish administrator at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Mayville, NY.

Kevin Wright, MSW ’97, was recently promoted to program director at the Sweet Home clinic of BestSelf Behavioral Health in Amherst, NY.

Khristopher Decker, MSW ’98, serves as vice president of behavioral health for Evergreen Health in Buffalo, NY. He is also vice president for the GLYS WNY board of directors, and continues his role as an adjunct instructor/faculty liaison at the UBSSW. 

Wendy Lutz, MSW ’99, provides training for more than 1,300 employees of BestSelf Behavioral Health, as their clinical training and innovator in Buffalo, NY.


Stephanie Burke, MSW ’00, has enrolled in UB’s School of Law and is loving it.

Lynda Battaglia, MSW ’01, is the director of Mental Health & Community Services for Genesee County and executive director for the Genesee County Mental Health Clinic in Batavia, NY. She has held numerous frontline and administrative positions within the mental health, crisis response and forensic systems. At the NYS Office of Mental Health, her positions including oversight for Assisted Outpatient Treatment, also known as Kendra's Law, suicide prevention efforts, education and outreach, and forensic services. At Attica Correctional Facility, she was forensic chief, responsible for delivering service to inmates in need of mental health treatment. She is a member of our school’s adjunct faculty, teaching forensic social work course on, and also teaches within UB Continuing Education Department, mostly related to her interest in suicide prevention and education.

Monique Stays, MSW ’01, is a Health and Recovery Plan (HARP) care manager with Fidelis Care, providing holistic care to a varied membership population to address multilayered needs.

For the past 16 years, Jennifer Stracick, MSW ’03, has served as an executive director at the ALPHA House of Pinellas County, in St. Petersburg, FL, serving homeless women and babies. She’s currently earning her doctorate in social work and is a peer reviewer for the Journal of Social Work.

Wendy Yates, MSW ’03, was promoted to social work manager at Hospice Buffalo.

Jen Ehlinger-Saj, MSW ’05, is a clinical IV social worker at Spectrum Health & Human Services at the new Seneca Street location in Buffalo, NY.

Laurie Ackles, MSW ’06, director of the Spectrum Support Program at Rochester Institute of Technology, published “Autistic college students and COVID-19: Anxiety, support needs and responses by specialized programs,” in the Developmental Disabilities Network Journal.

Michael Tsang, MSW ’06, is director of operations for therapy services that span inpatient and ambulatory areas, at NYU Langone Health’s Rusk Rehabilitation.

Denise Ammerman, MSW ’07, opening a private practice called Refreshing My Soul, LLC in Buffalo, NY.

Danyell Sugg, MSW ’07, was promoted to supervising social worker in the Criminal Defense Unit at the Legal Aid Bureau of Buffalo, NY.

Stacie Arnts, MSW ’08, is a social worker at Landmark Health in Buffalo, NY, working with medically complex elderly and Medicare patients in their homes. In addition, she recently started training incoming social workers.

Rachel Zielinski, MSW ’08, is a private practice psychotherapist in Rochester, NY and an adjunct instructor at UBSSW and in the SUNY Geneseo Psychology Department.

Jennifer Dunning, MSW ’09, is the Western New York regional representative for Governor Kathy Hochul.


Kelly Carr, MSW ’10, is director of the Foster Grandparent Program with the Health Association of Niagara County, Inc. in Niagara Falls, NY.

Caryn Domzalski, MSW ’10, is the new assistant direct of clinical services for Berkshire Farm Center in the Buffalo region.

Elaine Rinfrette, PhD ’10, is retiring from her post as a faculty member, MSW program director and chair of the Department of Social Work at Edinboro University in Edinboro, PA. Before earning her PhD here, she’d worked for 20 years in outpatient mental health; her primary interests were trauma and co-occurring disorders. Her recent research included the Edinboro Borough Community Needs study, of which she was the principal investigator.

Kelsey (Mustard) Eichel, MSW ’11, is a family services manager with Hamilton Families in San Francisco, CA.

Lisa Maynard, MSW ’11, is a private practice therapist and an implementation and training specialist with the Center for Adoption Support and Education, working remotely.

Olivia Fabiani, MSW ’12, is a therapist on the Mobile Intensive Treatment Team with Pathstone Mental Health in Ontario, Canada.

Keyla Fisk, MSW ’12, is an inpatient psychiatry and ER social work supervisor at the VA of Western New York, in Buffalo.

Joelle Schuster, MSW ’12, is a child therapist with the University of Kentucky, General Pediatrics in Lexington, KY.

Rachel Atkinson, MSW ’13, is a licensed clinical social worker with the Veterans Health Administration in Buffalo, NY.

Junpnyo Kim, MSW ’13, is an assistant professor with Gyeongsang National University in Korea.

Nancy Kusmaul, PhD ’13, an associate professor of social work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She recently published her first book, Aging and Social Policy in the United States (Cognella Direct Ebook, 2022).

Karen Williams, MSW ’13, received her LCSW-R last year and is a counselor at Daemen College in Amherst, NY.

After eight years at Horizon Health Services, Elizabeth Hole, MSW ’14, was promoted to director of outpatient operations, in Buffalo, NY.

Ema Beilke, MSW ’15, is the Boulder Community Health Pathways program coordinator in Colorado.

Jack Kavanaugh, MSW ’15, was named executive director of GLYS WNY, an LGBTQ+ youth services and advocacy organization in Buffalo, NY.

Frankie Kraft, MSW ’16, has returned to UB as a senior counselor in the Counseling Center, joining in the midst of the pandemic.

Bakht Arif, MSW ’17, is a licensed clinician in medical social work and also continues her music career, having recently performed at The Kennedy Center’s Millennium Stage.

Adair Finucane, MSW ’17, is self-employed at With Adair, through which she provides wellness and burnout prevention consulting to organizations in Upstate New York, Canada, and beyond. She combines her social work education, experience as a trauma research assistant to UB SSW Asst. Prof. Mickey Sperlich, yoga guide training, and Ayurvedic coaching program. In 2020, she, Sperlich, and Whitney Mendel, MSW ‘XX, PhD ‘XX, co-authored "Weaving in Wellness: Infographics for self-care,” published in the Journal of Human Services: Training, Research, and Practice.

Rachel Daws, MPH/MSW ’17, started a new job as a population-based care clinician at the Boston Medical Center in Massachusetts, providing health behavioral health support for patients with depression or anxiety and chronic medical conditions.

Erin Roelle, MSW ’17, recently received her LCSW and was promoted to behavioral health clinical supervisor at Catholic Charities Family and Community Services in Rochester, NY.

Ryan Savino, MSW ’17, is a PhD student at the City University of New York and recently published Homelessness and the paradox of welfare austerity: Echoes from history in the era of COVID-19, in the Journal of Progressive Human Services.

Kelli Dobmeier, MSW ’18, has been promoted to assistant director at BestSelf Behavioral Health Delaware Summer Children’s Clinic in Buffalo, NY.

Kristy Miller, MSW ’18, is a social worker with DC Government in Washington, DC.

Tara Petty, MSW ’18, is a high risk team coordinator for Child & Family Services at Haven House in Erie County, NY.

Matthew L. Schwartz, MSW ’18, was elected to the 2022–2025 board of the Solution Focused Brief Therapy Association.

Sara Wessels, MSW ’18, a social worker with Humboldt House and recently self-published The Book of Self.

Chelsea Gonzalez, MSW ’19, was selected for an If/When/How 2021–2022 Federal Policy Fellowship at Advocates for Youth in Washington DC, where she works advocating for abortion access and sexuality education for marginalized youth.

Estella Johnson, MSW ’19, is the director of diversity, equity, and inclusion for Planned Parenthood of Central and Western New York, and is a Certified Diversity Professional.

Mariah Mann, MSW ’19, is a clinician with Berkshire Farm Service and Center for Youth in Buffalo, NY.

Kaitlyn Richter, MSW ’19, is a therapist with The Evolution Group in Albuquerque, NM.

Jennifer Schultz, MSW ’19, is both the senior counselor and supervisor of clinical services with the Child & Family Services Employee Assistance Program in Buffalo, NY.


Taylor Jaramillo, MSW ’20, is a human resources generalist with Aristotle Capital Management in Los Angeles, CA.

Whitney Marris, MSW ’20, is a trauma-informed practice and systems transformation consultant with the Campaign for Trauma-Informed Policy and Practice.

Victoria Omolayo, MSW ’20, obtained her LMSW and is a mental health therapist in Patchogue, NY.

Sierra Brown, MSW ’21, is a medical advocate specialist at Kids House Children's Advocacy Center in Sanford, FL.

Michelle Ferrini, MSW ’21, is a residential social worker at Gateway Longview in Buffalo, NY.

After graduation and receiving her LMSW, Courtney Gabamonte, MSW ’21, became a residential social worker with Gateway Longview.

Julia Hackford, MSW ’21, works in the Buffalo Public Schools on behalf of WNY United Against Drug and Alcohol Abuse Inc., teaching kids life skills such as drug prevention, setting goals, identifying emotions, self-esteem, and coping.

Emily McDougall, MSW ’21, passed her LMSW exam and is a permanency planner for foster children with Gateway Longview in Buffalo, NY.

Cameron McLeod, MSW ’21, is a DBT therapist with BestSelf Behavioral Health in Buffalo, NY.

Michelle Melton, MSW ’21, is a mental health therapist with the University of California Davis Children’s Hospital. She is in the process of becoming a nationally certified TF-CBT therapist, as well as a Parent Child Interaction clinician.

Epiphany McGee, MSW ’21, is a mental health clinician at the YWCA NorthEastern NY in Schenectady, NY. In conjunction with the local Child Advocacy Center, she provides therapy to youth and families who have experienced sexual abuse. In addition, she provides presentations and trainings on teenage dating violence; with her own curriculum that aims to prevent teenage dating violence, she provides group sessions for schools and agencies in the community. 

Bridget (Weyers) Newton, MSW ’21, recently passed the LMSW exam and is a teletherapist with the BCS Group.

Arlene Tariq, MSW ’21, is an adolescent psychiatric case manager at the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo, NY. She attributes her landing her job in part to being accepted into the national Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training (BHWET) program during her MSW studies.

Vernita Thompson, MSW ’21, is a senior caseworker with the Erie County Department of Social Services in Buffalo, NY.