Social work is a profession that touches on all facets of life. Social workers support, guide, and assist people from birth until death, and during all phases in-between.
As a profession, social work can be as big, vast, and complex as life itself. That’s why we created this expert interview section. Our goal is to talk to as many social workers in the field as possible. We are reaching out to social work professors, researchers, managers, and on-the-ground practitioners in order to get a better sense of the kinds of jobs and roles of today’s social workers.
During these interviews we will ask questions about career preparation, what the day-to-day of their job looks like, and ask for advice and guidance.
We hope that these expert interviews will help to clarify what roles social workers fill and that the interviews help to get you excited to pursue this much needed and very rewarding career path.
Social work expert interviews
Thomas Starkey (PhD, LCSW) is the Department of Social Work Chair and Associate Professor at Angelo State University, a Member of Texas Tech University System in San Angelo, Texas. He created a rare social work study abroad program. Starkey specialized in mental health and geriatric social work during his clinical career and he has research interests in robotics. Faculty profile
Peggy Adams (EdD, MSW, LISW-S) is the MSW Program Coordinator at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. She has worked as a clinical social worker in a variety of settings, specializing in adult and child mental health. She teaches a variety of coursework including policy, fieldwork, and mental health. Faculty profile
Melissa Bell (MSW, PhD) is an associate professor and social work program director at Chatham University. She holds a PhD in social work from the University of Pittsburgh and a PhD certificate in the study of women, gender, and sexuality from the University of Pittsburgh. She is a licensed social worker in Pennsylvania with 10 years of post-master’s experience in psychiatric social work. She has a passion for policy, women’s issues, and reproductive issues. Faculty profile
Shirley Huisman joined the Columbia College faculty in 2014 and is the bachelor’s in social work program director. She graduated with her undergraduate degree from Dordt College and earned her MSW from Syracuse University. She began her career in community mental health, and soon intertwined her mental health practice with teaching in higher education. She works from a trauma informed perspective in both her professional practice and in higher education, where she teaches, writes curriculum, and manages the BSW program. She brings her students and the community together in her classes, and has partnered with organizations such as Everyblackgirl, Black Lives Matter, Sowing Seeds Into The Midlands, College Place United Methodist Church, and the Eau Clair Community Council. She has been instrumental in the inception and development of Columbia College’s Master’s degree in Trauma Informed Education, where she teaches on mental health in children, adolescents, and teens. She is also facilitating the start up of Columbia College’s Institute for Trauma Informed Practice, a multidisciplinary Institute drawing evidence based practices in trauma informed practices across the academy. Faculty profile
Sheila Gillespie Roth is a professor in the Department of Social Work at Carlow University. She teaches courses in both the BSW and MSW programs. Her areas of expertise are crisis intervention and trauma as it pertains to public safety personnel. Faculty profile
Charnetta Gadling-Cole is the chair of the department of social work as well as the principal investigator/project director of a U.S Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources & Services administration opioid impacted family support specialist certificate training program at Concordia University Wisconsin and Concordia University Ann Arbor. She has a passion for social work on the international and macro levels, impacting policies and implementing programs based on evidence-based research. She has written several books and journal articles based on her experiences focusing on gerontology, care giving, gender-based, and cultural issues. Gadling-Cole is also the President of Just 4 Me Consultants, LLC. LinkedIn profile
Elizabeth Segal, MSW, PhD, is a professor at the School of Social Work at Arizona State University. She is a social policy analyst with a background in professional social work. Her current research centers on social empathy and how greater empathic insight can lead to the creation of more effective social welfare policies and programs. She has published 12 books and numerous book chapters and peer-reviewed articles on social welfare issues, with recent emphasis on interpersonal and social empathy. Faculty profile
Adriana Aldana earned her doctorate from the Joint Doctoral Program in Social Work and Developmental Psychology at the University of Michigan. Before moving to her graduate studies, she attended California State University, Northridge, where she earned a BA in Chicano Studies and Psychology in 2007. In 2014, she completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in the Department of Planning, Policy, and Design at the University of California, Irvine. She is a community-based practitioner and developmental psychologist, with an emphasis on youth sociopolitical empowerment. Her scholarship examines how participatory action research and multicultural organizing models build youths’ capacity for anti-racism engagement. Her research with diverse youth has identified the processes that promote the ability of young people to think critically about their social identity, systems of privilege and oppression, and inclusive social action tactics. As a practitioner, she has organized social justice workshops, managed a community-based youth dialogue program, and developed program curricula for K-12 educators and youth’s multicultural training. LinkedIn profile | Research Gate profile
Devon Jones is an MSW, LCSW and peer recovery specialist specializing in mental health and substance abuse disorders. He is currently Director of Operations for Ambulatory Behavioral Health in one of Indiana’s largest behavioral health organizations. He has a passion for leadership and advancing diversity and inclusion both in the field of social work and equity in access in health care overall. LinkedIn profile
Amanda McClure, MSW, is a social work manager in Indianapolis, Indiana. She has a variety of experience serving clients in social work directly, as well as in leadership roles. Specializing in the needs of people receiving dialysis, Amanda makes sure patients and staff have what they need to be successful. She received her MSW from Indiana University and her MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University. LinkedIn profile
Jana Donahoe, PhD, MSW, LCSW, is the chair of the social work program at Delta State University in Mississippi. As a clinician, she has years of experience delivering social work services in a variety of settings including hospice, community centers, and private practice family therapy. She has a passion for making sure each student at DSU has an individualized experience to be successful. She is trained in administering poverty and dementia simulations, a very unique offering through the DSU program. Faculty profile.