Outstanding Field Instructors

At the end of the 2021-22 academic year, students nominated outstanding Field Instructors who went above and beyond to impart their social work wisdom. The School of Social Work is proud to recognize our Field Instructors for modeling such grace and strength for our students.

Instructor: Heather Evans
Agency: Gratiot-Isabella RESD
Student: Anna Montague

"Heather went above and beyond this school year to make my field experience special. She shared her knowledge of school social work with me and provided a warm and welcoming environment to learn in. She has imparted so much knowledge to me about life and social work and I am incredibly thankful to have such a caring mentor."

Instructor: Lillian Dempsey
Agency: HealthWest
Student: Crystal Chumley-Jarvis

"Lillian is a compassionate person who shows her clients that she sees and hears them. She uses her clinical wisdom to guide the process sensitively to meet the client where they are at. Lillian embodies the word integrity and takes her role as a conduit in the process of a client's realization very seriously. I feel so fortunate to have been able to observe her interactions with clients and the way she conducts herself professionally."

Instructor: Eric Scott
Agency: Oakland School Technical Campus-Southeast
Student: Deandra Christiansen

"Eric has been one of the most helpful mentors in my social work journey. His compassion for the students he serves at the OSTC-SE campus and flexible attitude provided a wonderful interning environment. He allowed me to bring new ideas to the school and execute them. Eric chose to view me as a professional equal often collaborating my own knowledge with his. Eric's honesty, transparency, calm attitude, his inclusion of everyone, and dedication are something to strive for in all social workers. Eric has been truly supportive in my endeavors at the internship and outside. I have the utmost respect for Eric and have truly learned a wealth of knowledge from him. Outstanding is truly a word that describes him both in a literal sense: he's always "out standing" in the hallway interacting with the students (apologies for the pun) and truly professionally outstanding in his teaching, knowledge, and overall demeanor. It has truly been a pleasure to intern under Eric and all the student support staff. There is no doubt in my mind I will use every piece of knowledge provided in my future career in the schools and beyond. I truly cannot thank him enough!"

Instructor: Marvel Mulholland
Agency: Voices For Children Child Advocacy Center
Student: Elizabeth Morgan

"Marvel was very welcoming when I began my internship, and made it easy for me to show up and be engaged. When I started my placement, my agency was a little short staffed, but she continued to make sure I had activities that were relevant to the purpose of my internship. Marvel made sure I had all of the resources I needed, and was always encouraging for me. If there was something I could do better, or something I needed to do, she made sure to communicate it with me in such a kind and constructive way. Marvel has been an amazing support for me throughout the last year as a supervisor and is an amazing leader."

Instructor: Jill Pierce
Agency: Office of Global Michigan
Student: Erin Kathleen Kramer

"Jill Pierce's supportive nature and ability to provide thoughtful feedback and advice really led to her standing out as a field instructor. I was so fortunate to be able to work with her during my experience in the MSW program. She has empowered me and continues to believe in me to grow and pursue my professional and academic career. I thank her so much for her support in making this experience so positive!"

Instructor: Cheryl Berry
Agency: MyMichigan Medical Center/Midland
Student: Heather Olander

"Cheryl is an outstanding social worker and field instructor. She went above and beyond with ensuring I was prepared to be an MSW. She has a strong work ethic and passion for helping others. She is greatly liked by her patients and colleagues. She has been a great a leader and mentor through my field experience."

Instructor: Jeff Davis
Agency: Tuscola ISD
Student: Jamie Wallace

"Jeff Davis always took the time to explain the processes involved in school social work and created an environment in which I could grow professionally. He encouraged me to ask questions and challenge my critical thinking skills. Jeff has served as both a role model and a source of inspiration for the type of School Social Worker I would like to model my career after. He holds himself and his practices to a high ethical standard and is always more than willing to help his colleagues. Having Jeff as my field instructor has been monumental to my education as a School Social Worker."

Instructor: Breahn Post
Agency: Walled Lake Consolidated Schools
Student: Katie Dimmer

"Bre highlights what a school social worker should be, from her willingness to be silly with our students to her collaborative team spirit. She has a deep knowledge of special educational laws and policies and works to ensure that all students are receiving proper services. By watching her communicate with a variety of teachers, parents, and community providers, I have learned how to tactfully communicate, even when the conversations are difficult. While she fosters a learning environment for me where making mistakes and asking questions is always welcome, I also appreciate that from the beginning, she has given me many opportunities to independently build my skills."

Instructor: Jennifer Fopma
Agency: Cedar Creek Hospital
Student: Katlyn Outwater

"I would like to nominate Jennifer Fopma for being an outstanding Field Instructor. Jennifer was very helpful in guiding me to find my confidence within the field of social work. She was always willing to extend a helping hand and lead me to the best social workers in their facility to provide me with learning professional skills and knowledge that gave me some of the best opportunities this semester."

Instructor: Tracy Maddox
Agency: CMH CEI Families Forward/Ingham County Wraparound
Student: Keith Rodgers

"Tracy is not only a superb Field Instructor, she also filled me with confidence to perform my duties. Tracy's leadership and encouragement helped me traverse some difficult situations and made me a better person."

Instructor: Matthew Seager
Agency: MDHHS/Grand Traverse County
Student: Kendall Phillips

"Matt and I work in the same agency (DHHS), but in different program areas. The broad nature of his experience and outstanding knowledge of social work policy and practice has shaped our supervision discussions every week for the past year. I leave every conversation feeling empowered and inspired to be in this profession. He has provided phenomenal insight, understanding, and feedback which has been by far the most valuable aspect of my master's degree education so far."

Instructor: Kirk Taskila
Agency: Lansing Area AIDS Network (LAAN)/Clinical Team
Student: LaTrisha Jenkins-Pridgeon

"Kirk is a phenomenal field instructor! He goes above and beyond with his interns, clients, and staff. Working under Kirk’s supervision this past school year has truly been rewarding. He is always understanding and supportive of his interns' needs. With his knowledge and expertise, he orchestrated a field placement that was welcoming and allowed for growth. Being new to the social work field, Kirk provided me with the skills to be promoted from an intern to case manager. I’m so grateful to finally be walking in my purpose with a great mentor by my side. Kirk is a prime example of an outstanding field instructor!"

Instructor: Rosie Bickert
Agency: Gentle HoofBeats
Student: Laura Kien

"Rosie is so welcoming and warm, she has a way of guiding without a checklist or hardline structure, it is more conversational and gentle in a way that guides you through potential theoretical processes without pressure, so you can process all the possibilities. Then it occurs to you that you have been presented a gift of seeing each client you review through a variety of lenses she has developed over 30+ years of practice. She freely offers her wealth of knowledge and consistently builds me up, I know there is never a wrong question, and that if I say "maybe I didn't do that well" any guidance to help me be better will feel like positioning me for success, never anything less. Having Rosie as a field instructor has been one of the greatest gifts in my life, just when I needed her. I will always cherish her guidance and trusting nature to let me learn and entertain the new ideas I find in the research. She is truly one of a kind and I have been so lucky to have spent a year with such a talented and kind clinician and lifelong learner herself."

Instructor: Bob Sheehan
Agency: Community Mental Health Association of Michigan
Student: Miranda Bargert

"I am beyond grateful to have had Bob as my supervisor. His genuine commitment to ensuring the most fun, educational, and rewarding field experience is truly unmatched. He provides an exceptional combination of constructive feedback and trust in your capabilities, and goes out of his way to make you feel valued and included. He is incredibly knowledgeable in his field and I can't imagine a better environment in which to develop skills in policy and advocacy through a social work lens."

Instructor: Ronnie Tyson
Agency: Flint Odyssey House, Inc./Outpatient Department
Student: Nicolette Rose

"I would like to enter Mr. Tyson in the outstanding field instructor submission because he is compassionate about truly teaching interns the ins and outs of the field. He sees in us what we can not yet see in ourselves. He is a very busy man, but always made time to discuss any questions or concerns I had, even when it didn't come to school or the placement. Truthfully, I was a little intimated by him in the beginning of the placement, but I will truly miss him as I move onto a different placement next fall."

Instructor: Kimberly Hendricks
Agency: Copper County Intermediate School District/Social Skills Teaching Program
Student: Samantha Boatman

"Kim has been an amazing instructor throughout this school year. When I lacked faith in my abilities, she was there to encourage and guide me through those moments. She provided me with reflection on some difficult cases and trusted in my ability to meet the needs of the students I was serving. I learned how to conduct myself not only as a therapist in session with students but also as a professional advocating for mental health in an educational setting. My experience this past year been invaluable and I will be forever grateful to her for it."

Instructor: Cyndy Vue
Agency: Mid Michigan Leadership Academy
Student: Adrianna Glasgow

"I am incredibly fortunate to have had Cyndy Vue as my field instructor for the 2021-2022 academic year. Cyndy's passion and drive for social work is unmatched. Her leadership, empathy, patience, self-awareness, and interpersonal communication skills are present in how she conducts her life and work. She gives her all in supporting individuals with reaching their goals. Cyndy has made an ever lasting, positive impact on how I see the field of social work and life."

Instructor: Sarah Winchell-Gurski
Agency: Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe/Behavioral Health Programs/Clinical Service
Student: Aleigha Reinsberg

"Sarah has been great since day one. She has protected and prioritized my education this year. Sarah has provided me the space learn in ways that I had not even considered for myself but really allow me to graduate feeling confident in my learning and experience to go along with it."

Instructor: Kim Shewmaker
Agency: Flint Odyssey House, Inc./Residential and Detox Services
Student: Ashleigh Cameron

"Kim is a great field instructor. Throughout my time at Flint Odyssey House I have been thoroughly challenged and Kim facilitated my growth. She is an extremely successful social worker and hard worker. I will forever remember this experience."

Instructor: Kristen Wurth
Agency: Psych Resolutions
Student: Brandi Drent

"Since day one Kristen has went above and beyond to answer all my questions and ensure that I am getting everything I want and need out of my field placement. There has not been one contact where Kristen has given anything less than 100% to her consumers, parents/guardian, staff, or other contracted service providers. Many evenings and weekends are spent ensuring that all needed follow up is completed, whether that is her caseload or someone else from our team. Kristen works hard to push me to be the best student and professional that I can be. There is no doubt that she is an amazing mentor and team player."

Instructor: Lindsey Power
Agency: Small Talk Children's Advocacy Center
Student: Calista Chaltron

"Lindsey goes above and beyond for students and staff. Her kindness, expertise, and love for what she does radiates and fosters a warm and welcoming learning environment. Her dedication has helped me grow and thrive at Small Talk and has been a phenomenal support."

Instructor: Amanda Dubey-Zerka
Agency: The Firecracker Foundation
Student: Caroline Passariello

"Amanda does an amazing job and providing quality feedback to help move the therapeutic process forward. She also challenges us and allows us to share our thoughts on the matter and how we would move forward. She is extremely easy to talk to and always open to discuss issues about field. I feel extremely fortunate to have had her as my field instructor."

Instructor: Kristin Pike
Agency: Lansing School District/Everett High School
Student: Clara Martinez

"Kristin has been an incredible mentor, guide, colleague, and teacher this year for me in my first field placement. She has struck a unique and beneficial balance of finding the right moments to challenge and push me, as well as fostering a connection that allows me to feel capable and competent in my duties. I am incredibly indebted to her, as this year as been anything but clear or straightforward in a return to in-person living! I am so grateful to have her as my Field Instructor and I have learned so much about how and why social work and social workers are critical in our world. Thank you for all you do Kristin!"

Instructor: Dr. Joan Ilardo
Agency: MSU College of Human Medicine Successful Nutrition Programs Across the Lifespan Project (SNPAL)
Student: Emily Ayers

"An outstanding field instructor is not only competent in social work, but also able to successfully teach and guide students to be the future of the profession. Dr. Ilardo seems to effortlessly accomplish both of these tasks. She is not only a formidable woman with an impressive resume (numerous projects, statewide coalitions, and committees, as well as being the former director of the MSU MSW program), but she also manages to be one of the most kind, personable, and articulate women I have ever had the fortune of meeting. Any MSW student would be lucky to have Dr. Ilardo as their field instructor and for these reasons I believe she deserves to be rewarded for all her hard work."

Instructor: Chris Korest
Agency: Laurus Hospice
Student: Emily Springer

"Chris is a empathic person who wants what best for her clients. She is hand on with what she is doing and is very flexible with schedules. She wants what best for her interns and will answer the hard questions. She is also a good example of how to work in a team."

Instructor: Amanda Dubey-Zerka
Agency: The Firecracker Foundation
Student: Frankie Stringer

"Amanda is an amazing human and I appreciate her more than she’ll probably ever know! She stepped in when my original field instructor went on maternity leave and continued to roll with the punches as time went on and things changed come spring semester. She is dedicated to her work but was equally as dedicated to teaching and helping me grow my skills as a clinician. Amanda has been nothing but supportive all year long even with all of the bumps in the road; she’s a role model and embodies all core social work values."

Instructor: Megan Goldstein, LMSW
Agency: Sparrow Health System/Patient Support Services (PSS)
Student: Holly Cusick

"Megan Goldstein is THE most outstanding field instructor, in my eyes, and here is why: Megan has consistently fostered growth and development in me, as a young social worker. She has allowed me to build my own foundation of knowledge, whilst assisting in filling in the gaps that I needed assistance with. She has answered every question of mine, helped me build confidence and trust in myself/my skills, and has pushed me out of my comfort zone - all of which have contributed to me becoming a better, more experienced practitioner. Megan has even pushed herself, as a field instructor, and is now being awarded in her job position and becoming the Interim Manager of the case managers at Sparrow. Her field experience, outlook on social work, and success have been an inspiration to me and she deserves the world. I would not be the social worker I am today without her guidance, sensitivity, and encouragement."

Instructor: June Malachowski
Agency: Michigan Developmental Disabilities Institute
Student: Jessica Showers

"June has always prioritized what I want to learn as opposed to simply giving me a list of tasks. Working with her as increased my confidence and my independence. She encouraged me take control of my education and pushed me out of my comfort zone. I feel more equipped to enter the field because of the skills I learned from her. I am so grateful to have such an amazing field supervisor."

Instructor: Nicole Quidort
Agency: Davita Dialysis/North Oakland/Orchard Pontiac/Bloomfield Hills
Student: Jodi Hutchings

"Nicole has been friendly, encouraging, supportive, curious, and a great teacher. She always made sure I was prepared for my learning opportunities, hitting the sweet spot between under preparing and over preparing. I was pushed in the ways I needed, with ample opportunity to process and grow. She has been a tremendous field instructor and created a wonderful internship experience."

Instructor: Emily Bialecki
Agency: Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital/Main Campus/Sub Acute
Student: Kayla Ruano

"Emily is just fabulous. Emily is very knowledgeable and a great patient advocate. She always answered my questions kindly and promptly and always looked for new things to teach me. She was patient while I learned each piece of my internship and checked in on me frequently despite her work being very busy. I feel like I learned so much from her. This was the best internship I’ve had yet a lot of that is because she was a great mentor."

Instructor: Allison Tollafield
Agency: Shiawassee RESD
Student: Kyla Woods

"Allison has been such a great teacher for me. She allows me to be independent with my students and is always there to support me. She is an amazing advocate for her students and has shown me what I want to be like when I am a school social worker. She is compassionate, hard working, organized, and caring. I feel as though Allison has the best instructor and has prepared me for my career."

Instructor: Alyse Muni
Agency: Peckham, Inc/Work Based Learning
Student: Lauren Chambers

"Alyse is one of the best field instructors! And I hope to be as knowledgeable as she is one day in my role as a social worker. Alyse was very supportive, helped me with professional skills, and helped me really dive into the social work career field. I can't express how grateful I am to have had her as my field instructor for my first year in the social work program."

Instructor: Brandie Sanders, LLMSW
Agency: Hope Network/Children's Program
Student: Leah Stadel

"Brandie was absolutely phenomenal, not only as a field instructor but as a mentor. She provided me with countless learning opportunities that helped expand my knowledge of resources in Flint for children & families. I truly admire her leadership style & advocacy for her employees & clients. Any time I needed guidance, she was right there to listen & empower me."

Instructor: Kim Breukink
Agency: Ele's Place/Grief Support Groups for Children
Student: Lindsay Weismiller

"Kim is a phenomenal Field Instructor who truly embodies the role of a social worker and an educator. Throughout my time at Ele's Place, Kim has been a constant mentor. She has provided me with all the resources to have a successful internship and has also known when to offer me opportunities that pushed me outside of my comfort zone to grow in my position. At each new step of the internship, Kim provided education and encouragement ensuring I had the tools to go from watching an intake, to leading one to completing them on my own. Further, Kim worked with me to adjust my schedule to ensure I would have greater access to varying age groups and eventually to lead an adult support group. All of these opportunities I knew I had the guidance and support of an experienced mentor. Beyond all of this, Kim always cared about me as a person, always checking in on me & my family and always asking if I needed to process anything or needed more supervision. I am humbled by my experience at Ele's Place and honored to have the mentorship of Kim as a first year student."

Instructor: Maria Valayil
Agency: Ingham County Prosecutor's Office - Domestic Violence Unit
Student: Madeline Bredeweg

"I wish every BASW student could have Maria as their Field Instructor! Not only is she incredibly knowledgable about Social Work theory and practice, she is also a very skilled teacher. She has created such a brave space for me during our weekly 2-hour supervision sessions, and really encourages me to explore my own implicit biases and instances of transference and counter-transference when working with clients. She has also encouraged me to do dive deeper into learning about and implementing trauma-informed practices, which is essential in our work as advocated in the Domestic Violence Unit of the Ingham County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. The lessons that I have learned from Maria will serve me for the rest of my life - not just in the field. I admire her immensely and I am so thankful for the time that I spent under her supervision."

Instructor: Kim Keilen
Agency: Freedom Early Learning Center Inc.
Student: Nina Brinkley

"Kim is an outstanding field instructor because she goes above and beyond to help me in my journey through field placement. She offers advice and pushes me to think outside of my comfort zone so I can succeed. I have recently gone through a really tough time and Kim has been an amazing mentor and support system to talk things through. Speaking to her and hearing her stories makes me strive to become a social worker. I hope to be able to be a light to the world just like Kim is in her work and life."

Instructor: Jessica Stewart
Agency: CMH CEI Integrated Treatment & Recovery Services (ITRS)/The Recovery Center
Student: Noah Freye

"Jessica is a wonderful field instructor and I've learned a considerable deal here with her at The Recovery Center through CMH. She does her best each day to ensure that her interns are receiving the best experience we can and pushes us to continually learn and grow. I appreciate everything she does for us and know that she will continue to provide an outstanding example of leadership in the field."

Instructor: Megan Galecka
Agency: Shiawassee RESD
Student: Rachael Buhler

"Megan is a fantastic field instructor; she has taught me so much, is patient with me, and gives excellent feedback. She goes above and beyond to ensure the students on her caseload are supported and that their needs are met. Megan has empowered me to step out of my comfort zone in order to provide the best service possible for the students. She supports me and helps me navigate any difficult situation we may have encountered. I'm grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from her this year!"

Instructor: Amy Faber
Agency: Calhoun ISD
Student: Stephanie Schreier

"Amy Faber is a source of positive energy to many. She has equipped me with the knowledge and self-care to guide my career. I will be forever grateful for her selflessness and guidance. She is making a significant impact on our future generations."

Instructor: Nicki Moody
Agency: Southwest Solutions
Student: Xavier Perez

"Nicki is amazing. She would always go out of her way to help me. I would contact Nicki at any time of day about my worries or concerns and she would still get back to me asap. She is one of the main reasons I stayed in this program."