Class of 2018 Alumni
Lauren Busfield is a licensed clinical social worker in Pennsylvania. She received her BA in Women’s Studies from West Chester University and returned there to earn her Master’s in Social Work. While earning her bachelor’s degree, she worked at a center for domestic violence managing crisis calls, which prompted an interest in counseling and social welfare, as well as a return to school for a graduate degree. She began her social work career as a medical social worker and expanded to experience in inpatient and partial-hospitalization settings, as well as hospice work. She currently works in a group practice serving Bucks and Philadelphia counties in Pennsylvania, providing outpatient therapy to children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families. While she provides services to a variety of clients with a plethora of mental health challenges, she is particularly interested in adolescents and trauma. She has completed many professional trainings, including mindfulness-based stress management courses through the Penn Program for Mindfulness and those focusing on complex trauma. Her clinical interests include mindfulness-based therapy, technology and interpersonal trauma, and the impact of companion animals on mental health.
Zakia Clay, MSW, LCSW, earned a BS in Psychology and Psychiatric Rehabilitation from Kean University and a MSW from Rutgers University. Ms. Clay is an Instructor at the Rutgers School of Health Related Professions, Department of Psychiatric Rehabilitation and Counseling Professions. Currently, she is teaching professional education courses in Community Support Services to prepare New Jersey Supportive Housing providers for the transition to a fee-for-service model. This also includes curricula development and evaluation of the implementation of the new practices through onsite agency visits. In addition to being an Instructor, Ms. Clay works as a licensed clinician for a crisis intervention program in Hudson County, NJ and acts as a field liaison for Rutgers students. Other training and experience include supervision of staff providing support to adults diagnosed with severe mental illness. She is an advocate for person centered practices that promote wellness, recovery, and community integration. She has also presented at various local and national conferences on topics including best practices, service delivery, wellness, and psychiatric rehabilitation.
Megan Conti, LCSW, received her Bachelor’s Degree (BA) in Political Science and Latin American and Latino Studies from the College of the Holy Cross. She obtained her Masters in Social Work (MSW) from Fordham’s Graduate School of Social Services with a dual major in clinical practice and administration. Megan began her social work career interning in the child welfare system in the Bronx as well as interning at an outpatient mental health clinic in Forest Hills. She continued working in Forest Hills in an administrative and clinical capacity. Megan has a wide range of experience working with individuals from various ethnic, religious and socio-economic backgrounds. Megan’s work has focused on children and families, which resulted in her completing two years of post-graduate training at the Ackerman Institute for the Family in Manhattan. Areas of interest include the development of the superego in a technological era, challenging state and city mandates regarding community clinic practice, and questions of access to quality mental health care. Megan currently serves as the Clinical Coordinator and Psychotherapist at the Bleuler Psychotherapy Center in Forest Hills. Megan looks forward to the personal and professional growth that awaits her in the journey through the DSW program. She hopes to sharpen her critical thinking skills and develop more fully her clinical voice.
Armand DiYenno, LCSW, ACSW, holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work (New York University/Temple University) and is also a graduate of the School of Modern Psychoanalysis. Currently his roles include serving as a clinical director and supervisor as well as a consultant and clinician. In the past he has worked with Coretta Scott King and the Center for Non-violent Social Change in Atlanta in an effort to reduce racism, sexism, sexual prejudice, and other forms of discrimination on university and college campuses. He has owned his own business and held various management positions with a number of Corporations. He was also the Deputy Director for the Bucks County Pennsylvania Behavioral Health System for several years. In Pennsylvania, Armand assisted in testing, introducing, and implementing the mandated managed behavioral health program better known as HealthChoices. He has taught courses at various universities and college graduate schools and serves on the Board of Directors for a Pennsylvania affiliate of the National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI).
Vashonna Etienne is the Founding Executive Director at The Center for Counseling and Holistic Services. She holds a BA in Public Justice with a minor in Sociology from SUNY Oswego and a Master’s of Social Work from Hunter College School of Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of New Jersey. Vashonna’s organization is located in West Orange, NJ where she employs a team of social workers providing psychotherapy, coaching and workshop services to men, women, children and families. Raised in the Bronx and born to a single mother, Vashonna is a student of life. As a child, she learned early on that life isn’t always fair but it doesn’t have to be unjust. Vashonna’s life experience was the motivating factor for pursuing her dreams of making an impact in the world. In 2001, Vashonna joined the Department of Child Protection and Permanency (DCP&P), formerly known as DYFS. After completing her master’s degree in 2007, Vashonna resigned from DCP&P and started her journey within the nonprofit sector working with children aging out of foster care as well as the HIV/AIDS population before venturing off to start her own 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. When it seems impossible to manage it all, Vashonna never gives up and always gives more than expected. From training state workers to social workers, she continues to engage the community through education and action–oriented activities.
Shannon Evans, LCSW, earned a Master’s degree in Social Work as well as a post-graduate certificate in child and adolescent mental health from Rutgers University. She has provided direct clinical services to children and adults impacted by sexual violence, domestic violence, and substance abuse. Additionally, Shannon has worked as an in-community therapist, program director, and care manager supervisor within the New Jersey Children’s System of Care. Currently, she works as a full time clinician at William Paterson University’s Counseling, Health, and Wellness Center. Shannon’s interest in pursuing the DSW at Rutgers University is to critically analyze the origins and function of social work practice in the United States, its relationship to systemic racism, and the impact these factors have on the therapeutic relationship.
Lynda R. Fabbo
Lynda R. Fabbo, MSW, LCSW, received her Bachelor’s degree from Seton Hall University and her Masters in Social Work from Rutgers University. She began her career working as a crisis intervention therapist with children and families involved in the Passaic County Family Court. She then went on to provide school-based therapy for at-risk children in several North Bergen Elementary Schools. She is currently on a Child Study Team in a high school and middle school, working with children and young adults who have learning and developmental disabilities. Lynda is also a Rutgers Social Work Field Liaison and a SIFI Certified Field Instructor. In her private practice as a psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, and Reiki practitioner, she provides help to those looking to improve their lives and relationships. She believes we all have the potential to be successful and possess the tools we need to achieve our goals. Treatment is viewed as a journey taken together to find this potential within, and Lynda uses a holistic approach to mental health counseling and wellness with her clients. Lynda is also a passionate teacher and provides classes and seminars on Mindfulness and energy healing. She seeks to broaden her clinical knowledge and further explore the art and science of emotional healing.
Katelen Fortunati received her BS in Psychology from Southern Oregon University and her MSW from Saint Louis University. She is a licensed clinical social worker in the State of Illinois and is currently working for Chestnut Health Systems in Belleville, Illinois. Katelen has been working for Chestnut Health Systems for 4 years in the Early Intervention with Children of Incarcerated Parents program. The focus of her work is providing individual, family and group therapy for children with parents who are currently incarcerated or were recently released. She also facilitates parenting classes at area prisons and support groups for the caregivers. She has focused her career in working with families impacted by parental incarceration and is particularly interested in increasing the awareness of this unique population’s needs and implementing targeted interventions to prevent intergenerational incarcerations. Katelen would like to use her experience from the DSW program to strengthen her leadership skills and approach to practice problems in an engaged and systemic manner.
Sakima Gonzalez completed her BA in Psychology at The City College of New York, and her MSW at Adelphi University, also in NYC. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, bilingual in Spanish and English, who has worked in multiple settings and populations as a school based psychotherapist, crisis intervention-behavioral manager for children with developmental disabilities, medical social worker, and mental health consultant for the Head Start System. She currently works as a supervisor for a care management organization under the Child Family System of Care. She leads a team of care managers that utilize the Wraparound Philosophy to deliver services to a culturally diverse population of children, adolescents, and families with various mental health conditions and/or developmental disabilities. She also works as an (IIC) Intensive In Home Clinician and Needs Assessor with mostly Hispanic families in urban areas. Originally trained as Cognitive Behavioral Therapist, Sakima now considers herself to be an eclectic practitioner. This approach to therapy was developed out of the needs of her clients who present with assimilation, acculturation, and traumatic experiences related to immigration and loss that may not be addressed by a single methodology. An immigrant herself, she will use this DSW program as a vehicle to research, evaluate, and create more culturally sensitive tools for Cognitive Behavior approaches with an aim to incorporate these tools into the practice of in home counseling.
Jeffrey P. Hanna
Jeffrey P. Hanna, LCSW, ACSW, received his BA in sociology with a minor in psychology from Widener University and went on to receive his MSW and certificate in gerontology at Rutgers University. He is currently maintaining a full time private practice in Camden County, NJ. He provides services to individuals and couples for mood disorders, anxiety disorders, adjustment disorders, complicated grief, and issue related to development of identity. He has worked throughout many systems of treatment including adult hospitalization, acute partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs. The majority of Jeffrey’s clients are males ranging from 20 to 50 years of age. He has focused on the limitations of emotional language and archaic non-emotional gender roles applied to men. He hopes to understand and develop a new definition of manhood, which would encompass the changes in cultural perception of maladaptive gender roles.
Kim Heberlein, LCSW, MFT, received her BSW from Metropolitan State University of Denver and her MSW from Colorado State University. She has a post-graduate certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy and is an AAMFT approved supervisor. Kim has a background in court appointed therapy with male and female sex offenders, and she has assessed and developed behavioral plans in accordance to the Colorado Sex Offender Management board for individual referrals. Kim is currently a clinical social worker in private practice, providing supportive therapy to families, adolescents, couples, and individuals dealing with challenges such as divorce, separation, infidelity, compulsive sexual behavior, abuse, sexual trauma, relationship difficulties, communication concerns, depression, and anxiety. She specializes in adolescent and general offender issues as a liaison to schools, hospitals, and legal systems, including addiction issues. Kim creates 504 plans for adolescent clients. She incorporates her counseling using Solution Focused Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Structural Family Therapy, and Emotional Focused Therapy techniques, as well as Strength Based Feminist and Systemic perspectives. She guest lectures at the University of Denver, presenting Human Sexuality Issues to Clinical I and II courses.
Janet Hoffer has been in private practice in West Orange, NJ for over twenty years, providing psychoanalytic psychotherapy for adults, adolescents, children, and couples. She received her BA in psychology from Brandeis University and her MSW from Columbia University. She completed her psychoanalytic training at the Center for Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis of New Jersey where she is a faculty member. Currently, she supervises and teaches candidates and serves on the Institute’s Training Committee. Prior to having her own practice, she worked in a variety of settings including outpatient mental health, intensive outpatient care, and medical social work. Her areas of interest include complex trauma and PTSD, sexuality, mood disorders, underachievement, addictive behaviors, parenting, attachment issues, and the emotional aspects of AD/HD and learning disabilities. Contemporary Psychoanalysis, Attachment Theory, Trauma and Dissociation, EMDR and Emotionally Focused Therapy inform her work and understanding of people.
Jaime Lauren, MSW, LCSW, received her BS in Psychology and MSW from The Florida State University. She has a diverse background that includes: school-based behavior analysis, mental health and substance abuse treatment, outpatient HIV/AIDS, medical social work, and private practice. Currently, Jaime works at Fairleigh Dickinson University where she is the Assistant Director of Counseling and provides individual counseling, campus outreach via social media, staff trainings, and presentations on a variety of self-care and mental health topics. She is passionate about increasing outreach and awareness for mental health on-campus via social media engagement. Ultimately, her goal is to further her research on technology and engagement by exploring culturally relevant approaches to support her students and the campus community in this constantly evolving technological world.
Amanda Marsh is a licensed clinical social worker in Colorado. She received a BS in Sociology from Central Michigan University. After receiving an undergraduate degree, Amanda attended the University of Michigan where she completed a Masters in Social Work with a concentration in interpersonal practice and mental health. Amanda then completed a post-graduate fellowship in psychosocial rehabilitation and recovery for severe mental illness through the Veterans’ Administration Hospital in West Haven, Connecticut and the Yale School of Medicine. Currently, Amanda works for Craig Hospital, one of the leading spinal cord and brain injury acute rehabilitation hospitals in the country. At Craig, she works as an inpatient counselor in the Clinical Care Management department. Amanda also serves on the board of the Colorado chapter of the National Association of Social Workers as a Denver Region Representative. Amanda has completed training in Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, Social Skills Training for Schizophrenia, Cognitive Behavior Therapy, Motivational Interviewing, and Illness Management and Recovery. Her clinical interests include, the LGBT patient experience in healthcare, trauma and its impact throughout the continuum of care on both patients and their families and integrated approaches to therapy.
Pat McKernan, LSW since 1990, is the Chief Operating Officer for Volunteers of America Delaware Valley. Volunteers of America Delaware Valley is a non-profit agency providing services to homeless individuals and families, veterans, individuals with mental illness, intellectual disabilities and those struggling with addiction. Volunteers of America Delaware Valley is a leader in providing services to ex-offenders. Pat has been with Volunteers of America since 1996 and supervises all programs and services. She is President of the Re-entry Coalition of New Jersey where she has served in leadership roles for more than 10 years. Pat was appointed by Governor Christie to the New Jersey Board of Social Work Examiners in 2014. Pat is a Leadership NJ Graduate (2006) and has promoted the professional development of corrections practitioners through her efforts in coordinating the 2005 International Community Corrections Association conference in Atlantic City NJ; the International Association of Re-entry’s Second Working Summit in 2007 in Baltimore MD; the Coalition of Community Corrections Providers of NJ’s Re-entry Conferences in 2007 and 2008, and the NJ American Correctional Association conferences in 2012, 2013 and 2014 and the co-sponsored Mid Atlantic States Correctional Association and NJ Chapter American Correctional Association conference in 2015. She has served on various boards of directors including the NJ Association on Correction, the NJ Chapter of the American Correctional Association, the International Community Corrections Association and PILOT Services. She has been a certified Field Instructor for the Rutgers University School of Social Work since 1998.
Anthony Nicotera has his law and social work degrees, is an educator, development professional, mediator, licensed social worker and counselor, and executive manager and leader. He has over 20 years of spiritual and clinical counseling, coaching and teaching experience, over 18 years of development, advancement, and nonprofit leadership, management and administration experience. He serves as Director, Corporate and Foundation Relations, with the Rutgers University Foundation. He also partnered with HarperCollins to publish the Cristo Rey story. He serves as Adjunct Professor at New York University’s Silver School of Social Work, teaching courses in peace, social justice, social work, multifaith leadership and spirituality. He has served as Director of NYU’s post-graduate certificate program in Spirituality and Social Work and has taught graduate social work courses in Chicago and at Rutgers. He is a Cofounder and President of MindfulCloud PBC, (www.mindfulcloud.com) co-founded with a former student, which promotes and creates mindful media and technology (films, apps, books, comics, software) that inspires personal and social transformation. Previously, he served as Chaplain to the College of Law and School for New Learning via DePaul University’s Center for Spirituality and Values in Practice (CSVP) which he co-founded. He also served on the Board of a gang outreach and ministry program, and in this capacity worked directly with disadvantaged, gang-involved Chicago youth. He spent six years as a member of the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits), a religious order in the Roman Catholic tradition. Additionally, he lived and worked in India with Mother Teresa. He also lived in Latin America, working with community-based organizations and victims of war and violence, and in Camden, New Jersey, with the Jesuits, and after leaving the Jesuits, with the Leavenhouse Catholic Worker community serving and working on behalf of the poor, oppressed and marginalized. He has been arrested some 20 times for nonviolent civil disobedience. He was interviewed for the PBS documentary Where We Stood, nominated for an Emmy. He was featured in articles on academics and activism and the living out of Dr. King’s nonviolent vision in both the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times. Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Mairead Maguire invited him to speak at a peace-building and human rights conference in Belfast, N.I. Arun Gandhi invited him to present workshops at Gandhi Institute conferences on peacemaking, where he co-presented with youth leaders.
Tracy Norris, BA in Sociology (City College of New York) and MSW (Columbia University), is a LCSW and psychotherapist. Tracy currently works full time as a psychiatric social worker on an acute inpatient hospital unit. As a member of an interdisciplinary team, she provides supportive counseling and psychosocial education to families and patients, individually and in groups. She also works part time as a psychotherapist at a mental health clinic with individuals and families providing supportive counseling for emotional, relationship, and other issues, including behavioral, grief, mental health disorders, substance abuse and addiction problems. A former early childhood educator, Tracy looks forward to continuing her growth, both personally and professionally. The Rutgers University DSW program appeals to her as the next step to enhance her knowledge and skills for the betterment of her clients.
Lauren Potts, BA Psychology/physiology (Gwynedd-Mercy University), MS Counseling and Health Psychology (Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine), MSW (University of Pennsylvania), is a licensed clinical social worker and licensed professional counselor in Pennsylvania. She currently has a private practice working with children, adolescents, adults and families, specializing in mindfulness-based cognitive, creative arts, play, and family therapy. Her work is informed by her experience in inpatient, crisis emergency, partial hospitalization, military, hospice, medical, and outpatient settings. She completed a training program in Advanced Child Development and Mindfulness Based Family Play Therapy through the Family and Play Therapy Center in Philadelphia. Currently, she is completing her supervision hours to become a Registered Play Therapist. Over the past two years she has begun volunteer work with camps for the American Diabetes Association and Camp Kesem (a camp for children who have or have lost a parent to cancer), which have brought an immense amount of personal and professional joy and inspiration. She hopes to be able to intertwine her health psychology and social work training into her work in the DSW program.
Julee Wickliffe, BSW (Marist College), MSW (Fordham University), is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has 17 years of experience within the social work field. Julee is employed by Rutgers University Correctional Healthcare and works in the NJ State Prison System. Currently, she provides individual and group therapy to inmates with mental health issues and sexual offender parolees. Julee assisted in implementing and facilitating the new Start Now Group therapy curriculum within the current correctional facility she works in. Julee has gained positive results in utilizing Multisystemic Therapy including Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Strengths Based Therapy within the correctional setting. Prior to working in the prison system, Julee maintained a private practice and provided therapy to both adults and children. Within the private practice she specialized in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Julee also has experience in working on a child/adolescent psychiatric unit within a hospital setting and has provided both individual and family therapy to the patients. Julee would like to use her experience from the DSW program to help bring about awareness regarding the mentally ill that are incarcerated.