Class Notes

Welcome, Baylor Social Work alumni! Have news to share? Did you just get a promotion, win an award, publish a new article or even have your first child? We want to hear about it! Please take a moment to share your good news with us.

Submit your Class Note

Hannah Johns, BSW '17

I was invited to be on the Adoptee Board for the Organization Families with Children from China in October 2020. The board focuses on raising Adoptee Voices and awareness of adoptive family experiences focused on Adoptees. I am very proud to be one of the only social work voices on the Adoptee Board. I spearheaded an event surrounding Adoptee Mental Health during the National Adoption Awareness Month in November.

Charletra Sharp, BSW '06

In 2019, I joined the Center for Transforming Lives (CTL) to develop an Economic Mobility Center concept, which includes bundling entrepreneurial services designed with women with children in mind. Our work with low-income women and research supports that entrepreneurship is a pathway for self-sufficiency. The EMCs are sited for the Tarrant County neighborhoods where the greatest poverty and disparities exist (East Arlington, East and Southeast Fort Worth, and also include personal financial coaching and career readiness resources. To further ground this work, I served as project manager on a report commissioned by CTL in partnership with Next Street, a national advisory group that assesses small business ecosystems in low-income and minority communities. The report includes an action roadmap that calls for financial institutions, nonprofits, the faith-based communities, educational institutions, corporations, and other advocates to work together to address the inequities experienced by low and moderate-income microbusinesses. My role in this work reinforces the interdisciplinary paths of a social worker, particularly those of us committed to intervening systems for equitable access. I had the opportunity to share more about the Transform Tarrant County from Within Report with the Fort Worth Weekly, fwweekly.com/2020/12/10/charletra-sharp-on-transforming-tarrant-county-from-within/. You can download the full report at www.transforminglives.org/transformtc.

Kitty Warbutton, MSW '14

I returned to the UK and am working for the National Health Service (NHS) offering free specialist mental health services to under 18s. I currently live and work in Southampton where I work as part of the Youth Offending Service. Often my young people are in their late teens and have missed learning or neurodevelopmental needs. I get to help assess, diagnose and then help them understand these better. Southampton has the second highest rates of domestic violence in the UK which adds complexity through generational trauma. When I'm not working I'm probably; zoning out on Netflix, exploring the beautiful New Forest national park, or playing guitar.

Le Ta, BSW '13, MSW '14

Hello fellow change agents! My name is Le, and I received by BSW in 2013 and MSW in 2014 from Baylor. I lead our special event fundraising in the Southwest Region for Boys & Girls Clubs of America and love my job! In my spare time, I love to read, workout and spend time with my family and pups. Sic’ em Bears!

Kathryn Bell, LCSW, MSW '14

I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker as of June 2020! I will begin working part time at Rowland Psychology in Tyler, TX in January 2021. I’ll spend my time not working taking care of mine and my husband’s twin toddlers.

Beth-Danielle Williams, MCG '92

When I was in the Master of Clinical Gerontology program, I was from New Jersey/New York. Director of Programs and Services - Alzheimer’s Association - GA Chapter - Augusta Regional Office (19-Counties) Assistant Nursing Home Administrator Program Director of the CSRA Long-Term Ombudsman Program Certified Professional Gerontologist Also, I spent 20-years teaching at universities and technical colleges in Georgia and South Carolina. Relevant courses taught are: Gerontology Sociology of Aging Services for the Elderly Thanatology Death and Dying Activity Therapy Human Services Social Problems

Debra Newell, MCG '94

My story is one of overcoming, victory and gratitude. Overcoming odds, fears, adversity, gender bias, age bias, trauma, loss, restoration, and much more. Victory over death, set backs, enemy attacks, judgment, seeming limitations and severe challenges. The time invested at Baylor provided me the opportunity to learn and do at the same time. I am fortunate to be wired by my creator to fully engage in all I do. Thus, I benefited from each lecture, assignment, field work, test, other students, instructors, and graduate teaching assistantships which helped with tuition reimbursement. The care in structuring and teaching by Dr. Meyers and Dr. Dickerson, as well as others in the related departments provided a rich foundation of knowledge and application. For this I am ever so grateful. I am fortunate to have learned and worked with the best of the best. Each time a new challenge or task was at hand, a mentor was waiting to shepherd me through the learning process, believing in me to have a positive outcome and impact same on others. Often I have taken the road less traveled, taken risks, walked on the edge – sometimes by my own choosing, other times pushed. As a lifelong learner, I have been able to add a PhD in SocioMedical Sciences Preventive Medicine and Community Health from the University of Texas Medical Branch as well as post graduate certificate.

Kristi Cooper, MCG '95

After 18 years at Baylor College of Medicine, I left my position of vice president of philanthropy & alumni relations in September 2017. I joined The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation that same month as executive director. I’m blessed to have an amazing job and career and work for a wonderful Christian family. My husband John and I still live in Houston with our two hounds and cat. I spend my free time with friends and family, volunteering at my neighborhood food pantry, and relaxing at Lake Livingston. My gerontology degree still comes in handy when caring for our aging parents!

Robin Mayfield, MCG '95

You asked me to relate some of what my life experience has been since getting my Master of Clinical Gerontology degree. I worked for a short time at the hospital as a nurse, which I did not find satisfying as I did not think we were given adequate time or training to compassionately do what needed to be done---it always seemed that documenting minutia thoroughly was more important than thoroughly helping our patients. I then went to work for the Advocacy Center for Crime Victims and Children as their director of (4) volunteer services--recruiting, training and certifying volunteers while I finished my own training as a sexual assault nurse examiner. I found my training in Gerontology quite helpful. I did eventually burnout and decided to retire about 12 years after starting. My love of human kind and my testimony of the love of my Savior continues to grow as I age, and I value my relations hips and membership in church.

Beverly Hayhurst, MCG '97

I continue to work as a hospice nurse, a job some may question in itself, let alone the connection with my Baylor experience in the gerontology studies. Oh, the stories I can tell those who care to listen. My job is to help my clients live each of their remaining days. As I drive to work in the early morning, knowing full well what lies ahead, with the sun rising and the fog lifting, illuminating the solitary tree, that stands like a soldier in the middle of the the emerald green pasture, the quiet allows thoughts of so many persons, allows for strength to provide care to those in need for yet another day. I truly believe all of my Baylor classes have added to my work and life experiences enabling me to give of myself to those at a most fragile point of life.

Tom Bell, MCG '98

Dr. Myers, I'll never forget going to you with a burden at the beginning of the program (regarding a tough assignment), and you ended our meeting with prayer. That was such a culture shift from where I had come (UNC), and helped me realize that Baylor didn't pay mere lip-service to students' relationships with Christ. After graduating, I returned home to NC and began my career at the local Council of Governments as a Long Term Care Ombudsman. I have now been employed at the Council of Governments for over 20 years, and have worked a great deal in helping our local communities serve their residents, becoming a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Analyst. Thank you so much, Dr. Myers, for bringing me into your family of students and for providing the privilege of flinging a bit of green-and-gold afar to this little section of the country.

Julie Hahn, MCG '97

I’m still with Social Security but I’m now the manager in the Corsicana office. My job and career are wonderful. My time at Baylor really helped me grow as a person, both personally and professionally. One of my career strengths is research and I believe the coursework involved in my program, as well as you and Dr. Dickerson pushing us, helped me question things and become more detail-oriented, focused and driven.Thank you for your contribution to my career and development. I am so blessed to have gone through the Gerontology Program at Baylor.

Delores Home, MCG '88

Since I graduated, I have stayed with the Presbyterian church, working in ministry with older adults. I retired at 74 in 2001 and have been volunteering at my church and other places since my retirement. Those include Friends For Life, AARP tax service, tutoring in a school, and a return to working with hospice care. While I was still working I worked with our church's Meals on Wheels program and I still deliver once or twice a month.

Marc "Dutch" Matthews, MCG '90

There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of you, the program and that year. What a wonderful and almost magical time of youth and innocence at Baylor. I miss the program and hope it has fared well and draws smart and good students to learn such great things about aging. I know we cannot go back in time but that is where I would go if all things were possible. I do find myself drifting back frequently and to the many things I learned from you, Dr. Dickerson and Dr. Ray Wilson (who I dearly miss as well). I frequently teach students facts I learned back thirty years ago.

Tracy Griffith, MCG '87

I have worked for Penn Medicine now for 23 years! The first twenty at Hospital Univ. of Pennsylvania and three years ago I accepted a position at Director of Case Management and Social Work at Pennsylvania Hospital – the nation’s first hospital! We have a sizable geriatric population her at PAH and my Baylor training comes in handy often. Currently we are working on a geriatric ED initiative.

Barbara Walker, MCG '96

After I graduated I got a job at HOTMHMR. I really liked clinical psychology, working with psychiatrist and our great team. I remember feeling prepared although I kept a few books close by. I got to know the clients well and felt comfortable with them along with a call to be with them. I opened my private practice in 2003. Starting a practice/ business was so difficult. I still miss the clients, the Dr.’s, Tim and running up and down the halls at MHMR but do love my private practice. I’ve been using EMDR psychotherapy for 10 plus years. It’s powerful and healing and I truly believe God does the healing. I can’t claim the credit for what I see.

Dave Beilfuss, MCG '94

When I left Baylor, I took an internship in Santa Barbara for a small company that was converting older hotels to SRO retirement communities. I worked for them for several years in several locations primarily in a management capacity. I then moved on to Missouri where I was a licensed nursing home administrator for a very short time. The company I worked for was very impressed with my abilities that Baylor had given me and it helped me to advance very quickly. While I now own a small company in Southern California that focuses primarily on industrial printing, I have often thought to share an interesting benefit to my Gerontology degree with you. My experience through Baylor has assisted me in helping to guide these designs to being more friendly to aging populations.

Holly Evans, MCG '95

I loved your Aging and Mental Health class, and continued to be drawn to psychology while I was working in the field of aging (Alzheimer's Association and Ventura County Area Agency on Aging). So I returned to graduate school, and received a MA in Psychology from Pepperdine University in 2001. I started out working as a therapist in a geropsychology outpatient program, took a few years off to have kids, and I've now been in private practice for 12 years. I specialize in women's mental health, trauma recovery, and maternal mental health. I love my work, and often integrate my understanding life span/human development to help women coping with the aging process, role changes, caregiving, and other major life transitions.

Mark Gustafon, MCG '98

I loved your Aging and Mental Health class, and continued to be drawn to psychology while I was working in the field of aging (Alzheimer's Association and Ventura County Area Agency on Aging). So I returned to graduate school, and received a MA in Psychology from Pepperdine University in 2001. I started out working as a therapist in a geropsychology outpatient program, took a few years off to have kids, and I've now been in private practice for 12 years. I specialize in women's mental health, trauma recovery, and maternal mental health. I love my work, and often integrate my understanding life span/human development to help women coping with the aging process, role changes, caregiving, and other major life transitions.

Madonna Mamerow, MCG '01

My trajectory after the program was to complete a PhD in Nutrition Biochemistry at UT Austin. From there I completed a post doc at UTMB in Galveston in clinical research to study protein metabolism and muscle loss in the elderly and during spaceflight. I went into industry research after that working for a company called 1st Detect, which is a chemical detection company, as an applications chemist to develop applications for their chemical detectors for the food and beverage industry and medical industry. Just recently, I was contracted to NASA Johnson Space Center to identify, understand, and mitigate the risk of radiation exposure associated with central nervous system, behavioral medicine, and sensorimotor function using nutritional countermeasures. I would say some of the experiences I witnessed elder patients going through in the nursing home setting while completing my studies at Baylor also mimic what long-duration space missions will look like- isolation and confinement.

Kristi Kirk, MCG '98

After finishing school, I earned my hours to sit for the LPC Board exam. I earned those hours at the Waco Police Department, as director of victim services. After becoming vested, I decided to leave full-time work to have my second child. I then started a private practice. I have continued to work in the private sector, and have contracted with various agencies along the way, Head Start, Cenikor-as a COPSD counselor, as well as others. I now only do private practice, but continue to work with agencies around town, mostly CPS. I am amazed at how my experience in court, from being at the police department, has carried over to my private practice. Many attorneys have gotten my name through word of mouth and now use me to testify in child custody issues. Although stressful at times, I do enjoy that. But still, my favorite work is trauma. As far as my personal life I will be celebrating 21 years of marriage in May. I also have 2 wonderful children, my son Bailey, 18, and my daughter Hannah, 12. Bailey graduates this year and has been accepted to Baylor.

Curtis Garner, MCG '91

After leaving Waco, I taught for 10 years at Hardin-Simmons in Abilene, in the department of Counseling and Human Development. I also maintained a limited private practice and consulted with a variety of human service organizations while I lived there. I moved to Idaho and to Northwest Nazarene University in 2007. I have worked in the Counselor Education department since them, attaining tenure again and the rank of Professor. Currently I am also the department chair. We have around 125 to 130 graduate students in our growing department. I continue to practice privately on a limited basis-- mostly conducting psychological assessments. Karen and I reflect fondly on our time at Baylor. We both especially remember our work at the Herbert Reynolds Summer School for Retired Persons! I continue to work with both older persons as well as younger persons and children. I have been able to teach graduate students and other professionals about elderly persons and their social and psychological needs. I am proud of my MSG from Baylor, and I believe strongly in the interdisciplinary focus of the department.

Brenda Sanders, MCG '95

I am the co-author of a new textbook “Aging in the Family”. It is my first book, and my greenhorns have absolutely showed in the process! Several months ago, the publisher asked my co-author (George Dickinson, Baylor undergrad class of 1962) and I to give them several names for potential people to review the book.

Timothy McGlasson, MCG '96

My final practicum was with the Heart of Texas MHMR as a counselor and upon graduation, I continued employment with the agency for six years as a crisis counselor and later as the director of the Admissions department. During my tenure at MHMR, I became more interested in psychiatry and decided to continue my education in the nursing field. I completed both MSN and DNP degrees at the University of Washington-Seattle in 2009. My doctoral program focus was in gerontological nursing and while in school, I worked a variety of nursing jobs in both inpatient gero-psychiatric units and in- home mental health programs which focused on dementia care. Since 2009, I have worked as a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner and I’m currently employed with University of Texas Medical Branch – Correctional Managed Care system in Austin, Texas. My primary practice is providing psychiatric care to incarcerated individuals and I continue to specialize in providing psychiatric assessment and medication management for older adult offenders in the Texas prison system.

Spencer Brown, MCG '95

Dr. Myers was one of my main professors at Baylor during my graduate school years and he has continued to do great things in the School of Social Work there. I am excited about the possibility of discussions and meetings to learn what Baylor is doing in social work, gerontology, etc. as well as seeing how we can share with upcoming students about the wonderful fork in the field of aging.

Chris Parker, MSW '94

I got my MSW at UofH in 1994 and worked as a Clinical Social Worker for Tri-County MHMR for a couple of years before moving to Durham, NC for 18 years. I worked at various places but mostly at the state hospital as a clinical social worker with adults.Three years ago I moved back to Beaumont, TX to be near my Grandma and parents. Grandma passed away at 100 y/o in April of 2016. Since I have been here I have been working with the senior adult population again in psych unit, nursing homes providing therapy, and now for hospice. I also have a private practice on the side as a LCSW.

Charletra Sharp, BSW '06

In 2019, I joined the Center for Transforming Lives (CTL) to develop an Economic Mobility Center concept, which includes bundling entrepreneurial services designed with women with children in mind. Our work with low-income women and research supports that entrepreneurship is a pathway for self-sufficiency. The EMCs are sited for the Tarrant County neighborhoods where the greatest poverty and disparities exist (East Arlington, East and Southeast Fort Worth, and also include personal financial coaching and career readiness resources. To further ground this work, I served as project manager on a report commissioned by CTL in partnership with Next Street, a national advisory group that assesses small business ecosystems in low-income and minority communities. The report includes an action roadmap that calls for financial institutions, nonprofits, the faith-based communities, educational institutions, corporations, and other advocates to work together to address the inequities experienced by low and moderate-income microbusinesses. My role in this work reinforces the interdisciplinary paths of a social worker, particularly those of us committed to intervening systems for equitable access. I had the opportunity to share more about the Transform Tarrant County from Within Report with the Fort Worth Weekly, or download the full report here

.