Class Notes 1990-1999

Class of 1999

Patrik Karlsson, MSW '99, is currently working at Kaiser Permanente in Richmond, Calif., in the Parity Clinical Case Management Program with severely and persistently mentally ill clients. He also works in private practice with dually diagnosed patients. In addition, he teaches for the Harm Reduction Training Institute, providing workshops for multiple California agencies on substance use treatment, community mental health and working with dually diagnosed clients.

Liena Hsieh McCord, MSW '99, is an employee assistance consultant at Wells Fargo in Los Angeles.

Stacy-Colleen Nameth, MSW '99, is a licensed psychotherapist in private practice and is in her intermediate year in somatic experiencing training. She is currently doing work in trauma, as well as substance abuse, GLBT issues, relationship issues, depression, anxiety, mindfulness meditation training, adolescence and career challenges.

Regina Tumin, MSW/MHA '99, is a licensed clinical social worker at Keck Hospital of USC.

Class of 1998

Barbara Ackermann, MSW '98, is a school social worker at Granada Hills Charter High School. Previously, she was a school-based therapist at Thomas Starr King Middle School. She obtained her PPS credential at California State University, Long Beach in 2003. The first four years after graduation, she worked with severely and persistently mentally ill individuals who were homeless.

Betsy Bloombaum, MSW '98, is a realtor with Keller Williams in Northridge, Calif.

Karen Carter, MSW '98, is a clinical social worker with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and works in the Parole Outpatient Clinic in Inglewood, Calif. She is also a part-time lecturer and faculty advisor for Boston University School of Social Work's online Master of Social Work program.

Karen Corey, MSW '98, is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Redondo Beach, Calif.

Piper Glasier, MSW '98, is a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Laguna Hills, Calif., and is an instructor at the Newport Psychoanalytic Institute in Tustin, Calif.

Stephen Koffman, MSW '98, was recognized by the Los Angeles City Council for an intervention program he co-developed with Los Angeles Police Officer Larry Covington. Koffman and Covington were presented a certificate of recognition by Council President Eric Garcetti for the Juvenile Intervention and Prevention Program (JIPP). They are also working with the Mayor‚'s Gang Reduction Youth Development Program for the Rampart area.

Rebecca Medina, MSW '98, was promoted in June 2012 to director at Casey Family Programs, which provides programs and services to foster care youth and alumni. Previously, she was a clinic manager for ENKI Mental Health Clinic in Pico Union. She also sits on the USC San Gabriel Valley Alumni Board. Medina lives in Pasadena with her daughter Emma Caroline.

Jenny Cohn Stewart, MSW '98, has a private practice in Orange County specializing in children, adolescents and their families.

Darlene Woo, MSW '98, is a partner and the associate director of Assist Management Consulting, a group of social service and health professionals helping organizations and companies create, implement and maintain programs that have positive community outcomes, in Pasadena, Calif. She is also a field instructor for the USC School of Social Work.

Class of 1997

Nina Brown, MSW '97, works with the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services, training staff in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and domestic violence.

Robert Decarlo, MSW '97, is currently in the Army Reserve serving in Iraq. He is a member of a medical combat stress control unit that helps soldiers deal with the negative consequences of warfare and minimize the effects of stress on the battlefield.

Kim Isaac, MSW '97, is director of development and alumni relations at the University of Washington School of Social Work.

Stephen Peck, MSW '97, received the W. June Simmons Distinguished Alumni Award at the USC School of Social Work's "A Celebration of the Heart" 2011 gala. Peck is president and CEO of U.S. VETS, the nation's largest non-profit organization dedicated to assisting veterans making the transition to civilian life, and has since worked with the non-profit to form the Village at Cabrillo, which serves more than 500 homeless veterans. A U.S. Marine Corps veteran himself, Peck has been helping fellow veterans for 30 years. He started the Far From Home Foundation, helped with the Comprehensive Homeless Program at the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center, and has produced two feature films about veterans, Heart of the Warrior and Far From Home.

Claudine Scotti, MSW ‚'97, is director of client services in the Costa Mesa, Calif., office of Resources Global Professionals, a firm that provides professional services to companies.

Mahari Tilahun, MSW ‚'97, is the program manager of social and mental health services for the new San-West Health & Housing Collaborative, which is a joint venture with LAMP Community, Inc.; A Community of Friends; T.H.E. (To Help Everyone) Clinic; and Special Services for Groups as part of a three-year pilot project.

Annette Weary, MSW '97, is a psychiatric social worker at West Los Angeles Veteran Administration Hospital, where she treats dual diagnosis and substance abuser patients. She invites friends to contact her at

Class of 1996

Emily Aikins, MSW '96, is an employee assistance program coordinator in Salt Lake City.

Steven Hendrickson, MSW '96, is the mental health clinical program head at the Roybal Family Mental Health Center, a Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health children and family clinic in East Los Angeles.

Maureen O'Keefe Hodge, MSW '96, and her family recently moved back to California having lived in Nueva Suyapa, a slum community of Honduras, Central America, for the last four years. Partnering with other NGOs and Christian churches, she helped start a non-profit called Honduras Puerta al Mundo that provides Hondurans training and leadership development to be leaders in their own country, as well as abroad in some of the poorest countries in the world. Also, she and her husband adopted a little Honduran girl named Abby. That experience led to her work with the Honduran government to try and improve the country‚'s child welfare system.

Laureen Brisco Vernon Montgomery, MSW '96, is the women veterans' program manager at the VA Gulf Coast Veterans Health Care System in Biloxi, Miss. She was licensed in California and has worked in various mental health and health settings in Los Angeles and surrounding areas before transferring to the Palo Alto VA Healthcare System and later to the Biloxi VA Medical Center.

Jurline K. Redeaux, MSW '96, has established New Impression, a transitional housing facility in Watts.

Robin Rouda Newman, MSW '96, is a social work clinician at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif. Following graduation, she worked at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles in the neonatal intensive care unit. She is expecting a baby in July.

Allison Rotter, MSW '96, is associate director of volunteer services at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, Calif. She has worked for the center for more than 20 years. 

Neil Rotter, MSW/MSG '96, was elected as board secretary for the California Association for Health Services at Home, the state trade association for home care providers. He has served on the board for 5 years and is excited to expand his role for advocacy and education on home care-related issues. Rotter is also vice president of business development and finance at Accredited Home Health Services in Woodland Hills, Calif.

Lynn W. Unipan, MSW '96, is a development officer in the development office at Silver Springs-Martin Luther School in Plymouth Meeting, Penn. The school provides a home, education and treatment to children who have experienced traumas, abuse and/or neglect, or who are seriously emotionally disturbed.

Class of 1995

Lisa de Faria, MSW '95, is a licensed clinical social worker and director of the Family Center for Developmental Therapies in Monterey, where she works with young children with neurodevelopmental, emotional or behavior problems, as well as their families. She is also on the faculty of the Interdisciplinary Council on Developmental and Learning Disorders and teaches PhD courses related to child development and the parent experience.

Deborah Kattler Kupetz, MSW '95, started dkkevents, a green event planning business in Los Angeles for private individuals, select non-profits and corporations who share her mission and vision.

Dorene Lehavi, PhD '95, recently released her book, Business Partnership Essentials: A Step-by-Step Action Plan for Succeeding in Business With a Partner. She heads Los Angeles-based Business Partner Pro as a coach and consultant. 

Laura Ornelas, MSW '95, lives in Monterey, Calif., where she started two of the first adoption specialty clinics in the state. Her first article describing the work of the clinics will be published in the Child Welfare League of America Journal in fall 2007.

Marcy Higdon-Pullard, MSW '95, is a licensed clinical social worker and has founded Avenues of Independence, Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to providing housing and independent living skills program services to emancipated youth in Los Angeles county.

Taylor Stahoski, MSW '95, is Character Education Coordinator and school counselor for the lower division at Brentwood School in Los Angeles. She helped create the school's Character Education Program and helps to promote and incorporate five core values of caring, respect, trust, responsibility and honesty into the daily life of the lower division student population. Under Stahoski's guidance, Brentwood School received the 2010 and 2011 California State School of Character Awards and the 2011 National School of Character Award from the Character Education Partnership.

Mindy Levine Stern, MSW '95, works at Jewish Family Service, where she coordinates an errand and escort service for frail seniors and disabled adults who are residents of West Hollywood, Calif.

Class of 1994

Jeff Bernhardt, MSW '94, of Van Nuys, Calif., wrote and directed the play “Therapy,” which humanizes the counseling profession. The play ran for three weeks at the Secret Rose Theatre in Los Angeles and won Bernhardt the National Association of Social Workers Social Work Image Award, which is given to those who have advanced the profession through their work. 

Shari Grande, MSW '94, pairs physicians who work in clinical drug development with companies working on new drug application submissions. She also works closely with the autism community helping new parents cope with learning that their child has autism. Previously, Grande worked in clinical oncology in hospitals, transitioning to a non-traditional social work position when she joined Parke-Davis/Pfizer as a member of its training department working with oncology patients and volunteering time for support groups. She has also worked as an executive recruiter for small biotech companies. 

Ken Howard, MSW '94, wrote a new self-empowerment e-book, Have the Life You Want. Howard also won one of 10 "Dedicated and Deserving Social Workers of the Year Awards" from Social Work Today magazine. For more than 18 years, Howard has worked for various nonprofits such as the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Center and the Spectrum Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Center in San Rafael, Calif., and now runs his own private practice specializing in helping gay men and people with HIV. Howard is a 10-year cancer survivor and has been living with HIV for 20 years.

Jose Juarez, MSW '94, is a supervising deputy probation officer with the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

George Kappaz, MSW '94, is a licensed clinical social worker with Kaiser Permanente‚'s department of behavioral health and in private practice in Westlake Village.

Class of 1993

Gary Furuta, MSW ’93, volunteers at Veterans First in Santa Ana, California. Retired since 2012, he is a service officer of the American Legion Chinatown Post 628 and District 17.

Susan Hess, MSW '93, has been awarded with the Dr. Marjorie Braude Award for her dedication and work in the field of domestic violence from the City of Los Angeles Domestic Violence Task Force.

Kimberley (Clarkson) Hirschi, PhD ’93, served as an instructor at the San Diego State University School of Social Work in the Title IV-E Child Welfare Stipend Program. After taking time off to raise her five children, she is currently seeking a teaching position.

Theodorah "Teddy" McKenna, MSW '93, is the president of the Association of Psychiatric Social Workers, Local 2712/American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees in Los Angeles.

Luz Moran, MSW '93, is a children services administrator with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services.

Betsy Trapasso, MSW '93, is an end-of-life specialist in Los Angeles and host of the city's first death cafe, a gathering where death is discussed in a comforting environment where people can learn not to fear death and live their lives more fully.

Class of 1992

Amanda Barnett, MSW '92, is in private practice in Woodland Hills, Calif. She has recently launched a website,, as a resource for clients, their friends and families to enhance daily practice of mindfulness, kindness and compassion.

Judea Galing, MSW '92, is a case manager in Kagel Canyon, Calif. 

Lauren Schneider, MSW '92, is the clinical director of Child & Adolescent Programs at Our House, the leading grief support center in Los Angeles County, where she trains and supervises volunteers to help lead grief support groups for adults and children grieving the death of a spouse/partner, parent, child or sibling. She is considered an authority on children's grief and lectures nationwide on the topic. Schneider also maintains a clinical practice in Sherman Oaks and Los Angeles. She will be presenting at the NASW-CA annual conference in Irvine, Calif., for the second time. Schneider is the author of Children Grieve Too: A Handbook for Parents of Grieving Children and a producer of the upcoming HBO documentary "Grief Camp," to be released in January 2013.

Karen Devor Sherman, MSW '92, was ordained by the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion. Prior to entering rabbinic school, she was special assistant to the chief executive officer and later the director of children‚'s services at PROTOTYPES, a Los Angeles-based substance abuse treatment center for women.

Rhoda Smith, MSW ’92, was the 2016-17 Bertha Capen Reynolds predoctoral fellow at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. She successfully defended her dissertation, “An Examination of Foster Youth Socialization to Dating and Sexual Behaviors.” In the fall, she will design and implement a foster parent training program to support pregnant and parenting teens with grant funding from New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services. In addition, she will join the faculty at Springfield College School of Social Work.

Class of 1991

Rema Johnson, MSW '91, is an inspirational speaker and author. She recently published Afraid No More: From Poverty to PhD.

Joan Wood, MSW '91, is a licensed clinical social worker at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena and a field instructor at USC. She was honored in April 2007 at the 15th Annual Angel Gala benefiting The Wellness Community-Foothills, a Pasadena, Calif.-based nonprofit organization that provides services for cancer patients and their caregivers. A member of the board of directors, Joan received an Angel Award for her contribution of time, talent and resources, which have been instrumental to the organization's success. Her husband Charles and daughter Libby, who is currently completing her MSW at USC, were also honored for their volunteer efforts and support.

Class of 1990

Ira N. Unterman, MSW '90, acts as chief operating officer for Autism Spectrum Therapies, an agency providing services to children with autism. Previously, he was with California State University-Fullerton as the director of annual campaigns and then as the director of foundation programs and services for the California State University Office of the Chancellor.

Back to top