Listee Features — Social Work

Valentine Villa


Knowledgeable on health disparities among aging minority populations, the parents of Valentine M. Villa, PhD, cared for her grandparents in their old age, with her grandfather being an amputee and her grandmother being diagnosed with cancer. She feels that watching her mother care and advocate for her elderly grandparents, as well as being exposed to the environment of older adults in general, resonated with her by causing her to want to pursue gerontology. She is a Mexican-American individual who grew up in a middle class family with hard-working parents. Because her parents provided her with so many tools to succeed while growing up, Dr. Villa takes every chance she gets to look toward the sky and thank her parents for

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Jacqueline Wert


Interested in social services, Jacqueline I. Wert, LCSW, recalls becoming involved in her career as early as her college years. She had plans for graduate school after receiving a position at a psychopathic hospital, but was not sure if she truly would want to endure more schooling. She began job hunting further, and developed a serious interest in psychosocial issues and helping others. Ms. Wert began her professional career as a nursing aide at the Iowa State Psychopathic Hospital in Iowa City in 1964, remaining in this position for a year before becoming a caseworker in public assistance for the Cook County Department of Public Assistance in Chicago from 1965 to 1968. She then served as a child welfare worker

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Marilyn Miller


Proficient in clinical social work and addiction treatment, which encapsulates adolescent residential treatment, substance abuse prevention and narcotic addiction, Marilyn J. LeVee Miller Broka retired in 2000 after working for nine years as a program supervisor at Southland Counseling Center in Lansing, Michigan, previously serving in a number of other roles. She first joined the center as a senior mental health therapist in 1981, remaining in this position for seven years before moving up the ranks to supervisor for one year. She began her professional career as the residential area supervisor/counselor at the Adrian Training School in Michigan in 1961, where she stayed for the next 12 years. Ms. Miller Broka then became a clinical supervisor at Sunny Ridge Home

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Passionate about medical administration, Mary Patricia Garrahan-Masters dedicated more than two decades to the field before retiring. She started her journey as a geriatrics caseworker at the Schuylkill County Office of Senior Services, after which she advanced to become the social services director at the Dowden Nursing Home and the director of admissions for the St. Francis County House. Ms. Garrahan-Masters then obtained roles like teacher at Delaware County Community College in Pennsylvania and medical social worker for both the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, and the Philadelphia Veterans Affairs Medical Center. The latter two are part of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Although Ms. Garrahan-Masters retired in 1990, she continued to lend her services to her

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Encouraged to contribute to society in a positive way, Kathy Lee set her sights on becoming a social worker. There were very few women in the field at the time, but Ms. Lee was determined to succeed. She obtained a Bachelor of Science from Texas Women’s University in 1969 to help her achieve her goal, and became the club director of the Special Services Department of the U.S. Army that same year. Ms. Lee then advanced through positions like unit manager of Presbyterian Hospital, program director of the Office of Senior Affairs, assistant director and director of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, and transportation project coordinator, all in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She continues her work as a human services administrator

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Truly committed to bringing dignity, kindness, and concern to people, Barbara A. Berg has found social work to be the perfect profession. She started by building her knowledge at institutions like Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and Virginia Commonwealth University, where she earned a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Social Work, respectively. Then, to strengthen what she learned, she accrued hands-on experience as a postgraduate intern in the NICU at the White Memorial Medical Center and at the West End Family Counseling Center. As Ms. Berg steadily developed expertise in communication, stress management, and relationships both at home and on the job, she also grew in acclaim amongst her peers. Her subsequent efforts in positions like

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Seeing a lack of justice in society, particularly for people who are different, Susan B. Parker knew she had to do something to set things right. She researched and considered a variety of options, and ultimately decided to focus on psychology and social work. Ms. Parker knew almost immediately that she had found what she was meant to do. She accepted her first position in the field, psychiatric social worker at Orange County Mental Health, in 1974, and the rest is history. Ms. Parker quickly garnered a reputation for excellence, which propelled her to roles like executive director of the Grafton County Planning Council and the New Hampshire Developmental Disabilities Planning Council, commissioner of the Department of Mental Health in

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If Miriam D. Davis had the chance to live her life over, she wouldn’t change a thing. Everything she went through in her younger years led her to social work, her true calling. She genuinely loved her career, and is proud to have helped so many people. Ms. Davis began her journey wanting to pursue religion, but felt unfilled after two years in the field. She wasn’t sure what to do until a chance encounter with her sister’s friend led her to social work. At the time, all that was required was a college degree and a desire to better the lives of others, and Ms. Davis definitely qualified. She proceeded to apply for and obtain a position as a

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Always striving to be the best she can be, Arleen Evans O’Reilly has dedicated her career to ensuring that people have the tools needed to succeed at life. She abhors knowing that others are being taken advantage of, personally or professionally, and decided at a young age that she had to do something about it. She proceeded to obtain a Bachelor of Science in social work from California State College (now the California University of Pennsylvania) and a Master of Science in human services and gerontology from Capella University, and to become certified as a social worker. ​ Over the years, Ms. Evans O’Reilly has become familiar with several different aspects of the field. She started as a medical social

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