2021-2022 SWAAP Cohort
Degrees listed are from UW Seattle unless otherwise noted.
Alfredo Zndejas, he/him/his
Education: Associate of Arts and Science ‘15 at Bellevue College, BA in Criminal Justice with minor in Business Administration ’17 (UW Tacoma), MSW ’20 (Day)
MSW Specialization: Health
Identities: First-generation college student, military veteran, BIPOC, non-traditional student, parent, bilingual (English, Spanish)
Alfredo’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico in the mid-1970s. He is the youngest of seven. He is the first in his family to have the opportunity to graduate from high school, and joined the Army after graduating to serve for 13 years. Alfredo was medically discharged in 2014. He didn’t know what to do with his life, so he started going to college and helped veterans and families which piqued his interest in social work. He currently works as a medical social worker in an inpatient/critical care unit, and emergency department.
Ashley Ellerson, she/her/hers
Education: BA in Psychology with minors in Creative Writing and Criminal Justice ‘14 at Bradley University, MSW ’17 (Day)
MSW Specialization: Mental Health
Licensure: LSWAIC, LICSW, MHP, SUDPT
Identities: First generation graduate student, Black
Ashley is a clinical social worker and mental health advocate from the Chicago area. She incorporates social justice practices in her work to connect community members with needed resources or other people/groups they can collaborate with on projects and mutual aid. In her free time, she enjoys writing fiction stories and non-fiction essays, as well as writing about music (sometimes criticism, mostly appreciation). Ashley loves spending time with family and friends, drinking coffee, watching a good movie or TV show, sitting by the water on a hot day, and exploring new hobbies.
Genevieve Caruncho-Simpson, she/her/hers
Education: BASW ‘04 and BS in Health Information Management ’04, Masters in Health Policy and Management ’06 at NYU
Identities: BIPOC, dual degree
Genevieve Caruncho-Simpson is the CEO at the UnitedHealthcare Community & State for Washington State. She is an experienced healthcare executive and strategist. She specializes in working with doctors, hospitals, and others to design, build, and scale transformative health plan products and care services. Prior to joining UnitedHealthcare, Genevieve served as President at Texas Health Aetna. During her tenure, it received national recognition for its virtual care navigation, behavioral health programs and holistic care approach that targets social determinants of health. Before joining Texas Health Aetna, she has also held leadership roles at Ascension, Humana, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, and PwC.
Jill Hull Dziko, she/her/hers
Education: BA in Political Science with a minor in Middle East Area Studies (Turkish), MSW ’94 (Day)
MSW Specialization: Administration
Identities: Mom (one bio kid and three adopted), Lesbian
Jill’s most important role is as the mom of four young adults. She became a LICSW in 1997, and has spent her career working with children and families, in community mental health and have worked in the field of adoption for over 20 years. In 1996, she co-founded, Technology Access Foundation, whose mission is to challenge the current public education system focusing on children of color. Jill is a member of NASW, WSCSSW, CSWA, and EMDRIA. She has Post-graduate Certificates in Therapy with Adoptive and Foster Families, Attachment-Trauma focused Therapy, am a Foundational Theraplay Practitioner, and am EMDR trained.
Jon Monteith, they/them
Education: BA in Rhetoric ’07 at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, MSW ’20 (EDP)
MSW Specialization: Multigenerational Practice with Children, Families, and Elders
Identities: Queer and nonbinary, Non-traditional student, Career changer
Jon Monteith is a diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging (DEIB) practitioner, strategist, and communicator with 15 years of experience in the public and nonprofit sectors. They currently serve as the Senior Editor for Equity at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a national research and policy institute that works to promote economic justice, improve health, and lower structural barriers to opportunity in housing, employment, and education. Jon previously led communications and strategy for the University of Washington Resilience Lab, where they served as the lead editor of a guidebook for supporting student resilience and well-being that has been utilized by universities and academic institutions across the country. They have also served as a federal legislative assistant for the Human Rights Campaign, as a press aide in Congress, as the lead speechwriter for the Democratic National Committee, and as a communications director for One Colorado (the state’s leading LGBTQ+ advocacy group), Mental Health Colorado, and the State Innovation Exchange ― a national resource and strategy center serving more than 2,000 state legislators. Jon currently lives in the Washington, D.C. area with their partner and extraordinarily feisty cat.
Kayla Newcomer, she/her/hers
Education: BA in Psychology with a minor in English ‘16 at UCLA; MSW ’21 (Day)
MSW Specialization: Administrative and Policy Practice
Identities: First-generation student, BIPOC, mixed-race/bi-racial, child of an immigrant, child of a single mother, out-of-state student, Southern Californian
Kayla J. Newcomer was born in West Covina, CA and is the daughter of a Filipinx immigrant single mother. She identifies as mixed-race/bi-racial. Kayla attended UCLA for her undergraduate degree and enthusiastically moved to the Pacific Northwest in 2019 to attend UW SSW. Kayla is passionate about racial equity, equitable education, and programs and policies that build power with and for BIPOC and low-income communities. She is a bookworm, pup parent, plant mom, nature lover, mindfulness practitioner, and community organizer who is currently serving in support of graduate students of color through her role with UW GO-MAP.
Kim Kauffman, she/her/hers
Education: BS Psychology with Honors ’94, MSW ’96 (Day)
MSW Specialization: LISCW and Continuing ESA
Licensure: Children, Youth and Family
Identities: First generation student
Kim has over 25 years of experience serving children, youth & families. Her MSW practicum working for an outpatient mental health agency as a school based therapist launched her career where she continued to work for several years. She eventually transitioned to working for a local school district and enjoys serving as an elementary counselor. Kim is also in the process of merging these two professional experiences starting her private practice as a child & family therapist specializing in teaming with families and educators to best support children’s social and emotional well being.
Laura Harrington, she/her/hers
Education: BA in Women Studies, Comparative History of Ideas ’09, MSW ’19 (Day), MPH ‘19
MSW Specialization: Administration and Policy Practice
Identities: Dual degree, career changer, student employee throughout graduate school
Laura’s experiences and interests, supported by her dual MSW/MPH, include sexual violence prevention, program evaluation, and community building and outreach. She is currently the Deputy Youth Protection Coordinator at the UW Office of the Youth Protection Coordinator. In that role, she helps develop, implement and monitor strong practices and policies in service to youth safety and wellbeing in higher education settings. Previously, Laura was an academic adviser in the UW Honors Program. When not working, she enjoys reading, exploring West Seattle and the PNW by foot or bike, and working on building projects for her backyard cottage home.
Marie Valenzuela, she/her/hers
Education: BA in Women’s Studies ‘79, MSW ‘82 (Day), MA in Sociology ’89 at the University of Colorado, Boulder
MSW Specialization: Community Organizational Services/Planning and Administration/Policy
Identities: First generation student, veteran, lesbian, Hispanic, non-traditional student, 27-year breast cancer survivor
Graduating during a recession requires a great deal of tenacity and flexibility to land that important first job. Marie’s was with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment, where her MSW paved the way to a 36+ year career in workforce development that encompassed policy analysis, program development and implementation, management and supervision, vocational rehabilitation, mentoring, and grant writing. (At one point, she even helped the ED arbitrate a strike.) Although Marie continues to consult for the Department, she now focuses more on facilitating a local ukulele group, baking artisan bread, and debating whether to take up knitting or woodcarving.
Nastassiea Horne, she/her/hers
Education: Associate of Art and Sciences ’14 (Tacoma Community College), BASW with minor in Gender Studies with focus on Children & Families ’16 (UW Tacoma), MSW ’18 (Day)
MSW Specialization: Health
Licensure: LCSW (Illinois), LMSW (South Carolina)
Identities: First generation student, transfer student, BIPOC, non-traditional student, student parent
Nastassiea has always envisioned a career that would align with her strengths and contribute to a more fulfilling life. Pursuing and committing to her education was one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences, especially as a single parent with two small children. Nastassiea wouldn’t be who she is today without the opportunity and privilege to attend college. She grew so much as an individual during her time at UW and recognizes how it influenced her life. Nastassiea’s prior work experiences, education, and internships paved the way to become a clinical social worker for the federal government. She mentors and supervises interns, in addition to providing educational classes that help Veterans navigate the VA and long-term care planning. Her other areas of interest include medical social work, the geriatric population, hospice, and health care/mental health public policy.
Salomé Valencia-Bohné, She/her/hers/Ella
Education: MA in International Care and Community Development, MSW ’19 (EDP)
MSW Specialization: LSWAIC
Licensure: Health and Mental Health
Identities: First generation student, student parent, dual degree, and Latinx
Dedicated to investing in the clinical social work community, Salomé serves on many clinical social work and Latinx societies and is a strong activist. She works tirelessly to create systemic change and is currently the president-elect for the Coalition of Healthcare Social Workers and the Associate Chair for the Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work. She enjoys spending time with her family and is always excited to find ways to support students and associates.
Siobhana McEwen, she/her/hers
Education: BS in Secondary Education ’07 (Chadron State College), MSW ’19 (Day)
MSW Specialization: Mental Health
Identities: Non-traditional student, queer, BIPOC, Navy veteran, and career changer.
Despite studying in the Mental Health concentration and working for a few years in clinical social work, Siobhana McEwen is most comfortable working within, and engaging with, community. She currently serves as the Equity and Advocacy Director at Council for the Homeless in Vancouver, Wash., where she works in policy, advocacy, and staff development, all in an effort to reshape and deconstruct systems through anti-racist practices. A member of the Student Advisory Council and the Husky 100, Siobhana was deeply involved in her MSW experience, and is honored to remain in community with the UW SSW student body.
Tahani Daugherty, she/her/hers
Education: BASW ‘13, MSW ’14 (Advanced Standing)
MSW Specialization: Mental Health
Identities: Person of Color
Throughout Tahani’s life, she has gravitated towards opportunities to engage with and empower others, so it's no surprise that she found her way to social work. She has varied experience from working with older adults to help them age in place, to supporting college students as they navigate their transition to campus. However, most of Tahani’s professional experience has been working as a therapist in private practice. Her path to licensure was not direct, as she took some time off to travel, and lived in three different states before becoming fully licensed. Tahani is currently fully licensed in Washington and Kentucky.
Teagan Wood, they/she/her/hers
Education: BS in Psychology ‘12 at Southern Oregon University, MSW ’16 (Day)
MSW Specialization: LICSW-A
Licensure: Community Centered Integrated Practice
Identities: First generation student, transgender and queer
Teagan is a trans social worker who transitioned in the MSW program at UW, which puts them in a unique position to assist potential students in deciding if UW is the right fit. They have experience in community mental health as both a practitioner and a supervisor, and for the past 2.5 years they have been a medical social worker for people living with HIV. Teagan’s professional interests include working with patients with chronic and acute psychosis, working with LGBTQ+ individuals, and the intersection of multiple marginalized identities, homelessness and HIV.
Teresa Perillo, she/her/hers
Education: BA in Theater Studies ’09 at Buffalo State College, MSW ’19 (EDP)
MSW Specialization: Health/Mental Health
Identities: Non-traditional student, career changer, EDP weekend student, and first generation graduate student
Teresa is a graduate of UW’s MSW EDP-Weekend program. She is an Oncology Social Worker at Valley Medical Center in Renton, WA, and previously worked at a community health clinic as a Medical Social Worker serving low-income populations in downtown Seattle, WA. The majority of her experience is working in the medical field- both inpatient and outpatient. She also enjoys working with individuals in recovery or who experience challenges with substance and alcohol use. Teresa works with patients/clients using a trauma-informed, harm reduction, and equity lens. She feels that it is vital to remain patient/client-centered while collaborating with patients/clients to work toward their goals.