Social Work Faculty + Staff

Passionate about people

Our faculty and staff are great examples of the kind of individuals who are made for the field of social work. They are compassionate, dedicated, knowledgeable, and helpful. Our students develop a close working relationship with our faculty members through coursework, internships, and research opportunities. These relationships allow for our students to gain valuable knowledge and experience.

I love how accessible and friendly all of the staff of this department are. Having a relationship with my professors of the Social Work Department is an inextricable part of my experience at UWEC.

Alex DeLakis | Social Work Student

Meet our amazing faculty and staff

  • Leah Olson-McBride

    Leah Olson-McBride, Ph.D., MSW

    • Chairperson
    • Associate Professor

    Leah is a proud UWEC alum. She received her BSW from the UWEC Department of Social Work in 1999. Shortly after graduating from UWEC, Leah attended Loyola University Chicago and earned her MSW in Clinical Social Work. Leah’s post-MSW social work practice experience includes working on an inpatient psychiatric unit, engaging in home-based therapy with children and adolescents, and serving as a program director for an intensive outpatient program. After a period of time working full-time in the field of social work, Leah chose to return to school in order to earn a PhD in social work and education research methodology from Louisiana State University. She has been teaching at UWEC since 2009.

  • Maria Bergevin

    Maria Bergevin, B.S.

    • Academic Department Associate
  • Donald Mowry

    Donald Mowry, Ph.D., MSW

    • Professor Emeritus
  • Mary Nienow, Ph.D., MSW

    • Assistant Professor

    Mary Nienow has a PhD in Social Work from the University of Minnesota and over a decade of experience in research, teaching, advocacy, program coordination, policy development and analysis and community organizing. Mary was the co-founder of Grasstops, a nonprofit advocacy organization that assisted nonprofits and small community groups with their policy and advocacy goals. Her extensive practice experience also includes Policy Consultant for Hennepin County Medical Center, Field Director at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, Executive Director at Child Care WORKS, and lead researcher on Health and Human Services for the Minnesota Senate DFL Caucus. She co-authored a book on library-social work collaboration with Sara Zettervall of Whole Person Librarianship. Mary’s additional research interests include professional socialization of macro practice social workers, policy and program development, and community based participatory research.

  • Joshua Potter-Efron, MSW, LCSW

    • Clinical Assistant Professor
  • Lisa Quinn-Lee

    Lisa Quinn-Lee, Ph.D., MSSW, LICSW

    • Associate Professor

    Dr. Quinn-Lee has spent over 10 years as a clinical social worker in the areas of grief, loss, and end-of-life care, especially related to children's grief. She has worked as both a hospice social worker and grief therapist. She has always felt honored and privileged to have the opportunity to work with people during their difficult times in life. Dr. Quinn-Lee has given many presentations about grief and loss and is passionate about the field. Prior to coming to UW - Eau Claire, she spent most of her social work and teaching career working in the Twin Cities.
    In her free time, Dr. Quinn-Lee enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, traveling (especially near the ocean), running, listening to music, attending orchestra concerts, going to museums and listening to National Public Radio.

  • Nick Smiar

    Nicholas P. Smiar, Ph.D., CISW, ACSW

    • Professor Emeritus
  • Shelly Statz

    Shelly Statz, MSW, LCSW

    • Adjunct Lecturer
  • Jamie Tester

    Jamie Tester, J.D., MSW

    • Assistant Professor
    • Field Director

    Jamie has been in the field of social work for approximately 10 years in both non-profit and government settings. Her practice areas have included direct practice with juveniles and at risk families, policy development and analysis, and within the court system with children and families impacted by allegations of abuse and neglect or extreme custody disputes.
    When not teaching, Jamie enjoys spending time with friends, family and her dogs. She loves traveling, from a simple road trip to flying around the world. She appreciates being outdoors, good food and laughing.

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