Meet Our Faculty & Staff
Dr. Ruth Charles
Professor & IVE Coordinator
Ruth has an MSW and PhD from Syracuse University in Syracuse, New York.
Ruth’s central interests are policy analysis, qualitative research methods and work on trauma informed care. Ruth is a Master Trainer and Certified Presenter for ACE Interface, which trains and presents research on Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE).
Ruth’s activism and social justice has her involved in local community planning/implementation on trauma informed care and legislative analysis. Ruth coordinates the IV-E Child Welfare program that focuses on preparing BSW social workers to work in foster care.
Dr. Charissa Eaton
Professor & BSW Program Director
Charissa joined the faculty in 2010. She has an MSW from the University of North Dakota and a PhD from the University of Minnesota, School of Social Work. Charissa is a Licensed Independent Social Worker in Minnesota.
Her practice experience includes geriatric case management, dialysis social work, hospital social work, and administration. Charissa’s academic and research interests are aging, medical social work, and ethics.
Dr. Cathleen Jo Faruque
Cathy has been with the WSU Social Work Department since 1997. Cathy served as Coordinator of the Rochester Social Work Program from 1997-2004, Field Director of the Department of Social Work from 2004-2009 and Chair of the Department from 2009-2018.
Cathy has a BS in Sociology from Winona State University and an MSW from San Diego State University. She has her PhD in Psychology from North Central University. Cathy is an Licensed Independent Social Worker in the state of Minnesota. She is a Board Certified Professional Counselor and Certified Fellow and Diplomate with the American Psychotherapy Association.
Her academic interests are primarily focused in mindfulness-based stress reduction, environmental social work, international social work, religion and spirituality in social work, trans-cultural practice, institutional discrimination, racism and homelessness.
Her 17 years of practice experience is predominately in mental health, homelessness and work with older persons. She has published several books and journal articles. Cathy produced a documentary on trans-cultural practice and poverty in Bangladesh and is also a published poet. Currently, Cathy is developing a non-profit to provide low-cost continuing education for social work professionals.
Dr. Mary Kirk
Assistant Professor & BSW Rochester Hybrid/Field Coordinator
Maxwell 265 (Winona campus) | ST130 (Rochester campus)
Dr. Jay Palmer
Jay joined the faculty in 2007. He received an AS in Health Science in 1985 and worked as a psychiatric nurse before earning a BS in Human Services from California State University Fullerton in 1992. Jay received an MSW from California State University Long Beach in 1995, and a PhD in Social Work at the University of South Carolina 2009.
His social work practice experience includes the areas of HIV/AIDS, homelessness, gang involved youth, mental health, and persons with developmental disabilities. As a board member, Jay has worked with organizations that support LGBTQ persons, and ones that address sexual assault and intimate partner violence.
Dr. Anne Vande Berg
Associate Professor & BSW Field Director
Anne joined the Social Work Department at Winona State University in July 2013. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from Macalester College in 1988 and her MSW from the University of Minnesota in 1999, where she was also a Title IV-E Child Welfare Fellow.
She completed her Doctorate of Social Work from the University of St. Thomas/St. Catherine University in May 2017. She is a Licensed Independent Social Worker in the state of Minnesota and has over 17 years of professional experience in social services, with seven years post-graduate direct practice experience.
Anne's practice areas and interests include trauma-informed practices, interprofessional education, children and families in education settings, and nonprofit management.
Lori joined the Social Work Department at Winona State University in 2008. She is the office manager on the Winona campus for Social Work, Recreation and for the Recreation, Tourism and Therapeutic Recreation (RTTR) program.
She started working for the State of Minnesota in 1985 for the Department of Health. Lori worked 11 years for the Department of Corrections and joined Winona State in 1998.
Dr. Samantha Schneider
Samantha joined the faculty in 2020, and she works on the Rochester campus. She earned a BA in english, with a minor in religious studies from Kenyon College, MSW and MTS (Master of Theological Studies) degrees from Boston University, and PhD in social work from Simmons University.
Samantha has extensive social work practice experience in community mental health, early childhood mental health, and trauma treatment for children and families. She also has experience in child protection and hospital-based social work.
Samantha's academic and research interests are childhood exposure to community violence, early childhood mental health, the neurobiology of trauma, child maltreatment, trauma informed practice with children and families, and expanding the role of antiracism in social work education.
Dr. Arlen Carey
Associate Professor, MSW Program Director
WSU-Rochester on Broadway
Arlen joined the faculty in 2004, and he works on the Rochester campus. He earned a BA, MA, and PhD in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. He currently serves as the Director of the Master of Social Work program.
He was an Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Central Florida during which time he earned an MSW and conducted and published research in the areas of demography, inequality, and social theory. He has extensive social work practice experience as a trauma therapist and remains active in that field.
He has extensive social work practice experience as a trauma therapist and remains active in that field. He provided clinical social work services to children, families, adults and families at a non-profit mental health center in Florida, He conducted school social work in Louisiana, and he was a children and family therapist for a community mental health center in rural Maine. He has focused on integrative trauma therapy while practicing in Rochester at a small practice shared with his wife and a few friends.
Dr. Alex Espadas
WSU-Rochester on Broadway
Alex joined the faculty in 2018, and he works on the Rochester campus. He earned a BS in psychology, with a minor in sociology from the University of Houston, and a MSW and PhD in social work from the University of Houston.
Alex’s has conducted and published research on access to mental health services and recidivism and cultural pathways to mental and healthcare services. He has extensive social work practice experience working with clients with opiate and other drug use concerns, inpatient clients with severe and persistent mental illness, and community advocacy among immigrant and international communities.
Dr. Jessica Tye
Assistant Professor & MSW Field Director
WSU-Rochester on Broadway
Jessica joined the faculty in 2011 on the Rochester campus. She earned an Ed.D. from St. Cloud State in Higher Education Administration, a Masters of Social Work from the University of St. Thomas/College of St. Catherine, and Bachelors in social work and psychology from Wartburg College in Waverly, Iowa.
Jessica is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker in Minnesota. Her social work practice experience includes chemical dependency treatment, grant administration, child welfare services, and gender specific case management. Jessica’s clinical social work practice experience includes conducting assessments, diagnosis, and treatment planning for dual-diagnosis clients in outpatient treatment, facilitating severe and persistent co-occurring therapy groups, and leading a multi-disciplinary treatment team.
Jessica’s academic and research interests are college student mental health, substance use and abuse, child welfare, social work field education, higher education leadership.
Office and Administrative Specialist - MSW Program
WSU-Rochester on Broadway
Tonya began working for the public sector of Minnesota in 2000. Tonya worked 17 years as Office Services Coordinator for the City of Rochester – Public Works Department prior to joining Winona State University.