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Social Work students and alums making their mark

Just two years after North Central University’s Social Work degree earned accreditation by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), students and graduates are pursuing further education, embarking on high-impact careers, and becoming influencers in a variety of areas.

On April 9, current social work students and two faculty members joined more than 1,000 other social workers from the region to attend Minnesota’s annual Social Work Day at the Minnesota State Capitol. The rally is an advocacy opportunity for professional social workers, social work students, and social work educators to learn, march, and rally together to lobby our state lawmakers about matters of policy that affect the social work profession and citizens of Minnesota.

According to Social Work Program Director Mallory Knipe, MSW, LGSW, it was an education day for the students, as well. “They learned about current legislative initiatives including economic equality, racial equality, women’s rights, mental health, and homelessness,” Knipe said. After a march to the Capitol and rally in the Rotunda with political representatives, the students finished the day meeting with legislators.

Mastering their profession

Several North Central alumni are entering and completing Master of Social Work (MSW) programs, qualifying for fast-track options after completing their Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) at NCU. The list of students advancing in their field through graduate education includes:

  • Allison Roeder ’15, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Josie Schmitz ’17, St. Catherine University-University of St. Thomas, are graduating with their MSW degrees this spring.
  • Madison Mixdorf  ’17 is entering her final year in the MSW program of St. Catherine-St. Thomas.
  • Three alumni will be beginning their MSW journey this fall:
    • Miranda (Rowenhorst ’16) Barker and  Marci Exsted ’16, University of Minnesota
    • Emily Moews ’14, Augsburg University
  • Two graduating seniors are also grad-school bound:
    • Danelle Pageler ’18 has been accepted to start the MSW at St. Catherine-St. Thomas
    • Rachel Hulsizer ’18 will pursue a Master of Public Policy at Northwestern University in Chicago

Adventures online and around the world

Schmitz has also been accepted as a Missionary Associate with Assemblies of God World Mission and is moving to France to work with victims of human trafficking.

Barker is developing a following through a blog about budget travel and the unique adventure she and her husband are having renting their home to long-term guests via (

Social work alumnus Jacob Guttormson ’15 has been accepted into the Peace Corps and will be serving for two years in Ukraine.

Strong preparation

In pursuing accreditation, NCU had to demonstrate that the social work program met rigorous criteria established by the CSWE. One of the requirements is a 400-hour internship, and the school works closely with students to make internship placements that will be meaningful and lay the groundwork for their career experience. Social Work majors graduating in fall 2016 passed the Minnesota Licensed Social Worker licensing exam at a rate of 100%, all on their first attempts.