Faculty Profiles

Our faculty are active researchers, writers and speakers; many of them internationally known for their contributions toward the advancement of their fields of study. But, most of all, they're passionate, caring teachers.

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    Habiba Ibrahim, MSW, PhD

    Assistant Professor, Social Work

    Habiba Ibrahim joined St. Kates Social Work Department in August 2021. She earned Master of Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis and PhD in Public Policy Analysis from Saint Louis University. Her scholarship focuses on immigrants and refugees in the area of economic mobility and financial inclusion, health practices and health care services utilization, resettlement experiences, and international Social Work. Dr. Ibrahim's work examines the role of institutions and policies in enabling low-income households gain self-reliance through structured support. She has over 15 years of Social Work research and practice in community development, policy analysis and school social work.

  • Lisa Borneman, DSW, MSW, LICSW

    Assistant Professor, Social Work

  • Marcy Mears, DSW

    Assistant Professor, Social Work

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    Pa Der Vang, PhD, MSW, LICSW

    Associate Professor, Social Work, Mission Chair for the Liberal Arts

    I am currently serving as the Endowed Mission Chair for the Liberal Arts. In this role, I am focused on promoting the liberal arts at St. Kates through professional development, community engagement, and student engagement.

    My teaching centers on the use of theory in generalist social work practice with an emphasis on social justice and empowerment. My research is on the experience of Hmong American immigrants and the acculturation process, especially Hmong Women. I am the editor of Staring Down the Tiger: Stories of Hmong American Women published by the Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2020.

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    Carey Winkler, MSW, DSW, LICSW

    Assistant Professor, Social Work

    Carey A. Winkler, Assistant Professor, MSW, DSW, LICSW, earned her BSW, MSW and DSW from St. Catherine University/University of St. Thomas joint School of Social Work. She taught adjunct in 2007 and joined the full time faculty in 2008 in the joint school. She served as the director of BSW field education from 2010-2018.

    I am passionate about co-creating transformative learning experiences that engage us all in growing, leading, and healing.  I am called to work towards all people being seen, heard, and felt in the world. "Love is the greatest power of the universe." ~Wim Hof~
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    Mary Nienow, PhD, LGSW

    BSW Program Director and Assistant Professor

    Dr. Mary Nienow earned her BSW from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1997, her MSW from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, in 2003, and her PhD in Social Work from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, in 2018. Dr. Nienow has over twenty years of experience in research, teaching, advocacy, program coordination, policy development and analysis and community organizing. Dr. Nienow 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.

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    Kia Lee, MSW, LICSW, MBA

    BSW Director of Field Education, Assistant Professor

    I'm passionate about educating, coaching, and guiding students to become social workers who are ready and prepared to take on the world! As a practicing social worker, I understand the importance of preparation and experiences! I enjoy meeting with students and taking on their goals and interests. As a female Hmong social worker, I'm interested in cross-cultural best practices through critical and radical social work from integrated approaches.

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