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.

  • Allison Scheel, MSW, LGSW

    MSW Director of Field Education and Assistant Professor

    Allison Scheel is the MSW Field Director in Social Work Department. She joined the St. Catherine University BSW Social Work Department in April 2019 as the BSW Director of Field Education. She has 25 years of experience in the social work field engaging in community-building practice work as a program manager at Goodwill Easter Seals and Neighborhood House agencies. She worked in the research department at the Minneapolis Veterans Affairs overseeing local and national studies. She currently teaches MSW Foundation Field Seminar courses. She is on the East Side Health and Well-Being Collaboration Committee which serves to create innovative and culturally responsive programs.

  • Carey Winkler, MSW, DSW, LICSW

    Assistant Professor, Social Work

    I am passionate about co-creating transformative learning experiences that engage us all in growing, leading, and healing. Inspired by the words of the late Senator Paul Wellstone who said, "We all do better when we all do better," I am called to work towards all people being seen, heard, and felt in the world.

  • 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.

  • 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.


  • Laurel Bidwell, PhD, MSW

    Associate Professor, Social Work

    I am greatly committed to supporting the wellbeing of marginalized children and families. I have a particular interest in evaluation research as a way of ensuring that programs and services are meeting the needs of highly vulnerable families; especially those involved with the child welfare system. I am invested in collaborative, mixed-method, community-based, interdisciplinary research that is built from the ground up. My teaching emphasizes the role of critical thinking and I am interested in pedagogy related to online and blended learning in order to strengthen student access to and engagement with course material.

  • Lisa Borneman DSW, MSW, LICSW

    Assistant Professor, Social Work

    Dr. Lisa Borneman, DSW, MSW, LICSW joined St. Catherine University Master of Social Work program as an Assistant Professor in Fall 2021. She earned a Doctorate in Social Work in 2018 and MSW in 1992, both from the joint social work program at St. Catherine University and University of St. Thomas. Her varied career has centered around working with youth and young adults and has stayed connected to the University through supervising interns and teaching as an adjunct. It has been a desire and dream of Dr. Borneman to teach at St. Kate’s since completing her MSW degree. Courses that she teaches include: Methods of Clinical Social Work I & 2, Clinical Supervision and Program Management, Clinical Practice with Adolescents, Clinical Assessment, and Clinical Practice for the Treatment of Trauma.

  • Lisa Kiesel, PhD, MSW, LICSW

    Assistant Professor, Social Work

    Lisa Kiesel, MSW, PhD, LICSW earned a PhD in Social Work from the University of Minnesota in 2013, MSW with a focus on children, youth, and families from the University of Washington (Seattle) in 1996, and BS with double majors of Social Work and English from Augsburg College (Minneapolis) in 1993. She joined the faculty as an adjunct instructor in 2012, then as Assistant Professor in 2013, and was recently tenured and promoted to Associate Professor (2019). Kiesel teaches Theory/Practice of Social Work I, Methods of Social Work Research, Social Policy and Program Development, and the Applied Research Seminar.

  • Mari Ann Graham, MSW, PhD, LISW

    MSW Program Director, Associate Professor

    Mari Ann Graham, MSW, PhD, LISW, joined the St. Catherine University faculty fall 2019 as MSW Program Director and as tenured associate professor. She completed a PhD in Social Welfare from Case Western in 1999, her MSW from the University of Nebraska-Omaha (UNO) in 1983 and her BSW also from UNO in 1979. She also served as MSW Program Director for 6 years and as Interim Chief Diversity Officer while on faculty of the joint program with the University of St. Thomas for 25 years. She taught MSW practice, policy and research courses as well as courses in the DSW Program she helped develop and launch, summer of 2014.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Sean Fitzpatrick, PhD

    Associate Dean, Henrietta Schmoll School of Health

    Dr. Fitzpatrick came to St. Kate's in the Summer of 2020. Prior to that, he was a faculty member at Marian University (WI) where he led the Exercise and Sport Science program and was the Chair of the Allied Health Department. He began his career at John F. Kennedy University as a faculty member in Sport Psychology. Dr. Fitzpatrick has an ongoing research line in graduate student preparation and early career experiences in the field of Sport and Performance Psychology. Additionally, he has presented nationally on assessment issues in higher education and is an active member within the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE).

  • Sharyn DeZelar, PhD, MSW, LICSW

    Assistant Professor, Social Work

    Sharyn DeZelar, PhD, MSW, LICSW, joined the St. Catherine University faculty in fall 2019 as a full-time Assistant Professor.  Dr. DeZelar earned a PhD in Social Work in 2018 from the University of MN (Twin Cities) along with a certificate in Disability Policy and Services. She earned her MSW in 2006 from St. Catherine University/University of St. Thomas School of Social Work, and her BSW from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in 1998.  Dr. DeZelar’s research focus is largely related to disabilities, and its intersection with family support, parenting, poverty and child welfare.  Dr. DeZelar also has been working on several projects related to diversifying the social work profession via inclusion and equity for students with disabilities.

  • Stacy M. Husebo, MSW, LICSW

    MSW Director of Field Education, Assistant Professor, Social Work

    Stacy M. Husebo, Assistant Professor, MSW, LICSW, earned her MSW from St. Catherine University/University of St. Thomas in 2002 and her BA in English/Creative Writing from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 1989. Husebo joined the joint Social Work program in 2007 as a Clinical Faculty/Instructor, and primarily teaches foundation and clinical field seminars, History and Philosophy of Social Work (MSW), Social Policy (BSW), and MSW clinical electives. She is deeply committed to student-centered learning, as well as, committed to social work practice and field education with a focus on reflective practice, critical questioning, social justice, and the flourishing of human and social well-being.