2024 Continuing Education  Presenters

Julie Ahnen, (she/her) DCDHS CPS Manager 

Julie Ahnen is a native of Madison, WI, and a graduate of the University of WI-Madison, receiving a graduate degree in Social Work in 1984. She has practiced professionally as a Social Worker since October of 1984, holding a variety of positions in the non-profit and private sector in the Dallas/Ft. Worth, TX area during her first 10 years of practice. Ms. Ahnen began employment with the Dane County Department of Human Services in June of 1995 and has held a variety of positions within Child Protective Services as a line Social Worker and as a CPS Supervisor. Ms. Ahnen has been the Manager of Child Protective Services in Dane County since March of 2010. 

Dawn Apgar, PhD, LSW, ACSW

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Dawn Apgar, PhD, LSW, ACSW is an Associate Professor at Seton Hall University and an well-known author and researcher who has extensive expertise in licensure and its profound impact on the profession. Serving as Chairperson of her state’s licensure board and current Chairperson of the national NASW Credentialling Committee, Dr. Apgar's contributions have been instrumental in advancing the understanding and importance of social work licensure. She has helped countless social work practitioners navigate the complexities of licensing requirements and prepare for the examinations. Most recently, she has written about promoting licensure portability and analyzing testing requirements in light of disparities. She has examined the reliability and validity of social work licensure exam testing closely. During her social work career which spans more than three decades, Dr. Apgar has held many national social work leadership positions and is an advocate for the social work profession and its professionals.

Laura Becher (she/her) MSW,  DCDHS CPS Access Supervisor

Laura Becher (She/Her), MSW, is a Wisconsin Native. She received her Bachelors of Social Work from UW – Eau Claire and Masters of Social Work from UW – Madison.  Prior to obtaining her graduate degree, Laura worked with adults with developmental disabilities and served in the Peace Corps.  Laura has worked in child welfare since 2010; 7 years in Initial Assessment and 6 years as a Supervisor.  Laura co-supervises the Access Unit and also supervises Independent Living and Permanency Planning.

Brian Benford, MSW 

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For the last thirty years, Brian Benford has fought for the City of Madison’s most underserved and vulnerable communities as a family advocate, educator, activist, City Alder, and past president of the City of Madison’s Equal Opportunities Commission. He’s spent his career working directly with - and advocating for - at-risk youth, low-income families, and neighborhood organizations to reach their full potentials. Brian received his MSW from the UW-Madison Sandra Rosenbaum School of Social Work in 2020. Brian currently serves as the Social Worker/Success Coach for the award-winning UW-Madison Odyssey Project which takes a whole family approach to breaking the cycle of generational poverty through access to education.

Dr. Shreya Bhandari

Dr. Shreya Bhandari is a Professor of Social Work and BASW Director at Purdue University Northwest. She is a social work educator, researcher and a clinical licensed social worker. Most of her work in the past decade has been in the area of South Asian women experiencing domestic violence. She has published her work in peer-reviewed journals and presented in a variety of national and international conferences.

Sue De Buhr, MSW

Sue De Buhr, MSW, is a supervisor at Dane County Human Services where she oversees CPS Access and the Family and Community Engagement (FACE) program. Sue has been in this role for the past four years. Prior to this Sue worked direct practice in CPS Initial Assessment for over a decade. Her experience and expertise is aimed at preserving the family unit and evidenced based practice that has shown children achieve the best life outcomes when raised in strong, healthy families of origin. Sue has co-authored and co-facilitated Dane County’s Mandated Reporter Training which focuses on the legal definitions of abuse and neglect, highlighting disparities within the formal system and ways community members can take action

Katherine Drechsler, DSW, LCSW-SA, SSW

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 Dr. Katherine Drechsler is an Assistant Professor and the Field Coordinator for the Bachelor and Master of Social Work Program at the University of Wisconsin Whitewater and the coordinator of the School Social Work Certificate Program. She teaches in both the Bachelors and the Master’s program primarily social work practice courses and substance use disorder courses. Dr. Drechsler is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with a specialty authorization in Substance Abuse in the state of Wisconsin and has her school social work license in Wisconsin. Dr. Drechsler has 30 years of social work experience including experiences in child welfare, juvenile justice, and 7 years working with individuals with co-occurring disorders in an integrative community-based program.

Rachel L. Dyer, M.S

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Rachel L. Dyer, M.S. (she/her) is a scholar-clinician working primarily at the intersection of abortion and mental health. A Ph.D. candidate in Counseling Psychology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Health Service Psychology Intern at the University of Utah Counseling Center, Rachel’s work focuses on how dominant sociocultural narratives impact pregnancy and family-building desires, decisions, and experiences, as well as how mental health and other care providers can better support clients/patients around these experiences. Rachel’s work has appeared in the top academic journals of her field (American Psychologist, Psychology of Women Quarterly), in popular press (Los Angeles Times, ELITE Daily, various podcasts), and in a Brooklyn art gallery. She is also an educator and trainer, regularly providing lectures and training on abortion and mental health for laypersons, college students, graduate students, and mental health professionals. Her current projects include a book chapter on the mental health impacts of abortion stigma and co-writing the American Psychological Association’s first-ever professional practice guidelines on sex and reproduction. Rachel is also the Executive Director of Exhale Pro-Voice, a nonprofit organization providing nonjudgmental, research-driven support to people who have had abortions. Rachel is an incoming Assistant Professor of Psychology at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin.


Emily Green, MSW, CAPSW, SAC-IT

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Emily graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work degree in 2020 and a Master's in Social Work degree in 2021 from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Emily currently is employed at Jefferson County Human Services Department working on the Adult Mental Health Team with adults and children. Emily is completing the training and supervision hours toward her licensed clinical social worker and substance abuse counselor. In addition, Emily has completed the Training for Adoption Competency program. 

Quinn Hafen, MSW

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Quinn Hafen is a white, transgender, and queer individual born and raised in the United States. They are a PhD candidate in the School of Social Work at Colorado State University. Their program of research explores organizational and pedagogical interventions to dismantle white supremacy within social work education. Throughout their work, Quinn aims to be reflective of how their positionality influences the research questions they ask and the conclusions they draw. 

Ted Izydor (he/him) LPC, CSAC, ICS, MBA  

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Ted Izydor is a National Board-Certified Counselor, thought leader, and organizational trainer, and is the Founder of Full Potential Coaching, a company that enables professionals to become the best version of themselves. Over the past 25 years, Ted has guided over 20,000 clients to define their vision, collapse limiting beliefs, and achieve break throughs by harnessing multi-modal learning and implementation science, he delivers high-impact trainings to healthcare, retail, and non-profit organizations. Ted holds an MBA in Organizational Development and an MS in Counseling Psychology. He is a Motivational Interview Networking Trainer, Lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, Founder of Full Potential Now Addiction Blog and Podcast, and triathlete.    


Dana Johnson, MSW


Dana Johnson, MSW, has over 14 years of direct practice and senior level management experience in county human services, also holding positions as an educator at the baccalaureate and graduate levels, and in the policy realm. His passion includes coaching staff and promoting resiliency in the helping professions. His areas of expertise include leadership development, innovation, child welfare services and reform, ethics and boundaries, trauma-informed care, equity, diversity, and inclusion, including LGBTQIA+, gender and race equity. 

Emily Kenney, LCSW (she/her)

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Emily Kenney, LCSW, currently chairs the WI Housing First Coalition and is the Director of Systems Change at IMPACT. Ms. Kenney has worked in housing and homeless services since 2009 and is a strategic leader in ending homelessness statewide. Ms. Kenney has worked as a street outreach worker, a benefits specialist, and in crisis behavioral health services, before beginning macro social work working with the homeless service delivery system in 2016.

Elizabeth Kiehne, PhD

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 Elizabeth Kiehne is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at Colorado State University. Prior to serving in this role, Elizabeth worked for over a decade with programs addressing chronically limited opportunity structures for low-income youth, primarily those from immigrant families. Elizabeth currently teaches social policy to social work students and partners with pro-immigrant advocacy groups to support their grassroots policy goals through research and community engagement.

Sara Kotzin, LCSW, DSW

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Sara Kotzin, LCSW, DSW, is a trauma social worker in private practice in New York City, and a substitute lecturer of social work at Lehman College - City University of New York (CUNY). She also develops, researches and writes about interventions that build connection and resilience through a trauma-informed, antiracist lens.

Melinda Marasch, LCSW, Aspire Training & Consulting

Melinda Marasch

It is my honor to serve the amazing, compassionate people in the social work world! It has been my life’s passion to help others, first as a psycho-therapist and now as a consultant. I specialize in training, clinical supervision, and coaching (in-person and virtual) to help the efficiency, effectiveness and confidence of helping professionals. I have expertise in many areas, including Trauma (Healing) Informed Care, Motivational Interviewing, HIV/AIDS, and much more. When at all possible, you’ll find me outside enjoying the sun and nature; often doing my best to do nothing else.

Judith L.M. McCoyd, PhD, LCSW

Judith L. M. McCoyd, Ph.D., MSSW, LCSW (PA) is an associate professor at Rutgers University's School of Social Work. Her research lies at the intersection of perinatal health care, medical technologies, end of life decision-making and bereavement, with attention to the inequities and access issues related to perinatal and end of life decisions. Her clinical work is with “end of life care at both ends of life,” focusing on prenatal decision-making, perinatal loss, and hospice work.   She is a licensed clinical social worker (PA) who serves as the Associate Director of the Doctoral Programs (PhD and DSW), maintains a small clinical practice, and teaches in the Masters, PhD and DSW programs. She has two co-written books: Grief & loss across the lifespan: A biopsychosocial perspective (3rd edition 2021- Springer) and Social work in health settings (5th edition- Routledge).

Debra Minsky-Kelly, MSW, LCSW

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Debra Minsky-Kelly, LCSW, is a professor of social work at Carthage College. She earned her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin - Madison and a Master in Social Work from Loyola University Chicago. Her experience as a clinical social worker includes serving as a director with Rogers Behavioral Health in Kenosha as well as working in areas of domestic violence, child welfare and homeless healthcare. Prof. Kelly’s ongoing research and clinical interests include the effects of trauma across the lifespan, development of trauma informed organizations, and the impact of secondary traumatic stress on professionals.

Nancy Mullen (they/them) MSW

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Nancy Mullen is the Executive Director of Youth Outlook, the first and longest running NFP in IL dedicated to LGBTQ youth. Nancy celebrates 25 years with Youth Outlook in October. Nancy holds an MSW from Syracuse University, where she focused on family mental health. Breathing and Blinking was developed for colleagues in the DV field and has grown to touch other areas of social work since its initial presentation. Away from social work, Nancy is 10 credits from her pastry chef degree and published her first book, Urban Tidepool, in 2020. Her second book is in progress.

Frederick G. Reamer, PHD

Frederick Reamer

Frederic G. Reamer is Professor in the graduate program of the School of Social Work, Rhode Island College, where he has been on the faculty since 1983.  His research and teaching have addressed a wide range of human service issues, including mental health, health care, criminal justice, public welfare, and professional ethics.  Dr. Reamer received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago (1978) and has served as a social worker in correctional and mental health settings.  He has also taught at the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration (1978-1981), and the University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Social Work (1981-1983). 

Dr. Reamer has served as Director of the National Juvenile Justice Assessment Center of the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (1979-1981); as Senior Policy Advisor to the Governor of Rhode Island (1987-1990); and as a Commissioner of the Rhode Island Housing and Mortgage Finance Corporation, the state housing finance agency (1987-1995). Dr. Reamer served on the State of Rhode Island Parole Board from 1992 to 2016.  He also served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Social Work Education (1990-1994).  He serves as Associate Editor of the National Association of Social Workers Encyclopedia of Social Work (Oxford University Press and National Association of Social Workers). Since 2012, Dr. Reamer has served as the ethics instructor in the Providence (RI) Police Department Training Academy.

Dr. Reamer has conducted extensive research on professional ethics.  He has been involved in national research projects sponsored by The Hastings Center, the Carnegie Corporation, the Haas Foundation, and the Scattergood Program for the Applied Ethics of Behavioral Healthcare at the Center for Bioethics, University of Pennsylvania.  He has published 24 books and 175 journal articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia articles.  

Jeanne Wagner, MSW, LCSW, ACSW

Jeanne Wagner

Jeanne Wagner joined the staff at the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare in May 2005 as the Director of Social Work Field Education Programs. She received her MSW from Jane Addams College of Social Work, Chicago, IL and her BSW from Morehead State University, Morehead, KY. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Clinical Professor with extensive clinical, management, administrative, and educational experience. She has worked in a variety of social service settings prior to her appointment with UWM, which include child welfare, adoption (domestic and international), mental health, intellectual disabilities, geriatrics, and private practice. She currently teaches courses in social work, develops and presents continuing education programs covering social work ethics and boundaries, leadership and supervision, case management, documentation, confidentiality, adoption competency, safety in the field, etc. She is a Trainer for the Training for Adoption Competency (TAC) curriculum through the Center for Adoption Support and Education (CASE) and UWM’s Co-Director for TAC. She has served in the role of Ombuds for UWM since 2007 and has 10 years of experience in Quality Assurance.

Sheng Lee Yang, MSW, LCSW

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Sheng is a first-generation immigrant who arrived in the U.S. as a refugee at a young age and has remained in Wisconsin since. Today, she is a practicing Licensed Clinical Social Worker, President and Executive Director for Us 2 Behavioral Health Care. Additionally, she teaches graduate-level courses in Clinical Mental Health and Diversity & Inclusion, and more importantly, is a proud mother of two young girls. Her professional experiences include direct care and leadership positions in public, private, government and nonprofit institutions. Her personal and professional experiences helped cultivate a vision to integrate social justice and cultural humility into mental health. On September 3rd, 2019, Sheng led the opening of Us 2 Behavioral Health Care to increase access to health care in the community with a vision that everyone can be healthier together.

Nicole V. Zellner, LCSW, SAC 

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Nikki Zellner is a Licensed Clinical Social worker and Substance Abuse Counselor with over 15 years of experience providing trauma specific psychotherapy at institutional and community based organizations as well as in private practice. She has completed the California Institute for Integral Studies Certificate in Psychedelic Therapy and Research, is in process of becoming a certified MDMA assisted psychotherapy provider through the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Science (MAPS), is trained via the University of Wisconsin – Madison to conduct clinical research using Psilocybin, and is trained in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy.