Alumni

Michelle Presnell ’18

“There were a lot of great things about the program, but if I had to choose just one, it would have to be exposure to professors from all different parts of the social work field. It gave us real world knowledge from many different career areas. When I came into the social work program I planned on being a medical social worker. I was positive that I was not going to be licensed or work with children. After completing the program I chose to be provisionally licensed and work with elementary school children. I am doing everything I said I would never do but the program opened me up to different possibilities, and the job I would have never chosen at first is now the best job I have ever had.”

Michelle Riddle, BSW

Social Worker for Toe River Health District

“The best part of the Social Work program was the support and the relationships that were formed during that time. The program allowed me to have the opportunity to be a junior intern at Givens Estates. The program help me to discover just how much I love helping and advocating for others to become successful!”

Stephanie JonesStephanie Jones, MSW, LCSWA

“The professors were easily accessible, they were relatable, and very helpful in every regard. They are very knowledgeable and esteemed in the profession of Social Work. Two of the professors I had the honor to learn from are Kelly Spangler and Dr. Beth Vogler who both are extremely knowledgeable in the field and Social Worker of the Year for the state of North Carolina. I was the student that started with an end goal of being a School Social Worker and remained steady on that track from day one.  I love kids, I had worked with kids for years and never planned not to work with kids. What my experience at Mars Hill did for me was give me the license to drive my passion. It allowed me to see levels of my personal self, such as biases, unawareness of cultural differences, insecurities that impacted my communication with others and then encouraged me to hone in on those areas and be a better me.  It took me to new levels of me!”

Stephanie Weston, MSW, LCSWA

“The faculty within the Social Work program were very encouraging, understanding, and always willing to help in whatever way they could. The program helped me to define what I really wanted to do as a professional in social work and one of the biggest things was learning about the importance of advocating, and learning how to advocate.”

Stephanie McCullough ’16

Volunteer Program Coordinator, Community Housing Coalition, Marshall, NC

“In my position, I recruit and coordinate volunteers, building community engagement to meet the needs of those who need home repair in Madison County. “The MHU social work program was the catalyst for my future. It has changed my life in more ways than I imagined. I am more confident. I am a better mom, a better human being, and I strive every day to be the best social worker I can be. And I have MHU to thank for my dramatic change from the “me” of six years ago, to the person I am today. Thank you MHU, the social work program, and specifically Dr. Beth Vogler. When I grow up, I want to be like her.”

Shannon Boyd ’11

School Social Worker, Buncombe County Schools, NC

“As a school social worker, it is my goal to provide interventions to help students overcome challenges in their lives so they will have the opportunity to succeed in life. As a Mars Hill graduate, I have been equipped with the knowledge and ability to be an effective social worker. I have used the skills taught to me by distinctive professors
to help families and children. Not only have I been able to use these skills in the workforce but have had a greater empathy for family and friends.”

Raymond Featherstone ’11

Housing Support Specialist, Charles George Veterans Administration Medical Center, Asheville, NC

“I currently work at the Charles George VA Medical Center where I did my internship through Mars Hill. My job is to locate safe and secure housing for our homeless veterans. I had the most wonderful experience ever going to Mars Hill University. The professors are the most caring, understanding, amazing people I have ever met. They work with their students in every form or fashion to make sure they get the best education ever. I can’t say enough great things about this entire school because they helped me form structure in school and in my life. I will be forever grateful for the staff at Mars Hill University”

Ebony McGee ’07

Police Officer, Asheville Police Department, Asheville, NC

“My job description includes building community relationships, empowering the community, deterring and addressing criminal activities, and protecting people and properties. Some might think social work has nothing to do with this. However, that’s ALL I do. Most of the time, when I meet people, they are in a crisis. I have to listen, read body language, think of an approach, and consider what resources our community offers to assist this individual. I’m always empowering people to try again, telling them: “make tomorrow better than today.”

Brian Matlock ’98

Juvenile Court Counselor, NC Department of Public Safety, Division of Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice, Waynesville, NC

“My position helps to set up mental health services if needed, create diversion plans for additional services, reduce the delinquency rate of juveniles, and help families as a whole connect with community services. The MHU social work program gave me invaluable experience directly in the field. I was able to participate in three very different internships that expanded my experience and knowledge and then take it back to the classroom to process, evaluate, and examine what I learned, needed to improve, and what to take with me outside of college to impact the world.”

Rev. Amy Stertz ’98

Minister with Children and Families, First Baptist Church of Asheville, NC

“A strong component of my work is helping children learn and serve others as they learn to live in the way of Jesus.
Our children welcome homeless women who stay at our church several times each year, sort food for the hungry, make Christmas gift s for senior adults, deliver meals on wheels, and have helped create a lending children’s library at our partner church in Cuba. “Community involvement is an important part of who I am and what I do as a person and as a minister. Certainly my time at Mars Hill was instrumental in forming that part of who I am.”

Cedric Mansell, ’95

Juvenile Court Counselor, NC Department of Public Safety, Division of Adult Corrections and Juvenile Justice, Asheville, NC

“I came to Mars Hill thinking I was going to be a communications major but my advisor, Julia Nooe, requested that I take the Intro. to Social Work class. It seemed to fit right into what I was all about, helping others. I had been part of
taking care of the community through church and youth groups throughout my early life, and social work felt like a professional extension of that service. It was the internship process that hooked me on DJJ and social work in
general.”

Debrah Conn Clark ’83

NC Foster Care Licensing Program Manager, Carolina Therapeutic Services, Gastonia, NC

“After retiring from Gaston County Schools as a school social worker, I began employment with this agency as a licensing specialist and then transitioned into the manager position in August 2015. Mars Hill University gave me the professional foundation and structure that allowed me to be a successful Social Worker in the state of NC. Throughout my professional career, my Mars Hill family and friends have provided ongoing support with professional and life challenges. My friendships derived from Mars Hill, lasting 37 years, are blessings that are rare.”

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