Humboldt Department of Social Work Alumni contribute in many ways including networking, advising and linking current students to help them on their career path to jobs after graduation.

Graduation does not mark the end of your time with Humboldt. We value your support and offer a variety of opportunities that will enable you to remain involved in a way that is personally meaningful to you.

Please see the links below.

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Jed Mefford, MSW

Jed Mefford, MSW
Class of: 

Jed Mefford, MSW
2019 Alumni of the Year
MSW Class of 2006

Humboldt Department of Social Work is honored to announce our 2019 Alumni of the Year, Jed Mefford. 

Jed Mefford graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in History and Minor in Native American Studies from Humboldt State University in 2001.  He graduated with his Master’s in Social Work degree from Humboldt State University in 2006 and was a CalSWEC Title IV-E recipient.  Jed completed his employment payback by working as a social worker with Del Norte County Child Welfare Services (CWS) and then with Humboldt County CWS and has remained with Humboldt County CWS since.  

"I find the work challenging and rewarding for a variety of reasons.  CWS has an important role in the community and involves navigating complex regulations that require collaboration with families and community to ensure fairness and justice.  Of the positions I've held with CWS, one of the most rewarding has been as a Field Liaison for the ten or more Humboldt Social Worker Department Interns assigned to Humboldt County CWS each year.  I have been involved in the onboarding, training, and mentoring of over 50 interns since 2012."  - Jed Mefford
"I first met Jed when he was an intern at CDSS Arcata District Office. It has been my great pleasure to watch the evolution of his career, from intern, to dedicated social worker, to supervisor, and now to someone who provides support to the dozens of students who intern at CWS." - Phoebe Cellitti, Lecturer

"He is wonderful to collaborate with and provides ongoing support, mentorship, and training to our student interns."  - Julie Simpson, Child Welfare Training Project Coordinator

Congratulations Jed!

Stephanie Weldon, MSW

Class of: 
MSW 2010

Stephanie Weldon is Yurok, Tolowa, and Karuk and is an enrolled Yurok Tribal member. Stephanie was raised in Klamath, on the Yurok reservation. She is the mother of three Yurok children and a tribally specified caregiver of three Yurok children. Stephanie has been involved in Tribal advocacy, cultural revitalization and preservation, and raising awareness of Tribal issues throughout her personal and professional life.

Stephanie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Native American Studies in 2008 with a minor in American Indian Education from Humboldt State University. Stephanie earned her Masters Degree in Social Work from Humboldt State University in 2010. As a graduate student, Stephanie was a Title IV-E CalSwec stipend recipient and completed internships at United Indian Health Services and California Department of Social Services- State Adoptions Arcata District Office.

Stephanie currently works for the Humboldt County DHHS as a Child Welfare Social Worker Supervisor in the family reunification/family maintenance unit. She has been actively involved in the development of a new practice model to improve permanency outcomes for Native American children involved in the child welfare system. Her goals are to inform the system of Tribal cultural perspectives, assist with coordination collaboration with Tribes, assist with the development of culturally responsive engagement and interventions, and to support the application of the Indian Child Welfare Act.

Stephanie formerly served as the Social Services Director of the Yurok Tribe from 2010 to 2013 where she was primarily responsible for the development and oversight of the Yurok Social Services Department inclusive of the Indian Child Welfare Program, Tribal TANF, Title IV-E development grant, Juvenile intervention programs, Title IV-B, SAMHSA Circles of Care, Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault programs, and other social service programs. As the Director, she served as the Northern Co-chair of the California Department of Social Services ICWA workgroup. As the Director, Stephanie co-coordinated and led the Social Services team in hosting the 19th Annual state wide ICWA conference. Stephanie also actively advocated for ICWA compliance and Tribal collaboration at the county, state, and federal levels.

Stephanie has over 13 years of Tribal programs and community engagement experience inclusive of direct service work in Indian education, cultural preservation and education, social service programs, health education, youth prevention, and program administration. Her background also includes community volunteer work and service learning as a head start parent policy member, coach, cultural presenter, and youth mentor. Stephanie enjoys spending time with her family, exercising, participating in cultural practices, and spending time outdoors!

Cedric Aaron, MSW, BASW

Class of: 
2011-MSW, 2009-BASW

In 2010, Cedric Keith Aaron, Jr. relocated his family to Humboldt County from Chico.  A social work mentor recommended working in the field before attending graduate school and he moved to accept a position at Remi Vista, Inc. after interning with them during his BSW program at Chico State University.  Working with foster youth and their families for that year lit his passion to make social work a career, continue his education at Humboldt State University, and apply as an Advanced Standing MSW student.

Although his wife was born and raised in Humboldt County, Cedric is from the Bay Area and knew a rural community life with very little racial diversity would be a challenge for him at first.  In graduate school, he found statistics reflecting the lack of African American clinical social workers to be extremely concerning and this, along with Humboldt County's demographics, has driven his passion and advocacy for diversity among social work professionals, especially those who are providing clinical services.

Cedric researched the California Social Work Education Center (CalSWEC) Mental Health Stipend Program and found it would give him the classroom and hands-on experience he would need.  He was awarded a stipend for the 2010-11 academic year and secured a clinical internship placement with Humboldt County Mental Health, where he was able to gain experience in both emergency services and jail services. Being able to focus on clinical social work with a competent professor and Mental Health Stipend Program peers in an intimate setting provided the space for him to talk about diagnoses, systems theory, strengths-based/client-centered services, working in an intense environment, and self care.  Interning at the county's 24-hour psychiatric hospital and county jail also gave him the clinical experience employers want (e.g., crisis intervention, suicide risk assessment, comprehensive assessment/DSM diagnosing, developing client plans, and working in an inter-agency capacity).

Once a masters level clinical position became open for the county, it was a smooth transition because most of the mental health staff knew him and the skills he was bringing into the mental health branch.  Cedric is now completing hours towards his LCSW and is employed as a full-time mental health clinician in Humboldt County's juvenile correctional facilities.

"I always knew I wanted to work with folks in the criminal justice system because people can easily get lost in that system without the proper support, which could lead to prison incarceration, problematic drug/alcohol use, and unresolved mental health disabilities," says Cedric. "I also wanted to work with the incarcerated population because I believe that some people view them as 'disposable' or 'forgotten and done'.  The kids I work with are amazing young people." 

Cedric invites Humboldt students to contact him at with any questions (e.g., undergraduate/graduate school questions, working with the criminal justice system, providing clinical services).

Susie Cha, MSW, BASW

Class of: 
2010-MSW, 2007-BASW

Born in Eureka, California, Susie Cha grew up in Humboldt County.  She obtained her BASW in 2007 and MSW in 2010 from Humboldt State University. She completed her undergraduate field placement at Zane Middle School with the school counselor, Delores Haskamp.  At Zane Middle School she led two groups; a multi-cultural group and a social group where teachers referred students.

She completed her graduate level field placement at Multiplicity as a co-facilitator of a group called "Adventure Outings". This group was for the siblings of individuals with developmental disabilities, such as autism or Down’s syndrome.  The intention of this group was to address the needs and provide services to these siblings who, too, experienced their own struggles.  Susie worked at Multiplicity for four years. She began as a behavioral aide before becoming a behavior management assistant. After receiving her MSW, she worked as a behaviorist. During her time at Multiplicity she formed strong relationships and developed a rapport that continues to inform her professional life today.

“People asked how I got into social work and it has a lot to do with how I grew up, my beliefs, and having a conversation with someone like-minded. I took an Introduction to Social Work course as part of my General Education. I remember walking into the Social Work Department back when it was in the library basement, and I ran into Ken Nakamura. He introduced himself and asked if I was a Social Worker major. I told him, "No," and that I still was not sure what I wanted to major in. I originally enrolled as a "business" major. I told him a little bit about my history of growing up in Eureka and having fond memories of going to "Hmong School" where my father taught students how to read and write in Hmong. I, too, one day knew that I would like the next generation to have the same opportunity to be connected to their cultural roots and language. Unbeknown until my conversation with Ken, he assisted in securing a grant to create a "Hmong School." That was when I realized that I needed to take the social work path.”

Currently, Susie is the Hmong Community Outreach Coordinator for Humboldt State University's Social Work Department and is employed as a Social Worker for Humboldt County Children and Family Services.  She is also currently working towards her clinical license. In her free time, Susie volunteers as a translator and assists with providing service referrals for Hmong community members.  Susie is also married to a social worker with whom she shares two children and four dogs. They plan to stay in Humboldt for a long time.

Heather Friedrich, MSW

Class of: 

Heather grew up in Del Norte County as did her parents, grandparents, and some of her great grandparents. She is the first in her family to graduate from college. Initially, Heather was unsure of what she wanted to do as a career and had little to no knowledge about social work. She decided to major in sociology after taking one class and discovering how fascinated she was by human behavior. While she enjoyed her sociology classes, finding a job in the field did not seem too practical, especially since she had very little work experience. Shortly before Heather graduated with her bachelor’s degree, she saw a flyer for the CalSWEC program and subsequently attended an informational meeting. It was then explained to her that in social work, she could apply the theories and concepts she had learned in sociology at the individual level. The emphasis on working with the Native American population was also of interest to her as she is a member of the Smith River Rancheria and had always been interested in working with the Native American community.

Heather completed her foundation year internship at a non-profit foster family agency, Environmental Alternatives. There was an office in Crescent City and Eureka and she spent time interning at both. Over the summer, the agency hired her as a social worker, but she had to quit in order to finish her second year in the MSW program, a necessary step in order to complete her hours at Humboldt County Child Welfare.

“Both internships were very positive experiences in that they provided me with the hands on experience I needed to help prepare me for my career,” explains Heather.

While in the graduate program, Heather also earned a minor in American Indian Education.  She graduated with her MSW in May of 2010. The Monday after graduation, she started working for Del Norte County Child Welfare and has continued to work there for the past four years.

“Although the work is not easy, I have good support systems in both my personal life and at work. Del Norte County Child Welfare has a great sense of camaraderie amongst the workers. The supervisors are experienced and supportive, which are attributes of a work environment that I believe are necessary for longevity. Working in the county where I grew up has its challenges. I feel great satisfaction knowing that I am working to improve my community and hometown. However, juggling dual relationships can be difficult at times.”

Heather is married to a Humboldt alum who works for the National Park Services. They share a one year old son. Right now Heather considers herself content with both her career and personal life. She is continually learning from her clients, her co-workers, and herself. She is fortunate to have been asked to provide on site supervision for a few of her co-workers who are furthering their education through Humboldt State University’s Distributed Learning Program. Heather has also sat on the interviewing board for the CalSWEC stipend for the past two years.

“One day, when I have more field experience, I may try to pursue social change on a larger scale, but for right now I am focusing on being happy with where I am at this point in my life.  I am grateful for the opportunity to attend the MSW Program at Humboldt.  It gave me a solid foundation for my career as a child welfare social worker in a rural community. Values such as self-determination and a strength-based approach have not only helped with the work I do, but I feel the perspectives have also contributed to my own personal growth and have helped me to become more of the type of person I want to be in life.”


Julie Sanchez, BASW

Class of: 

Julie Sanchez is an enrolled tribal member of the Pueblo de San Ildefonso in Northern New Mexico. She was born and raised in southern California. For the past 7 years, she has been involved with homeless and tribal youth advocacy.

Julie was originally a Marine Biology major and happened to be in the Social Work Freshman Interest Group (FIG) for social justice.  Through the persistence of Maria Bartlett, now Social Work Faculty Emeritus, and a few other professors, she changed her major in 2007 to Social Work.   Fortunately, the volunteer work she was already doing in the community could be counted towards the BASW program requirements.  Future internship for her as a BASW student included Two Feathers - Native American Family Services and UIHS - Children and Family Services.

Julie graduated from Humboldt in 2010 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work and minor in Native American Studies. In the final year of the BASW program she was awarded the CalSWEC Title IV-E stipend.  This program engaged her with a population she never once considered working with; high-challenged youth and families (those involved in or at risk for entry into the child welfare system) at RCAA Youth Service Bureau as well as on the pueblo.

“After graduation I had the privilege of working with the Youth Service Bureau as a Youth Caseworker where I received guidance, supervision, and support to take on a position in New Mexico - a large role working directly for my tribe as the Indian Child Welfare (ICW)/Title IV-B Program Manager.  During the time I worked for my tribe I built the ICW program from the ground up by assisting in re-writing the tribe’s law and order codes, coordinating delivery services with federal agents, creating a culturally specific substance abuse program, and advocating for the pueblo’s youth-in-care across the southwest.”

“Through this experience I gained a love of administration and leadership.  This influenced my decision to attend the University of Washington – Seattle (UW) School of Social Work for my MSW with their concentration on administration and policy. The opportunity to work with my tribe also allowed me to reconnect with my pueblo’s traditional customs and language.”

Julie is currently in the final quarter of the Advanced Standing MSW program at UW – Seattle.  She is an intern at the City of Seattle’s Human Services Department (HSD) under the Youth Employment Program. She has been an essential part of initiating the Mayor’s Youth At Work Initiative, which launched this spring and is going to serve over 2,000 of Seattle’s low-income/high-barrier youth.  Currently, she is also piloting a youth evaluation survey for the program, sitting on numerous task force teams, all while working and going to school full-time.

In the next few months she will be working with Indigenous Wellness Research Institute (IWRI) as a Graduate Research Assistant to further guide her love of empirical data and working with American Indian communities.

After graduation she plans to apply for a PhD program and eventually go back to her pueblo to further build her tribal community’s Indian Child Welfare program.

“I will always thank the Humboldt Social Work program as well as the CALSWEC stipend program for giving me the direction to become an advocate, a listener, and a tactful fighter for tribal youth in the child welfare system.  Humboldt’s Social Work program instilled in me a strong understanding of social justice, theoretical perspectives and methodological thinking that has allowed me to flourish as a social worker.”

Andrea Sanger, BA, MSW, LCSW

Class of: 

Andrea Sanger graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College, in St. Peter, Minnesota, in 2002, majoring in Sociology and Anthropology. After graduation, she moved to California to become an Americorps member in the Bay Area.  While in the Bay Area she was exposed to diversity and poverty in a way she’d never before experienced.

“I was born in Illinois and raised in a rural, farming community. My grandfather was a pastor, so the values of caring for and serving others were frequently modeled and talked about.  People have always fascinated me, and I’m perpetually drawn to their life stories, willing to be witness to both joyful and challenging personal experiences.”

Andrea came to Humboldt preferring the rural, small town life to urban life. Humboldt State University’s MSW program was a local program where she could apply her knowledge and competencies. She had always wanted to get into social work but the college she chose had only the Sociology and Anthropology program - no social work program, specifically.

She was not a social worker before entering the MSW program. She worked with Americorps, then Eureka High helping students navigate the process of college preparation and application.

During the program, Andrea spent both internships with the Open Door Community Health Centers, assisting with the addition of case management to the OCHC networks, and participating with harm reduction programs including a needle exchange program and the Suboxone program. She was also introduced to therapy and was able to shadow a skilled clinician, Robynne Lute, PsyD. These experiences secured her attachment to the community in Humboldt County and opened her eyes to the unique and complex needs of the population, particularly affordable housing, mental health services, harm reduction programs, and community education about all three issues.

Andrea graduated from the Humboldt MSW program in 2006.

“Completing the MSW program was an integral part of my development as a social worker. The program challenged me to cultivate a deeper awareness of who I am and how both life experiences and inherent characteristics influence my interactions with the world.  Among a multitude of other lessons, the program exposed me to the Generalist perspective, Strengths-based approach, and the importance of meeting our clients with respect and honor for their life experiences and inherent characteristics.”

After earning her MSW, Andrea worked at Arcata House assisting individuals obtain and maintain stable housing via the permanent supportive housing program or the transitional housing program –an eye-opening experience that taught her about the complex nature of homelessness, mental health, and effectively relating to others via the social worker’s role.  She then worked as a behaviorist with Multiplicity Therapeutic Services, providing behavioral modification to individuals and families of individuals with development disabilities. It was in this work that she began realizing she wanted to go further with clients.  She earned her ASW and began the process of getting her LCSW. 

Andrea also worked with HumWORKS, a program of Humboldt County Mental Health, as a means by which to develop her skills in psychotherapy. There she immersed herself in learning about and conducting individual and group therapy.

She currently counsels individuals over the age of 60 at Humboldt County Mental Health Older Adults Program. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and in the process of beginning a private practice. She conducts a series of workshops in which participants are invited to engage in a group process around a variety of topics, the first of which was “Working With Difficult People”.  Her focus is assisting people to break through the armoring that prevents them from living life and connecting fully with others.

“In the big picture of my life, I am a wife to an incredible husband, a mother of an enthusiastic 3 ½ year-old, and am expecting my second child this summer. I enjoy swimming, biking, gardening, cooking, reading, and spending time with my friends and family in the beautiful outdoors of Humboldt County.”


Rochelle Trochtenberg, MSW, BASW

Class of: 
2015-MSW, 2009-BASW

Rochelle Trochtenberg is currently the California Foster Care Ombudsperson in Sacramento, Ca.  She previously worked as the Humboldt County Transitional Age Youth Collaboration Lead Youth Organizer, a component of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Transition Age Youth (TAY) Division, serving young adults age 16-26 as they transition to adulthood and independence.  It has three main units: TAY Behavioral Health, the Independent Living Skills program and HCTAYC.

Rochelle grew up in the foster care system in Los Angeles County. In and out of child welfare services since she was 5 years old, she was taken out of her home for the last time when she was 13. She was raised in group homes for youth and she was labeled “severely emotionally disturbed.” She emancipated on her 18th birthday and became homeless, couch surfing and living in shelters until she met a family that allowed her to stay with them for a year as long as she went to school.

As a former foster youth, Trochtenberg felt compelled to voice her opinion about the group home system at a July 2008 conference the county held to gather the opinions of youth like herself. When she openly criticized the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Service’s approach to group homes, she didn’t know she would end up being invited back for more discussion and eventually employed by the department.

Trochtenberg went on to earn an associate’s degree after eight years, applied to five state colleges and was accepted to all five. She landed at Humboldt State University where she earned a Bachelors in Social Work from Humboldt State University, served as the President of the Humboldt Social Work Student Association as well as the Founder and Chair of the Humboldt Former Foster Youth Club. She interned at Child Welfare Services before becoming the Lead Youth Organizer of the Humboldt County Transition Age Youth Collaboration.  She earned her MSW from Humboldt State University in 2015.

A Lead Organizer of the Humboldt County Transition Age Youth Collaboration (HCTAYC), Trochtenberg has received national recognition for her work. Rochelle has acted as a leader and mentor, engaging youth with experience in foster care, mental health, juvenile justice, and homelessness to bring their voices and experiences in to policy-setting and decision-making tables throughout various systems. Trochtenberg strives to improve systems by helping young people understand the policy, politics, and impacts of laws, as well as how to navigate and leverage their power to shape the political conversation. She believes that systems function more effectively when decisions are informed and connected to the real life experiences and voices of those who depend on those services.   

Rochelle has dedicated herself to a number of statewide efforts, such as serving as Co-Chair of the Katie A. Pathways to Mental Health Community Team, working on the California State Quality Improvement Project to Improve the Use of Psychotropic Medication Amongst Foster Youth, and serving on the California Child Welfare Council since 2010.  Rochelle was a founding Board Member and Secretary for Youth In Mind serving until June of 2013 and serves on the Board of Directors for California Mental Health Advocates For Children and Youth (CMHACY) since 2009. 

Michele Stephens, MSW

Class of: 

Michelle Stephens joined DHHS in 2006 as a social worker, and has served as both a supervisor and manager in the department’s Child Welfare Services Division.


Tahnee King, MSW

Class of: 
2011 - MSW, BASW Class of 2010

Tahnee King
MSW Class of 2011, BASW Class of 2010

Tahnee King currently resides in Oregon and is married to an active duty Coast Guardsman.  Throughout her studies her focus in school was directed towards the adult and elder population.  As a BASW student at Humboldt she interned with Silvercrest, an affordable rental housing community located in Eureka, CA.   She also volunteered at the Adult Day Care in Arcata.  As an Advanced Standing MSW student, her internship was with Adult Protective Services (APS).

I loved it and the team. They hired me and I worked with them two years until I met my now military husband and moved with him to Texas.   In Texas I learned quickly that every state has different licensing requirements. I tested and passed the required LMSW exam and was then hired at a hospital in the in-patient geriatric and adult psych units. I worked intake/triage, ran counseling groups, and managed the court emergency hold paperwork for the involuntary patients. When I noticed my burn out level was high due to sometimes 10-13 hour work days with no set schedule, I decided to take a position with the sister hospital as a medical social worker/case manager. There I made APS reports, worked with the county Public Guardians, and counseled people with newly diagnosed terminal illnesses.  I also helped patients transition to dialysis, hospice, skilled nursing facilities, in-patient psych units, in-patient rehab units, etc.  The position also allowed me to hold meetings with physicians and other staff to discuss patient needs and care plans for safe discharges.
When her husband received orders to move back to Alameda County in California, she secured a position as an Assistant Public Guardian with the county and renewed her ACSW to collect clinical hours.  In this role she wrote court reports, appeared in court, and attended to client's needs including medical/psychological matters and decisions. 
Soon after the move to Alameda County,  they relocated to Oregon where she again needed to comply to states rules to became a CSWA.  The state accepted her CA and TX clinical hours and she secured a position in the rural county as the sole Hospice/Home Health/ Bereavement Social Worker.

Here, I drive the county seeing clients, providing counseling, completing psycho-social assessments, connecting patients to community resources, and coordinating with the local APS office and DC planners at the hospital.  My goal is to have my LCSW by 2019.  All the moving has slowed this process down for me so I'm happy to say I'm almost done with collection of hours.  I have been so lucky to see the full circle of services provided to our adult/geriatric populations and this experience has helped me secure positions easily where ever we have moved. I plan on continuing to work with this population through out my career. I may want to teach classes on it one day.  For now I'm focusing on my life here in Oregon until the next orders come in and we start another new adventure.

Michele Eggers, PhD

Class of: 
1992 - BASW

Michele Eggers, PhD
2018 Alumni of the Year
BASW Class of 1992

Humboldt Department of Social Work is honored to announce our Alumni of the Year, Michele Eggers, PhD.  Michele earned her BASW from Humboldt in 1992 and currently is professor in the MSW Program at Pacific University in Eugene, Oregon.   Michele is recognized for her work in the field and also as a prior faculty member.
Professor Emeritus, Pam Brown writes –
“Michele's areas of interest, community work and research have been in the areas of:

Politics of reproductive health, rights, and justice
Environmental, Indigenous, and women’s rights
Embodying inequality
Latin America
Critical theory of whiteness
Constructions of violence

Michele’s commitment to human rights, her extensive practice as a social worker in schools and treatment programs, and her use of film, photography and writing to move these issues into the light is the reason why we are honoring her for her academic research and creative work in the field.”
Congratulation's Michele!

Jeff McKay, MSW

Class of: 
2017 - MSW

Jeff McKay
MSW Class of 2017

Professional Academic Coach, Jeff McKay, began work this September as the Deputy Director of Health and Human Services in Alpine County. 

Jeff graduated from the MSW Program at Humboldt in May of 2017.  Prior to attending Humboldt,  he earned his BA in Sociology from California State University, Northridge and his background was primarily in the military and law enforcement.  He started his career in Social Services in 2012 at the El Dorado County Health and Human Services Agency in the Child Protective Services (CPS) program as a Staff Services Analyst. 

During my 5 1/2 years with El Dorado County, I managed the County's Commercially Sexually Exploited Children (CSEC) program, coordinated the CSEC Task Force, and helped develop and implement the dual-status youth program for County Probation and CPS.  As a Title I-VE student, I was able to intern with El Dorado County and gain experience in a wide variety of social service and community based programs. This experience led to a better understanding of the numerous state programs overseen by social service agencies, and this provided me with new opportunities to better serve the children, adults, and families engaged with social services, public health, and environmental health programs.  Policy development and program administration have always been areas that I have engaged with throughout my time in social services, and my new role as Deputy Director for the Health and Human Services Department (HHS) of Alpine County will allow me to continue in this work. My goal is to always seek to provide compassionate, culturally literate, and quality services and programs to our Tribal and County communities.  This aligns with Alpine County HHS's Mission Statement: "To promote the dignity and well-being of children, families, and adults through pubic health and human service programs."

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