Meet the Faculty

Loui Reyes,  Director ad interim (CV)

Olga Cabada, College Associate Professor, MSW Field Education Lead Coordinator (CV)
M.S. in Social Work from University of Texas at Austin
Academic interests include mental health and social justice.

Ivan de la Rosa  Associate Professor (CV)  
Ph.D. in Social Work and Sociology from University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
MSW from University of Michigan at Ann Arbor with concentration in Community Organizing.
Academic interests include maternal and child health, substance abuse, domestic violence and development of family resilient capacities.

Megan Finno-Velasquez, Assistant Professor (CV)
Ph.D. in Social Work from University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
M.S.W. from NM Highlands University, Las Vegas, NM
Research interests include children and families, child welfare and immigration policy, maltreatment prevention in Latino immigrant communities, cultural competence in child welfare services.

Erika Gergerich, Assistant Professor (CV)
Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Arkansas
MSW from the University of Arkansas
Research interests include community based social work, aging and health policy.  Practice experience in the medical setting with caregivers and the aging population. Before joining the NMSU faculty, Dr. Gergerich taught for the University of Arkansas’ School of Social Work.

Stacy Gherardi, Assistant Professor, MSW Program Coordinator (CV)
Ph.D. in Policy Studies in Urban Education,, University of Illinois at Chicago.
M.S.W. from University of Illinois at Chicago
Research interests include education technology and inclusive education, educational and social policy, school-based mental health policy, identification of students with emotional disabilities.

Maria Gurrola, Associate Professor, BSW Program Coordinator (CV)
Ph.D. in Social Work from Arizona State University.
M.S.W. from Arizona State University.
M.H.R. from University of Oklahoma.

Anna Nelson, College Assistant Professor, MSW Field Education Coordinator (Albuquerque and Online Programs) (CV)
M.S.W. from New Mexico Highlands University. Academic interests include cultural humility in social work practice, direct practice with adolescents, community engagement, and social policy. Research interests are culturally-relevant, trauma-informed behavioral health and Public Health Social Work.

Frances Nedjat-Haiem, Associate Professor (CV) Social Work from the University of Southern California
M.S.W. Social Welfare, from the University of California, Los Angeles
Academic interests focus on the intersection between health and behavioral health in end-of-life care, specifically with vulnerable populations experiencing psychosocial distress and barriers to health care. She has conducted research to explore sociocultural factors that influence coping in end-of-life care and the barriers to complex patient-provider communication among Latinos and research to examine the management of psychosocial distress with older, military veterans, their families, and providers facing end-stage cancers.

Maria Ortiz, College Associate Professor, BSW Field Education Coordinator (CV)
M.S.W. from New Mexico State University.
M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from New Mexico State University.
Academic interests include the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services to Spanish speaking families involved in the child welfare system.  Other interests include the learning process and the impact of prejudice in the learning process, social work field instructor training, and the structural and political barriers to social progress.

Wanda Whittlesey-Jerome, Associate Professor (CV)
Ph.D. from University of Texas at Arlington.
M.S. in Social Work from University of Texas at Arlington with concentration in Administration and Community Practice Practice.
Academic interests include the human-animal bond, especially horses, school social workers, the profession of social work, and the education and socialization of social work students. She is particularly interested in developing social entrepreneurs for work in New Mexico’s rural, tribal and U.S.-Mexican border regions and creating a holistic, healing community for our military and their families.


Stephen Anderson, Professor Emeritus
Ph.D. in Social Work from University of Texas at Austin
M.S.W. from University of Minnesota with concentration in Group Work
Academic interests include social policy, mental health, corrections, child welfare, and social work leadership and administration.

Timothy Barnett-Queen, Associate Professor Emeritus (CV)
Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from University of South Carolina.
M.S.W. from University of Social Carolina with concentration in Micro Practice.

Robert Blair, Professor Emeritus (CV)
Ph.D. in Social Work from University of Utah.
M.S.W. from University of Utah.
Research interests include mental health and individual therapy.

Alice Chornesky, Professor Emerita
Ph.D. in Social Work from Smith College
M.S.W. from Smith College

Tina Hancock, Professor, Emerita (CV)
D.S.W. from University Alabama with concentration in Clinical Social Work.
M.S.W. from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with concentration in Organization and Program Development.

Felipe Peralta, Professor Emeritus
Ph.D. in International Comparative Social Welfare Policy from the University of Texas at Arlington and Universidad Autonoma de Nuevo Leon in Mexico.
M.S.W. from University of Michigan

Patricia Sandau-Beckler, Professor Emerita
Ph.D. in Social Work from Case Western Reserve University
M.S.W. from University on Minnesota

Alvin Sallee, Professor Emeritus
M.S.W. from Arizona State University

Gerald Vest, Professor Emeritus (Deceased)

Current School of Social Work Promotion & Tenure policy