Open Board Positions
1 year term followed by 2 years as President
Craig Burns, LMSW (University of Hawaii at Manoa)
Craig is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at the University of North Dakota. He graduated from Western Michigan University with his MA in Spanish Literature in 2000, then spent six years in the US Army as an Army Cryptologic Communications Interceptor/Locator, including a 12-month deployment to Afghanistan in 2004-2005. After leaving the Army, he returned to school, receiving his MSW from the University of Hawaii at Manoa in 2009. Since graduation, Craig has worked in Early Intervention for the State of Hawaii Department of Health, Crisis Mobile Outreach, social work faculty with the MCH-LEND (Maternal and Child Health-Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disorders) program at the University of Hawaii John A. Burns School of Medicine, and as the Social Worker for the Home Based Primary Care Program with the Department of Veterans Affairs on Guam. He has taught as adjunct faculty at the University of Guam and Guam Community College. He developed and taught a Military and Veteran Social Work course for the University of Hawaii MSW program. Craig served as President of the NASW Guam Chapter and received the 2016 Social Worker of the Year award from the NASW Guam Chapter. His professional interests include interprofessional education and collaboration, decolonization and indigenization of social work education, curriculum, and practice, and the importance of space, voice, and ritual in social work practice. He was instrumental in establishing the first community garden on Guam and is passionate about food security, sustainability, and Social Determinants of Health, continuing this work in North Dakota.
3 year term
Amy Phillips, MSSW, MDiv, PhD (University of North Dakota), LMS
Amy Phillips is Professor of Social Work and Site Coordinator for the Minot State University Social Work Program at NDSU (a dual degree program with NDSU’s Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Science). In this position she routinely teaches interpersonal skills, group work, community and organizational practice, a diversity and oppression course, and a senior capstone course. Prior to university teaching, she worked at a non-profit family services agency in Camden New Jersey. She began that work as a family therapist in the agency’s Family Preservation Services unit—a program providing home-based crisis-intervention for families with children at risk of abuse or neglect—and eventually became the agency’s Administrative Director of Children’s Services. In addition to her current teaching responsibilities, Phillips assists organizations with strategic planning, multicultural/anti-oppressive organizational development, ethical practice, and programmatic assessment. She is committed to the work of reconciliation and inclusion, both in her professional and personal life, and is extremely concerned about the impact of climate change and other global risks on the earth generally and the most vulnerable specifically. Phillips is an avid believer in the power of social work for promoting social justice and making positive social change, and she has been actively involved in the advocacy and professional development work of NASW-ND. Phillips also enjoys learning about the history, peoples, and landscapes of North Dakota and is currently facilitating a reading group on Clay Jenkinson’s "The Language of Cottonwoods: Essays on the Future of North Dakota."
3 year term
Mindi Bessler, MSW (University of Minnesota), LMSW
Mindi has been providing academic and residential accommodations to students with disabilities for the past 11 years at North Dakota State College of Science. Prior to that Mindi provided case management to adults with disabilities in Clay County Minnesota. Additionally, Mindi works on the Title IX investigative team at NDSCS assisting with investigations of sexual assault, abuse, harassment and other discrimination based on sex. This work has proven to be extremely rewarding and challenging. Mindi is a strong advocate for education and equity in education.
3 year term
Stephanie Schramm-Little, BSW, MSW (Minnesota State University, Mankato), LMSW
Stephanie Little is a transplant social worker at Sanford Health Transplant Center in Bismarck, North Dakota. Past social work experiences include the North Dakota State Penitentiary and United Tribes Technical College.
Stephanie is a current board member for the National Association of Social Workers (ND Chapter), while also contributing to their Advocacy Committee and annual Conference Committee. She is a consulting editor for the Health & Social Work Journal, with a focus on organ transplant and social work values.
She is active with the United Network for Organ Sharing, as an elected representative for the Safety and Operations Committee and social work consultant for the Patient Affairs Committee and Ethics Committee. In addition, she participates in numerous subcommittees and projects through the Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network.
Stephanie organizes donor registration events and bone marrow drives in rural North Dakota to increase diversity on the registry. She has also been vocal in teaching individuals, including medical professionals, the necessity of “patient speak” and “patient first” language. Issued publications include the American Journal of Transplantation, with project materials through UNOS (booklets, “What Every Parent Needs to Know”).
Stephanie is currently a graduate student at the University of South Dakota, in both the PhD in Health Sciences and Master of Public Health programs. She is pursuing higher education to combine social work with community research and policy, with a dissertation focus on organ allocation and ethics (including contraindications, inequities, and minority disparities).
NORTHWEST REGION REPRESENTATIVE
3 year term
Karlie Miers, LBSW (Minot State University
Employment Specialist/ Program Coordinator within Easter Seals Goodwill, ND based out of Minot, ND assisting individuals with a disability to attain competitive employment in an integrated setting. Networking with businesses and organizations in the community to create additional opportunities for individuals supported to engage with others in society expanding awareness toward inclusivity. In addition, through this program, one can provide insight and opportunities for students on an IEP or 504 in Pre-Transitional Employment Services while implementing new practices and procedures to create life skills vital to those after high school. Aspirations to complete an MSW Degree within the clinical field, with projected graduation for the fall of 2023.
MSW STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE
Zoe Absey, BS Elementary Education (University of North Dakota)
Zoe Absey was in the Peace Corps Rwanda from 2017-2019 as an ESL instructor. Since May of 2020 she has been with the Great Plains Food Bank. She has taken on multiple roles in her time with GPFB. She started by planning and running USDA Farmers to Families food box program distributions. When that program concluded, she contributed to surveying efforts of the Ending Hunger 2.0 department. Zoe is now a member of the Programs and Agency Services team, where she coordinates the Mobile Food Pantry Program across the state and assists with partner relations.
BSW STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE
1 year term
Alexis Begg is a third year BSW student living in Fargo, North Dakota. She has always had a passion for working with children, although her passion soon developed into an interest in the betterment of both individuals and families. Eager to take part in the systemic change she saw that was needed in communities, Alexis felt compelled to the field of social work. Through the program, Alexis has developed interests in the ways policy and communities are impacted by factors such as mental health, substance abuse, and the correctional system. While pursuing her degree at both universities, Alexis has maintained a 4.0/4.0 GPA and is a member of both Phi Alpha and Phi Upsilon Omicron Honor Societies. She has served as the Treasurer for NDSU's Student Social Work Organization from 2020 to present. Recently, Alexis has begun working as the Student Representative on the search committee to select NDSU's first student case manager. Along with being a full time student, Alexis has continued working with both families and adolescents in the FM community as both as Front Office Manager (Little Jungle Childcare Center) and a Youth Care Worker (Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch).