Consultation & Advocacy: Meet Our Staff

The Student Parent HELP Center has been providing supportive services to student parents and other non-traditional students on the U of M campus since 1967. Recognized leaders in the field, the SPHC has assisted hundreds of moms and dads in achieving their dream of a college degree and frequently provides consultation to other colleges and universities wishing to establish similar programming.

With a team of social work professionals trained to assist student parents with their academic and family related needs, the SPHC provides advocacy, coaching and referrals to address any barrier a parent might face on their way to degree completion.

Susan Warfield, Program DirectorSusan Warfield, MSW, LICSW, Program Director

I attended the University of Denver receiving a BA in Psychology and completed a Masters in Social Welfare with an emphasis in Education at the University of California-Berkeley.  I have been the Director of the Student Parent HELP Center for 10 years, beginning in the Student Parent Counselor position 17 years ago. Though I have loved all aspects of the career path I have chosen, I have never loved any job as much as I have loved my work with the SPHC.  Assisting mothers and fathers who are working toward their educational dreams, watching their children grow and helping to build the SPHC community, is a daily inspiration. As I write this, the SPHC is currently in a period of expansion and growth, unlike anything we have seen in decades. We are also entering our 50th year as a program serving under-represented students as they seek to expand their own opportunities. I could not be happier to be a part of the SPHC and I look forward to welcoming each new cohort of students with children into our student parent community.

Na king Xiong, Undergraduate Student Parent Counselor Na king Xiong, Undergraduate Student Parent Counselor 

I attended the University of Minnesota Twin Cities as an undergraduate and graduate student where I received my Bachelor of Science degree in Family Social Science in spring of 2012 and my Master of Education degree in Family Education in spring of 2016. I have experience working with parents and children throughout my student teaching in the Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) program in the Minneapolis Public School District. As a student teacher, I provided parenting services and resources available in the community as well as designed and taught lesson plans on various parenting topics parents were interested in. I also have experience working with a high risk youth/young adult population through my positon at MoveFwd as a case manager. At MoveFwd I helped identify barriers and/or resources/services to reduce those barriers so success is achieved. A lot of the youth/young adults that I worked with were homeless so I often helped with housing, education, employment, basic needs, locating a shelter and more. I also co-facilitated the monthly parenting group at MoveFwd where participants in the housing program were required to attend if they were pregnant or had more than one child.

I enjoy working with youth/young adults and children and am intrigued by family systems and parenting, therefore, I am excited about joining the Student Parent Help Center at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Stephanie LeeStephanie Lee, MSW, LGSW, Graduate Student Parent Counselor

I am a licensed social worker, and I have been working with youth and families since I was a youth myself. I received my Master of Social Work at the University of Washington in Seattle, and my Bachelor degrees in Social Work and Psychology at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I grew up in Ethiopia, where I got to work extensively at a youth center where I focused on programming for girls. I have experience in diverse social work settings, including mental health counseling for elementary and middle school children, refugee resettlement, and social programs for youth. Most recently, I worked with homeless mothers and their children in a transitional housing program in Minneapolis. Because of all these experiences, I love to meet new people, learn about their cultures, and hear what they find meaningful and important. I am so excited to be here at the SPHC supporting student parents!

Ali Jacobson Ali Jacobson, Graduate Social Work Intern

I graduated from the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Family Social Science. After graduation, I served in the Peace Corps as a Youth Development Volunteer in El Salvador. There, I lived with a host family and collaborated with community members and the local school on projects such as teaching English and music and implementing a women’s exercise group. I visited the school almost daily to help out in the classrooms, play games with the students and tutor students in both Spanish and English. This experience helped provide me with a multi-cultural lens on working with families.

After returning to the USA from El Salvador, I worked for 2 years for a Twin Cities non-profit in an alternative high school as a Family Support Worker. I case-managed students and their families, connected them with resources, provided emotional and academic support and ran life-skills groups, such as parenting support groups. I specifically loved working with the teenage parents at the alternative high school, which is what inspired me to intern at the Student Parent Help Center this year! I am a first-year Master of Social Work student at the U of M this year and pursuing the Children and Families track as I love working with families in school settings.

Hamdi AhmedHamdi Ahmed, Graduate Social Work Intern

I attended the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate receiving a BA in psychology. After graduation I worked as a Mental Health Practitioner at St. Davids. I am currently still a practitioner at St.Davids. I work specifically with the East African community serving children ages 3-5 with Autism Spectrum Disorder providing center-based and in-home early intervention services. Working with children and families is my passion, especially children with neurological developmental disorders, which is what inspired me to back to school. I am currently a first year Master's in Social Work student, pursuing a Clinical Mental Health track. I am hoping to gain wide range of experiences working with students and families from different background. I am excited to join the SPHC team, supporting students parents!