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, 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
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.
Cathy Komjathy, MSW, LGSW, Student Parent Counselor-Graduate Focus
I attended Metropolitan State University receiving a BA in Psychology and completed a Masters in Social Work at Augsburg College in Minneapolis in 2013. I have been working with families as they navigate the difficult healthcare system since graduating, primarily in transitional care units. As a former graduate social work intern with the Student Parent HELP Center, I witnessed first hand how higher education can empower and support those pursuing a better future for themselves and their families. As an advocate of self-care, I do find time to go fishing with my spouse as often as possible, and enjoy the peace found in nature. I am very excited to return to the Student Parent HELP Center as the Student Parent Counselor-Graduate Focus and look forward to being a part of this growing community for all student parents!
Erin Keto-Sherman, Graduate Social Work Intern
I have over 15 years of experience working with at-risk youth and families. I started my career working with at-risk teens at an employment agency in Minneapolis, helping clients find and keep jobs and access other community services as needed. I then spent some time in Montana and Washington working with the Boys and Girls Club and a handful of small non-profits specializing in youth and homeless services. While living in Washington, I also was afforded the opportunity to work as a Functional Family Therapy (FFT) Therapist for 6.5 years. This was the most rewarding and challenging work I’ve done thus far. I’m excited to be working with families again through the Student Parent Help Center!
I’ve been a long time student of the University of Minnesota, having already earned two degrees here, I’m back for my third! I earned my Bachelor’s of Science in Family Social Science in 2002 and a Master’s of Education in Youth Development Leadership in 2006. I’m back at the U of M to get my Master’s of Social Work because I want to work with families in a clinical setting.