Alumni Updates

Our alumni are involved in such a wide variety of activities that it is difficult to list them in any comprehensive way. They range from directors of multi-state, multi-million dollar programs to community volunteers. A significant number of our graduates work internationally. They are involved in mental health, advocacy, geriatrics, adoption, health policy, and work with special populations.

We enjoy hearing from our alumni and how Valpo has contributed to their professional accomplishments and impacted their lives. If you have information to share, please email Office Coordinator, Theresa Augle.

Amber Racoczy

I am working at a non-profit program in Illinois, providing home-based crisis intervention and stabilization services for youth and their families. The job provides a lot of variety—individual and family counseling, crisis intervention, case management, etc.—and is always full of surprises. In addition to the job, I’ve spent time in different volunteer opportunities. I’m starting to look into teaching at the undergraduate level. I love social work, but think it’s time to take a break from the clinical piece for awhile.

Amber Rakoczy
Valpo Class of 2005

Sean Hoyer

I continue to work as a Clinical Social Worker with OMNI youth services. OMNI is a large community based youth agency in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. I primarily work with court-involved youth referred to us by juvenile probation for drug, gang, or criminal behavior. In addition to seeing youth one on one each week, I also meet with their parents, and run several groups that address decision-making,substance abuse, and learning how to live in society. It is challenging and rewarding work.

As a perk of my job, I also serve on a team that does outdoor adventure therapy trips. These usually endail taking clients on five to seven day trips. During these trips, the youth work on issues related to their counseling, such as anger management, making good decisions, or communicating well with others while they rock or ice climb, backpack, sea kayak, or winter camping. This has been a wonderful way to incorporate my love of the out-of-doors with my passion of working with youth to help them solve their problems.

Sean Hoyer
Valpo Class of 1993

Katy Redd

I am working in Helena, Montana. I took a position after the Peace Corps as a Grassroots Organizer and Community Educator for Planned Parenthood of Montana The bulk of my work at this time of the year is legislative in nature. I NEVER would have thought I’d be lobbying or going in to testify for or against certain bills. The only experience that I had prior was when we went to the Indiana state capitol and sat in on a committee hearing.

I’m learning so much about this process and realizing that as a social worker, it really is so important to be involved and knowledgeable about the bill-making process. I can see myself always being involved at some level in what is going on in the state government. Sometimes legislators create bills without much knowledge about how it will actually affect people in the community.

Katy Redd
Valpo Class of 2004

Sarah Brenner Sabatowski

I graduated from Valpo in August 1979 with my BSW. I am looking forward to completing my MSW at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. I have been working on a self assessment that defines who I am as a social worker and what I base my practice on. I find that the information that I learned 30 years ago still has relevance, and is actually the basis for many of the “new” approaches and theories I have been learning about and had unknowingly previously incorporated into my professional work.

I have worked in social work positions for 25 of the last 30 years. I have worked with youth in group homes, mentally ill/MICA in institutions and in community settings, developmentally disabled in community settings and for the past 15 years with geriatric individuals in assisted living, skilled nursing homes and at Hospice. I have held positions of direct patient care, case manager, crisis specialist, undergraduate field educator and director of social work in two skilled nursing facilities for five years.

I have never been bored with any of the positions I have held because I was originally trained to creatively solve problems. I have found that the work of “helping” individuals define what their concerns are, and empowering them to make changes or make sense of their life status is what brings satisfaction for a job well done. I live for the “aha” moments that come across the individual’s faces I work with that tell me I have made a difference.

Sarah Brenner Sabatowski
Valpo Class of 1979