Andrew Bove, LCSW

Andrew Bove, Vice President of Social Work at Preble Street

What does the University of Southern Maine School of Social Work mean to you?

Community. That is what the SSW means to me. The SSW is situated within a much broader and dynamic community landscape. Students, providers, those experiencing poverty or those who access services, all of us are together and call Portland home. Opportunities to practice and to have a positive impact are just beyond the classroom doors. I was privileged to work towards an MSW in the community I am from, and it is encouraging to see so many graduates of the SSW practice locally, positively and permanently impacting the landscape of services in Portland for years to come.

Dani Fazio, LCSW, CADC

Dani Fazio, ’17, Founder & Co-Owner at Therapy For The People Co-Working Space, Owner/Therapist at Dani Fazio Psychotherapy LLC

I am a white, queer femme and grew up in Portland, Maine (unceded Wabanaki Territory). I attended undergraduate schools in New York and Boston, earning a BFA in photography, and then worked for about 10 years in the arts and non-profits. Recognizing my desire to make new types of community contributions, I made an important life pivot and returned to school; I earned my MSW at USM in 2017, and began my work as a mental health and recovery therapist.

After a few years of working for a behavioral health organization (hired after completing my internship there), I collaborated with my friend and fellow MSW alum Noah Krell, and another colleague, to open a co-working space for therapists in private practice who are dedicated to supporting the mental health and recovery needs of Maine’s LGBTQIA+ community. It’s called Therapy For The People, and it’s been my source of creativity, professional growth, opportunity, and humility since we opened in 2020. When I’m not working, I like to read, do aerial yoga, connect with friends near and far, and go on adventures with my wife (USM class of 2009) and our dog. 

What does the University of Southern Maine School of Social Work mean to you?

The first words that come to mind are connection, community, and clinical service. My experiences at USM represented a time in which I was able to clarify and reflect on my values and explore how to live into them. I entered the MSW program knowing I wanted to create some kind of resource for my LGBTQIA+ community, and just three years after graduation I was able to do that by opening Therapy For The People Co-Working Space—which embodies connection, community, and clinical service—and where I get to live into my personal values of leadership, growth and discovery. 

Erin Kelly, LMSW-cc

Erin Kelly, ’20, Director of Rapid Re-Housing Services at Preble Street

What does the University of Southern Maine School of Social Work mean to you?

I attended the USM Masters in Social Work program part time over four years. Throughout those years, I was able to gain the skills, knowledge and resources that helped to solidify my path as a social worker, which is to work to end homelessness in Maine and beyond. My favorite part of my time at USM, though, was the relationships that I built: I was able to make both professional and personal relationships that I know that I will have years to come.

Erica King

Erica King ’09, Senior Policy Associate, Cutler Institute, University of Southern Maine

Erica King, MSW, Senior Policy Associate, Adjunct Faculty, Impact Strategy Consultant bringing together data, system innovation and youth and community led change to promote equitable pathways to social and economic wellbeing in Maine and beyond. 

What does the University of Southern Maine School of Social Work mean to you?

The USM SSW to me represents the promise of social work education as a tool of liberation and transformation personally, organizationally and systemically.  As a program that sits within a public university, we hold an obligation to foster equitable pathways within our student body, the profession at large and within the engaged community that we practice.  That includes so many thrilling engaged possibilities to apply our values and ethics to the greater good here in Maine and beyond.

Noah Krell, LCSW

Noah Krell ’17, Founder & Co-Owner at Therapy For The People Co-Working Space, Owner/Therapist at Noah Krell Psychotherapy LLC

I am a white, cis-male raised in Hiram, Maine, and was a rural queer misfit for as long as I can remember, even before I had the language to frame my experience. I received my BA in Human Ecology at College of the Atlantic, where I studied photography, philosophy, and feminist theory. I pursued the arts for many years and received an MFA in photo, video, and performance art from California College of Art, before recognizing my desire to be of more direct service.

Returning to Maine, I earned my MSW in 2017 and as soon as I was licensed, I shifted toward my dream of supporting the LGBTQIA+ community in Maine through outpatient therapy, and embarked on co-creating the Therapy for The People co-working space with Dani Fazio and another colleague. I live in Portland with my spouse and our 4.5 year old kiddo, and know way more than I ever imagined possible about the Titanic, construction vehicles, and airplanes.   

What does the University of Southern Maine School of Social Work mean to you?

In my experience, USM’s School of Social Work has meant opportunity. Opportunity to pursue my goal of being a therapist. Opportunity to gain the foundational skills and knowledge I needed to provide my clients with the most effective care possible. Opportunity to build life-long relationships and learn from passionate peers and faculty, and opportunity to connect with and become part of the broader social work community in southern Maine. It is hard to overstate how profound of an impact the SSW has had on Maine over the last 50 years, and I am proud to be part of it.    

Henry Myer, LMSW-cc

Henry Myer, Program Director, Street Outreach Collaborative, Preble Street

What does the University of Southern Maine School of Social Work mean to you?

The USM SSW is place that prepared me for my role in homeless services by providing me a space to think deeply about the issues that affect my clients and our society as a whole. Our classrooms were a place where I got the chance to have complicated conversations in the safety of a learning context, leaving me prepared to have those conversations in less safe but more impactful settings. The research base and writing skills I gained from my time at USM have also proven to be invaluable. I’m indebted to my professors and peers from USM.

Esther Pew

Esther Pew ’17, Senior Organizer Maine People’s Alliance

What does the University of Southern Maine School of Social Work mean to you?

My internship through USM’s SSW put me on the career path I’m on today: without this experience, I wouldn’t have discovered Community Organizing as a field I wanted to go into. I will forever be grateful for my time with the School of Social Work and the connections I made during my time here.

Colby Williams, LCSW

Colby Williams ’14, G’15, Founder and Executive Director of Counseling and Trauma Therapy Associates.

Colby is the Founder and Executive Director of Counseling and Trauma Therapy Associates, a Mental Health Agency in Southern Maine, with offices in Biddeford and Portland, providing outpatient and Home and Community Treatment services to adults and children. He graduated from USM with his Masters Degree in 2015, earning his LCSW-CC. Prior to becoming a Master’s Level Social Worker, Colby was always motivated by helping others. He became a Certified Yoga Instructor, a Licensed Massage Therapist, Director of a massage school, worked as a substitute teacher, coached youth sports, and was a Direct Care Counselor at a Youth Crisis Residential Unit.

Since graduating, he worked at both a large and small Mental Health Agency, taught courses at YCCC and USM as an adjunct instructor, and founded his own Mental Health Agency, Counseling and Trauma Therapy Associates, in 2018.

Currently, he employs 45 Clinicians, 30 Behavioral Health Professionals and five Administrative Staff. He is so proud of the work everyone is doing to help clients and families better help themselves. Together, they serve over 1,000 client hours per week through in-person sessions in Southern Maine, and throughout the State via Telehealth. He also continues to provide therapy to his own clients, working with adults, children, and families, either in the office, at their homes or in the community. He feels it is vital to the health of the Agency that everyone, outside the Administrative Staff (even though some do), work with clients on a daily basis. Everyone being connected to the work is what continues to empower him, and those he works with.

What does the University of Southern Maine School of Social Work mean to you?

The School of Social Work means the world to me. It provided me an opportunity to discover how I could put my whole life’s experience into something meaningful. The SSW is a collection of wonderful people that always made me feel welcome, and more and more secure in the path I was undertaking, and have continued on ever since. I learned so much and made so many great connections. Thanks to the SSW, I help people everyday, and continue to find ways to support others in providing support, encouragement, and passion to those they serve. I am forever grateful!