Office: Curtis Hall, West Wing, Floor 2
Diane R. Bessel PhD LMSW CNM currently serves as Assistant Professor and MSW Program Director of the Sociology and Social Work Department at Daemen College. She is responsible for establishing program vision and policy, determining curriculum content, allocating program resources, and advising, instructing, and assessing students in conjunction with other faculty. She also regularly engages with community members to identify opportunities to apply program resources to address local social problems.
Prior to joining Daemen College, Dr. Bessel served as the Director of Research, Investments, and Advocacy at the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County. She was responsible for regularly assessing community trends for the purposes of coordinated planning and decision-making related to the annual expenditure of over $5 million in local funds. Dr. Bessel evaluated the performance of 80+ programs and initiatives and provided capacity building training and technical assistance. She was also responsible for developing and implementing the organization’s legislative advocacy agenda.
Dr. Bessel has also worked as a consultant to nonprofit organizations, government groups, and foundations on a wide range of issues including homelessness, poverty, family violence, elder abuse, economic self-sufficiency, school readiness, and access to healthcare. She recently founded the Institute for Government and Nonprofit Innovation, Training, and Evaluation (IGNITE) at Daemen College. IGNITE provides a wide variety of applied research and capacity building supports to local foundations, government, non-profit organizations, and community coalitions.
Dr. Bessel's current research focuses on the use of interprofessional collaboration and community-based initiatives to address complex social problems. She teaches research (basic and applied), practice, and policy courses.
Dr. Bessel holds a Master of Arts and Doctorate in Sociology from the University at Buffalo. She also holds a Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University and is certified in Nonprofit Management from the Mandel Center.
She lives in Kenmore with her husband, Don, and son, Connor.
Emily Atwell joined the Daemen College faculty full-time as an Assistant Professor of Social Work in the Fall of 2020 after teaching in an adjunct-capacity in the Social Work and Sociology Department. Dr. Atwell is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania. After earning her MSW in New York City, Emily pursued her passion for systemic-oriented practice by receiving her certificate in Marriage and Family Therapy from Council for Relationships in Philadelphia in 2013. From there, Emily worked in family-based, IOP, educational, and outpatient capacities for several years before arriving at Daemen.
In addition to her position at Daemen, Dr. Atwell maintains her own private practice in Westchester County, New York. Versed in many different models of psychotherapy, Emily considers herself an eclectic, relational therapist. Her areas of interest include: perinatal and postpartum mental health, grief and loss, and clinical social work with couples, families, and children.
Emily is a member of the New York State Society for Clinical Social Work (NYSSCSW) – Westchester Chapter and has been asked to present multiple times on the topic: “Navigating Grief and Loss during the Coronavirus Pandemic.” Dr. Atwell’s areas of research interest include relational manifestations of ambiguous loss and disenfranchised grief within a variety of communities and contexts. Emily has also been involved with the Hudson Valley Birth Network, the International Cesarean Association Network, and collaborated with birth doulas in support of her interest in giving voice to those disenfranchised by the birth experience.
She has also held multiple adjunct teaching positions at other Social Work programs, including: New York University, Rutgers University, and the University of Pennsylvania.
Emily lives in Westchester County, New York with her husband, daughter, and dog.
Office: Curtis Hall, West Wing, Floor 2
Erin Carman LMSW JD joined the faculty of the Social Work & Sociology Department at Daemen College in fall 2017. Ms. Carman is a macro social worker with twelve years of experience in a variety of human services macro practitioner roles. Prior to joining the faculty, Ms. Carman practiced consulting for CCNY, Inc. on the topics of organizational systems development and quality improvement for nonprofits and government agencies with mental health, child welfare, and youth development services. Prior to her quality improvement work, Ms. Carman served as a program administrator through her role as Director of Brooklyn Community Centers for Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens. She is also an ongoing Policy Fellow for Partnership for the Public Good.
Ms. Carman serves the community and social work profession in a variety of capacities: Chair of the WNY division of the National Association of Social Workers (NASW); committee member of the NASW New York State Chapter’s Advocacy and Government Relations Committee; committee member of the Community Advisory body of the Police Oversight Committee for the City of Buffalo; and board member of Housing Opportunities Made Equal.
Ms. Carman’s teaching and research interests include criminal justice reform (specifically in the area of juvenile justice), as well as social policy analysis in relation to various racial and economic justice topics.
Office: Curtis Hall, West Wing, Floor 2
- Teaching areas
- Children and Families I and II, Mindfulness Based Interventions,
Alcohol, Drugs, and Social Work Practice
- Research areas
- Substance use secondhand effects among college students
- Substance use prevention
- Mindfulness based interventions
- Treatment manual development
- Past practice experience
- Child, adolescent, and family therapist at MCI
- Clinical Social Worker at Brylin Psychiatric Hospital
- Current practice experience
- Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) Group Work
- Current community service activities
- NCAA Healthy Choices Alcohol Prevention Grant ($30,000 Funded)
- Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement (MSPE) –Daemen’s volleyball team
- Recent Fellowships and grants:
- Advanced Study Grant: Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Qualified Teacher Training ($10,000 Lyndon State College)
- Faculty Fellow for Service Learning (Lyndon State College)
- Recent professional presentations
- Stiles, M. & Rice, C. Exploring the Association Between Secondhand Effects and Substance Use in a Sample of Rural College Students. 21st Annual Conference of the Society for Social Work and Research, New Orleans, LA, January 15, 2017.
- Stiles, M. & Rice, C. Brief Mindfulness Intervention with College Students for the Reduction of Test Anxiety. International Conference on Mindfulness (ICM), Amsterdam, Netherlands, July 10, 2018. Paper accepted for presentation.
- Recent professional publications
- Stiles, M. (2013). Secondhand effects of substance use for rural college students. Journal of Human Behavior in the Social Environment. 23:4, 529-535, DOI: 10.1080/10911359.2013.765819
- Stiles, M. & Rice, C. (2018). The association between secondhand effects and alcohol and marijuana use in a sample of rural college students. Manuscript submitted for publication.
- Stiles, M. & Rice, C. (2018). Harms from Substance Use: Latent Class Analysis of Personal Consequences and Secondhand Effects for College Students. Manuscript submitted for publication.
- Current professional memberships
- Society for Social Work Research (SSWR)
- National Rural Social Work Caucus
- International Union for Health Promotion and Education (IUHPE)
- National Association of Social Workers (NASW)
Office: Curtis Hall 206 (West Wing)
Andrew Wilton LCSW currently serves as Clinical Assistant Professor of Social Work at Daemen College. He specializes in community-based person-centered clinical social work services to address the complex needs of individuals, families, and children across the life course. Professor Wilton operates a private practice, incorporating narrative, Jungian, and transpersonal elements within a humanistic-existential framework. A former ADHD evaluator, he is committed to addressing the misdiagnosis and overdiagnosis of specific behavior disorders in children.
Professor Wilton is a Certified Instructor with Mental Health First Aid USA and has spoken on a variety of topics through panel discussions, presentations, and guest lectures across the local region. He has served as an invited expert contributor with the Anxiety Relief Project and Marriage.com. A proponent of grassroots community change and voluntary non-hierarchical organizations, he has worked with community-based programs, coalitions, and committees to build community partnerships and improve access to resources for individuals and families throughout the Western New York region.
Professor Wilton has practiced in private clinical social work practice, community-based outpatient mental health, public health, person-centered peer counseling, and school-based counseling and consultation settings. He also has a background in strategic outreach, community-based research, and program redesign, having served as Director of Outreach Initiatives with the Alzheimer's Association in the eight counties of Western New York. Here, along with his colleagues, he helped the WNY chapter to emerge among the top five strongest performing chapters nationwide.
An advocate of practical education, Professor Wilton has been a field educator, task supervisor, interdisciplinary internship supervisor, clinical trainer, and mentor. His teaching, practice, and training interests include solution-building, postmodern and humanistic therapeutic approaches, reduction of the power differential, removal of barriers to care, person-centered service systems, and combating mental health stigma. Professor Wilton is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and an affiliate of the Society for the Advancement of Psychotherapy.
Kristen Luppino-Gholston, LMSW joined the faculty of the Social Work and Sociology Department full time in fall 2020. Ms. Luppino-Gholston is a macro level social worker with nearly two decades in the field working in various capacities at non-profit organizations. Prior to joining the faculty, Ms. Luppino-Gholston served as the Director of the Saffrin Center for Sustainability and Civic Engagement also at Daemen College. In the field, she held positions with WNY Women’s Foundation, Catholic Charities WIC, and Child and Family Services Haven House. A community social worker by training, Kristen focuses her work on promoting safe, just and healthy WNY communities through organizational and programmatic capacity building. Ms. Luppino-Gholston’s work has centered on the experience of women and girls.
Ms. Luppino-Gholston serves the western New York community through her work on the boards of Family Promise of WNY and Peace of the City Ministries. She was named one of Buffalo Business First’s “40 Under 40” in 2017. Ms. Luppino-Gholston’s teaching interests include diversity and inclusion, research, social policy, macro social work, and organizational behavior.
Office: Curtis Hall, West Wing, Floor 1
Maggie Dreyer LCSW-R is an alumna of Daemen College, 2014 Humanitarian of the Year Award winner, and 2017 Distinguished Faculty Award winner. Maggie Dreyer has over twenty-five years of experience working in the Western New York area as a clinical social worker and has served on the Daemen College Social Work Community Advisory Board for over twenty years. Maggie was also an adjunct faculty member for nine years. She is also co-owner of Pathways Supervised Visitation Program and co-founder of the TSG: Dating after Sexual Abuse Group Program. Maggie has focused her career in the child welfare arena and has a private clinical practice working with children and families who have experienced significant trauma. Maggie has presented on the local, regional and national level addressing the treatment of children who have experienced sexual abuse and presented on trends related to child welfare and permanency. Maggie is the Director of Field Education for Daemen College. She is the President and co-founder of Kaely’s Kindness Foundation, a charity dedicated to serving young women diagnosed with cancer. She previously worked for GA Family Services as Director of Community Based Services, where she developed and sustained their therapeutic foster care program for all eight counties of WNY. Maggie is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Association of Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors.
Publications and Presentations:
2017. “Evaluating Professional Behavior: Setting Performance Standards for BSW Students.” Workshop presented at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting in Atlanta, GA with Diane R. Bessel.
2017. “Building an Effective Social Work Advisory Board: Harnessing the Power of Community.” Workshop presented at the Baccalaureate Program Director’s Meeting in New Orleans, LA with Diane R. Bessel.
Office: Curtis Hall, West Wing, Floor 1
Meegan M. Stamm LCSW-R serves as Clinical Instructor and Field Education Coordinator for the Department of Social Work and Sociology at Daemen College. Professor Stamm has more than 20 years of experience in the field of social work, and is a private practitioner working with individuals and families affected by mental illness, trauma, and family conflict. She is co-founder of Pathways of Western New York, a therapeutic supervised visitation program existing since 2012. She graduated from Boston University School of Social Work with a concentration in Child Welfare. Professor Stamm has held various positions in schools, agencies, and court systems, and acts as a field educator to social work students from various area colleges.