Legislative Action Committee
NASW Washington State Chapter includes a Legislative Action Committee (LAC). The LAC sets legislative priorities and assists the contract lobbyist in carrying out legislative programs approved by the Board.
Nichelle Curtis-McQueen, MSW
Legislative Action Committee Chair
Nichelle earned her BSW from the University of Indianapolis and MSW from Simmons University (formally Simmons College). Nichelle is originally from Indiana and has lived in Washington since 2012. She lives in Federal Way, serves as the co-chair the City of Federal Way Diversity Commission, and works for the State of Washington Juvenile Rehabilitation as a compliance manager.
Garrett Hebel, MSW, LICSW, SUDP
Chapter President 2021-2023
With a Bachelors in Social Work and Spanish from Loras College in Dubuque, IA, and a Master of Social Work from Loyola University of Chicago, Garrett moved to Seattle in 2016 when he joined Harborview Medical Center in Seattle to serve as a Mental Health Practitioner, in which he provides outpatient assessment, case management, referral, and group and individual therapy for clients with mental health and substance use disorders. Garrett holds licenses in WA as an Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and Substance Use Disorder Professional.
Maria Alba-Estrada, LCSWA, MHP, AAC
Maria is a first year MSW graduate who is looking for various volunteer opportunities that will benefit her community and strengthen her skills as a social worker. She graduated from Eastern Washington University in 2018 with a BASW, where she did an internship with child welfare. After a gap year, Maria went on to graduate with her MSW from EWU in 2020 where she interned with Sacred Heart Providence Hospital's Emergency Department. She currently work for CORE Health a community mental health agency in Longview WA. She is currently licensed as a LCSWA and MHP.
Ann Allen, LICSW
Western Washington Region
Ann Allen (LICSW) received a masters degree in social work in 1988 from the Michigan State University. She works in Seattle in integrated behavioral health care at a healthcare clinic focused on working with Asian-Pacific Islanders and immigrants at International Community Healthcare Services. She is a behavioral health provider and a specialist in high utilizers of emergency services, complex care, homeless, and co-occurring disorders. She is also a practicum instructor for Seattle University and the University of Washington advance degree programs.
Nancy Amidei, MSW
As Maame continues her journey in receiving her MSW, she would like to extend her contribution within her focus area of community organization, advocacy, social justice and political leadership to NASW. She is active in legislative policy for behavioral health services in the state of WA as a Certified Peer Counselor and community leader. She would like to share her knowledge of current legislations that will benefit NASW and be a voice for the realm of social work. She has been apart of legislative workgroups for recent behavioral health bills that have passed in WA state. She would like to strengthen advocacy and participation in the legislative process for NASW WA as much as possible.
Adrian Bruton, ACSW
Adrian Bruton (LICSW. ACSW, OSW-C) is a transplant from Alabama to Olympia. She is a certified oncology social worker. She is in the process of working towards her DSW from The University of Alabama.
Savannah is currently an MSW Candidate at Seattle University graduating in June of 2023 and interns at International Community Health Services. Savannah hopes to learn from the tenure and expertise of the LAC members. Savannah intends to be an engaged member and contribute time, communication and writing skills, and marketing knowledge as appropriate.
Brigitte Folz, LICSW
Brigitte Folz has been a social worker since 1982 when she graduated with her MSW from the UW. She is proud to join the Legislative Action Committee. Brigitte was a child immigrant during the post WW2 migrations and resettlements of the 1950s and was the first in her family to attend college. This shaped her commitment and career dedicated to serving vulnerable populations. Behavioral Health has been her area of career focus and commitment. She retired from Harborview Medical Center in 2020. She remains active in her role of affiliated UWSSW faculty as clinical assistant professor; Brigitte served on the NASW-WA chapter board for many years, most recently as VP for Finance and currently serves as PACE treasurer.
Arden Hellmann, MSW
Arden Hellmann serves as a lecturer and faculty member in the UW Office of Field Education. Arden’s career began in Seattle working for and helping to start a community-based organization, partnering with communities, schools and families to help children and youth thrive in schools. Her experience also includes management of a family support center, grant administration, and program oversite for new funding streams for private and public organizations.
Christine Ingersoll, MSW, ACSW, LICSW
Christine has been a social worker since 1976, working first in residential treatment for children, special needs foster care and adoption, and then transitioning to hospital based medical social work and then to home based hospice care. After retiring from full time work, Christine continued with a small practice providing individual supervision for social workers working towards licensure. She is a strong advocate for social work, and has mentored many people in the profession.
Amber Letchworth, BASW
Amber joined NASW as an undergraduate in the BASW program at EWU. Amber is currently attending Gonzaga University School of Law, pursuing her JD/MSW. Amber's undergraduate studies focused on analyzing systems as perpetuating disparities in our society and expanding cultural understandings of historically marginalized groups. In addition to my many advocate roles in Amber's community, she co-founded The Revive Center for Returning Citizens in 2015—a peer-led non-profit organization that collaborates with impacted populations and families.
Midge Levy, LICSW
Midge Levy retired from many years of working in Seattle at Group Health Cooperative as a social work manager in Home Health and Hospice, also as a member of the HIV/AIDS team. She served on the board of NASW WA for many years as well as the board of End of Life WA, and worked on the successful passage of the WA Death with Dignity law in 2008.
Vernon Loke, Ph.D.
Vernon Loke, PhD, is currently the Associate Dean at the College of Professional Programs, and Professor of Social Work, at Eastern Washington University. Vernon’s practice and research focus on program development and evaluation, financial empowerment, asset building, legislative engagement and advocacy, and consumer protections. He also volunteers on the boards of several social service organizations and advocacy groups.
Christina Mason, MSW
Christina Mason received a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Washington in 2013. She lives in Seattle and is currently the Program Manager at King County Drug Diversion Court. Prior work has included Emergency Department social work, and outreach / case management with youth experiencing homelessness and incarceration. She began serving on NASW’s Legislative Action Committee in 2020.
Skye Newkirk, LICSW
Skye first became involved in NASW when he lived in Ft. Worth, TX studying to obtain his BSW. He sat on the state NASW board as the BSW student representative at that time, and spent the year participating in conference planning, legislative action, and advocating within the organization for LGBTQ+ members. At the end of the year, he received the chapter's BSW Student of the Year award. Fast forward to today, and he works at a primary care clinic in Goldendale, WA. His clinical practice has strengthened his skills in communication and advocacy, and living in a rural area has challenged him to open his perspective to the strengths and special qualities of rural social work. He is honored to continue his service to the NASW organization and to be a voice that breaks isolation for the community of rural Washington social workers.
Janice Nordland, LICSWA
Janice is a School Social Worker with a passion for helping families and communities navigate educational systems. Her goal is to improve access to education, increase engagement, and support marginalized communities within these systems. She graduated with an MSW in 2016 from UW Tacoma and is currently pursuing her LICSW.
Claudia Sellmaier, Ph.D., MSW, MA
Claudia was trained and worked as a social worker in Germany, mainly working with unhoused young adults providing wrap-around services. She is now faculty at the University of Washington Tacoma School of Social Work and Criminal Justice.
Svetlana Shjerven, MSW
Svetlana Shjerven is a Master of Social Work (MSW) graduate student at Arizona State University, and graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Social Sciences from Central Washington University in 2020. She works as a clinical intern at a behavioral health group practice in Issaquah, where she provides individual therapy, referral services, and some case management for her clients. She volunteers her time at a non-profit in Seattle, where she is a support group facilitator for LGBTQ+ youths. She is a proud social work professional who strives and has made it her life's mission to to make a positive impact in society - whether it be on a micro, mezzo, and/or macro level. Her professional affiliations include the National Association of Social Work, Washington State Society for Clinical Social Work, Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and Phi Alpha Honor Society. Upon completion of her MSW in 2022, she intends to pursue Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) licensure in Washington, and continue to maintain an active role in social policy and advocacy.
Ruby Townsend, LSWAIC
Ruby works as a social worker for a Mobile Integrated Health program housed within the Bellevue Fire Department, responding to 911 calls alongside first responders with the goal of trying to fill gaps in our current mental health, medical, and social service systems. Ruby hopes to use her experience with vulnerable populations and people in crisis to inform policy decisions that will not only change the systems to serve these individuals better, but also to help shape the newly emerging field of mental health crisis response.
Allison is working towards a BSW with concentrations in Trauma Studies and Substance Use Disorders. As the first President of St. Martin's University’s Student Social Work Association, she appreciates collaborating with people who share the same values and are held to the same ethical standards. Volunteering on multiple school boards in different communities has cultivated Allison's ability to work with diverse groups of people.