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CLHS grads training in social work to mentor students toward career goals

Sept. 8, 2017

FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Concordia Lutheran High School’s alumni mentor program kicks off this year on Sept. 14 with a group of CLHS returning to talk about social work.

Rebecca E Coleman, a 1974 CLHS graduate, is the social work program director at the University of Saint Francis. In addition to administrative responsibilities, she teaches social policy, research and social work practice courses.

Her clinical work specializes in play and family therapy with children and families experiencing child abuse and interpersonal violence, and her research focuses on interprofessional education. Her Doctor of Social Work degree is from the St. Catherine University - University of Saint Thomas. Her Master of Social Work and Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy degrees were from Indiana University. She is a past board member of North American Association of Christians in Social Work. Currently, she is appointed to the Council on the Status and Role of Women in Higher Education with the Council on Social Work Education. 

Cherise M. Dixie, a 1986 graduate, is a Fort Wayne native. In 1991, she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Criminal Justice from Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne, where she was also a member of the women’s volleyball team and garnered All-Conference and All Region honors. After graduation, Cherise worked at the Positive Resource Center (AIDS Task Force), One Church-One Offender, and Dana Spicer Axle. Cherise soon developed a passion for working with the underserved. In 1999 Cherise received a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where she majored in Interpersonal Practice and Health. After graduation, Cherise returned to Fort Wayne where she served as the Central City Program Director of Erin’s House for Grieving Children, Inc. and Youth Interventionist via Parkview’s Employee Assistance Program. In this capacity, Cherise conducted psychosocial assessments and brief mental health interventions with students in East Allen County Schools. Cherise has over 15 years of experience as a medical social worker and has worked in various areas, including emergency, cardiac and critical care, and currently in family practice at the Family Medicine Center in Fort Wayne.

Cherise is a Licensed Social Worker and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and continues to work with grieving individuals and families, children and adults with substance abuse issues, as well as patients and families along the continuum of healthcare. Cherise is an adjunct instructor at the University of Saint Francis, Fort Wayne where she has taught courses in diversity and human rights, group work practice and theory, social work and health care, and grief and loss.  

Nicholas Asher, a 2014 graduate, is a Bachelor of Social Work student at the University of Saint Francis and is graduating in December 2017. He is currently working with the Jester program, a theater program for people with developmental disabilities. He is also completing a social work field practicum at Cancer Services of Northeast Indiana (CSNI) where he is focusing on program development and client advocacy. Prior to interning at CSNI, Nicholas finished his social work field practicums at Positive Resource Connection (PRC) and Wellspring Interfaith’s older adult program. While at PRC, he assisted in the planning of the 21st Annual AIDS Walk of Fort Wayne, which is the second largest fundraiser for the agency.

Concordia Lutheran High School, located at 1601 St. Joe River Drive in Fort Wayne, Ind., was founded in 1935 as a private, co-educational Lutheran high school open to students of all faiths and backgrounds. With Christ at the center, Concordia continues to pursue educational excellence that equips individuals for lifelong learning and service as disciples of Jesus Christ. Learn more at