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Dr. Francis Origanti

Chair and Associate Professor of Social Work

(816) 501-3647

A native of india, Dr. Origanti was born and brought up in Chennai, fourth largest city in India with a population of 7 million.  After graduating with his Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Loyola College in 1996, he went on to graduate with his Masters in Social Work from Loyola College in 1998.  For the next two years, he worked as social worker in an adoption agency dealing with in-country and inter-country adoptions before coming to the United States in 2000 to get his Ph.D. in Social Work from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.  During this time he worked as a research assistant in the Office of Accreditation with the Council on Social Work Education.

After graduation in 2004 he moved to Creighton University as an Assistant Professor in the department of Social Work.  His primary teaching areas include Human Behavior and the Social Environment (I & II),

Welfare Policy, Introduction to Social Welfare, Economics Politics and Social Welfare.

His teaching philosophy is based on collaborative learning, creating opportunities, both inside and outside the classroom that focus on developing and applying existing student knowledge and skills, and fostering the development of critical thinking skills.  He believes that students should be able to bridge all three areas of practice - micro, mezzo, and macro skills in social work.  They do so from a developmental, social, psychological, economical, political, cultural, and spiritual perspective.

Dialogue, discussions, and role plays are some of the tools he uses to enhance knowledge and understanding of social work issues.  He brings with him a global perspective on understanding several social issues.  He believes that we as a community need to address these social issues and there is no better place to begin this dialogue than in the classroom.


Lindee Petersen Wilson, BSW, MSW, LSCSW

Assistant Professor of Social Work
Director of Field Education

(816) 501-3648

B.A. (Journalism), B.S.W.,

M.S.W., University of Iowa
Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Illinois since 1991 (currently inactive status)
Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker in Kansas since 2007

Lindee Petersen Wilson joined the Social Work department at Avila University in the fall, 2002. She has extensive social work experience in child and family services, as well as nineteen years of teaching experience in schools of social work.

For eighteen years Lindee served as a family social worker and clinical supervisor in a juvenile delinquency prevention agency. In addition to providing supervision and family social work services, she designed and implemented an early identification program for young children who had a first-time arrest. The program organized families, schools, older youth in detention facilities and police departments to prevent further delinquency behavior and to strengthen family units.

Lindee previously administrated an undergraduate social work program, was the chairperson of a social and behavioral science department at a midwestern university, and has a wide variety of teaching experience in practice classes at both the undergraduate and graduate levels of social work. She has served as Field Coordinator/Director in two BSW programs during the past fifteen years. In addition, she has been a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Illinois, where she ran a small clinical social work private practice until coming to Avila.

For two years, Lindee participated in one of the first Basic Training Programs in Internal Family Systems (IFS) with IFS founder Richard C. Schwartz in Chicago. Lindee has offered many introductory presentations about this model of intervention, speaking regularly at the IFS national/international annual conference.. Lindee is also a Licensed Specialist Clinical Social Worker (LSCSW) in Kansas with a small private practice specializing in IFS treatment.

Special interest areas: Family-based social services, adolescents, Internal Family Systems therapy, treatment of anxiety disorders and depression, spirituality, women's issues and life span development.

Lindee is on sabbatical during the 2014 -2015 school year and will return to Avila in August of 2015.



  Nikki Pauls DeSimone, MSW

  Director of Field Education

  Visiting Assistant Professor

  (816) 501-3648

  B.A. Spanish, Baker University; Baldwin City, Kansas

  M.S.W., Washburn University: Topeka, Kansas

  A native of Kansas City, Nikki is happy to be the newest member of the Avila Univesity     

  Department of Social Work, serving as both Director of Field Education and

  Visiting Assistant Professor.

 Nikki’s diverse employment experiences and educational endeavors allow her to bring a  breadth of knowledge to the Department of Social Work.  Nikki obtained her Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish from Baker University.  During her undergraduate experience Nikki lived a semester in southern Mexico.   While there, she worked at an orphanage with the express purpose of preparing older children for international adoption.  This set the scene for Nikki’s career dreams of working in adoption.  After Baker, Nikki went to Washburn University to obtain her M.S.W.  During her final year of graduate school she completed her clinical practicum at an international adoption agency, officially beginning her career in adoption.

Nikki’s decade of work in social services adoption has also resulted in career experiences in education, foster care programs, services for young families, a homeless Veterans program, a youth financial literacy program, and ability to serve as a Spanish/English translator for not-for-profit agencies around Kansas City.  Nikki has also assisted numerous social service agencies in policy writing, program implementation, as well as serving as an accreditation assistant for a local adoption agency.  

Special areas of interest for Nikki include grief and loss, human development, policy writing, groups, cultural competency, international issues, and of course, adoption.  Nikki continues to serve as the Secretary of the Metropolitan Adoption Council.  

Nikki’s greatest joy in life is her family, including her recently adopted 11-year-old daughter from China, a loving husband, devoted parents, and her younger brother, who is also on the Avila faculty.



  Maureen Carr

  Office Manager, Social Sciences

  (816 )501-3641

Maureen Carr joined the Avila staff in Fall 2010 as Office Manager for Social Services. She

has a  Bachelor of Science degree from Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas. One of nine children, Maureen has a large extended family that enriches her life. She and her husband, Bob Miller, have two children and four grandchildren. Their son Casey and his wife and two little ones live in Florissant, Missouri, and their daughter Shannon, her husband and their children live outside of Houston, Texas.

Maureen belongs to a book/film club called Loosely Bound. She is a fan of foreign and independent movies, musical theater, pop culture and all things Irish.  She is an Associate of the Sisters of St. Joseph, Carondelet.