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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

Laura L. Benesch

Page address: http://sbs.mnsu.edu/socialwork/faculty/laurabenesch.html

Picture of Michelle AlvarezLaura (Luna) Benesch joined Minnesota State University, Mankato’s Social Work Department as the MSW Field Education Director from Fall 2013 - Summer 2014. She has taught SOWK 210: Intro to Social Work in the undergraduate Social Work program as an adjunct faculty member and has been a guest speaker for social work courses since 2007. Laura graduated with a BS degree in Social Work from Minnesota State University, Mankato in 2006 and a MSW from Minnesota State University, Mankato as a graduate of the first Advanced Standing MSW Class of 2009. She is currently a Licensed Graduate Social Worker (LGSW) working on obtaining a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Work (LICSW) license with the MN Board of Social Work. She is a member of the MSW Community Advisory Board (CAB), the Minnesota Social Service Association (MSSA), the Minnesota School Workers Association (MSSWA), and the School Social Workers Association of America (SSWAA). Laura also holds a current School Social Work license with the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE). In 2012, Laura was awarded the MSSA Staff Achievement Award for Region IX. The majority of her direct practice experiences consist of working with low income children, at-risk youth, and families. She has worked with state and federal employment and training programs such as the Minnesota Family Investment Program (MFIP), Diversionary Work Program (DWP), and American Recovery and Reinvestment Programs (ARRA). She has also worked with a variety of homelessness prevention programs in South Central Minnesota. Additionally, Laura has experience as a School Social Worker with students in grades 6th - 12th. In this role, she provided individual and group counseling and skills work with students and families of students with a variety of diagnoses. She also developed, taught, and coordinated a Community Service class, a Bullying Prevention group, and Transition class. Most recently, Laura has experience as a Mental Health Practitioner for a private agency providing skills training and assessments with children and families. Laura’s MSW Capstone Project titled, “The Importance of Worksite Supervisors in At-Risk Youths’ Lives” was a qualitative research study of 115 at risk youth in Blue Earth and Nicollet Counties focusing on employment retention through the state and federally funded ARRA Summer Youth Programs at Minnesota Valley Action Council. Research and results of this study have been used as a training tool for staff, youth, and worksite supervisors for a nine county region in South Central, Minnesota. Laura has other experience assisting administration to write a grant for the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) youth programs for five additional years of service to youth in South Central, Minnesota. Laura has completed the 30-hour Social Work Supervisor training required by the Minnesota Board of Social Work, and has been a Field Instructor/Supervisor for students in their Junior and Senior undergraduate practicums and for the foundation and concentration year MSW field education program.