Faculty and Staff
Retchenda George-Bettisworth, LMSW, is Clinical Associate Professor for the University of Alaska , Fairbanks and the Statewide Coordinator for the BSW Rural Cohort Program. Retchenda has been working in the field of social work since 2000 in the area of child welfare. She has worked in a crisis prevention program for families at risk of child abuse and neglect, as a parenting educator, various children and youth residential facilities, and as a social worker at Department of Children, Youth and Families in Rhode Island, and the Office of Children’s Services in Alaska. Retchenda received her BSW from the UAF in 2000. She received her MSW from the University of Michigan , Ann Arbor in 2007, with a concentration in Social Policy and Evaluation, and an emphasis in Children, Youth and Families.
LaVerne Demientieff is the daughter of the late Rudy and Alice (Frank) Demientieff of Holy Cross and Anvik, Alaska, and the granddaughter of Stanley Demientieff and Edith Bifelt and Joe Frank and Marcia Reed. LaVerne is Deg Xit’an, Athabascan on her mother’s side and Koyukon Athabascan,Yupik and Russian on her father’s side. Born in Fairbanks, Alaska, She was raised in the small roadside town of Nenana and in big city of Anchorage, as well as at her family's fishcamp along the Yukon River. LaVerne is grateful to have the magical memories of fishcamp as part of her childhood where she observed the hard work her parents put in on a daily basis to provide for their family of ten children and teach their children the importance of relationship to the people, as well as to the land and animals.
LaVerne currently resides in Fairbanks, Alaska, and has one son, aged 23. She describes herself as being on both an individual and collective wellness journey, and works daily toward creating healing and wellness in her life through exercise, healthy eating, practicing mindfulness, and nurturing relationship and connection with others. She believes that because we are all interconnected in the world that the energy of healing and wellness in her life ripples out and positively impacts her family, community, ancestors and future generations.
Since high school LaVerne has wanted to be a helper. She started off as a Natural Helper at West Anchorage High School where she graduated. She was inspired to pursue social work following in the steps of her later sister Darlene, who died from cancer at the age of thirty-eight right after graduating with her Bachelors in Social Work (BSW). LaVerne graduated from the University of Alaska Fairbanks with her BSW and went on to receive her Masters in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis, George Warren Brown School of Social Work, with a concentration in social and economic development and with an emphasis in management. She graduated with her PhD in Social Work from the University of Utah, College of Social Work. The title of her dissertation was Deg Xit’an Athabascan Conversations on Wellness: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Radical Possibilities of Relationships. LaVerne is currently working as a Clinical Associate Professor for the University of Alaska Fairbanks, Bachelor of Social Work program; she is also a licensed master social worker through the State of Alaska. She has found an increasing passion and interest in health and wellness research and practice and enjoys teaching students and sharing her love of learning and people. She believes these areas of interest will allow her to work on behalf of the people and communities in Alaska; as well as work towards awareness and understanding of diversity, wellness and social justice.
Christina Ireton, LMSW, is a Clinical Assistant Professor for the University of Alaska, Fairbanks and the Field Director for senior field placements in the Social Work Program. Christina has been working in the field of social work since 2010 when she graduated with her BSW from Radford University, and prior to that completed her A.A.S. in Human Services. Her career began in a domestic violence shelter, and she has worked with survivors and perpetrators in her career. In addition, she has implemented community violence prevention programs, coordinating fundraisers, has worked as a case manager and advocate, and provided clinical social work on a psychiatric inpatient unit working with severely mentally ill adults. In 2015, she graduated from the distance-based advanced standing MSW program through the University of Southern California (USC) with a concentration in community, outreach, program and administration (COPA). Additionally, she has served on various community committees, coalitions and board of directors.
Christina moved to Fairbanks, where she currently resides, in 2011 from rural Virginia. Adventure and a larger perspective on life brought her to Alaska, where she ultimately met and married her husband who is a born and raised Alaskan. Her desire to return to graduate school and become a professor came from her first time serving as a field instructor for social work students. She has a deep desire to see students be well prepared for the social work field when they graduate, and watching students progress and grow brings her true joy.
Christina’s own life experiences and work with diverse clients across micro and macro social work gives her a deeper understanding of the complexity and influence of our experiences as humans. She is currently an approved applicant for her licensed clinical social worker exam (LCSW). She is a strong believer in lifelong learning and volunteer work, giving back to our neighbors and our communities.
Carol has been with the Social Work program since 1996. She is a 1984 graduate of UAF, with a B.A. in Foreign Languages, minoring in Music, and received her Master’s in Education, Special Education from UAA in 2004. She has lived in Fairbanks for the majority of her life, is married and has three children. In her spare time she enjoys listening to Southern Gospel music, dancing, singing, playing violin, and tennis.