Service Staff

Mary Jo Beckman

Mary Jo is the training liaison between the Child Welfare Research & Training Project and the Iowa Department of Human Services. She earned her degree from the University of Northern Iowa. She has been involved in the coordination of training, development of courses and initiatives for over 20 years. She helped implement the Reasonable Efforts training initiative, BSW and MSW Traineeship programs, Social Work training series, as well as other major training initiatives.

Prior to joining Iowa State University, she was a Social Worker Supervisor for the Department of Human Services in northwest Iowa overseeing purchase of services, child care and foster care licensing, adoptions, volunteer services, work and training education programs. Additionally, she has provided child welfare, adult services and economic assistance as a Social Worker II. She is also a federal grant reviewer for Administration for Children & Families discretionary grant programs.
Erin Kramer

Erin joined CWRTP in December 2015 as an Instructional Designer. She designs online and face-to-face training courses for Iowa DHS social workers.

Erin received her BS in Mathematics from ISU, and taught high school math for six years. She earned an M.Ed in Curriculum and Instructional Technology from ISU in 2015, with a certificate in Instructional Design. She lives in Nevada with her husband, two sons, and a bearded dragon named Spyro. Erin is a huge ISU sports fan, and has fond memories of playing piccolo in the ISU marching band. She is also a longtime Chicago Cubs fan, and swears that this might be their year.
Deb Maxwell

Deb earned her B.S. in Elementary Education from Drake University and her M.A. in Education from Viterbo University. She has 15 years of experience teaching in public schools. She joined the CWRTP in September of 2017 as an Instructional Support Specialist.

Deb lives in Ankeny with her husband and three incredible children.
Amy Peters

Amy Peters, LMSW, joined CWRTP in September 2016 as a Human Services Training Facilitator. She received her BA in Social Work from Marquette University, and her Master of Social Work from the University of Kansas.

Ms. Peters has over 20 years experience working in adult mental health services in Iowa, including community, facility, and correctional based programs. She was a member of the Story County Mental Health / Criminal Justice Task Force, serving as Chair for the last 2 years.
Leah Vejzovic

Leah Vejzovic, LMSW is the Domestic Violence Response Coordinator for the Iowa Department of Human Services from Iowa State University’s Child Welfare and Training Project and has been in this position for five years. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Luther College and her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Northern Iowa. She provides training around domestic violence and child welfare to a variety of audiences including DHS workers and social service providers. In addition, she develops curriculum and resource materials and assists DHS in improving policy related to domestic violence and is available statewide for consultation on cases complicated by domestic violence issues. Leah has led the statewide implementation of the Safe & Together model with child welfare entities and partners, and oversees the 5 service area Connect And Protect (CAP) teams who are specially trained in the model.

Prior to joining Iowa State University, Leah worked for 5 years other areas of social services including adolescent residential treatment services, child therapy, and domestic violence and sexual assault victim services. In addition to being a licensed master of social work, she was a certified domestic abuse advocate for 3 years. Leah sits on the Domestic Abuse Death Review Team, the Iowa Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention Advisory Committee, and is the facilitator of the Domestic Violence Advisory Committee for DHS.
Scott Willsey

Scott Willsey earned his BS in Public Administration from Upper Iowa University. He has over 25 years of experience in the human service field. His career has been focused on the area of behavioral health, including crisis services. He has served in positions ranging from direct care to senior management. Scott is also a published author, public speaker and professional musician. He started working as Program Coordinator with the Iowa State University Child Welfare Research and Training Project in September 2017.

Graduate Students

Maria Alcivar
Emily McKnight