Department of Criminal Justice, Legal Studies & Social Work

Faculty/Staff

Pam Clary

Pam Clary

Social Work Program Director
Wilson Hall 203C
(816) 271-4341

Pam is the Social Work Field Education Coordinator and an instructor at Missouri Western State University. She came to MWSU as the Program Director in 2007 and stepped down from this position in order to pursue her PhD in Family Studies at Kansas State University. Prior to coming to MWSU, Pam worked as a therapist for the YWCA and as a child and family therapist for the Family Guidance Center specializing in the areas of domestic violence, sexual assault, trauma and compassion fatigue/burnout.

  Pam graduated from Kansas State University with a dual degree in Social Work and Human Development and Family Studies. Following this, she worked at Homecare, a home health agency for two years while working towards a Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy at KSU. In 1989, Pam and her husband moved to St. Joseph, MO. Pam graduated from the University of Kansas's Advanced Standing MSW Program. Pam is licensed in both Missouri (LCSW) and Kansas (LSCSW).

Jana Frye

Jana Frye

Social Work Field Coordinator
Wilson Hall 204J
(816) 271-4350


Dr. Matt Loehr

Dr. Matt Loehr

Assistant Professor of Social Work
Wilson Hall 204F
(816) 271-5965

Dr. Matt Loehr is an Assistant Professor and has joined the Social Work Department in the Fall/2014 at Missouri Western. He has been a social worker for over 25 years and worked in administrative and clinical areas of practice. He currently works in a part-time capacity at the Drumm Farm Center for Children in Independence, Missouri where he continues to specialize in treating children and families affected by trauma. Dr. Loehr holds Bachelor Degrees in Political Science and Criminal Justice from Benedictine College, A Masters in Social Work from the University of Kansas and his PhD from Kansas State University in Family Studies. He is also a graduate of the Karl Menninger School of Psychiatry and Mental Health Sciences in the Marriage and Family Training Program. Dr. Loehr is licensed in both Missouri (LCSW) and Kansas (LSCSW).


Adjunct Faculty


Jennifer Atkinson

Jennifer Atkinson

Adjunct Instructor of Social Work

Jennifer Atkinson received her Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from Missouri Western State University in 2001. She began her career as a Juvenile Officer, and worked in various capacities for the 5th Judicial Circuit Juvenile Court until 2008. During that time, Atkinson also pursued a Master's Degree in Social Work. She received her graduated degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 2006. Atkinson transitioned to employment with the Department of Mental Health after earning her graduate degree. She received her Clinical Licensure in 2010. She now performs duties as an LCSW on Heartland Regional Medical Center's acute care Mental Health Unit. Her professional experience includes working with children and families, the Court system, and adult mental health.

Ann Poloski

Ann Poloski

Adjunct Instructor of Social Work

Ann Poloski graduated from MWSU's BSW program in 2001 and from UMKC's MSW program in 2004. Since her passion is to work with older persons, both degrees she earned focused on gerontology. She has worked in Hospice for the past ten years and is currently working for Kendallwood Hospice in St. Joseph, Mo. She has been an adjunct professor with MWSU since January of 2009. Poloski is stimulated by the academic setting, and enjoys teaching in the department she graduated from. She also enjoys the interaction with her students, as well as being able to bring her field experience in the classroom.

Joey Thompson

Joey Thompson

Adjunct Instructor of Social Work

Joey Thompson received her Bachelor's of Science in Psychology from MWSU in 2000. She began her career working with older youth in foster care systems in both Missouri and Kansas. In 2002, she began working directly for the State of Missouri, Children's Division. Thompson worked various positions within the Division including child abuse neglect investigations, working with intact families and working with children placed outside the home. She served as a Supervisor, Circuit Manager and currently as a Field Support Manager. During this time, Thompson also received her Master's in Social Work from the University of Missouri - Columbia in 2009. Thompson enjoys being a professional social worker within the Division as well as providing service to local community organizations.

Karen Woodbury

Karen Woodbury

Adjunct Instructor of Social Work

Karen Woodbury is a St, Joseph native and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked in the field of social work for over 30 years. She received her BSW and MSW from the University of Missouri. She has worked as the director of an alcohol and drug treatment centerdomestic violence center for women in Fulton, Missouri before moving back to St. Joseph where she was employed for several years as a psychiatric social worker at Family Guidance Center. She was part of developing the counseling program at Social Welfare Board and served as a therapist for indigent individuals and families. Karen also began the Choices Program for teen girls which still exist in the St. Joseph middle schools today. She once acted as interim Program Director for the BSW program at Missouri Western State University as well as taught classes and acted as the BSW practicum coordinator during the period between 1989 and 1995. She was a therapist at the Youth Health Center and also at the Samaritan Counseling Center. Karen has been a consultant for the YWCA Rape Crisis Center and Domestic Violence shelter and the Buchanan County Juvenile office.

In recent years Karen worked with the University of Missouri to implement the off-campus MSW program to enable students to receive their graduate degree in social work part-time while working and raising their families. As well as coordinating the program Karen taught graduate classes in person and ITV and served as the advisor and practicum coordinator for the MSW students. This program included students from St. Joseph, Kansas City, and the surrounding area and from Illinois to Kansas and Iowa. Karen and her husband Mark have three adult children and a cat named Bella.