Skye Allmang holds a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Boston University, an M.P.P. from Brandeis University, and an M.S.W. from UCLA. Prior to coming to UCLA, she worked for several years as a project coordinator at a youth job-training program in Santa Barbara County. She currently works as a Graduate Student Researcher for the University Consortium for Children & Families (UCCF) at UCLA, providing research support for a project involving the evaluation of training for child welfare workers. Her scholarly research focuses on the evaluation of workforce development programs.
Noel Barragan received her Masters’ of Public Health from the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California and completed her undergraduate studies at Loyola Marymount University. She has worked for the Los Angeles Department of Public Health for the last 3 years as an evaluator and program manager. Noel's work has focused on obesity prevention and improving access to clinical preventive services among high risk, low-income populations.
Joanna Barreras is a fourth year doctoral student in the Social Welfare program in the Luskin School of Public Affairs. In recognition of exemplary scholarship and her commitment to improving the well-being of Latinos, Joanna has been awarded numerous fellowships and most notably the Eugene V. Cota Robles four-year fellowship. To fund her research on social justice and policy issues around mental health service utilization affecting the Latino community, she has been a recipient of the UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs Monica Salinas Latino Fellowship and the Social Justice Initiative Fellowship. Such awards have allowed her to collaborate with community mental health clinics serving a large Latino population. As a striving scholar, Joanna has presented her work in several conferences such as the Society of Social Work Research Annual Conference, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America Annual Conference, the Latino Health Equity Conference, and the Summer Institute on Migration and Global Health. She continues to excel in contributing to the knowledge base through her research with hope to exert needed change around policies and practices focusing on the betterment of one of the largest fastest growing minorities in our nation—Latinos. Joanna received her MSW in Social Work at California State University, Los Angeles in 2012 and her BA in Psychology with a minor in Criminal Justice at California State University, Long Beach in 2010. Her previous research experiences focused on health care utilization among Mexicans in California and mental health issues in low-income and minority communities. Her current research interests include physical and mental health disparities affecting Latinos, access and utilization of mental health care services, immigrant issues, and multicultural issues in research and practice.
Stephanie Benson graduated from UCLA with a BA in International Development Studies. After graduating she spent six years in the Sultanate of Oman working with projects focused on the cultural preservation of endangered craft industries and communities. She later returned to Hawai’i to work with an organization that provides housing and employment opportunities to populations with severe and persistent mental illness. Stephanie recently completed her MSW at the University of Michigan (with a concentration in Social Policy and Evaluation) where she was involved in multiple research projects investigating food insecurity, community engagement and youth empowerment in Detroit, and a review of state Community Mental Health Centers to identify factors that impede or sustain evidence-based practices. Her current research interests include poverty alleviation policy, welfare reform, community development, children and family programs, and policy evaluation.
Courtney Bleecher Demko holds a BA in Political Science from Davidson College and an MSW from UCLA. Courtney currently serves as the Director for UCLA’s Center for Policy Research on Aging. Her research interests include healthy aging, Alzheimer’s disease and intergenerational aspects of aging. Courtney interned at the Alzheimer’s Association where she worked with older adults living with early-stage dementia and their caregivers. She also served as a clinical health services intern at the Downtown Women’s Center where she provided individual and group therapy to homeless women living on Skid Row.
Donte Boyd received his B.A. in Political Science at the University of California, Riverside, and his MSW from Washington University in Saint Louis. While attending Washington University, he also worked as a health counselor at Saint Louis City Health Department for two years. He provided pre- and post-testing for HIV rapid tests as well as all other STD tests. After graduating with his MSW, he worked as a Ryan White medical case manager in Saint Louis, Missouri. In doing so, he conducted psychosocial assessments and provided referrals for housing assistance and anti-viral medications. His experiences as a health counselor and case manager helped shape his research interest around HIV prevention in African-American youth.
Miya Chang received her BA in
Sociology from CATHOLIC University of DAEGU (formerly Hyosung Women’s
University) and her MA in sociology from EWHA Womans University in Korea.
She earned a M.Div. (Master of Divinity) at San Francisco Theological Seminary
(SFTS) and graduated from the MSW program at California State University, Los
Angeles. Her research interests include elder mistreatment, mental health
among older Asian Americans, mental health service utilization, development of
culturally component intervention modalities, and evidence-based mental Health
practice. Her current research focuses on experience of elder mistreatment
among Asian Americans and provides culturally competent services.
Mindy Chen holds an AB cum laude from Harvard University and an MSEd from the University of Pennsylvania. Mindy’s research focuses on social movements and civil society organizations. Currently, she uses mixed methods to study the dynamics and strategic interactions among community stakeholders, nonprofits, funders and political contexts in the mobilization of resources to improve conditions for low-wage immigrant workers across the U.S. Prior to entering the PhD program, she also worked as a lead labor/community organizer for over seven years in Los Angeles and the Bay Area.
Christabel Cheung received a BJ from the University of Missouri-Columbia, School of Journalism and an MSW from the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to pursuing her PhD at UCLA, Christabel served as lecturer/field consultant at UC Berkeley’s School of Social Welfare, where she taught graduate and undergraduate courses, and supervised graduate students in social work field placements within government and community-based agencies. As a social services practitioner, Christabel last served as executive director of San Francisco Village, a nonprofit organization within the national village movement for aging in place. Previous to San Francisco Village, her earlier associations include nonprofit management roles at the American Society on Aging, the Mental Health Association of San Francisco, Self-Help for the Elderly, and San Francisco’s Department of Aging & Adult Services (an Area Agency on Aging), as well as clinical social work roles at San Francisco General Hospital and Presentation Adult Day Health. Christabel’s doctoral research is focused on health care and disparities in survivorship from adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer.
Susanna Curry received her BA from Earlham College and her MSW from UCLA. She is a current doctoral student in the Department of Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Her research has primarily focused on the relationship between child welfare system involvement and homelessness/housing instability across the life course. She is interested in understanding how prevention efforts can be better targeted to support the transition to adulthood among youth who are unstably housed, live in resource-poor neighborhoods, or have little family support. Susanna’s research interests stem from a range of direct practice, policy and evaluation experience in government and non-profit settings in child welfare, education, and homeless services.
Marquitta S. Dorsey is a third year Phd student. After 15 years of practice experience working with underserved populations such as foster care youth, homeless youth, at-risk youth and adolescent girls, Marquitta is interested in investigating the association between adolescent births and biological father involvement during pre-adolescent years.
Ryan Dougherty received a BS in Biopsychology, Cognition, and Neuroscience from the University of Michigan in 2014. Throughout his undergraduate career, Ryan coordinated research examining identity, stigma, self-disclosure, and the diversity of experiences among people with disabilities. Invested in utilizing research for social justice, Ryan launched a peer-led community intervention project aimed at eliminating mental health stigma among college students in a large student-housing cooperative. Concurrently, he assisted in research in both experimental psychopathology and pharmacogenomics to examine the cognitive and emotional mechanisms of psychotic disorders, as well as the side effects associated with atypical antipsychotics. These experiences combined have inspired Ryan to integrate clinical and social approaches to examine how cultural contexts and institutions shape professional attitudes towards psychotropic drugs, experiences on the psychosis-spectrum, and approaches to mental health treatment among practitioners and clienteles.
Shannon Dunlap is a third year doctoral student in the Department of Social Welfare and is also a Gender Studies Concentrator. Shannon graduated from University of Southern California school of Social Work in 2005. Prior to starting her doctoral studies in 2013, Shannon worked in the fields of child and family mental health, child and adolescent psychiatric emergency services, youth LGBT health, and youth HIV. Shannon is interested in health and mental health disparities among transgender youth. She is particularly interested in the intersection of gender-based adversity and family support. During her first year, she was the research coordinator on two HIV health and prevention focused studies headed by Dr. Ian Holloway. Additionally, she coordinated an R21 study examining sexual minority stress among LGB adolescents, under the direction of Dr. Jeremy Goldbach of USC. Shannon also volunteered as a research assistant on Dr. Ilan Meyer's TransPop study. Currently, Shannon is working with Dr. Ian Holloway on several studies involving health disparities among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender adults. Shannon has co-authored several articles and one chapter within the fields of HIV and LGBT health and has submitted her first lead author paper. Currently, Shannon is working on developing her dissertation proposal focused on transgender youth and their parents.
Megan Ebor obtained her BA in Sociology with a minor in gerontology as well as her MSW with a concentration in aging from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests focus on racial/ethnic minority older adults and sexual-health, namely HIV/AIDS among older adult women of color. Ebor has taken a nontraditional approach in social work education and translational research utilizing social documentation as a means for HIV education, prevention and intervention. She plans to expand on her current HIV research while in the PhD program, exploring sexual health education within the field of social work and the usage/availability of culturally sensitive sexual history assessment tools within the scope of social work practice for the older adult population.
Leah Rose Hanzlicek graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley. She served as a child welfare caseworker for several years in Oregon, where she also became active in the Service Employees International Union. She completed her M.S.W. at the University of Michigan, and while in Ann Arbor she assisted with a longitudinal study of child welfare worker recruitment and retention. Since coming to UCLA she has been involved in outcomes research for young adults with former juvenile justice involvement, in addition to designing and implementing an evaluation of a community-based mentoring program for foster care and juvenile justice youth. Her research interests include the conceptualization of mental health for adolescents in the child welfare system, transitions to adulthood for young people emancipating out of the child welfare system, and qualitative research methods.
Nikki Hozack graduated from the University of Portland with my MSW in 2010. Her background includes 10 years of combined experience working in psychiatric and medical research at various universities including the University of California San Diego, Stanford University and Oregon Science and Health University. Her general study interests lie in psychosocial interventions and programs for those diagnosed with serious mental illness, especially those intended to improve quality of life and strengthen the path to clinical and personal recovery. While at UCLA, her goal is to study the effects of privilege, including class, race, and access to informal community resources on factors related to clinical and personal recovery from serious mental illness.
Sid Jordan received a B.A. in Sociology and Political Science from the University of Washington and a J.D. from the University of Victoria. Sid’s research interests focus broadly on access disparities, violence prevention and intervention, policing, incarceration, and the politics of criminal justice reform. Prior to starting the PhD program, Sid led a federally funded capacity building project to address barriers to services for LGBTQ survivors of violence and improve organizational practice in Washington State. Sid has worked for more than 15 years as a community and cultural organizer on projects focused on racial, gender, and economic justice.
Charles H. Lea III received his Bachelors in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, and his Masters in Social Work at the University of Michigan. Prior to attending UCLA, Charles served as a Policy Analyst at Social Policy Research Associates (SPR) in Oakland, CA, where he conducted research and evaluation studies focused on prisoner reentry, school reform, and workforce and youth development. Before joining SPR, Charles worked as a case manager serving adjudicated youth, and held positions as an HIV/AIDS health educator and mental health assistant. Charles’ professional and personal experiences have thus influenced his interest in juvenile justice, education, reentry, and race and racial equity. More specifically, he is interested in contextual and individual influences on crime involvement and criminal desistance among boys and young men of color, particularly African Americans, and the protective mechanisms and processes that fosters resilience and facilitates positive development. The overarching aims of his research is to develop knowledge and build theory that informs structural and behavioral interventions and policies and practices that improve the outcomes, opportunities, and well-being of vulnerable and racial/ethnic communities and individuals.
Gi Lee received a BA in Psychology from University of California at Riverside and an MSW from California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). Before entering the PhD program at UCLA, she worked as a geriatric social worker. She also worked as the program coordinator for the Bridges to the Doctoral Program at CSULA, a collaborative program between the University of Michigan and CSULA that helps graduate social work and nursing students from underrepresented populations prepare for PhD programs. Gi’s present research interests are in the areas of coercion, treatment, and conceptualization of mental illness as well as cultural psychiatry.
Melody Liao received a BA in Public Health from the University of California, Berkeley. Her research interests include a focus on better understanding possible educational and vocational pathways whereby at-risk youth might be helped to reach their full potential. Melody has worked as a graduate student researcher on a comparative study of juvenile justice systems in different countries that investigated best practices in youth sentencing. She has interned at the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center working with youth exiting juvenile hall on their transition needs. She has collaborated on a project with 2nd Call—a non-profit based in Compton that provides re-entry services—to develop participant selection and evaluation procedures for its incarceration-based life-skills and job readiness program. Currently, Melody is the 2015-2016 Luskin Leadership Fellow for The California Endowment where she is evaluating a leadership retreat program for young women across California.
Kristina Lovato-Hermann, MSW is a graduate of Saint Mary’s College (BA, Sociology/Anthropology) and San Francisco State University (Master of Social Work). Her research primarily focuses on immigrant families with a specific expertise in Latino immigrant youth. Her written work explores the themes of transnational migration, gender, immigration policy, child welfare involvement, family separation and reunification. Kristina's dissertation examines how immigrant families cope with the unique stressors associated with living at risk of deportation and how schools, and social service systems respond to the needs of these families. She has worked on research projects where she gained skills in conducting survey-based data collection, process evaluation, literature review, data analysis, developed and disseminated publications, and implemented a technology-based intervention, the DCFS Needs Portal; a web-based tool designed to link child welfare involved clients to community services in Los Angeles County. Kristina has 8 years of experience as a social work clinician in the San Francisco Bay Area in which she served as a public child welfare worker, therapist, and bilingual school-based mental health clinician. Immediately prior to entering academia, Kristina served as the Project Coordinator for the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program and as a lecturer in the School of Social Work at San Francisco State University.
Laurie C. Maldonado is a doctoral student in Social Welfare at UCLA and is a predoctoral scholar at LIS (Luxembourg Income Study). She is the recipient of the PhD grant awarded by the Fonds National Recherche of Luxembourg, which supports her research on the wellbeing of single-parent families and the ways in which these families are affected by social policy in the United States and across countries. Laurie co-authored, with Tim Casey, “Worst Off: Single-Parent Families in the United States: A Cross-National Comparison of Single-Parenthood in the U.S. and Sixteen Other High-Income Countries” which received an impressive amount of media attention in the U.S., including, among others, coverage in The Nation (Greg Kaufmann, blog), by Bill Moyers, in the New York Times (Nancy Folbre, blog), by the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs, in Forbes (Bryce Covert, blog), on the radio station WBAI (an Esther Armah interview), and on the television Al Jazeera International English (Kimberly Halkett Inside Story). Laurie holds an M.S.W. and practiced social work with single-parent families. She has taught social welfare policy to M.S.W. students at Silberman School of Social Work Hunter College.
Lia W Marshall has 10 years of research administration experience in immunology, heart disease and oncology where she developed an expertise in managing NIH grants, FDA new drug applications as well as clinical trial administration. As a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) she also worked in both assisted living facilities for older adults and the Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU) at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. She held internships at the Alzheimer’s Association in the Department of Professional Training and trained helping professionals in the therapeutic care of those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. She has earned multiple scholarships and awards including the Partners in Care Foundation Gerontology Social Work Education Consortium (GSWEC), the University of Michigan Social Work/Nursing Bridges to the Doctoral Program the UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship Program scholarship (GSRM), the The Gerontological Society of America (GSA) Careers in Aging Week Award and Best Poster in Behavioral & Social Sciences category at the 2015 UCLA Research Conference on Aging. Lia received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz and her M.S.W. from California State University Los Angeles. The academic and professional career she established as well as research expertise in healthcare and residential facilities for older adults led to her research interests in health and well-being of older adult populations. As a University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) doctoral student she seeks to address chronic disease prevention and management as well as open space and transportation needs within the older adult population.
Matthew Mizel received his BA from Stanford University in psychology with honors and his MSW from UCLA. As a doctoral student at UCLA, he has conducted research on re-entry interventions and criminal desistance. Matthew worked as a summer associate at the RAND Corporation in 2015 where he engaged in research on the school-to-prison pipeline. As an undergraduate, he wrote his thesis for Claude M. Steele, Ph.D., and Joshua Aronson, Ph.D., conducting an experiment that used an intervention to counteract the suppression of academic performance by stereotype threat. Matthew began teaching creative writing to incarcerated youth in 2003 through the non-profit InsideOut Writers and has taught over 1,000 classes since then. He also mentors young people after their release from incarceration through the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC). With ARC, he has engaged in policy education on sentencing with the California legislature. Matthew has worked in South Africa providing guidance to government on policy and programs to address crime, incarceration, and re-entry. Prior to enrolling in the UCLA doctoral program, Matthew worked in the film business and was the Co-Producer of Step Up 2: The Streets and the Associate Producer of A Walk to Remember.
Laura Montero received her MSW from the University of Michigan with a concentration in social policy and evaluation. While at UCLA, Laura intends to examine how a criminal record restricts the economic, academic, and social engagement of system-involved youth in America, and to explore the ways in which promising policy alternatives are promoting more compassionate, socially inclusive, and constructive forms of rehabilitation. Currently, Laura is working with Dr. Laura Abrams on an evaluation of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation's Foster Youth Strategic Initiative, as well as a cross-national project, which seeks to investigate the historical development and implementation of policies and practices related to reducing peak age offending.
Jordan Morris received her B.A. in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park and her Ed.M. in school psychology & education policy from Teachers College, Columbia University. Broadly, her research interests focus on the use of storytelling and technology to enhance the social identity of ethnic minorities. Her dissertation investigates the impact of narrative technology on the identity development of youth offenders in a restorative conferencing program in Brooklyn, NY. Currently, Jordan is working in collaboration with the Improvement by Design Lab (IBD) in the UCLA Graduate School of Education. Here, her work focuses on how schools integrate technology into their classroom to improve teaching & learning, and the effectiveness of e-portfolio platforms on student learning and faculty teaching in university settings.
Amelia Mueller-Williams has an interdisciplinary background and approach to scholarship, integrating Anthropology, Biology, Social Work, and Public Health. Her Bachelor’s degree is from Macalester College in St. Paul where she majored in Biology and Anthropology. She has an MSW and a Master’s in Public Health from the University of Michigan. Generally, Amelia’s research interests focus on mental and physical health equity among marginalized populations with a special emphasis on American Indians. She served previously as a Research Associate/Grants Manager and Adjunct Lecturer at the University of Michigan School of Social Work where she worked on federally funded research projects, including youth suicide prevention, System of Care Wraparound, and Cultural and Linguistic Competency/Cultural Humility, in Detroit, MI and on Midwest Indian Reservations.
Sara Pilgreen is currently in her fourth year of the doctoral program at UCLA – Luskin, School of Public Affairs in the Department of Social Welfare. Previously Ms. Pilgreen graduated magna cum laude with dual Bachelor degrees in Communication and Psychology from the University of Hawaii-Hilo in 2004. She then served in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Vanuatu as an English teacher while working on adolescent reproductive health issues, gender and development relations, and clean water initiatives. At this time Ms. Pilgreen became aware of the gap between what international aid organizations (NGOs) and outside governments promised and what she witnessed in this arena. This experience inspired her to pursue higher education in the areas of nonprofits, non-governmental organizations, and civil society. Before entering the combined MSW/PhD program at UCLA Luskin, Ms. Pilgreen completed her MA at Teachers College – Columbia University in 2011, focusing on macro practices and urban poverty. In 2013, Ms. Pilgreen completed her MSW at UCLA after internships in Long Beach and Johannesburg, South Africa. Currently she is a graduate student researcher for the Center for Civil Society at UCLA Luskin, studying nonprofits in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty in Los Angeles with a focus on grassroots entrepreneurship under the supervision of Professor “Zeke” Hasenfeld.
Ashleigh Nicole Scinta received her MSW from the University of Houston in the spring of 2012. She concentrated in Macro Social Work Practice and completed a certificate in Trabajo Social (Social Work Practice with Latinos). During her MSW program she was an intern at Communities in Schools- Houston, the Ethnic Minority Services department at the SK HKS Lady MacLehose Centre in Hong Kong, and the Community Education department at Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast. Ashleigh received her B.A. in History and Minor in Sociology from the University of Houston in the spring of 2010. Since 2006, she has volunteered extensively with non-profit agencies that provide services to survivors of intimate partner violence and child sexual abuse as well as adolescent males in the juvenile justice system. Ashleigh’s research interests include culturally responsive prevention and intervention for intimate partner violence, child abuse and neglect, and reproductive health. Additionally, she is interested in the development of empowerment programs and fatherhood initiatives for young men of color.
Meredith Gamson Smiedt was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA and attending the University of Southern California for her undergraduate and MSW degrees. Recently, Meredith has served as the Executive Director at the Center for Policing Equity at UCLA, working with researchers and law enforcement examining issues of racial and gender equity. Her research interests are in juvenile justice and the school to prison pipeline.
Neha Srivastava graduated with a BA in Psychology from the University of Waterloo and received an MA in Counseling for Mental Health and Wellness from NYU. She is interested in mental health care that is sustainable and sensitive to the needs of diverse cultural contexts, particularly that of India, where she is from. Her past work has focused on interventions for survivors of domestic violence, South Asian immigrant women, and women affected with HIV in rural India. At present, Neha is involved in a clinical research study, providing a short-term CBT intervention to adults with psychiatric diagnoses. Prior to starting at UCLA, she worked as a Domestic Violence Advocate at Sakhi for South Asian Women and interned at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Christina Tam received her double Bachelor’s in Psychology and Criminology from UC Irvine in 2008 and her MSW from UCLA in 2011. Christina’s undergraduate research focused on gender differences in the effects of parental incarceration on children, which fostered her current interests in the criminal justice system. During her MSW studies, Christina was involved in the non-profit sector serving formerly incarcerated women. She was later engaged in public service at the Los Angeles Mayor's Office as a Michael S. Dukakis Fellow and with the Human Services Division at the City of Santa Monica. Christina currently works with Western Youth Services to provide case management and workshops for at-risk youth to increase their abilities to successfully navigate the transition to adulthood. Although Christina primarily identifies as a quantitative researcher, she also has experience with qualitative data collection and analyses—specifically with formerly incarcerated youth to understand their circumstances following their reentry into the community. Christina’s prior work experiences led her to her current dissertation topic, which focuses on examining the disproportionate rate of entry into the juvenile justice system among Southeast Asian youth. Christina’s dissertation research adopts an ecological approach by considering the environments in which these youth live. More specifically, this research disaggregates Los Angeles County administrative data by ethnicity to investigate the neighborhood characteristics that may or may not be related to these youths’ contact with the juvenile justice system. In sum, Christina’s goal is to contribute to informing a person-in-environment approach for underserved youth from racial/ethnic minority families.
Crystal Thomas is a native of Los Angeles and a 2007 graduate of UCLA, where she majored in International Development Studies and minored in Spanish. As an undergraduate student, Crystal worked at the UCLA Sloan Research Center on Everyday Lives of Families where she assisted in research on working middle-class family life. Post-graduation, she re-located to New York City where she worked in the Mayor’s Office under the Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services first as a New York Urban Fellow and, subsequently, as Special Assistant to the Deputy Mayor. Crystal assisted the Deputy Mayor and Chief of Staff on various policy initiatives, participated in public-private taskforces dedicated to NYC nonprofit organizations, and conducted strategic planning for improvement of all city social services. Her research interests involve examination of government services as they intersect with poverty and child welfare.
Brenda A. Tully graduated with a BA in Speech Communication from the University of St. Thomas. She earned her MSW in from Fordham University in New York City. Brenda’s career focuses on work with children and families, primarily young people transitioning to adulthood. She worked for Good Shepherd Services in NYC, where she was involved in the launching of several programs, including the transfer schools model, which was subsequently awarded funding by the Gates Foundation for replication, and the Chelsea Foyer, a transitional supportive housing program for young people aging out of foster care. The latter program is designated an Emerging Approach to addressing homelessness among former foster youth by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness. More recently, Brenda worked in the fields of supervised visitation and child sexual abuse prevention, also in NYC. In doing so, she played an integral role in a study funded by the NIH on children’s knowledge gain and retention following exposure to a child sexual abuse prevention workshop; she co-authored an article published in the American Journal of Public Health on the study findings entitled “Knowledge Gains Following a Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Program among Urban Students: A Cluster-Randomized Evaluation.” Despite the latter, Brenda’s research interests are focused on the intersection of young adults aging out of foster care and their transition to housing.
Rachel Wells received a dual MSW and MUP from the University of Michigan. After completing her master's program, she worked at a Detroit public health non-profit creating and implementing home repair programs for low-income families and was involved with grassroots community organizations in Detroit. These experiences led to her doctoral research interests in the role of nonprofits in neighborhoods and in poverty policy, particularly how policies and organizational structures affect program implementation and the resulting experiences of low-income clients.
Lauren Willner received her undergraduate degree in Feminist Studies and Photojournalism at New York University in 2004. After completing her bachelor’s degree Lauren spent two years in Washington State as an Americorps volunteer working as a service learning coordinator and a program coordinator on a community-based, interfaith domestic violence initiative. She has worked at a number of nonprofits doing program development and administration, and received her MSW with a concentration in Non-Profit Leadership and Administration from the University of Pennsylvania in 2009. Lauren is an organizational scholar who conducts research on nonprofit organizations. She uses Critical Race Theory to explore questions relating to the structures and functions of social justice/social change nonprofits, and she is particularly interested how the use of for-profit business models impacts the missions and goals of organizations whose work is centered on social change. She is also interested in social work pedagogy, particularly how social work students are educated to understand issues of institutional and structural racism and oppression, and issues of social justice.