Alejandra Acuna began the social welfare Ph.D program at UCLA in the Fall, 2009. She was a Psychiatric Social Worker with School Mental Health at Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) for over 13 years. She has worked in the field of health and human services since 1989. Currently, she teaches graduate-level courses in the School of Social Work at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA). Also, she is a Clinical Consultant at El Nido Family Centers, providing clinical supervision and training agency-wide. Her publishable paper is titled. Parenting for Resilience: An Evaluation of the Back to Basics Parenting Program in Urban Schools. Her dissertation proposal examines the relationship between family communication about traumatic memories (as a form of exposure) and posttraumatic resilience among low-income urban adolescents and their family members. Her research interests include: Evidence-based children's mental health services in schools, the impact of attachment security and family interventions on mental health outcomes, resilience of all kinds (individual, family, community and professional) and Mind-Body-Spirit approaches to recovery and wellness.
Skye Allmang holds a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology from Boston University and a Master of Public Policy from the Heller School at Brandeis University. Before entering the combined MSW/PhD program at the UCLA Luskin School in 2012, she was the project coordinator for the Santa Barbara County Youth Corps program, a job-training program for out-of-school youth. During her first year at the Luskin School, Skye has been working clinically with women experiencing homelessness at the Downtown Women's Center in Los Angeles, and volunteering with the UCLA Anti-Trafficking and Human Rights Coalition and the Diversity Caucus. Her dissertation will be on helping youth transition successfully into adulthood.
Joanna Barreras has been awarded the Eugene V. Cota Robles four-year fellowship. 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 among 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.
Miya Chang received her BA in Sociology and her MA in sociology
from Korean Universities. She earned a
M.Div. (Master of Divinity) at San Francisco Theological Seminary (SFTS) and
recently graduated from the MSW program at California State University, Los Angeles. Her research interests include elder
mistreatment, mental health among Asian American older adults, mental health
service utilization, development of culturally component intervention
modalities, and evidence-based mental Health practice. Her current research
will focus on perceptions of Korean American elder abuse and culturally
Advisor: Ailee Moon
Lin Chen completed her undergraduate degree in Social Work at Fudan University, China and received her M.Phil. degree in Evidence-Based Social Intervention from the University of Oxford. Lin’s dissertation focuses on intergenerational communication and the quality of life of older adults in long-term care settings. Older adults with their increased risk of having chronic care needs and limited social relationships may depend on their children for instrumental assistance as well as emotional support. The evolving psychosocial context may have further different impacts on each generation’s perspective and their ways to approach, adopt, and adjust long-term care.
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.
Susanna Curry's research primarily explores service models for homeless youth as well as the intersection between the child welfare system and housing/homelessness issues in young adulthood. Currently, she works with Dr. Laura Abrams on an evaluation of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation's Foster Youth Strategic Initiative, and also works part-time in homeless services in downtown Los Angeles. In 2013, she was a recipient of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs Social Justice Initiative Grant for her research on service utilization at a transitional housing program for homeless youth. She was also a UCLA David Bohnett Fellow in the Office of Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. Prior to graduate school she worked with Sacramento’s City/County collaborative to address chronic homelessness and was a leader in the development of the successful annual event Sacramento Homeless Connect. Susanna earned her B.A. in Sociology & Anthropology from Earlham College and her MSW from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.
Diane Fields Terry obtained her BA in Sociology as well as her MSW from the University of California, Los Angeles. Following graduation, Diane worked for two years for the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) as an Emergency Response Children’s Social Worker, and additionally as a Dependency Court Investigator. Her research interests center around the relationship between the public child welfare and prison systems, and the impact of incarceration on children living in foster care.
Simon Funge received a BA in Psychology from the University of California, Irvine in 1992 and an MSW from California State University, Long Beach in 1998. He previously worked for the Mental Health Association of Orange County as a Program Coordinator supporting people who were mentally ill and homeless or at risk of becoming homeless; and he most recently worked as a Program Specialist for the National Conference for Community and Justice. His interests include improving police-community relations, non-profit leadership and organization, fostering grassroots leadership and neighborhood empowerment, and the impact of bias upon Arabic, Middle Eastern, South Asian, Southeast Asian and Muslim communities post-September 11, 2001.
Leah Rose Hanzlicek graduated with a B.A. in Sociology from UC Berkeley in 2002. She served as a child welfare caseworker for several years in Oregon, where she 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 mental health services for adolescents in the child welfare system, qualitative methods, and public policy implementation and evaluation.
Jason Harley is a long time Bruin. He holds a B.A. in history, an M.Ed. in teaching, and an M.Ed. in administration, all from UCLA. After spending 10 years in the public school system, Jason decided to turn his attentions toward improving society. He is currently finishing his first year as an MSW student and will join the combined Ph.D. program in the fall. His research interests center around government responses to needy populations.
Megan Holmes received her BA in Psychology from San Diego State University in
2004. Before entering the combined MSW/PhD program in 2006, she
coordinated an NIH/NIAAA-funded study examining environmental risk and
protective factors related to college students’ heavy drinking, intoxication,
and alcohol related problems. Megan received her MSW in 2008 and has continued
to work clinically with women and children from domestic violence households.
Her dissertation is examining the long-term effect of domestic violence
exposure on children’s social behavior (i.e., establishment of peer
relationships, social skills and aggressive behavior). Additionally, her
dissertation examines the mediating effect of maternal parenting quality (i.e.,
maternal warmth, nonviolent discipline and maltreatment) between exposure to
IPV and children’s social behavior trajectories.
David B. Howard received his BA in American Studies from UC Berkeley in 2001 and his MSW from UCLA in 2007. David brings a variety of experiences with him into the doctoral program, including fundraising, development and policy research in the nonprofit sector, clinical work with the homeless in Skid Row, and community organizing for Assemblymember Karen Bass. For the past 2 years, he has also worked as a researcher at the UCLA Center for Civil Society, where he has assisted with reports on the local nonprofit and philanthropic sector. His research interests include nonprofit human service organizations, social policy, homelessness, poverty, and philanthropy.
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 and Oregon Science and Health University. Her general study interests lie in alternate and complementary treatments and programs for acute and persistent mental illness that will inform current mental health reform in the United States and further the mental health promotion and prevention goals set by the WHO and the Surgeon General. While at UCLA, her goal is to study the effects of community outreach programs on the recruitment and engagement of at-risk youth into early psychosis intervention programs and the reduction of stigma surrounding psychotic disorders and mental illness.
Lila Jihanian earned her MSW from
UCLA, specializing in Gerontology. She received her BA in Psychology and Art
from Pitzer College. Before entering the
Ph.D. program she helped to operationalize a transportation program for older
adults and contributed to research on public and nonprofit transportation
programs for older adults. Prior to her
formal entry into the field of Social Welfare, she worked in the Inland Empire
office of U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer.
Her research centers on the long-term care needs of lesbian, gay,
bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults and how long-term care providers
can be responsive to these needs. A key
part of this focus involves recognition of how diversity among LGBT older adults
may impact on long-term care issues.
Jaclyn Jones (Advisor: Prof. Stuart Kirk) completed a BA in psychology at Cal Poly Pomona in 2000 and an MSW from Cal State San Bernardino in 2003. Since completing her MSW she has worked towards completing her licensure hours at Patton State Hospital providing psychotherapy services to patients committed to the California Department of Mental Health as PC 1026 (guilty but not guilty by reason of insanity) and PC 2972 (mentally disordered offenders). She is interested in exploring research related to mental health and in particular forensics in order to work towards reforming the criminal justice system to allow for the provision of enhanced services to this often overlooked population.
Rachel Kaplan received her MPH from The George Washington University in 2004 where she conducted a needs and strengths assessment for mothers of children with disabilities in Russia for her Master’s thesis. Rachel was a Research Coordinator at the Women’s Global Health Imperative (WGHI) at the University of California, San Francisco for two years. Now as WGHI’s Middle East region Program Coordinator, she is working to establish collaborative research projects in the Middle East to examine issues in reproductive health and HIV prevention and treatment. Rachel is the Executive Director for the Global Network of Researchers on HIV/AIDS in the Middle East and North Africa has a background in working with members of vulnerable populations and in public health project management in the university setting. Her research interests focus on qualitative methods, human rights, gender issues and women’s health, and HIV/AIDS in the Middle East.
Hyeon Jong Kil (Advisor: Prof. Anheier) received his BA in 2002 and MA in
social welfare in 2005 from Seoul National University. At Seoul National
University, his research focused on public welfare delivery system, longevity
demography, social welfare history and comparative methodology. Before
beginning the combined MSW/Ph.D program in 2005, he worked as a part-time
instructor at Hanshin University in Korea. Currently, his interest includes
social welfare delivery system, non-profit organizations for the elderly and
social welfare comparative methodology.
Haely A. Lee received an M.A. in Asian American Studies from UCLA and a B.A in English from Yonsei University in Korea. Before entering the combined M.S.W./Ph.D. Program in Social Welfare. She worked as a staff research associate in the Social Welfare Dept. at UCLA. Her research focus has been on domestic violence prevention and intervention practices and policies. Her dissertation examines the influences of gender, gender role beliefs, family dynamics, acculturation, and socio-political factors among foreign-born and American-born ethnic minority groups on their attitudes toward intimate partner abuse.
Craig Landry is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker that is returning to school for his Ph.D after many years in clinical practice. His experience includes out-patient therapy with adults at Augustus F. Hawkins Community Mental Health Center, out-patient therapy with children in foster care and medical social work at a level one trauma center. Craig is also a Clinical Instructor and Research Associate at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine in the Department of Psychiatry. Craig received his MSW from California State University, Long Beach in 1997, and he is particularly interested in research that contributes to the development of evidenced-based, culturally competent interventions for use in community mental health.
Charles H. Lea
received his B.A. in Sociology at the University of California, Berkeley and
his M.S.W at the University of Michigan.
For the past several years, Charles served as a Policy Analyst in
Oakland, CA at Social Policy Research Associates (SPR), conducting research and
evaluation studies in the areas of prisoner reentry, school reform, workforce,
and youth development. Prior to 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 shaped his interest in examining the relationships between reentry, recidivism,
and public schooling among incarcerated African American and minority males.
Advisor: Laura Abrams
Ji Sun Lee graduated with her masters degree from Columbia University School of Social Work last May. At CUSSW, she worked on a research project of Dr. Neeraj Kaushal, monitoring public attitudes towards immigrants and U.S. immigrant policies. Her general interests are in utilizing and developing policy research on Gerontology; productive aging; social construction of disability; and the effects of prejudice on marginalized population. Ji Sun received a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Ewha Women's University, Seoul, Korea and a M.S. in Rehabilitation Counseling from Boston University.
Linda Lee has been training and working on research in child welfare, child mental health, and elder care settings. She is currently working on her dissertation on the social relationships of foster children in residential treatment centers for mental health needs. Her other research interests include the role of the physical environment in social work settings, as well as international orphan care and implications for adoption policies and practices. She received her BFA in Industrial and Visual Communication Design from Seoul National University in 2001, MS in Applied Research in Human-Environment Relations from Cornell University in 2005, and her MSW from UCLA in 2008 as a combined MSW/Ph.D. student.
Margaret Lee received her BA in Sociology and Asian American Studies and a minor in Afro-American Studies at UCLA. Her undergraduate research experience includes race/ethnicity issues and educational attainment, including an internship at the Office of Research at the Department of Education in Washington. She has also spent much time overseas including teaching American Culture and English to government officials in China and working on refugee social development projects with the World Bank in Indonesia. Her research interests are in civil sector work in the developing world and ethnic conflict.
received her BA in Cultural
Anthropology from Hanyang University in Korea and her MSW from the University
of Minnesota, Twin Cities. After
graduating, Sung Eun worked for New Life Family Services in Minnesota as an
adoption unit supervisor. Returning to
Korea, she has worked as a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for Health
and Social Affairs since 2005. She has
been involved in various research projects for persons
with disabilities and children and families, and has implemented an evaluation of welfare policies in national and
local government in Korea. Her current research interests include social investment program for children and their families who are
socioeconomically vulnerable, welfare reform, social welfare delivery system, and
Advisor: Aurora Jackson
Kristina Lovato-Hermann received her BA in Sociology from Saint Mary’s College and MSW from San Francisco State University. She currently works as a Graduate Student Researcher for the Department of Social Welfare’s GIS and Spatial Analysis Lab with Dr. Freisthler. In her previous work, she served as the Project Coordinator for the Title IV-E Child Welfare Training Program and Adjunct Faculty in the School of Social Work at SF State University. She has over 7 years of experience as a public Child Welfare Worker in which she specialized in investigations of child maltreatment. Additionally, she worked as a school-based mental health clinician where she facilitated culturally competent interventions with Latino youth and their families and offered consultation services to educators and administrators of the San Francisco Unified School District. Kristina’s research interests include determining the well-being of Mexican transnational families separated by migration.
Casey MacGregor holds a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.S.W. from Hunter College, CUNY. Recently, Casey worked for three years as a Research Health Scientist with the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), examining organizational arrangements for post-deployment and female veterans' health and mental healthcare. Casey has also worked on national research projects to advance postsecondary education and employment opportunities for low-income young adults through work as a Research Analyst for MDRC, a public policy research firm. She is active in the 100,000 Homes Campaign in her community and a recent recipient of the Social Security Administration Disability Determination Process student grant. Her dissertation focuses on returning veterans who have been denied disability compensation. Casey's scholarly interests include social policies related to poverty and disability, health and mental health service delivery, organizational theory and implementation research.
Laurie Maldonado holds an M.S.W and is currently working on her Ph.D. in
Social Welfare at University of California, Los Angeles. She has over eight years of social work experience working with single-parent families who are living in poverty. She is a Research Associate of the Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) Center, a cross-national data archive and research center located at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Her research interests center around poverty- particularly its impact on women and children, international comparative research, and social policy. Her dissertation focuses 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. She currently teaches social welfare policy at the Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College.
Lesley Maradik is working on her dissertation research in partnership with Save the Children’s HIV Sector to improve the care and support of orphaned grandchildren affected by HIV/AIDS who are living with older caregivers in Vietnam. Lesley conducts trainings for social care workers hired by the project, which incorporates the findings of her ethnographic research on grandparent caregivers. She also facilitates information sessions with other NGOs working in Vietnam on how to include older adults into development programs. Lesley’s scholarly interests include ethnographic research on kinship caregiving and coping, the interface of global aging and HIV/AIDS, and capacity building for grandparents in international programs.
Lia Marshall 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. She has 10 years of experience in the administration of medical research in immunology, heart disease and oncology. She is also a Licensed Massage Therapist (LMT) and has volunteered to provide therapeutic touch at assisted living facilities for older adults as well as the Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit (NICCU) at Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. Most recently she held an internship position at the Alzheimer’s Association in the Department of Professional Training where her primary role was to educate and train helping professionals in the care of those with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. It was her work and volunteer experiences in healthcare that led to her research interests which include health disparities and immigrant populations, specifically health literacy, acculturation, chronic disease management and traditional and holistic medicine use.
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. Her research interests include child and adolescent development, race & schooling, critical media literacy, teaching and learning through the use of digital technologies and Web 2.0 environments across learning ecologies (schooling, afterschool, community, and online). Currently, Jordan works as a research assistant at the Children’s Digital Media Center @ Los Angeles (CDMC@LA). Here, her research seeks to understand how watching videos, TV and communicating with friends through screens impact children’s non-verbal emotional development, social recognition skills and working memory. She is also conducting research on parental engagement in digital media and learning in the home as well as the effects of a media-based restorative justice program. In 2012, Jordan participated in the Gordon Commission on the Future of Assessment in Education as a Fellow. Her work, along with five other Fellows, culminated in the production of a synthesis paper that provided analyses, recommendations, major findings, and perceived implications for the practice and instrumentation of development policy. Before attending UCLA, Jordan served as project manager on a federally funded research intervention focusing on temperament theory and also consulted on various NYC teacher professional development grants. She also holds a certificate in graphic design.
France T. Nguyen attended the University of California, San Diego for her
undergraduate studies, where she obtained a double Bachelor's in
Biochemistry/Cell Biology and Issues in Public Health. She went on to complete
a double Master's in Public Health as well as Asian American Studies at the
University of California, Los Angeles. Her research interests include
HIV/AIDS, public health issues, public health policy and advocacy, and
working in developing countries. She was awarded a National Institute of
Mental Health HIV/AIDS Predoctoral Fellowship, and also received a Fulbright Fellowship
for her dissertation fieldwork in Viet Nam.
Hannah Nguyen received a double bachelor's in Sociology and Public and Community Service from UC Irvine in 2005 and her MSW from UCLA in 2007. Hannah has had continuous experience working with the API communities in areas of health outreach and education, counseling, program development, and community partnerships. She served as the Vietnamese program coordinator for the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) 2010 - Health Access for Asian Pacific Seniors Project in Los Angeles and Orange Counties. Her research interests include sociocultural aspects of illness identity, help-seeking behaviors, and quality of care for Asian Americans with mental illness. In addition, Hannah is interested in the collaborative role of traditional mental health services and faith-based settings as sources of mental health care.
Dustianne North received her B.A. in World Arts & Cultures from UCLA in 1994, and her M.S.W. from UCLA in 2001. She has coordinated and provided training and technical assistance for youth prevention and mentoring programs throughout California and the nation for the past decade, specializing in programs serving youth in high distress. Dustianne is also an activist and artist, and she has worked simultaneously to organize community members and provide popular education programming for the promotion of social change. Her research interests include community empowerment via social movements and organizing, career and life decision-making of organizers and other civic and civil participants, youth and child welfare issues, and interorganizational collaboration.
Sara Pilgreen (combined MSW/PhD student) received her BA in Psychology and Communications from University of Hawaii Hilo in 2004. She then went on to serve in the Peace Corps in the Republic of Vanuatu. Before entering the combined program at UCLA, Sara completed her M.A. at Teachers College – Columbia University in Clinical Psychology. Her research interests include macro practice, extreme poverty, and community-based participatory research.
Lori Ring began the combined MSW/PhD program in 2001. She received her BA from Scripps College and subsequently worked in research and program/policy analysis for the US Department of Health and Human Services, the California Court Appointed Special Advocates Association, and the UCLA School Management Program. Lori is interested in the utilization and influence of practice research and program evaluation within the field of child welfare.
Sergio Rizzo-Fontanesi completed his B.A. in Psychology at San Francisco State University his first year M.S.W. placement at Children’s Institute, Inc. and his second year placement at Harbor UCLA’s Wellness Center and Adult Outpatient Psychiatry. His research interests include studying the intersected effects of violence, poverty, culture, and law on mental health, especially among communities of color. He is particularly interested in how these intersections may create and sustain mental health disparities; influence the diagnosis and treatment of psychiatric disorders; and ultimately help shape the construction of self-concept and social identity. Lastly, he interested in the provision and delivery of mental health services that are sensitive to the social context and culture in which mental distress and illness occur.
Gina Rosen holds a B.A. from the University of Rhode Island and an M.P.P. from American University. Gina works on evaluation studies measuring effectiveness and impact. Most recently, Gina worked for two years with the Annenberg Foundation determining the effectiveness of the Annenberg Alchemy program, which trains nonprofits in board governance and fundraising. Additionally, Gina has worked on evaluation projects like a state-wide analysis of First 5 California, as well as campaign oriented evaluations for the Service Employees International Union while working as a Research Analyst for the union. Gina’s scholarly work focuses on social policy programs related to labor force participation and incentivizing the transition from welfare to work.
Cindy C. Sangalang received her BA in Psychology from UC Berkeley and MSW from UCLA. Her professional experiences include program development, advocacy, counseling, and community-based research with non-profit organizations serving youth and underserved groups. She has also served as a graduate mentor to under-represented and first-generation undergraduate students at UCLA. She is currently a pre-doctoral clinical fellow with the Council on Social Work Education Minority Fellowship Program. Her primary research and teaching interests include race and ethnicity, adolescent development and mental health, and community-based participatory research with Asian American populations.
Stan Smith (Ph.D.) received his BA in sociology from Cal State Northridge and his MSW from Cal State Los Angeles. Before gaining experience in the child welfare arena, Stan spent 12 years working in community based organizations as an adolescent substance abuse treatment counselor and program administrator. His current research interests include forensic social work, child and family substance abuse treatment accessibility, multi-agency and interdisciplinary public social work practice and social work perspectives on geography and environmental issues. He is also active in the National Organization of Forensic Social Work and his local National Association of Social Workers’ chapter activities as well.
Nancy Takahashi received a BA in Sociology and an MPH/MSW from UCLA. She worked at the Sepulveda Veterans Administration as a project coordinator at the Center for the Study of Healthcare Provider Behavior, and several other health services research studies. She also worked with the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Centers (GRECC) at the VA. Her research interests include long-term care and dementia care.
received her double Bachelor's in Psychology and Criminology, Law & Society
from UC Irvine in 2008 and her MSW from UCLA in 2011. Her undergraduate research focused on the
differences in the effects of maternal and paternal incarceration on children,
which fostered her current interest in policies surrounding the criminal
justice system. Since then, Christina
has been involved in the non-profit sector working with formerly incarcerated
women, and in public service at the Los Angeles Mayor's Office as a Michael S.
Dukakis Fellow and the Human Services Division at the City of Santa
Monica. Her other areas of interest
include juvenile justice as well as program development and outreach in API
Advisor: Bridget Freisthler
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.
Carissa van den Berk-Clark holds a M.S.W. from Washington University’s Brown School of Social Work, a M.A. in Legal Analysis from Webster University and a B.S. in Child Development from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Her research interests include community development and poverty caused by social stratification and the issues involved with socially and economically stratified neighborhoods. Carissa’s resume includes micro and macro social work with community development non-profits, child development centers, public schools, homeless shelters and drug treatment centers as well as legal work for the ACLU and the public defender’s office and law firms.
Nancy Jo Williams received her BA from Stanford University and her MSW from UCLA. As an undergraduate, she worked on a longitudinal research project that examined the role of acute and chronic life stress experiences in the familial transmission of depression. This experience cultivated her interest in how stressful, and often traumatic, life events might be associated with individual distress. In addition to academic research, she implemented program evaluations for a non-profit mental health agency. As a practitioner, she has focused on clinical work related to individuals exposed to sexual violence, interpersonal violence, and child abuse and neglect. Most recently, she worked for Los Angeles County as a child welfare worker in South Los Angeles and Watts. Her research interests include understanding the impact of acute and chronic exposure to violence, the environmental factors that contribute to this violence, and how this knowledge can be used to create more effective prevention and intervention models. She also is interested in understanding barriers to treatment and conditions that influence service availability and utilization for high-risk groups and culturally diverse populations.
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.
Andrea Witkin (MSW/Ph.D.) received a B.A in Psychology and an M.A. in Counseling for Loyola Marymount University. For the past 6 years, she has worked as a Research Project Director at UCLA's-NPI Center for Community Health designing and implementing HIV intervention and prevention programs with high-risk adolescents. She has spent the last 10 years and working with adolescents in schools, substance abuse centers, and homeless shelters. Her research interests include adolescent mental health, school violence, and school reform issues.
Fei Wu (MSW/Ph.D.) received her B.A. in history from the People’s University of China. She then pursued her M.A. in Criminology and her M.S.W. at the University of Toronto. Since her graduation, Fei has worked as a research project coordinator in a Toronto-based psychiatric hospital, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health. Clinical cultural competency survey among hospital staffs and CIHR funded survey on Ontario youth drug abuse are two examples of the projects Fei coordinated. Her current research interests include international social work practice, adolescents’ substance abuse and how macro social/political policies influence clinical practice.
Jazmin Inez Zane (entered MSW/Ph.D. program, fall 2006) graduated from University of California, Los Angeles, with departmental honors/B.A. in psychology. For the past two years she has worked at UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse programs with a population of methamphetamine addicts. She has also worked on and published research papers with faculty mentors in the psychology department. Jazmin is interested in researching prescription drugs and how they affect quality of life and mental health.