Jianchao Lai

Jianchao Lai is a fourth-year Ph.D. student in the Department of Social Welfare at the Luskin School of Public Affairs. She received her Bachelor of Social Work from Nanjing University and Masters of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her research interests focus on examining the underreporting and service outcomes of child maltreatment among Asian American communities.

During her doctoral program at UCLA, she gained experience in both quantitative and qualitative research studies. Her primary work focuses on undermining the model minority myth and investigating how this population’s social problems are often overlooked by the public due to this stereotype, especially child maltreatment incidence among Asian communities. Her independent mixed-method research study, which was funded by the Pearl Wang Fellowship, utilizes a national-scale child case file archive and grounded theory interviews to examine the unique social and cultural factors of the Asian American population that contribute to the underreporting of child maltreatment and service adequacy of child maltreatment incidents. In addition, she is also involved in a collaborative research project with the Center on Children, Families and the Law at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln evaluating the Alternative Response program using longitudinal state-wide child protective service case files.

Upon completing her undergraduate and MSW program, she worked at various government agencies, non-profits, and community centers such as the Wisconsin Children’s Trust Fund and Center for Community and Non-Profit Studies. Her work focused on early childhood development and prevention of adverse childhood experiences.

As the Asian population is gaining attention in the United States and internationally, the demand for culturally appropriate services for this population is expected to increase. However, the dearth of empirical research on child maltreatment among Asian communities remains striking.  Lai’s scholarly research aims to fill significant research gaps about this population and to promote adequate and effective services for marginalized children. She plans to expand her current research agenda to seek an applicable and effective child protective services model for Asian populations globally in the future.

 

Fellowships & Awards

  • Pearl Wang Fellowship (2019-2020), Asian American Studies Center
  • Adam Smith Fellowship (2017-2018), Mercatus Center
  • Graduate Summer Research Mentorship (Summer 2017), UCLA
  • Graduate Summer Research Mentorship (Summer 2018), UCLA

Brenda A. Tully

Brenda A. Tully is a 5th year Social Welfare PhD student at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She earned her Master of Social Work degree from Fordham University in New York City and a BA in Speech Communication from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota.  Her research examines the experiences of young adults aging out of the foster care system with specific interest in their transition to housing.  She is currently analyzing qualitative data she collected in a study investigating housing security and insecurity among young adults formerly in foster care, which was funded by the Franklin D. Gilliam, Jr. Social Justice Award.  Brenda is the United States doctoral student representative to the International Research Network on Transition to Adulthood from Care, which convenes in Brasov, Romania in October 2019.  While in Romania, Brenda will present “So I was trying to adapt”: Developing contextual understanding of foster care alumni housing experiences in Los Angeles to the International Colloquium of Social Sciences and Communication hosted by the University of Transylvania.  Prior to matriculation in the PhD program, Brenda worked as a licensed clinical social worker in New York City for 20 years.  Her research is informed in part by her experiences at Good Shepherd Services, where she helped launch the Chelsea Foyer, a transitional, supportive housing program for young people aging out of foster care and experiencing or at risk of homelessness.  The program is designated an Emerging Approach to addressing homelessness among former foster youth by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.