Laura Liévano-Karim

Laura Liévano-Karim is a Fulbright fellow and PhD student in the UCLA Department of Social Welfare. She earned a B.Sc. in Psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada and an MPP degree from Universidad de los Andes in Bogotá, Colombia. Before joining the PhD program at the Luskin School of Public Affairs, she worked as a researcher on diverse projects, both quantitative and qualitative, addressing multiple social justice dilemmas in Colombia including violence targeting marginalized populations of young people experiencing basic needs instability and youth disenfranchised from the system, throughout rural and urban zones of Colombia. Laura also worked as a lecturer at Universidad de los Andes teaching the undergraduate course: Qualitative Methods for Public Affairs. Recently Laura was working for an NGO specifically addressing the assessment of gender-based violence for teen mothers in the Caribbean region of Colombia and a study on state violence against youth at a juvenile detention center in Bogotá. Laura currently works with professor Dr. Amy Ritterbusch developing a research program on the prevention of violence against children in Colombia and Uganda. 

Amelia C. Mueller-Williams

Amelia C. Mueller-Williams is a fourth year PhD student in the UCLA, Luskin School of Public Affairs, Department of Social Welfare. Amelia holds Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health degrees from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor’s degree in Biology and Anthropology from Macalester College (St. Paul, MN).  She uses her diverse academic and practice background to study social and environmental factors that impact suicide, alcohol, and drug use and related deaths. Specifically her PhD research focuses on how social disadvantage (e.g., poverty, discrimination, cultural biases) influences changes in rates of suicide, alcohol-, and drug-related deaths and understanding the role structural racism plays in generating differences in rates across race/ethnic groups. Building upon prior work in this area doing Community Based Participatory Research with American Indian communities, much of Amelia’s research has a special emphasis on understanding social and environmental determinants of suicide, alcohol-, and drug-related deaths among American Indians and Alaska Natives. In the context colonialism’s legacy, American Indians and Alaska Natives experience the greatest impact from these causes of death; helping understand these meaningfully preventable causes of death is part of a mission grounded in social justice. Amelia specializes in quantitative data analysis using “big data” to capture large portions of the U.S. population that can account for sociodemographic heterogeneity within groups, such as race/ethnicity and geographic area. She has received competitive fellowship awards to support this work from UCLA’s year-long Graduate Research Mentorship Program and Graduate Summer Research Mentorship program; she received awards for special training from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development’s Berkeley Workshop on Formal Demography and the Inter-University Consortium for Political and Social Research’s Summer Program in Quantitative Methods for Social Research.