Julia Lesnick

Julia is a first year MSW-PhD student. Her research focuses on understanding how mental and behavioral health services can be individualized to best support the unique experiences and resilience of young people in foster care, the carceral system, and struggling with their mental health. The goal of her work is to expand service accessibility, prevent systems entry, improve quality of life in systems, and strengthen youth resilience for re-entry, recovery, and the transition to adulthood. Her specific areas of inquiry include equitable access to information about service approaches, autonomy to self-determine and revise one’s own service plan, the role of supportive relationships on engagement in services, and youth participation and leadership in systems advocacy and social service decision making.

Prior to UCLA, Julia graduated from Cornell University in 2018 with her B.S. in Human Development and a minor in Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. At Cornell, her scholarship focused on research-practice partnerships, and adolescent relationships and mental health. She also worked with Cornell Cooperative Extension to develop trauma-informed care training for afterschool programs, and taught in a degree program for incarcerated students. After graduating, she worked at NYC’s child welfare and juvenile justice agency, and at a community-based service provider on the evaluation and quality improvement of youth leadership and mental health programs.