Ashleigh Herrera

Ashleigh Herrera’s research focuses on the treatment of co-occurring psychiatric and substance use disorders in minority populations.

This research endeavor seeks to provide insight into population characteristics related to experiences with trauma and psychiatric conditions in order to guide practice and policy related to the provision of SUD treatment services for patients and the importance of integrated treatment for trauma, PTSD, and other psychiatric conditions.

Her dissertation utilizes secondary data in order to examine the role of lifetime experiences of trauma and psychiatric conditions and distress on residential substance use disorder (SUD) treatment outcomes for patients with Medi-Cal in Los Angeles County

Ms. Herrera specializes in quantitative methodology and program evaluation. She has training in

the following software systems: ARC-GIS, SPSS, and NVivo. She has worked as a research assistant for faculty members at UCLA as well as the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work, culminating in several publications in peer-reviewed journals, such as Social Work and the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health. She has presented her work at both national and international social work conferences, including in Hong Kong and Sweden. Ms. Herrera has taught undergraduate courses at UCLA. These have included classes in aging and human behavior in the social environment.

Additionally, Ms. Herrera has worked in direct clinical practice since 2015. In 2017, she obtained her LCSW. She is currently working as the onsite clinician at a residential SUD treatment facility. In this capacity, she conducts assessments, develops treatment plans, provides individual counseling, facilitates psychoeducational groups, trains AOD counselors, and collaborates with

DMH, SAPC, DCFS, and DOC to address the needs of her patients.

Prior to entering the doctoral program at UCLA, Ms. Herrera graduated at the top of her class from the MSW program at the University of Houston, Graduate College of Social Work, where she focused on Macro Practice and obtained a specialization in Trabajo Social (Social Work Practice with Latinos). During her MSW program, she completed internships in Houston, Texas, and Hong Kong. She also served as the President of the Hispanic Student Association. In 2010, she graduated Cum Laude with her bachelor’s degree in History and minor Sociology from the University of Houston.

SELECTED BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS

“Factors Contributing to Depressive Symptoms among Mexican Americans and Latinos”

“The Perceived Role of Family in Heroin Use Behaviors of Mexican-American Men.”

Lia W. Marshall

Lia W. Marshall’s research focuses on older adult well-being. She is particularly interested in understanding prolonged independence and ability to age in place by investigating the interconnections between social isolation, mobility, and the built environment. Lia’s mixed methods dissertation, situated at the nexus of social welfare, gerontology and urban planning, seeks to understand the mobility experiences of socially isolated older adult women. This research is an important step in guiding policymakers to effectively allocate resources to enable aging in place and to enhance the lives of older women.

While Lia has training in both quantitative and qualitative research methods, she is particularly skilled in employing qualitative methodologies. In collaboration with faculty in both UCLA’s Urban Planning and Social Welfare Departments, she has served as a graduate research assistant for several projects, including “Disrupting Aging & Building Livable Communities: Los Angeles”, and with The Los Angeles Community Academic Partnership for Research in Aging (L.A. CAPRA). Lia has presented her work at conferences across academic disciplines, and has taught and guest lectured with both master’s students and undergraduates. Lia’s interests in social welfare, gerontology and urban planning inspired her to develop and teach the course entitled: “Environmentally Sustainable Aging: Diversity, Resilience, and Health” as a teaching fellow at UCLA.

In addition to teaching, Ms. Marshall continues her community engagement work with the Los Angeles Neighborhood Land Trust as a Steering Committee member for Golden Age Park, the first intergenerational park in Los Angeles, and as the Service Learning Coordinator for the UCLA undergraduate gerontology cluster. Lia received a Masters of Social Work from California State University, Los Angeles and a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology from the University of California at Santa Cruz.

Javier Garcia-Perez

Javier Garcia-Perez is a student in the Social Welfare Ph.D. program. He obtained his BA in Chicana/Chicano Studies from the University of California, Davis. He completed his MA in Sociocultural Anthropology from Columbia University and a dual MSW/MS in Nonprofit Leadership from the University of Pennsylvania, School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2). He previously served as the program director for an ExpandED learning program working to achieve educational equity for low-income and marginalized middle school students in New York City. Javier’s research interests include queer Latinx community health, identity-based traumatic stress, and qualitative research methodology. He is a Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellow, a fellowship for doctoral students from underrepresented backgrounds. Currently, he is working on a project surveying MSW students of color in the state of California regarding their experiences of racism in the classroom or in the field and its potential impact on their education. This summer, he will also be working on a systematic literature review on the relationship between discrimination and traumatic stress symptoms within queer youth of color populations, supported by the UCLA Graduate Summer Research Mentorship program.

SELECTED BOOKS & PUBLICATIONS

The Collectivist: Volume One, a journal from Penn SP2.

Jianchao Lai

Advisor: Prof. Todd Franke, UCLA

Jianchao Lai is a second year Ph.D. student in the Department of Social Welfare of the Luskin School of Public Affairs. She received a Bachelor’s of Social Work from Nanjing University and Master’s of Social Work from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Upon completing her undergraduate and graduate programs, she worked at various government agencies, non-profit organizations, and community agencies related to the early childhood development and prevention of adverse childhood experiences. Her current research uses exploratory mixed methods design to investigate the unique factors of the Asian American population with regard to case reporting and substantiation of child maltreatment incidents.

Awards:

  • Adam Smith Fellowship (2017-2018), Mercatus Center, $5000
  • Graduate Summer Research Mentorship (Summer 2017), UCLA, $6000
  • Graduate Summer Research Mentorship (Summer 2018), UCLA, $6000

Research Interests:

  • Child abuse and neglect
  • Asian Americans
  • Racial/ethnical differences in child welfare resources and outcomes
  • Challenges among Asian American children and families
  • Qualitative and quantitative social research methodology

Kristen Brock-Petroshius

Kristen Brock-Petroshius is a Doctoral Student in Social Welfare. Her research spans Social Welfare and Political Science and focuses on Race, Ethnicity, & Politics, Political Psychology, and Community Organizing. She uses quantitative and qualitative methods – with a particular focus on field experiments. Her engaged scholarship explores methods to change dominant racial and political attitudes in predominantly white communities within the United States.

Kristen is an affiliate of the UCLA Race, Ethnicity, Politics & Society Lab and Marvin Hoffenberg Fellow in American Politics & Public Policy. She received her BA in Sociology with a minor in Gender Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and her Masters of Social Work (MSW) from the University of California, Los Angeles.

You can learn more about her work here: www.kristenbrockpetroshius.com.

Brenda Morales

Brenda Morales is a second year doctoral student in the Department of Social Welfare at UCLA. She obtained her BA and MSW in Social Work from California State University, Los Angeles. She previously was part of the University of Michigan/CSULA Social Work Bridges to the PhD Program where she analyzed secondary data of health care disparities among U.S. immigrant populations. Currently, she is a recipient of the UCLA Eugene V. Cota-Robles Fellowship. Her research interests include immigrant health, immigration policy, and discrimination and anti-immigrant sentiment, with an emphasis on undocumented Latino immigrants.

Lei Chen

Lei Chen is a third-year doctoral student of Social Welfare at Luskin School of Public Affairs, the University of California in Los Angeles. Her research interests include health and aging policy; older adults’ psychological well-being; social support for older adults; cross-cultural studies, and mixed methods. Her current research focuses on examining the impact of the population policy and related policies for older adults’ psychological well-being in rural China.

She is a graduate student researcher at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. She is currently involved in the Research on ImmiGrant HealTh and State policy (RIGHTS) Study, which examines how California’s immigrant policy environment influences access to health care by identifying how the state’s health and welfare, education, labor, and law enforcement policies shape Asian and Latino immigrants’ daily lives.

Before joining the Ph.D. program at UCLA, she was a research assistant for a number of companies, international organizations, and universities, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), McKinsey & Company, Fudan University, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, and Washington University.

Kwan Jin Yao

Jin Yao, Kwan is a PhD student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Luskin School of Public Affairs – under the National University of Singapore (NUS)-Overseas Graduate Scholarship – who graduated as valedictorian of the class of 2017 with a Master in Public Policy from the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, NUS.

 

His primary research interest revolves around children and adolescents from low-income families, and in particular on the family structures and family quality associated with positive adolescent and family development. He is also interested in the civic engagement of adolescents and youths as well as the social and public policies governing the non-profit and philanthropy sector in Singapore and in Asia.

 

You can learn more about his work here https://www.kwanjinyao.com

Melanie Sonsteng-Person

Melanie Sonsteng-Person is a Doctoral Student in the Department of Social Welfare. She is Social Justice Fellow for the UCLA Institute of American Cultures working for the research and community engagement project “Social Justice and Education in the Community.” Broadly, her research interest focuses on unaddressed trauma symptoms in violence-exposed youth, more specifically her aim is to identify key protective factors that lead to an increase in educational attainment and decrease in criminalization. Her work at UCLA focuses specifically on how schools identify and respond to community violence exposure and trauma exposure. She is currently analyzing survey and interview data she collected to assess teachers’ current level of training on violence and trauma exposure among their students and how this influences their feelings of success and confidence in the classroom. The interviews provide an in-depth understanding of the meaning teachers give to students’ internal and external trauma symptoms displayed in the classroom and how teachers perceive their preparation and coping skills.

 

Prior to coming to UCLA, Melanie worked in Boston, Brooklyn, and Detroit in the fields of violence prevention and education. Her research is informed by her experience as a 7th Grade Science Teacher in Brooklyn and as a Certified Trauma Practitioner in Detroit where she worked with youth and students exposed to violence.

 

You can follow Melanie’s work and engage in a safe classroom’s collaborative here: melaniesonsteng.com

Jennifer A. Ray

Jennifer Ray is currently a fourth-year doctoral student in the Social Welfare program at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Her scholarship centers on childhood adversity, family relations, and interventions aimed at reducing behavior problems among young children in African American families.

Jennifer’s current work examines the associations between and among adverse experiences in early childhood, nonresident father involvement, and child behavior problems in socially and economically disadvantaged African American families.

Prior to joining the Social Welfare program at UCLA, Jennifer worked as a clinician providing community mental health services to high-risk children and families in Los Angeles county. She has also worked on community-based research with the UCLA Social Justice Partnership and the UCLA Labor Center.

Jennifer completed her bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles and received her MSW from the University of Southern California.