UCLA Luskin students to be profiled on new website.

Kate Watson

Kate Watson is a doctoral student in Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. She researches childhood trauma and well-being from an ecological perspective and using qualitative and quantitative methods. Her interests include trauma-informed approaches in settings, including child welfare and schools.  

Kate earned a Master of Social Welfare (MSW) with a concentration in Social and Economic Justice from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from American University in Washington, D.C. A passionate advocate for children and youth, Kate has served on the boards of Child Advocates of Silicon Valley and the Los Angeles Junior Chamber of Commerce, as chair of the LAJCC Foundation, and as a court-appointed special advocate (CASA) for foster youth.

ResearchGate Link here.

Chaoyue Wu

Chaoyue Wu is a first-year doctoral student in Social Welfare. She graduated with her LL.B. in social work from Beijing Institute of Technology and her M.A. in social policy from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. Her research interests include school violence, child maltreatment, child development, mental and behavioral health, and quantitative research methods.

Before joining the PhD program at the Luskin School of Public Affairs, she worked as a research assistant on diverse projects in different Chinese societies (Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), examining the risk factors for violence involvement and the negative impacts of victimization experience on mental and behavioral health among marginalized children and adolescents.

Chenglin Hong

Chenglin Hong is a first-year PhD student in Social Welfare at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. He earned his MSW and MPH from the School of Social  Work and Department of Global Health at the University of Washington, Seattle (UW).  

Chenglin’s research focuses on addressing HIV/STD-related disparities among  sexual and gender minorities (SGM), especially among communities of color. His current work aims to explore how human-centered design and engineering  (HCDE), social media, and new technologies can be utilized for health promotion  and disease prevention. He is particularly interested in examining factors  associated with HIV/STI testing and the uptake of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) and people  who use drugs. His long-term goal is to develop effective, evidence-based  interventions to decrease risk behaviors and health disparities among SGM by using online platforms and mobile apps.  

Chenglin is currently working on various research projects on HIV/STD treatment, care, and prevention in China, Uganda, Ukraine, and the Philippines with  researchers from the UW Department of Global Health/Psychology, Emory  University, and UCSF, etc. Before his graduate studies, he served as a clinical  social worker with people living with HIV in the Chinese Center for Disease Control  and Prevention (China CDC) and worked with US CDC, China CDC, and Gates Foundations to strengthen training and support for health care workers in the care  and treatment of people living with HIV in China. 

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. 

Jihyun Oh

Jihyun Oh earned her BA in Social Welfare at the Catholic University of Korea, her MA in Social Welfare at Seoul National University, and her MSW at the University of Washington (UW), Seattle. Prior to entering the UCLA doctoral program, in 2006-2011, she worked for various projects regarding measuring national minimum cost of living and producing Korean Welfare Panel Study data in the Division of Basic Social Security Research at the Korea Institute for Health and Social Affairs (a government-funded think tank). After completing her MSW, in 2017-2018, she interned in Partners for Our Children (UW-affiliated child welfare research center) in Seattle. Drawing on her research and practicum experiences in both Seoul and Seattle, Jihyun’s main research interest is child welfare and its association with relevant factors from both institutional and intergenerational contexts including parenting quality. Through her doctoral study at UCLA, Jihyun hopes to develop more comprehensive and systematic analysis that can contribute to improvements in child support policy and practice.

Stephanie Kathan

Stephanie Kathan (née Thorne) is a second year Social Welfare PhD student at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Stephanie earned her Master of Science in Social Work with a concentration in Administration and Policy Practice from the University of Texas at Austin and her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a minor in Sexuality Studies from the University of California at Davis. She has worked with children and families in diverse environments for several years, including providing equine therapy, volunteering at a crisis nursery, providing tutoring services, completing family assessments, and in social work case management. Additionally, Stephanie has experience in developmental psychology research and child welfare research. Before starting at UCLA, Stephanie was a Research Associate at a state-wide Texas child placing agency. Stephanie’s research interests include foster care systems in Los Angeles County. Stephanie is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Eta Tau chapter of Phi Alpha, the Social Work Honor Society.

Tam J. Guy

Tam J. Guy is a doctoral student in Urban Planning at UCLA’s Luskin School of Public Affairs. Tam explores how planners can and should create sustainable places for everyone by researching equity impacts at the intersection of transportation, housing, and green infrastructure.

Tam earned a BSBA in management and leadership from Portland State University while working as an analyst at a securities litigation firm and then completed dual masters degrees, MBA and MCMP, at the University of Utah in Business Administration (with emphases in strategy and innovation) and City + Metropolitan Planning (focused on smart growth, transportation, and urban design).

D. Michael Applegarth

Michael Applegarth is a third-year PhD student. He graduated with his bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) from Brigham Young University-Idaho and with his master’s degree in Social Work (MSW) from Brigham Young University. Michael’s primary area of interest within the correctional system involves the reentry process and the various challenges that accompany this process. Some of the specific factors of interest include examining how young adults with mental illness and substance use challenges navigate reintegrating into society; as well as, how individuals’ social networks, programing and treatment during incarceration, and system-level factors mitigate successful outcomes during the reentry process. Furthermore, he is interested in how correctional environments and conditions create barriers for individuals to engage in desistance.

Michael’s primary skill set includes quantitative data analysis, but he has also had some experience in qualitative interviewing. Michael worked as a research assistant with Professor Abrams from 2018-2020 on projects addressing MSW students’ responses to racial issues, interviewing individuals who were sentences to life without parole as juveniles, analyzing youths’ detention assessments, and evaluating reentry services of young adults exiting Los Angeles County Jail. Michael is currently serving in an assistantship with the National Institute of Justice as a research assistant contractor for this academic year. Michael has been listed as an author in articles published in the Marquette Law Review, Children and Youth Services Review, Journal of Military Medicine, Military Behavioral Health, and Armed Forces and Society. 

Dominique A. Mikell

Dominique Mikell obtained her BA in Philosophy with Honors from the Graduate School of Education from Stanford University and her MA degree from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. She worked as a Stoneleigh Emerging Leader Fellow at Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia as an extended foster care implementation researcher. Dominique’s research interests include adult functioning of former foster children and participatory and interpretive research methods.