Julia Lesnick

Julia Lesnick

PhD Student


B.S in Human Development, Cornell University

Areas of Interest:

Community Activism and Leadership, Mental and Behavioral Health, Service Accessibility, Youth Justice, Youth Thriving



Julia is a first year MSW-PhD student. Her research focuses on understanding how mental and behavioral health services can be applied to support thriving of young people impacted by the carceral system, foster care, and struggling with their mental health. The goal of her work is to partner with youth and community leaders to expand accessibility to services, resources, and opportunities that promote youth wellbeing and support the transition to adulthood. Her specific areas of inquiry include understanding and addressing structural causes of youth crime, community-based and positive youth development responses to youth justice, and youth leadership in systems advocacy and social service decision making.

Currently, Julia is a graduate research assistant for the Youth-Justice Node of the Life Course Intervention Research Network. 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.