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GSSWGraduate School of Social Work

PhD Student Directory

  • Stephanie Begun

    Stephanie Begun

    Stephanie is a mixed methods researcher who focuses on reproductive health and decision-making among homeless youth—specifically, how policies and community-based research interventions may work in tandem to positively impact homeless women's reproductive health access and outcomes. Stephanie's goal is to conduct research that enables a broader understanding of this complex topic, while also reflecting a strong commitment to social justice and anti-oppressive practice.
  • Erin Boyce

    Erin Boyce

    Erin is investigating social work practices related to direct, indirect and secondary trauma among those exposed to childhood sexual abuse disclosures.
  • Hagit Brandes

    Hagit Brandes

    Hagit is investigating the efficacy of animal-assisted intervention use in aggression reduction.

  • Samantha Brown

    Samantha Brown

    Samantha is interested in research that evaluates outcomes for children exposed to traumatic experiences and the impact this might have on social, emotional, and developmental functioning. Her research interests also include child resiliency, particularly factors that mediate the relationship between child maltreatment and the development of trauma-related symptomology.

  • Eric DesMarais

    Eric DesMarais

    Eric is interested in international social work with a focus on the development of transnational networks and their effects on human security, human trafficking, migration and development.
  • Rebecca Durbahn

    Rebecca Durbahn

    Rebecca is studying innovative interventions for children and adolescents with a history of trauma and mental health, particularly the impact of innovative interventions on symptoms of PTSD.
  • Inna Altschul

    Jordan Farrar

    Jordan's research focuses on the international community, specifically Africa. Her primary research investigates the effect of armed conflict on youth and the utilization of disarmament, demobilization and reintegration strategies when intervening at the individual level. Other research interests focus on the effect of armed conflict on community and the family, as well as the use of a resilience perspective when analyzing and proposing community-based interventions.
  • Jie Feng

    Jie Feng

    Jie's research focuses on multicultural-community practice, particularly women's issues and empowerment, as well as international program development and management, and social work administration.
  • Badiah Haffejee

    Badiah Haffejee

    Badiah's research interest is in the intersection of immigration policy, particularly as it relates to refugee women in the United States. Other interests include community development-specifically toward the empowerment of refugee women and youth in urban communities. Her current research investigates African refugee student outcomes in an after school program, specifically looking at culturally responsive social work practices, as it applies to a collectivist-oriented culture.
  • Ashley Hanna

    Ashley Hanna

    Ashley is investigating the intersection of social work and various immigration issues. Her research interests include: 1) the effects of anti-immigrant policies and practices on the well-being of unauthorized immigrants, persons in mixed-status families, and the larger Latino community; 2) the effect of stigmatization on unauthorized immigrants and their families; and 3) the stress experienced by mixed-status Latino families due to the constant threat of detainment and/or deportation of unauthorized family members.
  • Lin Jiang

    Lin Jiang

    Lin's research interest is gerontology, especially comparing Chinese and American older adults' online activities/computer-based communication (i.e., voice chat, IM, 3D online games, emails, Facebook, YouTube and blogs). Specific examples include online social support and communication among senior citizens, civic engagement and older adults seeking online health information.
  • Shanna Katz Kattari

    Shanna Katz Kattari

    Shanna is examining sexuality in marginalized communities, particularly LGBTQ individuals and people with disabilities. She is also interested in  understanding how power, privilege and oppression play roles in systematically marginalizing, excluding, discriminating against and shaming people around their sexual identities/expressions through negative attitudes, policies reinforcing oppression and isolation.
  • Songmin Kim

    Songmin Kim

    Songmin is investigating how evidence-based social work interventions can include spirituality, particularly in community social work practice.
  • Susanne Klawetter

    Susanne Klawetter

    Susanne Klawetter,LCSW, is interested in examining social determinants of maternal and child health disparities. Topics of interest include intergenerational health patterns, gendered oppression, the application of a life course perspective in research and practice, and qualitative or mixed-methods approaches to engaging in community-based participatory research with marginalized women and children as it relates to health.
  • Chris Knoepke

    Chris Knoepke

    Chris' research interests include quality-of-life issues in cardiac care, particularly interventions that reduce anxiety provoked by health interventions.
  • Lisa Langenderfer

    Lisa Langenderfer

    Lisa's research focuses on intimate partner violence, including partner violence among high-risk youth and perpetrator intervention.
  • Angela Lavery Benson

    Angela Lavery

    Angela's interests include intervention research involving older adults, specifically in the areas of end-of-life care and the use of animal-assisted interventions, social work interventions with incarcerated older adults, and the salutary effects of empathic relationships between companion animals and older adults.
  • Jessica Lo

    Jessica Lo

    Jessica is studying child welfare and experiences of children in foster care and their identity development. Additionally, Lo has in interest in trauma and adult life outcomes, LGBT issues and the relationship between sexuality and religion.
  • Jennifer Martin

    Jennifer Martin

    Jennifer's research interests include establishing best practices for training geriatric social workers, developing new leaders in the field of gerontology, promoting professional ethics in management and fostering organizational change in nonprofit agencies.
  • Shelby McDonald

    Shelby McDonald

    Shelby is investigating the etiology of aggressive and nonaggressive antisocial behavior in children and adolescents. Her research interests also include the application of a risk-and-resiliency approach to prevention-and-intervention strategies aimed at promoting physical and mental health outcomes among children exposed to intimate partner violence.
  • Ann Obermann

    Ann Obermann

    Ann's research focuses on the organizational health of human service organizations and how this directly effects client outcomes and their quality of services. In addition, she is looking at direct and or vicarious trauma's effect on an organization, its employees and those it serves.
  • Ashley O'Connor

    Ashley O'Connor

    Ashley's research interests include community and occupational reintegration of returning veterans, including animal-assisted psychiatric rehabilitation.
  • Jennifer Pearson

    Jennifer Pearson

    Jennifer's research interests include ethical standards for animal-assisted interventions, psychopathologies of the human-animal bond, and the intersection of animal welfare, human health and the environment.
  • Stephanie Lechuga Pena

    Stephanie Lechuga Peña

    Stephanie is researching parent engagement and academic achievement for Mexican American/Chicano/a students. She focuses on intervention research to engage families and build community cohesion to improve their health, the health of their children, and the performance of their children's schools.

  • Nick Schau

    Nick Schau

    Nick is examining how social structures and institutions impact the expression and onset of severe mental illness, the intersection of marginalized identities and severe mental illness, and the psychosocial impact of mental illness on family members.
  • Chris Veeh

    Chris Veeh

    Chris' primary research area is the community reintegration, and desistance process of both juvenile and adult incarcerated populations. He is also interested in transdiscplinary approaches to social work research, especially those involving neuroscience and biomarker data.
  • Darren Whitfield

    Darren Whitfield

    Darren is identifying and understanding critical health needs for gay men in the United States, particularly how systems of oppression influence health outcomes for gay men of color. Currently his work focuses on the psychosocial and cultural factors that may play a role in the disparity of HIV infection for young black gay and bisexual men