Meet Our Ph.D. Students
Wendy Anderson (firstname.lastname@example.org) received her B.A. in Psychology and Asian Studies from St. Olaf College in 2003. After graduation, she worked as an Americorps volunteer teaching ACT preparation and college readiness classes to low-income, first generation high school students in St. Paul, MN. In 2007, Wendy earned her M.S.W. with a school social work concentration at the University of Illinois at Chicago. After completing her M.S.W., Wendy worked in the child protection court system for two years as an Advocate Supervisor for the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program. In 2009, Wendy moved to Cairo Egypt, where she worked as a Research Associate at the American University Cairo in the Psychology department studying civic engagement among Egyptian college students. Wendy’s broad research interests include child sexual abuse and child welfare policy. Wendy is currently working as a Research Assistant with Dr. Jane Gilgun and her advisor is Dr. Elizabeth Lightfoot.
Juliana Carlson (email@example.com ) received her B.A. in Psychology, with a focus on women's studies and theology from Hope College in 1992. After graduation she worked in the domestic violence field as a counselor/advocate. In 1999, she completed her AM at the University of Chicago, School of Social Service Administration. Upon graduating, she managed a new partnership between the University of Kansas School of Social Welfare and a community development organization, where social work students completed their internship. For the next five years, she worked on a team developing and implementing a family centered community organizing model for a local nonprofit. At the University of Minnesota, Juliana works as research assistant at the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse and the Center for the Advanced Study of Child Welfare. Her research interests include engaging parents as leaders and activists through community organizing, the structural analysis of poverty, and violence prevention. Her advisor is Dr. Elizabeth Lightfoot.
Gregg Colburn (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a dual degree M.S.W./Ph.D. student with a broad interest in poverty and homelessness. He is also interested in program evaluation for social service agencies in a time of reduced budgets. Gregg’s work with a variety of non-profit organizations over the last fifteen years has informed his research and academic interests. He comes to the field of social work following a seventeen-year career in business. Gregg received his B.A. in Economics and Management from Albion College. Beginning in 1995, he worked for institutional investment firms in New York, Chicago and Minneapolis. While in Chicago, he received an M.B.A. from Northwestern University’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Gregg’s advisor is Dr. David Hollister.
Tonya Cook (email@example.com) received her BA in Political Science and English from St. Olaf College and her MSW from the University of Minnesota. She worked for six years at a refugee resettlement agency, serving five years as the resettlement director. She has been involved in the founding of two ethnic community-based nonprofits in Minnesota and is passionate about the empowerment of refugee communities. Tonya’s research interests broadly include U.S. refugee resettlement policy, creating trauma-informed intervention models for refugee families and communities, measurements of wellbeing for resettled refugees, informal self-help networks, and community-based participatory research. At the University of Minnesota, she works with Dr. Patricia Shannon on the development of culturally-adapted mental health screening tools for newly-arrived refugees. Tonya is also pursuing a clinical social work license and works with Sue Johnston, LICSW, piloting a mental health treatment program in a community-based setting, currently with refugees from Burma.
Beth Cutter-Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a doctoral student interested in prevention and intervention research surrounding teen dating violence. She received her BA from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, and her M.S.W. from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She completed a post-graduate fellowship focusing on adolescent mental health at Harvard Medical School and Children’s Hospital-Boston. She currently holds a full-time position as the Rapid Response Coordinator for the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse (MINCAVA) as well a part-time position as a clinical social worker at Regions Hospital in St. Paul. Her research interests include creating meaningful prevention and intervention programs and screening tools for youth to reduce exposure to relationship violence. Beth’s advisor is Dr. Jeffrey Edleson.
Kofi Danso (email@example.com) received his B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Economics from the University of Cape Coast, Ghana. He has M.S.W. (Social and Economic Development and Research), and MPA with a specialization in Global Public Policy from George Warren Brown School of Social Work, Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and Humphrey School of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. Kofi's previous direct practice experiences include credit counseling with low income families and mental health case management. He also worked at the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis and the Council on Social Work Education. Currently Kofi serves as an instructor at Minnesota State University, Mankato. His current research interest includes social capital and health trajectory of immigrants and non-immigrants, health disparities among racial and ethnicity groups, poverty and international social development. His advisor is Dr. David Hollister. Curriculum vitae.
Alex Fink (firstname.lastname@example.org) received a B.A. in Cultural Studies and Philosophy from the University of Minnesota and is continuing his education in the dual degree M.S.W./Ph.D. Social Work program. Alex worked for several years in leadership education at the college level and has returned to that work as a Graduate Assistant in the Undergraduate Leadership Minor program, where he coordinates new instructor development and teaches several undergraduate leadership classes. Alex brings youth work and leadership development orientations to his social work, where he is interested in: youth cultural and political geographies and meaning making, mentoring relationships, and skill/craft/practice development models for social services practitioners. Alex's advisor is Dr. David Hollister.
Kristin Hamre (email@example.com) received her B.A. in Psychology, English, and Women’s Studies from St. Olaf College in 2000. She completed her Master’s in Public Health (MPH) at the University of Minnesota in 2010. During her MPH program, Kristin completed a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) fellowship, completing a comparative policy analysis on the use of seclusion and restraints in Minnesota and across the nation. Kristin also traveled to Zambia, Africa with the Twin Cities Zambia Disability Connection, working with local partners on strengthening policy, building advocacy, and improving the lives of people with disabilities. Her research interests include disability policy and services, and health and human rights. Kristin works as a Research Assistant at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration, where she is currently working on an interdisciplinary team exploring the prevalence of autism spectrum disorders in the Twin Cities Somali community. Kristin’s advisor is Dr. Elizabeth Lightfoot.
Renee Hepperlen (firstname.lastname@example.org) received her B.A. in psychology, with a double minor in music and biology, from Gustavus Adolphus College in St. Peter, MN. She then attended the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration, where she obtained an A.M. in clinical social work and participated as a Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Trainee. Prior to entering the Ph.D. program, Renee was employed for 15 years, including 8 years as a social worker assisting families that had young children with delays in their development. Her primary research interests include supports for families and individuals who have developmental delays and the early identification of autism. Renee presently assists with research at the University of Minnesota’s Institute on Community Integration and is a fellow through Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND). Her academic advisor is Dr. Elizabeth Lightfoot.
Elena Izaksonas (email@example.com) received her B.A. in cultural anthropology and M.S.W. at the University of Michigan. Following graduation, she worked at Latin@ serving agencies in Detroit, Michigan, and the Twin Cities. She then spent over 20 years as a social worker in the Public Social Welfare arena including Child Protection, Adolescent Parents and Developmental Disabilities. She has taught social work courses on social policy, research, direct practice, and culturally appropriate practice. She has conducted multiple trainings and has served as advisory in numerous community agencies. Elena’s research interests are rooted in her commitment to social justice by giving a scholarly voice to Latin@ concerns in the areas of family policy, migrant farmworker families, immigrants, and Latin@ adolescent educational disparities. Elena seeks to advance strengths based and empowerment theories as they apply to Latin@ communities. Her dissertation analyzes the responses of Latin@ adolescents to the Minnesota School Survey. Her advisor is Dr. Ron Rooney. Curriculum vitae.
Seok Won Jin
Seok Won Jin (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a doctoral student interested in qualitative and quantitative research with older adult immigrants diagnosed with cancer. He received a B.A. in German linguistics and literature from Yonsei University and an M.A. in Social Welfare from Kyung Hee University, South Korea. Additionally, he obtained an M.A. in Gerontology with a dual major in Wellness Management and a minor in Business from Ball State University. He received his M.S.W. from the University of Minnesota, focusing on directing practice (mental health) and became a licensed graduate social worker in Minnesota. At the University of Minnesota, he has worked as a research assistant of Dr. Hee Yun Lee. Seok Won’s research interests include prevention and coping strategies for immigrant/refugee cancer survivors and reducing health disparities among immigrants/refugees. His advisor is Dr. Helen Kivnick.
Annette Semanchin Jones
Annette Semanchin Jones (email@example.com) received a B.A. in English and Psychology, with a minor in Gender Studies from the University of Notre Dame. In 2001, she received her M.S.W. from the University of Minnesota, where she is currently a Ph.D. candidate. She has worked as a case manager in child welfare and as a community organizer with low-income parents, fueling her commitment to find innovative ways to support children and families. Her research interests include strengths-based child welfare initiatives, addressing racial disparities, and building social capital for parents and families. For her dissertation, Annette is examining the implementation of an alternative approach to working with families in the child welfare system, called Family Assessment Response, and exploring its impact on racial equity and child safety outcomes. She is a current recipient of a Dissertation Award through the Children’s Bureau Quality Improvement Center on Differential Response. Her advisor is Dr. Elizabeth Lightfoot. Curriculum vitae.
Ndii Kalomo (firstname.lastname@example.org) received her B.A. in Social Work from University of Namibia in 1997. After graduation, she worked for three years as a social worker at the , Women and Child Protection Unit, Windhoek, Namibia. She served survivors of sexual abuse and physical abuse, marital problems, family problems and HIV/AIDS related challenges with a special emphasis on counseling. She completed her M.S.W. at the University of Norwich, UK focusing on international child welfare issues. After her M.S.W., she took a position as a junior faculty in Social Work at the University of Namibia, in 2003. She taught, advised students, and designed community field placements for students. Over the years she has been involved in various projects related to the impact of HIV/AIDS on families in sub-Saharan Africa developed and interest. Ndii is interested in the grandparents caring for their grandchildren, who are either infected or affected by HIV/AIDS.
Parmananda Khatiwoda (email@example.com) is a doctoral student with a research interest in vital involvement and psychosocial health among refugee elders. He received his BA in English and Psychology from India (1996), MA in English from Nepal (2005), MSW from the University of Minnesota (2012), and an LGSW in Minnesota (2012). Parmananda was born in Bhutan, but lived in a refugee camp in Nepal between 1992 and 2008. He was one of the pioneers in starting education system in the Bhutanese refugee camps, and was a principal of a private high school in Kathmandu between 2000 and 2008. He came to Minnesota in 2008 through U.S. refugee resettlement program, and has also been actively involved in organizing and developing culturally appropriate programs and services in the Minnesota Bhutanese community. In 2006 he received “Ambassador of Peace Award” in Seoul for his contribution to positive change in the society. Parmananda’s advisor is Dr. Helen Kivnick.
Belle Khuu (firstname.lastname@example.org) received her BS in sociology, BA in philosophy and psychology with a minor in Asian American studies at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2003. After graduation, she worked as a clinical research coordinator for the University of Minnesota Department of Psychiatry Schizophrenia Program. Belle completed her MSW in mental health practice and MPH in community health education with a minor in prevention science. Belle is now a doctoral student in the School of Social Work. Belle is a research assistant for Richard M. Lee, PhD and Hee Yun Lee, PhD. Her social work program advisor is Hee Yun Lee, PhD. Belle’s overall research interest is cultural adaption and implementation of mental health promotion initiatives among Southeast Asian Americans. Her other research interests include: acculturation and acculturative stress among ethnic minorities, impact of ethnic identity on mental health outcomes, and social determinants of mental health disparities including health utilization behaviors.
Lisa R. Kiesel (email@example.com) received her BSW from Augsburg College in 1993, and her M.S.W. in 1996 from the University of Washington, Seattle. Her career in social work has included clinical practice within residential and day treatment programs for children and adolescents, outpatient community mental health with children, families, and individuals, school-based mental health and prevention services, and private practice. At the University of Minnesota, she works as a graduate assistant with the Gamble Skogmo endowment Chair. Her area of research interest is child welfare and child well-being. Lisa’s advisor is Dr. Elizabeth Lightfoot.
Rusudan Kilaberia, M.S.W., (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work, where she also completed her M.S.W. with a concentration in human services management. Rusudan is interested in the intersection of social work and gerontology, and in aging immigrants in particular. Rusudan held her Hartford Partnership Program for Aging Education (HPPAE) professional internships with the Minnesota Board on Aging, where she was involved in the activities of the senior nutrition taskforce, and the Refugee Programs Office at the Department of Human services, where she planned and conducted an outcomes evaluation of older refugee services. Rusudan has presented at conferences of the Gerontological Society of America and the American Society on Aging. Rusudan is a recipient of the 2011 AGE SW Gerontological Social Work Pre-Dissertation Initiative. Rusudan’s adviser is Professor David Hollister.
JaeRan Kim (email@example.com) received her BSW from Metropolitan State University and her M.S.W. from the University of Minnesota. She has worked with adults with mental health disabilities, in child welfare training for the MN Department of Human Services, as a Child Specific Adoption Recruiter at Hennepin County, and in post-adoption services at Minnesota Adoption Resource Network. JaeRan has been a Title IV-E Scholar and a Leadership and Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) Fellow. JaeRan is the program coordinator for the Permanency and Adoption Competency Certificate at the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare and her academic interests are in adoption, children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and social media. JaeRan’s dissertation research explores the intersection of internationally adopted children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the child welfare system. JaeRan’s advisor is Jeff Edleson.
Ericka Kimball (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a doctoral candidate interested in the prevention of violence against women and children. She received her B.S.W. from the College of St. Catherine and her M.S.W. from Augsburg College. Currently, Ericka works as a medical social worker at Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis; teaches in the M.S.W. programs at the University of Minnesota and Augsburg College; and is a Research Assistant at the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse working on a project promoting informal social support for children exposed to domestic violence. Her research interests include the benefits of formal and informal social support in violence prevention and the use of technology in social work research, practice and education. She plans to complete her dissertation studying the effects of social support on parental resilience among fathers exposed to domestic violence as children. Ericka's advisor is Dr. Jeffrey L. Edleson. Curriculum vitae.
Tammy Kincaid (email@example.com ) received her Bachelor of Social Work from Minnesota State University Moorhead in 1986. After graduation, she spent two years working with Adults with Developmental Disabilities. She then spent 20+ years working at a suburban Minnesota county as a social worker and social services supervisor in Child Protective Services. She is currently working as the Director of Human Services in a suburban/rural mix county in western Wisconsin. She completed her M.S.W. at the University of Minnesota in 2005, focusing on direct practice as a child welfare scholar. She also earned a Master of Public Affairs degree with an emphasis on Social Policy. Tammy’s research interests include family and child welfare policy and evaluation, inter-generational programs, social work workforce development, and human services financing and administration. Tammy currently works as a Research Assistant with her advisor, Dr. Ron Rooney.
Michael Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org) has worked for nearly fifteen years as an advocate, organizer, and researcher in the LGBT community. As an undergraduate, he founded Michigan State University’s first queer literary magazine, which highlighted the first-person stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students. Michael’s subsequent pursuit of an M.S.W. at Michigan State led him to work in HIV/AIDS prevention, primarily with the Minnesota AIDS Project. Michael’s accomplishments include implementing an evidence-based HIV prevention program; managing a large, metro-wide volunteer program; federal grant writing; and, overseeing major fundraising events. Michael’s Doctoral interests include mixed methods research, teaching, and evaluation studies, with a specific interest in the formation and maturation processes of LGBT community organizations. He currently works as a research assistant for Dr. Colleen Fisher while teaching part-time at St. Cloud State University. He has also worked as a research assistant for his advisor, Dr. Jean Quam.
Mihwa Lee (email@example.com) is a doctoral student interested in aging. She received her B.A in Gerontology and Social Work from Seoul Women’s University and M.A in Lifelong Education focusing on educational gerontology from Seoul National University in South Korea. During her M.A, she worked as an assistant researcher in several research projects including “Human Resource Development (HRD) Strategies for The Middle and Old Aged as Lifelong Learning”, “Learning history and Learning Outcomes investigate of Successful Leader”, and “Elderly Education Policy and the Current Situation”. She also spent two years as an education volunteer coordinator with elderly at a local nonprofit. Her research interests include productive and civic engagement in later life, and community services to older adults. Mihwa currently works as Research Assistant with her advisor, Dr. Hee Lee.
Shawyn Lee (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a doctoral student interested in research examining how LGBTQ identities impact over all experiences of transracial and intercountry adoptees. Shawyn received a B.S.W. from St. Thomas University and an M.S.W. from the University of Minnesota. Having worked as a community practice social worker at Family & Children's Service (now the Family Partnership), the University of Minnesota, and Hamline University, much of Shawyn's professional experience has been in and with LGBTQ communities as an organizer and social justice advocate. Additionally, Shawyn has taught undergraduate BSW courses at St. Catherine University and the College of St. Scholastica. Returning again to the University of Minnesota, Shawyn works as a Research Assistant with CASCW doing research in foster care and the juvenile justice system. Shawyn's advisor is Dr. Jeff Edleson.
Missy Lundquist (email@example.com) is a doctoral student interested in the impact of a parental cancer diagnosis on the well-being of the whole family. She received her B.A. in Psychology and Health from Gustavus Adolphus College and her M.S.W. from Fordham University. For more than ten years, she has worked as an oncology social worker with families facing a parental cancer diagnosis while raising dependent children. In 2010, she was a recipient of the Doctoral Training Grant in Oncology Social Work from the American Cancer Society. Her research interests include gaining a better understanding of the experience of those families navigating the challenges of a parental cancer diagnosis while raising children, and creating intervention strategies that address the needs of both the parents and their children.
Kao Nou L. Moua
Kao Nou L. Moua (firstname.lastname@example.org) received her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Montana-Missoula in 2006. In 2009, she completed her MSW at the University of Montana-Missoula. She has over 10 years of experience working with youth on integrating leadership skills and social justice issues focused on racism, sexism, and homophobia. Her research interests include youth development and empowerment, intergenerational trauma, and Hmong cultural and ethnic identity development. Kao Nou’s advisor is Dr. Michael Baizerman.
Hoa Nguyen (email@example.com) completed her B.A. in English at Hanoi University, Vietnam and earned the M.S.W. at the University of Minnesota, USA. Her research interests include violence against women, poverty and economic empowerment, immigration related issues and program evaluation. Prior coming to the United States, she worked at the Institute of Policy and Strategies for Agriculture and Rural Development on various foreign aid projects. She also worked as an interpreter for an HIV/AIDS project associated with the United Nations Development Program. Hoa won an Interdisciplinary Dissertation Fellowship and plans to do her dissertation about online financial literacy for battered women. Hoa’s advisor is Dr. David Hollister.
Mary Nienow (firstname.lastname@example.org) is the Executive Director at Child Care WORKS. She spent several years as the lead researcher on Health and Human Services for the Minnesota Senate DFL Caucus. Mary has a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota and over a decade of experience in research, teaching, advocacy, programcoordination, policy development and analysis in early childhood and community service organizations. Mary was the co-founder of Grasstops, a nonprofit advocacy organization that assists nonprofits and small community groups with their policy and advocacy goals. Her advisor is Dr. Wendy Haight. Mary's reserach interests include child care policy and the role of macro practice in the field of social work.
Kelly Nye-Lengerman (email@example.com) is a Ph.D. student interested in disability and employment, integrated employment initiatives, Autism, and human service management. Kelly is a Training Coordinator at the University of Minnesota's Institute on Community Integration where she works with the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (LEND) program and College of Direct Support (CDS). Prior to her work at the University she worked for community rehabilitation providers in SE Minnesota. Kelly has spent over 13 years working with individuals and families affected by disability. She is also involved with MN Association for Professionals in Supported Employment (APSE) and the MN Employment First Coalition. Kelly is an instructor at St. Mary's University in the Graduate School of Health and Human Service Administration. She received her bachelor degree in Social Work from Luther College and her M.S.W. degree from the University of Minnesota. She is also a licensed graduate social worker (LGSW) in Minnesota.
Susan Rickers (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Ph.D. student interested in spirituality and social work. She received her B.A. in Anthropology and M.S.W. from the University of Minnesota. She worked for four years as a medical social worker and nine years as a school social worker in rural Minnesota and Wisconsin. She has taught Human Behavior and the Social Environment at the University of Minnesota. Susan is interested in the implications of spirituality for both social work practice and social work education. She plans to complete a qualitative dissertation on the experience of self-compassion among social work practitioners. Susan currently works as a Research Assistant at the Center for Applied Research and Educational Improvement at the University of Minnesota. Her advisor is Dr. Jeffrey Edleson. Curriculum vitae.
Narae Shin (email@example.com) is a doctoral candidate interested in violence against women and children. Narae earned her M.S.W. from Seoul National University and B.A. in Social Welfare and Psychology from Catholic University of Korea, South Korea. During and after her M.S.W., she had practiced intervention programs for court-ordered domestic violence offenders, juvenile sexual offenders and female survivors in Korea. Currently, Narae has worked on the Child Exposure to Domestic Violence (CEDV) research project by developing and testing a CEDV scale with Dr. Jeffrey Edleson. By using it, as a co-investigator, she has conducted a quantitative survey research named Children’s Perception of Parents in Domestic Violence Families (CPP) study with Dr. Edleson as well. Based on the findings of CPP study, Narae is doing her dissertation about parent-child relationships in the context of domestic violence. Narae’s advisor is Dr. Edleson. Curriculum vitae.
Shweta (firstname.lastname@example.org) received her Masters in Community Resource Management and Extension from University of Delhi, India, in 2006. After graduation, she spent two years working as a consultant with the Government of India, implementing and monitoring various health programs for women and children. Shweta's research interests include health issues among immigrant women, social networks, and maternal and child health. For her Ph.D. dissertation, she is looking at the relationships between social networks and cervical cancer screening behavior of Hmong women. Shweta is currently working as a Research Assistant with the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare. Shweta’s advisor is Dr. Elizabeth Lightfoot. Curriculum vitae.
Jennifer Simmelink (email@example.com) is a doctoral candidate interested in the intersection of trauma, culture and drug and alcohol use in refugee communities and post-conflict settings. She received her B.A. from the University of Minnesota in English and Anthropology and her M.S.W. from the University of Washington in Seattle. She has five years of post-M.S.W. direct-practice experience as a drug and alcohol counselor and as a social work program manager at an emergency food program where she supervised B.S.W. and M.S.W. students. She has taught foundation-level M.S.W. policy courses. At the University of Minnesota, she has received a doctoral minor in Human Rights and has worked as a research assistant for the Healing in Partnership project, which is developing and testing a brief mental health screening tool for resettling refugees. Her research interests include refugee mental health, integrating human rights and social work, drug and alcohol use in refugee communities, international social work, and drug and alcohol prevention and intervention development. Jennifer’s advisors are Dr. Elizabeth Lightfoot in the School of Social Work and Dr. Liz Wieling in the Department of Family Social Science. Curriculum vitae.
Sarah Thilmony (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a doctoral student interested in researching the effectiveness of utilizing animals for therapy, specifically the use of horses, with individuals who have mental and/or physical disabilities. She received her BSW from Minnesota State University-Moorhead in 2007, volunteered at a therapeutic horseback riding program - Riding on Angels Wings - and worked as a hospital social worker with chemically dependent and mentally ill adults after graduation. She received her MSW and a certificate in animal-assisted social work from the University of Denver in 2009. While attending school in Denver, she interned as a therapist at the Mental Health Center of Denver in the children’s day program, utilizing a therapy dog/handler team. She also conducted research on the effectiveness of equine therapy with children with disabilities. At the University of MN, she works as a Research Assistant with Dr. Elizabeth Lightfoot, who also acts as her advisor.
Valandra (email@example.com) is a doctoral candidate interested in translational research with culturally diverse populations. She is an Assistant Professor teaching in the M.S.W. program at the University of St. Thomas/St. Catherine University. She received her M.S.W. from the University of Minnesota and worked as a child protection worker and area training manager for the IV-E Minnesota Child Welfare Training System for six years. She teaches across the social work curricula in both undergraduate and graduate programs in the areas of social work foundation, practice, policy, and research. Valandra has conducted research as a principal investigator in the areas of African American women’s recovery from prostitution and minority students in higher education. Her research interests include creating culturally responsive sexual and domestic violence prevention services and policies with families disproportionately represented in urban communities and the child welfare system. Valandra’s advisors are Dr. Jane Gilgun, and Dr. Priscilla Gibson. Curriculum vitae.
Tasha Brynn Walvig (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a Ph.D. candidate interested in policy research on welfare reform, particularly Minnesota’s implementation of TANF. She received her undergraduate degree in psychology and English from Macalester College, and her M.S.W. from the University of Minnesota. She has worked as a Women’s Advocate for survivors of domestic violence and as an Employment Counselor for families participating in the Minnesota Family Investment Program. Tasha is currently employed by the Minnesota Center for Twin and Family Research. Her advisor is Dr. James Reinardy.
Courtney Kellerman Wells (email@example.com) received her B.A. in Psychology and French from St. Catherine University and completed an MPH (Maternal and Child Health) and M.S.W. at the University of Minnesota. In 2010-2011 she completed the Leadership Education in Adolescent Health (LEAH) program at the University of Minnesota Medical School. Courtney is passionate about improving the lives of young people living with chronic and terminal illness through clinical and community practice, research, and teaching. Her specific interests include: grief and loss, adolescent identity development, resiliency promotion, and training health care professionals. Courtney currently does research in the School of Social Work with Helen Kivnick and faculty in the department of Pediatrics at the University of Minnesota Medical School and is an adjunct professor in the Psychology department at St. Catherine University.