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Social Work PhD students


Isaac M. Akapnitis, LMSW (They/He)

Research Interests: My research interests include health equity, mental health, and suicide prevention among queer and trans/nonbinary (TGNB) youth and young adults, especially from a policy perspective.


Michela Bou Ghosn

Michela Bou Ghosn

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Research Interests: Mental health prevention; Lived experience of depression; Recovery perspective; Latino(a) emotional well-being.


Ann Carver

Ann Carver
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Research Interests: Adoption and foster care practice outcomes; Foster care and adoption policy and program evaluation; Simulation and gaming for culturally competent social work; Racial disparities and social justice; Public speaking and cross-cultural communication



Renee Garbe
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Research Interests: Gerontology; Healthcare disparities; Social support; Social networks; Intervention research  


Molly Gebler-Wolfe (She/Her/Hers)
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Research Interests: My overall research focus is on maternal and infant health and well-being. I am interested in parental practices that support a healthy attachment between an infant and their caregiver and that promote reciprocity between the dyad.



Mónica Gutierrez
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Research Interests: Her research focuses on how structural and institutional racism affects the inequitable distribution of power, land, and other resources for racial and ethnic minorities. She is particularly interested in place-based identity, power, and mobility in Latina/o communities.


Elizabeth Hatch (She/Her/Hers)

Research Interests: I am interested in examining how the historical systematic oppression of marginalized populations in the US influence the patterns of economic, social, and cultural human rights realization through qualitative work, evaluation of policy, and geospatial analysis.


Kimberly Hogan

Kimberly Hogan
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Research Interests: Sex trafficking intervention research; Homeless and runaway youth; LGBTQ youth and young adults


Nidia Hernandez (She/Her/Ella)
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Research Interests: Latinx mental health, cultural and linguistically inclusive evidence-based interventions for BIPOC communities, holistic interventions for substance use, HIV/AIDS prevention among communities of color, birth to five developmental interventions and assessments, and immigration policy.


G. Trey Jenkins (He/Him)

Research Interests: I am interested in recovery and the broad spectrum of recovery services, specifically, I am interested in understanding the ways in which marginalized people and communities maintain recovery and heal.


Cynthia Mackey (She/Her/Hers)

Research Interests:


Marisol Marroquín (She/Her/Hers)

Research Interests: My research aims to understand the intersectional impact of mental dis/ability and Latinx ethnic status using Dis/ability Critical Race Studies (DisCrit). My proposed study aims to create a deeper understanding of the experiences of Latinx young adults with autism symptomology.


Cherra Mathis (She/Her/Hers)

Research Interests: I'm interested in the potential of social work + legal collaborations to support the rights of detained refugees and asylum seekers. I am also interested in issues of gender based violence, crimmigration, and forced migration.



Andrea Kappas-Mazzio (She/Her/Hers)
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Research Interests: My research and applied projects focus on examining trauma-informed complementary and alternative medicines, with an emphasis on yoga and mindfulness, among individuals with intimate partner violence experiences through a feminist trauma framework.


Laura E. Law (She, Her, Hers)

Research Interests: I’m interested in using participatory methods to engage in research related to equitable community development. My specific issues of interest include meaningful workforce opportunities for people with multiple barriers, homelessness and housing, and climate change and its disproportionate effects on historically marginalized communities.


Charlene Poola

Charlene Poola
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Research Interests: Evidence-based practice process; American Indian behavioral health systems; School mental health; Clinical supervision 


Melanie Reyes (She/Her/Hers)
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Research Interests: I am interested in examining the impact of social work education mode of delivery (online versus in-person) on changing students' levels of empathy.


Emily Saeteurn

Research Interests: I am interested in maternal health and well-beingh. Specifically, I am interested in the lived experience of women who have traumatic pregnancy/childbirth/postpartum and the impact these experiences have on their children and families. I am also interested in health disparities and parenting during pandemic.  


DeShay Thomas
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Research Interests: Behavioral health disparities, particularly in ethnic, gender and sexual minority communities; Social-cultural ideologies and help-seeking processes; Multicultural feminist perspectives in health disparities research 


Anthony Thornton
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Research Interests: Child welfare and well-being; Foster care direct practice interventions and outcomes; Mitigating the social-emotional risk factors associated with trauma; Insecure attachments; Adverse childhood experiences


Kalah Villagrana (She/Her/Hers)
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Research Interests: I am interested in interprofessional collaboration between child welfare serving systems, with a focus on collaboration between professionals working in child welfare agencies and schools to improve educational and well-being outcomes for children and youth involved in the child welfare system