PhD Social Welfare Cohort viewbooks:

2021 Cohort 

2020 Cohort 

Tess Abrahamson-Richards  is a citizen of the Spokane Tribe, the United States, and England. She received her BA from Seattle University and MPH here at the UW in Health Services/Maternal and Child Health. Her primary research interests are in the overlapping domains of maternal behavioral health promotion and early childhood service delivery within American Indian communities. Much of her professional experience has been in home visiting service delivery, research, and evaluation. For the past 5 years, Tess has worked on a multisite study partnering with 17 tribal home visiting programs throughout the nation to better understand what supports successful and effective early childhood program implementation in Native communities.  E-mail:

Eric Agyeman  is a first-generation college student from Ghana, West Africa. He obtained his Bachelor’s in Business Administration and Management from the Methodist University College of Ghana and a Master’s in Social Work with a concentration in policy and administrative practice from the University of Washington. Prior to his MSW, he founded a non-profit, Cheerful Hearts Foundation to end child trafficking in the West African fishing industry. Eric’s childhood experiences as a former child laborer led to his passion and commitment in addressing child labor and trafficking issues in Ghana, West Africa and global. Since 2008, Eric collaborated with the department of social welfare Ghana, international human rights organizations, trained community-based anti-trafficking advocacy groups, and organized child rights education that led to the rescue to over 750 victims of trafficking in Ghana. His master’s thesis used interrupted time series analyses to assess the impact of a program to reduce child trafficking he developed and implemented in a fishing community in Ghana. Aside from presenting his community-based trafficking research at various international conferences and universities across the United States, his work has been published by local and international media including the Guardian, El Pais, BBC, and Al Jazeera. He is currently a reviewer for the human trafficking journal of the United States. His research interests are to develop effective community-based child trafficking prevention interventions and to use his research to influence social policies in Ghana and Global. His goal is to return to Ghana and work with the Department of Social Welfare and teach at the University of Ghana’s Social Work department.  E-mail:

Santino (Tino) Camacho is a Queer CHamoru scholar from the island of Guåhan (Guam). He’ll be returning to UW as a triple dawg. In his first year, he is excited to continue the work he has been doing over the summer with Dr. Michael Spencer and the Indigenous Wellness Research Institute to create a model for COVID-19 Economic Recovery for and in collaboration with WA Pacific Islander communities. Tino’s research interests include the development of culturally rooted/adapted health promotion interventions for Queer, Transgender and other Indigenous Pacific Islanders; the use of indigenous methodologies and community-based research methods in the collection and use of QTPI and Indigenous Pacific Islanders' health data; and the practice of CHamoru and Pasifika ethics and praxis in conducting scientific research of health disparities of Indigenous communities. While accomplishing his Master’s in Public Health at the UW, Tino worked with the Guam Department of Public Health and Social Services to establish Title X sexual and reproductive health services at their Northern Community Health Center. His thesis work used community-based participatory research principles to ascertain the health concerns and needs of Queer and Transgender Pacific Islanders in the greater Puget Sound Area.   E-mail:

Kelsey Conrick  received a BA in Cell Biology from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama and an MPH from the University of Washington Department of Health Services. She has worked at the Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center (HIPRC) for three years. For her first project, she used qualitative methods to interview homeless patients who were part of an intensive case management program aimed at intervening on the frequent use of Emergency Department services. Later, she coordinated a national effort to set the agenda for and work towards eliminating disparities in injury entitled, “Injury-related Health Equity across the Lifespan.” Currently, Kelsey coordinates the Return to Learn after concussion program, which assists school nurses in facilitating students’ return to the classroom after concussion. She has also coordinated the writing for several equity-focused grants and co-directs HIPRC’s INSIGHT summer internship program for high school students. Employing her background in relational organizing, Kelsey enjoys working with communities to recognize strengths and address needs, rather than assuming needs and acting on their behalf. She firmly believes that discerning the needs of communities while engaging as partners with them increases the likelihood of success in every step of the research process, from recruitment of participants to translation of research into practice and policy. Kelsey’s current research interests include using community-engaged research methods to ameliorate disparities in the incidence of, treatment for, and outcomes after injury and violence. E-mail:

Anna Constantino-Pettit completed a BA from Washington University in St. Louis (’12) and subsequently a Masters in Social Work (MSW) from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University (’14). Anna focused her graduate coursework on clinical approaches to reducing emotional and behavioral dysregulation, with an emphasis on intergenerational effects of traumatic stress. She also completed the certificate with the WU Center for Violence and Injury Prevention, which afforded her the opportunity to collaborate with Washington University researchers in both the Schools of Medicine and Social Work. Following her graduate studies, Anna assumed the role of clinical research coordinator for the Washington University Perinatal Behavioral Health Service (PBHS), which provides education, screening, and intervention for mothers with perinatal mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders at Barnes Jewish Hospital, Washington University School of Medicine, and St. Louis Children’s Hospital.  In her ongoing work with PBHS, Anna provides both therapy and case management services for women with infants in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, has written several successful grant applications to secure financial support for the program, has advocated for universal trauma-informed screening within the hospital system, and has collaborated on scholarly papers and academic presentations of the program’s innovations and impact. She was awarded an inaugural fellowship in advanced practice of Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) by the STL Center for Family Development, and works intensively with adolescents in the transition to adulthood who can benefit from this evidence-based intervention. She hopes to dedicate her research career to advancing trauma-informed clinical interventions for mothers during the perinatal period in order to interrupt intergenerational cycles of traumatic stress and promote healthy attachment and infant development.  Email:

Henry Joel Crumé earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy from the University of Oregon (2009).  After earning his BA, Joel taught English abroad in both South Korea and Mexico (2010-12). Joel earned his MSW from California State University, Fullerton (2014). As a MSW candidate at Cal State Fullerton, Joel participated in the California Social Work Education Center (CALSWEC) Title IV-E Stipend program specializing in public child welfare. After the completion of his MSW, Joel has been working with transitional-age youth as a public child welfare social worker in Richmond, California. Joel is interested in working with high-risk youth and researching interventions that promote reform in juvenile justice policy and practice. Email:                                       

Adam Davis  earned a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Texas at Austin and an MSW with a clinical focus at the University of Kentucky. Prior to pursuing a career in social work, Adam worked in a variety of settings including agriculture, insurance, and cooperative housing. During his MSW, Adam became passionate about research and was able to assist with secondary analysis of mixed-methods data on professionals who worked with victims of sex trafficking of minors in Kentucky. He has since been practicing clinical social work in a state psychiatric hospital that primarily serves involuntary patients with severe mental illness. Adam's clinical pursuits have been largely focused on working with individuals with cluster b personality disorders and traits. Adam has worked in clinical and leadership roles in the hospital and is currently working to improve continuity of care between the hospital and community mental health agencies across 50 counties. This experience in working with individuals facing significant marginalization as well as the ethical challenges inherent in working within a social welfare system with many gaps motivated the desire to pursue an academic career. Adam's research interests primarily involve strengthening the philosophical basis of the social work profession. More specifically, he is interested in exploring empirical methods to improve ethical practice as well as identifying ways to improve service delivery for individuals with personality disorders and traits.  Email:

Hazal Erçin graduated from the department of Sociology at Middle East Technical University (METU), Ankara, Turkey; Hazal Ercin has conducted and participated in several field studies and research.  After her graduation, she had a chance to be a project assistant in a field study during which she could practice qualitative and quantitative research techniques.  Then for a year, Hazal Ercin worked in a special vocational high school that provides scholarships to students in need of economic assistance. Meanwhile, she became a graduate student at Social Policy Program at METU.  Her graduate term papers revolved around three main issues: Family, Elderly and Welfare. Also, she has attended to international conferences both as presenter and audience. Hazal has finished her master thesis about women with breast cancer and their caregivers based on a deep literature review and semi-structured in-depth interviews. She discussed experiences, needs and expectations of women with breast cancer and caregivers and tried to recommend evidence based health and social policies. Now she gained the scholarship program provided by the Ministry of National Education of Turkey which will cover her expenses during her PhD education.  Her interests are Social Policy, Health Policy, Gender, Aging, Palliative Care, Family Policies, and Disparities in Health Care.  E-mail:

Taurmini Fentress earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Oregon. While completing this degree, Taurmini worked in the anthropology department on projects relating to food insecurity, poverty, culture, policy, and food choice in district elementary and middle schools. This research was dedicated to deepening the understanding of the relationships between food choice, food education, and school district policy and the impact this has on the health and wellbeing of children. After leaving the University of Oregon, she continued this work with a comparison study in Oviedo, Spain. Taurmini then came to the University of Washington where she completed her MSW and MPA while also working towards a graduate level certificate in Global Public Health specializing in women, adolescents, and children. She has been employed at the West Coast Poverty Center for the last three years where she has had the opportunity to continue working to bridge the gaps between research, policy, and practice. Taurmini’s long-term research interests are in stress and its effects on the body and mind across generations; she hopes to use stress as a through line linking individual experiences to culture and societal structures while exploring how interventions can be made at the population level. She is committed to transdisciplinary, multi-level, and impact-oriented work. E-mail:

Matthew Frank is an enrolled member of the Navajo Nation from Shiprock, New Mexico. Matthew has his MSW and MPH from the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. His research interests are on racial and ethnic health disparities and the role of social determinants of health, particularly how socioeconomic position and social context affect health and health disparities in Native Americans. E-mail:

Kilohana Haitsuka Welina! ʻO Kilohana koʻu inoa. Ua noho au i Anahola ma Kauaʻi a Manokalanipō. He wahine Hawaiʻi au. He moʻopuna au. He kaikamahine au. He kaikuahine au. ʻO kēia nā mea waiwai i kuʻu puʻuwai. Kilohana Haitsuka is the proud product of Kānaka Maoli from Anahola, Kauaʻi and Japanese settlers from Kāneʻohe, Oʻahu. She loves her community, and their needs and voices will always be at the forefront of her work. Her research is culturally guided and grounded in Indigenous research methodologies that advocate for community participation and respectful engagement. She recently completed her work at Hā Kūpuna, the National Resource Center for Native Hawaiian Elders. She is also happy to be continuing her work with the wonderful team from Mauli Ola Mālamalama at Papa Ola Lōkahi.  E-mail:

Vern Harner received their MSW from Arizona State University, focusing on community and systems-level practice. Vern's experience includes leading a program aimed at reducing binge drinking in Phoenix's LGBTQ community, facilitating peer support groups through Ingersoll Gender Center in Seattle, organizing trans/queer student groups, and more. Vern is currently pursuing a PhD in Social Welfare at the University of Washington. Drawing on their experience advocating for trans and queer issues, Vern's current work focuses on intergenerational knowledge and support in transgender communities. Vern believes that by learning how trans communities have supported one another, social workers can be better poised to create programs leveraging these strengths. Additionally, they are a research associate on the current Trans Bodies, Trans Selves research team and host T-Time (trans open office hours) throughout the academic year.  E-mail:

Ian Johnson received a B.A. in Sociology/Gender Studies from Ithaca College and an M.S.W. with a specialization in Gerontology from CUNY Hunter. He began working with older adults as a nurse's aide in an assisted living facility while in college and developed a research interest in the intersections of gender and aging. In the past seven years, he has worked as a clinical social worker in community-based organizations aimed at addressing the mental health needs of older adults across New York City. Currently, he supervises home-based mental health, peer services, case management, and nursing for older adults with severe mental illness living in the supportive housing system. His current research interests include marginalization and stigma within senior communities, LGBTQ older adults, and the development of mental health and substance use interventions for aging populations.  E-mail:

Brittany Jones  (she/her) is a white cisgender LCSW who received her MSW in 2008. She has spent the intervening time working primarily with older adults as a nonprofit clinician and research assistant at Georgia State University. Her research interests build on these experiences. Brittany wants to focus on developing interventions that target the social isolation and loneliness of older adults at the intersection of oppressions, particularly those with dementias or physical disabilities. She would also like to study models of housing and long-term care for this population.  E-mail:

Jessica Lapham received a BA from the University of Southern California and an MSW from the University of Denver. Over the last 10 years, she has worked for a handful of community based organizations in a variety of roles including program management, advocacy and outreach, grant writing, fundraising campaigns, design and implementation of program evaluations, and consulting services. Jessica has primarily worked with at-risk youth in the Juvenile Justice System, veterans and the disability community. Her work has largely focused on providing alternative health and wellness services including horticulture, wilderness and yoga therapy programs as well as adaptive sports programs. Currently, she serves as an adjunct instructor and field liaison at the University of Denver’s Graduate School of Social Work. Jessica’s personal, professional and academic experiences have led to her research interests to examine the social mechanisms that impact health outcomes and to address why some populations are healthier than others.  E-mail: 

Joanna La Torre (she/they) is a cis gender / queer multi-ethnic Filipinx scholar activist from occupied Ohlone territory in California’s Bay Area. She is excited to join Indigenous research and communities at the University of Washington (UW). Mx. La Torre’s research focuses on the movements of decolonizing Filipinx’s, disproportionate mental / health burdens of queers and people of color, and community-driven healing initiatives. Joanna’s clinical practice centers on work with children and families, particularly teens and young adults, and she has worked within child welfare, carceral, and medical settings. In her most recent role at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland, Joanna has enjoyed supporting youth that are transgender, commercially sexually exploited, as well as those chronically impacted by racist policies.  E-mail:  

Hung-Peng Lin  is a M.O.E Fellow of Taiwan who received his MSW from National Taiwan University (NTU) in 2012. He is a seasoned clinical social worker and freelance forensic interviewer with more than seven years of post-MSW experience working with children, older adults as well as families, who have a history of trauma. Upon completing his graduate studies, he immersed himself in the field of child protection. He has since worked as a child protective services worker for three years and moved on to a position in program manager in charge of relational permanency program for aging-out youth and parent education program. As a CPS investigator, he proposed a Life Trajectory Mapping Model that would help us find missing children. He also strived to introduce and to localize a family engagement model, Family Group Conferencing (FGC) of New Zealand, in tackling out-of-home placement and many other critical decisions facing Taiwanese CPS workers. This practice model changed the landscape of decision-making as well as out-of-home care in Taiwan. Other than his practice experience, he was engaged in several impactful research projects, one of which is to address the problematic sexualized behavior and unregistered mounting foster care-to-prison pipeline among foster care youth in residential care. His wealth of experience in child welfare informs his research interest. Specifically, his research interest evolves around adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) and development outcomes, disclosure of child maltreatment, early trauma and adolescent sexual health, institutional child sexual abuse, prevention/implementation science, intervention research, and program evaluation. His ultimate goal is to advocate prevention of child maltreatment, as well as accessible and trauma-informed interventions impacting families at-risk.  Email:

Ashley Lizarraga (she/her) is a Black radical social worker, scholar, educator, and activist. She’s interested in the overrepresentation and disproportionality of Black children, youth, and families in the child welfare and criminal justice systems. More particularly, Ashley is interested in examining the experiences and outcomes of Black individuals with child welfare and criminal justice involvement. Ms. Lizarraga has spent her professional and educational career advocating for youth and parents directly affected by foster care and mass incarceration. Ashley incorporates a social justice framework and trauma-informed approach to provide support to the clients and communities she works collaboratively with. Ms. Lizarraga just finished her first teaching appointment as faculty at Occidental College Upward Bound, where she taught a course on “Social Justice and the Intersectionality of Racism, Oppression, Power, and Privilege for Black, Indigenous, People of Color”.  Email: 

Emily Loerzel is a White Earth Anishinaabekwe who received her BA in Sociology at Elmhurst College and her MSW at Aurora University. Prior to receiving her MSW, she worked as a case manager in the fields of chronic mental health management, homelessness, and domestic violence. She moved her focus to working within the Chicago American Indian community as a community organizer and a clinical mental health intern at Indian Health Services. In 2016, she co-wrote and developed a Dept. Of Justice grant called Project Beacon, a pilot grant oriented towards building up direct services and outreach for urban Native American survivors of human trafficking. This allowed her to educate community members and professionals on human trafficking as well as work alongside legal professionals and law enforcement in the city of Chicago. Her current research interests are developing community based interventions against human trafficking of Indigenous people, wellness of Indigenous women and adolescents, and violence against Indigenous communities.  E-mail: 

Moo-Hyun Kim received his BA in Social Welfare from the University of Seoul and his MSW at    Washington University in St. Louis. Throughout his BA and MSW, Moo-Hyun was involved in several research projects as a research assistant or practicum student responsible for background study, data collection, data analysis, or program evaluation. As an MSW student who specialized in research, he conducted an independent study examining community-level protective and risk factors for child maltreatment incidence. Currently, Moo-Hyun’s main research interests are neighborhood-level child maltreatment prevention and the measurement of child neglect and emotional abuse. He is also interested in applying GIS (Geographical Information System) to community-level child maltreatment research. At UW, he hopes to expand his understanding about family violence prevention and contribute to developing effective violence prevention strategies.  E-mail:

Angie Malorni received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the Ohio State University and a Masters of Public Administration from the University of Washington. She has been a youth worker for over 8 years and worked with the City of Seattle to design and facilitate Youth Participatory Program Evaluation for city-wide teen programs. She currently works for an after-school and OST intermediary organization, School's Out Washington, managing over 75 school-age and youth serving organizations through continuous program improvement processes. As part of that process, she facilitates peer-learning communities to improve capacity and support collaboration in the youth development field. She translates theory into practice by designing curriculum, training materials and workshops on service-learning, active-participatory approaches, social and emotional learning, racial and social justice, youth voice and positive youth development across King and Pierce counties. She is interested in utilizing mixed methods, CBPR and PAR to explore the ways SEL can support critical consciousness development in youth and young adults. She is also interested in contributing to the ongoing work of increasing equity, cultural responsiveness and justice into social science research methods and application. E-mail:

Araceli Orozco-Hershey received her BA in Hispanic American Language and Literature at Universidad Autonoma de Baja California and completed her MSW at the University of Washington. She has worked in the field of social work over 10 years in the capacities of clinician, clinical and field supervisor, program developer, educator and researcher.  Her private practice specializes in immigrant mental health and crisis intervention.  Her teaching experience includes teaching graduate classes at Boston College where she customized the Human Behavior and Social Environment course to make it culturally and contextually congruent with the immigrant Latino population. In her current position of clinical supervisor at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, at Harvard Medical School, she launched the Latino MSW internship program and established the Post Master Community Engagement Fellowship for Latino social workers.  Araceli is interested in studying complex trauma in immigrant population, developing interventions to treat anxiety disorders in Latino immigrants and joining in efforts to create policies which improve healthcare access for immigrant populations.  E-mail:

Andrea G. Perez Portillo (she/her/hers)  is a queer immigrant from El Salvador raised in Richmond, Ca. She completed her undergraduate studies in Sociology and Psychology from Wellesley College. She obtained her MSW from the University of Denver with a concentration in Children and Youth. While completing her graduate studies, Andrea was a research assistant in multiple research projects working directly with youth experiencing homelessness. Through this experience, Andrea was able to utilize media, art, and participant empowerment to promote self-advocacy and expression. Upon completion of her graduate degree, she worked in community mental health as a wraparound clinician and therapist. As a bilingual mental health clinician she worked with underserved communities of color in order to advocate and support in their navigation of the child welfare system, judicial proceedings, and advocate for access to culturally responsible services. Andrea’s personal, professional, and academic experiences drive her interest in research that center resilience and empowerment within immigrant communities.  Email:

Sarah Porter (she/her) identifies as a cisgender female and multiethnic first-generation American from Madison, Wisconsin. During her program, Sarah aims to expand her methods training in order to build her capacity in translational research and advocacy-driven program development. Ms. Porter is excited to join UW’s Forefront Center of Excellence focusing on innovative suicide prevention program implementation, with a focus on marginalized college populations. Sarah’s primary research passions include suicide prevention, implementation science, and amplifying effective collaborative practices between frontline mental health providers and national resources. She recently left Washington, DC where she worked for two years as a Federal contractor supporting Executive Orders focusing on national suicide prevention efforts for Veterans and the communities where they live and thrive. Before that, Sarah worked in academia and national nonprofit mental health organizations.  E-mail:

Jessica Ramirez is a first-generation Xicana/Chicana college student from Oxnard, California. She completed her undergraduate studies in public health at California State University, Northridge and received a dual Master’s Degree in public health and social work from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. She has worked with Children, Youth and Families of Color in various settings—including community centers, public housing communities, and schools. Because of her education, clinical experiences, and personal observations, she is passionate about and committed to social justice. More specifically, her interests revolve around working with underrepresented and underserved communities who are affected by incarceration, substance abuse, and violence. Her goal is to return to her community or communities alike to help shed light on and address the many social injustices that affect the well-being/health of underrepresented and underserved Communities of Color.  E-mail:

Ashley Rousson earned a BA in Secondary Education from DePaul University in Chicago (‘07). She earned her MSW from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor (’13), where she studied interpersonal practice and mental health, and first became interested in the issue of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV).  She has since worked for Wellspring Family Services in Seattle in several direct service capacities in their counseling, Employee Assistance, and Domestic Violence Intervention programs.  Ashley developed her research skills throughout her MSW and beyond serving as a research assistant for several professors, completing a pre-doctoral fellowship at the Michigan Institute for Clinical and Health Research (MICHR), and co-authoring a note from practice that was published in Violence Against Women, in 2015. Ashley’s research interests center around violence and victimization. In particular, she is interested in IPV perpetration, and women’s use of force/violence, especially “victim-defendants”. She is interested in examining the direct service prevention and intervention approaches we utilize to address IPV and these populations, including criminal justice responses.  E-mail:

Hannah Scheuer  received her MSW from Portland State University in 2018. Her research interests include preventive behavioral intervention research targeting risky behavior in youth and the development of scalable pragmatic intervention models to promote adolescent health in diverse populations. While pursuing her MSW, Hannah worked for the Translational Research for Adolescent Change Lab providing intervention sessions for youth engaging in heavy alcohol use. After completing her MSW, Hannah worked as the social worker in the Trauma Survivors Outcomes and Support research program. In this role she delivered evidenced based behavioral therapy and recruited/trained peer interventionists with the goal of reducing emergency department readmissions, PTSD and depression symptoms, and high risk behavior associated with recurrent injury in traumatic injury survivors.

Natalie Turner  (she/her) is a white, cisgender Licensed Master of Social Work from Poughkeepsie, NY. She moved to Albany, NY in 2013 to pursue her education in Social Work. She received her BSW in 2017 and MSW in 2018 from the University at Albany, School of Social Welfare. Her research interests include health disparities and service use disparities among older adults. She has worked the last few years at a specialty outpatient neurology clinic for people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other dementias and their family members/caregivers, providing individual services and also developing and implementing health provider education and training. She has additional experience with program evaluation for a New York State veterans peer support program and serving as an adjunct professor at Maria College.  E-mail: