Students and Alumni

Meet our PhD students:

Learn about these PhD alumni:


Current PhD Students

Cheryl Ross Appline is currently the Senior Director of Planning, Research, and Evaluation for the Council for Economic Opportunities in Greater Cleveland (CEOGC) – a non-profit, Community Action Agency serving Cuyahoga County, Ohio. She is excited to join the MSASS cohort of 2017 to further her research interests in the areas of early childhood education, data-driven decision-making, urban poverty, and program evaluation. In her role as Senior Director of Planning, Research and Evaluation for CEOGC, Cheryl is responsible for managing a range of activities that support maintaining as well as increasing funding for the organization’s programs and services. Cheryl is also responsible for spearheading the agency’s efforts to determine community need for CEOGC’s programs and services as well as analyzing program data to assess service delivery and program operations and provide recommendations for improvement or enhancement. Cheryl has over 20 years of professional experience in the public, private, and non-profit sector specializing in program planning, strategy development, proposal development, and grants administration. Prior to rejoining CEOGC, Cheryl worked as a Community Builder for the Cleveland Area Office of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Cheryl earned her Master of City and Regional Planning and her Master of Arts in Public Policy and Management degrees from The Ohio State University. She earned her Bachelor of City Planning degree from the University of Virginia.

Kathleen Alman received her BA (double major in sociology and women’s studies) from Smith College in 1991 and her MSW (concentration in administration and program evaluation) from Michigan State University in 1996. Prior to joining the program, she spent ten years in various positions in Washington, DC working with people living with HIV/AIDS providing mental health and substance abuse treatment in both outpatient and residential settings. In addition to her clinical work, she has experience with supervision, program development, and grant writing. Her main areas of interests include substance abuse, domestic violence, HIV/AIDS, suicide prevention, and nonprofit organizations (program development and evaluation). During her time in the doctoral program, she was a student representative of the Doctoral Executive Committee for two years. She worked on several projects as research assistant focusing on supportive employment, Ability Based Learning Environment (ABLE) program, and Permanency for Ohio’s Children. This included tasks such as coordinating data collection, data analysis, literature reviews, report writing, and participating on the Outcomes Assessment Committee of ABLE. As an adjunct faculty member, she taught sections of Direct Practice Foundation Methods and Skills and Research Methods for Social Work. She is currently living in the U.K. as she completes her dissertation.

James Andrews is a clinical social worker with expertise in forensic social work. During the past thirty years, he has been practicing in the behavioral health field as a clinical social worker, therapist, administrator, consultant and educator. He has presented workshops at regional and national conferences, is an adjunct faculty at the University of Pittsburgh in the School of Social Work, and Simmons College School of Social Work in Boston, MA. His clinical practice has included work in the states of Rhode Island, Massachusetts, West Virginia and Pennsylvania and he regularly consults nationally as a forensic social worker and legal consultant. James holds degrees in general management, psychology and social work from Rhode Island College in Providence, RI. He also holds advanced licensure in social work including the LCSW in Pennsylvania and LICSW in Massachusetts. He holds national certification as a Board Certified Diplomate (BCD) with the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Social Work. In forensics, he holds credentials in Forensic Counseling, Sentence Mitigation and is a Certified Master Forensic Social Worker with the American College of Forensic Examiners International. Additionally, a Certified Investigator with the Office of Public Welfare in Pennsylvania. James’ is self-employed. He operates two private consulting practices. Forensic Behavioral Associates, a forensic consulting practice where he provides expert witness services in both civil and criminal cases involving such issues as malpractice, wrongful death, sexual abuse allegations and sentence mitigation in capital punishment. He also offers risk management, compliance and clinical supervision services. James also operates Conscious Core, a consulting practice where he provides personal and career development coaching and management consulting services to individuals, other social workers and professionals. He is very active in the National Association of Social Workers, having held several leadership positions over the past several years, including President (2007-2009) NASW4) Chapter, Chair of the NASW-PA Public Policy Committee (2009-2011) and is a current member of the NASW-PA Committee on Leadership and Identification. His interests include clinical practice ethics, community violence, threat assessment and risk assessment.

Rong Bai earned her Bachelor of Art degree in English from ZheJiang Agriculture & Forestry University and graduated from the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences (MSASS) at Case Western Reserve University with her Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) and Master of Nonprofit Organizations (MNO). While in MSASS, Rong did her field placement at Bellefaire JCB and Ohio Guidestone by providing individual counseling services and group counseling to children of all ages. Afterwards, Rong continued to pursue her interests in child welfare through her work as a research assistant at the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at MSSA. Rong has actively contributed to various research projects, including Partnering for Family Success, Housing First and Bright Beginnings. These projects not only have helped hone her professional research skills, but also fostered Rong’s passion in the area of child welfare. Rong’s primary research interests include child maltreatment, system collaboration, program development and evaluation, and a comparative study of child welfare between China and the United States.

Anna Bender received her BA in biology and environmental science from Bowdoin College, and she recently earned her MSW from Syracuse University. Prior to beginning her master’s program, Anna worked as a counselor-advocate at a non-profit agency dedicated to serving individuals and families affected by domestic and sexual violence. In her capacity there, she provided crisis services, support, advocacy, and education to both children and adults in the aftermath of violence. Her clinical practice experience, in both school and community outpatient mental health settings, has focused on work with children and their families. Anna has also been a research assistant for a qualitative research study on workforce issues in youth residential treatment centers. Her current academic interests include the effects of trauma on child development, cultural competency in violence prevention and intervention models, and direct practice with youth and families impacted by violence.

Kristen Berg earned her Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from the University of Georgia and graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with her Master of Science degree in Rehabilitation Psychology. Prior to beginning her doctoral degree at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Kristen worked for the State of Wisconsin Department of Health Services as a rehabilitation counselor assisting individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities transitioning to community residence from medical facilities. Kristen’s research in the Mandel School focuses on the ecological well-being of youth, with a specific interest in the impact of physical and social place on adolescents’ identities, self-efficacies, expectations, and behavioral health. She maintains a broader interest in, and dedication to, community revitalization efforts and the role of neighborhood and community in facilitating healthful and safe opportunities for youth health, development, and recreation.

Donald A. Caserta graduated from John Carroll University in 1997 with a BS in Psychology, received his MSSA in 2000 from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, and earned his MA in clinical psychology from Kent State University in 2008. As the former Assistant Director of the ADHD Center for Evaluation & Treatment (ACET) at the Children’s Hospital – Cleveland Clinic, he provided behavioral consultation, assessment, and both individual and group therapy for children, adolescents, adults, and their families and actively participated in a number of clinical research studies leading to publication. He has also enjoyed part-time teaching at the undergraduate level at John Carroll and Kent State and has presented didactics to pediatric, psychiatry, and neurology residents during his tenure at the Cleveland Clinic. In June 2015, he accepted a new position as Program Director of Mental Health Counseling Services at Lake Shore Behavioral Health’s Lower West Side in Buffalo, New York. He provides clinical supervision and administrative leadership for an interdisciplinary team of social workers, mental health counselors, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, and registered nurses.

Seungjong Cho earned his BA and MSW from Yonsei University in South Korea. During his BA, he worked for two years as a social worker at Haenuri Food Market, where low-income citizens, including North Korean refugees, can afford buying various groceries. During his MSW at Yonsei School of Social Welfare, his research focus was on non-profit management and philanthropic civic engagements. He was also highly interested in mental health disparities. His Master thesis investigated charitable giving and volunteering behaviors of 2,030 low-income citizens in the country. Furthermore, he worked as an editorial coordinator for the Korean Journal of Social Welfare Research at the Yonsei Center for Social Welfare Research. Before entering the MSASS, Seungjong worked at Good Neighbors International, an international humanitarian nonprofit organization as an associate researcher on fundraising and strategic planning. At MSASS, he is interested in further studying interdisciplinary aspects of urban poverty, neighborhood-level mental health disparities and community-based mental health initiatives. As a doctoral candidate, he is currently writing his dissertation exploring the effects of urban neighborhood disadvantage on low-income older adults’ depressive symptoms.

Janelle Duda-Banwar received her BSW from Xavier University and in 2006 received her MSW from California State University, Long Beach, with a focus on children and families. She spent time working with the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services as an investigator of child maltreatment and neglect. She also worked as a counselor with survivors of sexual assault in Long Beach. She then moved back to her hometown of Rochester, NY in order to take on a new role as a social science researcher. During her time working at a local university’s research center (Center for Public Safety Initiatives) she contributed to program development, implementation, evaluation, student researcher supervision, as well as teaching a counseling course for criminal justice students. Janelle has worked closely with local agencies and regularly engages in applied research methods. During her time in the PhD program at MSASS she has had experience teaching social work courses both in the traditional classroom and online formats. She has also worked on the Fugitive Safe Surrender project through the Begun Center. Her research interests include ethics, individuals with warrants, strategies to reduce community violence, restorative practices, and gun violence reduction.

Kylie Evans obtained a BA in Communication from Wittenberg University (2006) and received her MSW from West Virginia University (WVU) (2009). Kylie’s direct practice experience has included work with survivors of intimate partner violence and their children, high-risk adolescents, and college students. Most recently, Kylie’s direct practice work has focused on first-generation college students involved with federal TRiO programs (Student Support Services and Upward Bound). In her recent work with SSS/TRiO at WVU, Kylie has worked on course and curriculum development for SSS participants, while supervising and facilitating the SSS Peer Mentor/service learning program. Prior to her involvement with TRiO programs, Kylie worked as a case manager, advocate, and prevention educator at a rural shelter for women and children exposed to family violence. Her experiences in this direct practice role laid the foundation for her academic research interests, which include protective factors in youth exposed to intimate partner violence, women’s health issues, and feminist scholarship.

Meredith Francis earned her BA in psychology from Johns Hopkins University and completed the MSW program at Rutgers University with a clinical focus. Between these programs, she also served for a year as an Americorps volunteer in a community mental health program. She has worked in mental health and addictions treatment as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in a wide variety of settings, including inpatient and outpatient, housing programs, case management, psychiatric emergency services, and clinical therapeutic work with both individuals and groups. While at the Mandel School, Meredith has worked on two main projects: Examining how women in recovery from substance use and mental health issues use their personal social networks to maximize their success in recovery and examining the long-term effects of prenatal cocaine exposure on the mental health and risk behaviors of adolescents. Meredith has also worked with a team comprised of researchers from the Mandel School and the Center for Clinical Investigation at Case Western examining how neighborhood problems affect the health and well-being of children. Her interests include examining the factors related to successful recovery from substance use and mental health disorders as well as how to create practical clinical applications based on this information.

Tyrone Hamler graduated from the University of Cincinnati with his BSW in 2008. He earned his MSW in 2009 with a specialization in Health and Aging. Tyrone has been a Licensed Social Worker in the state of Ohio since September of 2008. Tyrone spent five years as a dialysis Social Worker in a large, for-profit dialysis corporation. He maintained a caseload of approximately 100 patients living with kidney failure on dialysis. Most recently, Tyrone has also worked for a hospital in downtown Cincinnati, where he worked on several medical floors, including kidney transplant, medical intensive care unit, heart failure, oncology, and telemetry. Tyrone has taught undergraduate courses at the University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati State Community and Technical College. He has taught topics in Social Work and Sociology, including Human Behavior in the Social Environment, Introduction to Sociology, Introduction to Social Work, and Introduction to Social Welfare. Tyrone’s research interests are in healthcare social work practice, kidney disease, translational health research and health inequities. His experiences working with individuals with chronic illnesses have been further informed by perspectives on social determinants of health frameworks and the intersection of race, gender and class and their impacts on navigating through the health care system.

Zane Jennings decided on a career in social work following undergraduate and graduate work in geography. Even as a geographer, he was involved in social service by volunteering at the University of Oklahoma’s crisis center. Zane received his Master of Social Work from the University of Iowa, in 1993, and initially worked at The Benjamin Rose Institute (BRI) in Cleveland. After several years, Zane became a behavioral health case manager at QualChoice Health Plan. Working in these settings provided an opportunity to see how poverty exacerbates all social problems and provided an awareness of both the benefit of a critical look at mental health practice and the problems of for-profit healthcare provision. Zane has served on the board of the Links East, a consumer-run, drop-in center for individuals with mental illness, and on the Community Relations Board of Ideastream, Cleveland’s public radio and television network. He has taught Social Welfare Policy and Problem Identification, Screening & Assessment/Diagnosis. Zane’s research interests include social theory, poverty, mental health diagnosis and treatment, and the development of critical thinking among social workers.

June-Yung Kim earned her BA with a double major in Social Welfare and Psychology from Handong Global University (HGU) and received her MA in Social Welfare from Seoul National University (SNU), South Korea. Her diverse multicultural field experiences, including an internship at Services Offering Safety in Kansas, USA, for survivors of domestic violence and child maltreatment and another training at Simei Psychiatric Rehabilitation Centre in Singapore, helped June-Yung develop her interests in the etiology of mental and behavioral health and their related bio-psycho-socio-cultural factors affecting the persistence of health problems within and across generations.  As a graduate research assistant and data analyst at SNU, she collaborated on various health policy studies, including a study of policy design on supporting individuals with developmental disabilities and their families in a life course perspective (funded by the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare, 2011). Upon graduation, June-Yung worked as a program manager in the SNU Online Mentoring Program, designed to promote the positive development among adolescent mentees of low-socioeconomic status in communities across Korea by building one-to-one mentoring relationships with SNU students. Her responsibilities involved supervising mentoring activities and program evaluation. She also taught graduate and undergraduate courses, including Mental Health in Adolescence and Human Development and Social Environment, in the Department of Social Welfare at HGU and neighboring social work schools. In 2014, June-Yung joined the MSASS cohort. Her research interests include mental health and substance and behavioral addictions, prevention science and positive human development, and psychosocial rehabilitation. Recently, June-Yung has increasingly interested in socioeconomic inequalities and their effects on developmental characteristics among vulnerable populations. Currently, she is actively engaged in multiple research projects, as a research fellow and statistician, investigating health risk behaviors among adolescents and young adults being born to mothers with substance use disorders and/or mental distress, being exposed to childhood trauma, and/or living in poverty. June-Yung is also interested in quantitative methodology for longitudinal data using structural equation modeling. Her recent co-authored publication has appeared in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. She has presented her research at the Society for Social Work and Research conference.

Sun Kyung Kim graduated from Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea with BA in Social Work and also earned her MSW from Yonsei. During her MSW program, she took part in various research projects in collaboration with governmental research institutes. Most of these studies analyzed the effectiveness of social service programs among low-income families and investigated intervention methods to promote families’ quality of life. She served her internship as a mental health social worker at a hospital in South Korea. In her internship, Sun Kyung counseled clients with mental disability and organized programs that could help them recover their mental health status through enhancing their social support. Her primary research interests are mental health problems of socially-excluded people, especially low-income women. Sun Kyung is interested in the effect of poor women’s’ detrimental surroundings without any support for their health/mental health, the prevention of deterioration of their health/mental health, and enhancements of their quality of life. Sun Kyung is also interested in health disparities which are highly likely to appear in populations with low socioeconomic status.

Won Hee Kim earned her BA in social welfare from the Catholic University of Korea, an MSW from Ewha Woman’s University in South Korea, and her MSSA from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. She has experience working with troubled teens and being involved in monitoring social service programs for runaway and sexually exploited female adolescents in Korea. She also worked on a project to develop a policy for abused children in Korea. Working as a case manager for three years at Murtis H. Taylor Mental Health Service Center in Cleveland, Ohio, from 2006 to 2009, she became more interested in children with mental health issues and their families. Her primary research interests are related to children with mental health issues and their family support systems along with mental health service utilization.

Hyunjune Lee earned his BSW from the Seoul National University and MSW from the University of Michigan with a concentration in policy evaluation and community organizing. He has worked as a student intern at various children and youth agencies in both South Korea and the United States, including Childfund Korea, the Washtenaw Area Council for Children, and the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan. His work experiences throughout the internships encompass the areas of interpersonal intervention, community organizing, and program/policy evaluation. He has contributed to managing educational services for children from low-income families, developing countywide suicide prevention strategies for middle and high school students, research on anti-bullying strategies, education advocacy, and program evaluation. His primary academic interests cover understanding the impact of socially formed gender norms and prior exposure to violence on youth’s aggressive behaviors. He is interested in taking a feminist approach to understanding youth violence. He is also interested in learning and implementing mixed methods for his research as a Doctoral student at MSASS.

Jeong Woo Lee worked as a social worker for 3 years at the Sadang Community Welfare Center in Seoul, Korea after receiving B.A. in social work in 2005. She provided social work services for low-income families (counseling with individuals, families, and groups), and raised funds and organized volunteers in Sadang community. She received an MSSA from Case Western Reserve University in 2010. The Master’s program allowed her to gain various experiences with older adults through research and clinical internships. She joined the MSASS doctoral program in 2010. She continues to focus on older adults with chronic illness and their families. She hopes her research to contribute to an improvement of interventions for the older population.

Duncan Mayer studied Social Work (BSW, MSW) at Marywood University in Scranton Pennsylvania. Throughout this period he benefitted from several internship experiences involving implementation. These included public health and housing interventions with community-based organizations in Philadelphia and Lackawanna counties. During his MSW, Duncan completed an internship with the United Way of Lackawanna and Wayne Counties, assisting in the facilitation of the allocations process and grant writing. Additionally, he contributed to a program evaluation of a childcare organization. Following graduation, he worked for The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania. During his time there he contributed to work on program evaluations, needs assessments, and a variety of other research initiatives. Among others, the list of topics covered in this work includes regional perspectives on behavioral health workforce development, social determinants of health, and the scope of social services. His academic interests include policy/program evaluation and quantitative methods.

Cristina Nedelcu is a lecturer and a Ph.D. candidate at MSASS. Cristina has worked in the field of Child Welfare for more than 20 years, both in the US and internationally. Cristina has served as an adoption and permanency planning social worker, supervisor of Adoptions and Permanency Planning and Senior Manager of Training and Professional Development at Cuyahoga County Division of Children and Family Services. Before immigrating to the US in 1994, Cristina was an Assistant Director of Training and Development with Holt International Children Services in Bucharest, Romania. Cristina was among the social work pioneers who developed and established a network of foster and adoptive families in Romania to address the urgent problem of institutionalized children. Cristina received an MD degree from the University of Medicine and Pharmacy “Carol Davila” in Bucharest, Romania in 1991. She graduated with a MSSA from Case Western Reserve University in 2002. Cristina has participated in various research studies for CWRU on Indian and Norwegian adoptions and in emerging adulthood for youth in systems of care. She is the co-author of an encyclopedia entry on the topic of Romanian adoptions in the Historical and Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia of Adoption (2006) and the co-author of a chapter on the Romanian Child Welfare System in the Inter-Country Adoptions: Policies, Practices and Outcomes (2014). Cristina was a presenter at different local and national conferences between 2005 and 2014. Cristina’s current research interests include: child welfare, domestic and international adoptions and child and adolescent mental health. She teaches a variety of courses at MSASS and was very active in the development and implementation of the virtual program at MSASS.

Tugba Olgac earned her BA in Psychological Counseling and Guidance in Hacettepe University in Turkey. She worked as a school counselor upon graduation and meanwhile, she earned a scholarship from the Turkish government to study abroad. She completed English as a Second Language course in Cleveland and then received her Master’s degree in the field of Social Work at MSASS. She was specialized in Adult Mental Health during her Master’s education because of her interest in understanding human behavior and helping people who have a mental illness. She gained experience in individual and group counseling during her internship at MSASS and worked with people whose mental health issues ranged from serious to mild. Since starting to PhD program at MSASS, she mainly focused on the outcomes of wraparound services for children with emotional and behavioral disorders and their families. By being a part of Begun Center, she expanded her interest to criminal justice and violence issues and conducted literature reviews in other research areas: adult and juvenile recidivism, reentry outcomes and batterer interventions. She is delighted to have a chance of being exposed to different research areas and collaborating with others while developing her skills to become a researcher. Her goal is to return to Turkey upon completion of the doctoral program; share her experiences with other colleagues and future social work students. She wants to promote awareness for domestic violence, mental illness, and contribute to the improvement of mental health agencies in her country.

Jiho Park received her BA in social welfare from Seoul Women’s University and her MA in social welfare from Seoul National University (SNU) in South Korea. Her master’s thesis investigated adolescents’ suicidal behavior with a focus on the mediating effects of social support and coping strategies. After graduating, she worked as social worker and counselor at SNU for 4 years, where she mainly facilitated mentoring programs to freshmen with adaptation difficulties in campus life. She also managed a volunteering program, matching volunteers with community welfare agencies. During her study and work at SNU, she was involved in a variety of research projects, one of which was to evaluate the effectiveness of early childhood intervention in impoverished families. Her primary research area focuses on vulnerable child and adolescent development and its related social welfare services and policies. She is especially interested in the relationships between risk factors triggered by poverty as well as the role of poverty itself and children’s’ developmental outcomes.

Gregory Powers earned a BA in liberal arts from Sarah Lawrence College and an MSc. in psychodynamic developmental neuroscience from a joint program between the University College London and Yale. During his MSc. studies, he focused on the neuroscience of addiction and its reinforcement mechanisms as well as their relationship to impulsivity and sensation seeking. Gregory has been involved in a number research projects relating to the criminal justice system and substance use, including evaluations of the Milwaukee County Drug Court and the reentry needs of Baltimore City Jail inmates. He has also contributed to research regarding substance use epidemiology, most recently examining the effect of familial substance abuse density on the alcohol consumption patterns of college students and the risks of alcohol mixed with energy drinks vis-à-vis alcohol consumed alone.  Gregory’s interests include the quantitative evaluation of alternative sentencing projects, substance abuse epidemiology and treatment, and the interaction between substance policies and use outcomes.

Weidi Qin graduated from Washington University in St. Louis with MSW and MPH degrees. Her primary research interests are health promotion for older adults, productive aging, and health and aging policy. She has been selected for the 7th cohort of the AGE SW Gerontological Social Work Pre-Dissertation Initiative, which will provide her with support for the dissertation process. Also, working as a health policy research assistant at Washington University, she had research experience in comparing health and aging policy in China and the US and assisted in a research project on Medicare and marketplace health insurance. She has also worked for the Center for Social Development (CSD), where she conducted translation work on lifelong asset building and was exposed to research projects on the Individual Development Account Program. In 2015, she had the opportunity to present her study findings on increasing older adult skills and capacity through health program volunteer engagement at the Aging in America Conference held by American Society on Aging (ASA). Her practicum at MSW/MPH program focused on working with older immigrants, and evaluation of health programs for older adults using both quantitative and qualitative analysis.

Meagan Ray-Novak earned a BA in Sociology in 2004 and MSSA with a concentration in Community and Social Development from Case Western Reserve University in 2010. During her time at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, Meagan implemented community-based interventions with the Western Reserve Area Agency on Aging and Slavic Village Development Corporation. Over the last eight years, Meagan has worked in community-based psychiatric treatment, private practice and integrated health care. Her clinical practice treats those suffering from addiction, eating disorders and survivors of complex trauma.  In her current role with a federally-qualified health center in Cleveland, Meagan has led the development of an integrated behavioral health-primary care team and medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program to provide holistic care for those experiencing homelessness. Meagan’s interests include implementation science of trauma treatment and the provision of evidence-based intervention with vulnerable populations.

Katie Russell earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology honors, with a minor in Spanish, from Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. Katie also recently received her Master of Science in Social Administration (MSSA) from the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University. During her undergraduate tenure at WSU, Katie worked as a research assistant in the Family Relationships Laboratory within the psychology department. Following graduation, Katie worked as a clinical research coordinator for the ADHD and Autism programs at Duke University, as well as for the Defense and Veterans Brain Injury Center on the Fort Bragg Army Base. She also assisted with a research project at CWRU regarding childhood exposure to intimate partner violence. As part of her field placement for the MSSA program, Katie worked at the University of North Carolina’s Center for Childhood Trauma and Maltreatment, where she assisted in the assessment and treatment of abuse victims and/or witnesses, as well as their families. Katie also spent a portion of her field placement working with trauma victims and their family members at Fort Bragg.

Gabriela Sehinkman is a clinical therapist with over 20 years of experience in the community mental health field, both in her native Argentina and in the United States. She holds a master’s degree in psychology from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina and a master’s degree in social work from Cleveland State University. She was awarded a scholarship by the Argentine Secretary of Education as a research fellow in London, UK, where she researched psychosocial factors helping intravenous drug-users remain HIV-negative. She is an independently licensed social worker with a supervisory designation, by the Ohio Social Work Board. She also is a member of the local chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, as well as the Ohio Latino Mental Health Network. She often collaborates with community agencies, such as Esperanza, Cleveland Public Schools, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) and the Domestic Violence Center by speaking about childhood, adolescence and adult mental health problems to the Cleveland Spanish-speaking community. She is also actively involved as a member of advisory boards for NAMI Greater Cleveland (the multicultural outreach committee) and for the Domestic Violence Center (Latina Project). Gabriela is a full-time clinical supervisor at a local community mental health agency, as well as a private practitioner. Gabriela taught undergraduate and graduate-level courses as adjunct faculty at the University of Akron, School of Social Work, as well as graduate-level social work courses at MSASS. Her areas of expertise include mood disorders, anxiety disorders, intimate partner violence, parent/child relationship problems and parent training and education. Research areas she is in interested in include resiliency, as well as culturally effective interventions when working with minorities, especially within the Latino community. She is now a doctoral candidate and has successfully defended her dissertation prospectus in May 2016.

Becky Thomas is a clinical social worker. During the past ten years, she has practiced in the health care and child welfare fields as a clinical social worker, administrator, and educator. She has presented workshops at regional and national conferences and worked as an adjunct faculty at the University of Akron in the School of Social Work before being employed full time. She holds degrees in psychology from Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, OH and social work from the MSW Program at Cleveland State University in Cleveland, OH. She also holds advanced licensure in social work in Ohio. She holds national certification as an Academy of Certified Social Workers (ACSW) with the National Association of Social Work. She is active in the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Ohio Chapter. Her interests include caregivers, veterans, health disparities and child welfare.

Paul Tuschman received his BA in psychology from The Ohio State University in 2013 and his master of science in social administration (MSSA) from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University in 2016.  As an undergraduate student, Paul worked as a research assistant in social and clinical psychology labs, studying mindfulness meditation, emotion in affective disorders, and behavioral effects of violent video games. After completing his first-year MSSA internship with the Mobile Crisis Team at Frontline Service, Paul began research at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention, Research and Education, where he studied specialized court dockets, including the drug court, veterans’ court, and mental health court.  Paul’s current research interests include offender rehabilitation, violence prevention, and stigmatization.

Aviva Vincent central focus on education reform has been most relevant in her employment prior to pursuing her PhD as she believes that is it the key to changing the lives of countless youth. In this program, she is particularly interested in the spaces students to seek out and engage in when not in the classroom and the impact such opportunities have on the emotional development. Specifically, Aviva is pursuing research that looks at the intersection of Veterinary Social Work and education spaces. She earned a Master of Social Work from the University of Connecticut and completed a field placement at Ebony Horsewomen, an EAGALA stable in inner-city Hartford. She was awarded the National Afterschool Association’s Next Generation Leaders award in recognition for her work with the United Way. She aspires to earn her PATH Intl. certification to teach therapeutic horseback riding, teach in the macro social work field and work towards employment as a professor post-PhD.

Fei Wang worked as a medical social worker at Changi General Hospital in Singapore prior to beginning her Ph.D. program. In her capacity there, she provided care planning to geriatric patients and family caregivers. She also provided crisis services and support to patients in the Intensive Care Unit. Fei received her BA in political education from China Youth University for Political Sciences and MSW from The University of Hong Kong. During her MSW program, she took part in a research project in collaboration with Hong Kong Queen Mary Hospital, which provided Integrated Body-Mind-Spirit intervention to women with infertility. Her current research interests include social support and family caregiving of frail older adults with chronic diseases. She co-authored an academic paper examining the mediating role of coping strategies in the relationship between caregiver burden and depressive symptoms among family caregivers caring for disabled older adults with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions.

Louis Weigele has over 35 years of social work experience encompassing clinical practice, clinical supervision and program administration.  Mr. Weigele maintains an independent clinical practice in Rocky River, Ohio, serves as the Senior Clinical Consultant at Stella Maris, an addiction treatment agency, and teaches as an adjunct instructor at the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. He has specific expertise in the treatment of severe and persistent mental illness, forensics, dual diagnosis (mental illness and addiction), drug dependency, gambling disorders, and other addictions. His professional qualifications include assessment and treatment of problem gambling and substance use disorders, treating severe and persistent mental illness, and individual, couples, and group treatment. Mr. Weigele is an Ohio licensed independent social worker with the supervisory designation, (LISW-S), a Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work, (BCD), and is a Nationally Certified Gambling Counselor-II (NCGC-II).  Mr. Weigele serves on the Board of Directors of the Problem Gambling Network of Ohio (PGNO) and has served on the board of the National Council on Problem Gambling. Training provided by Mr. Weigele related to the problem and pathological gambling include training for the Ohio Department of Alcohol and Drug Addiction Services (ODADAS), the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, the National Council on Problem Gambling, and addiction treatment providers in Poland.

Liuhong Yang has two Bachelor’s degrees (BA) in Psychology and Justice Studies from Kent State University in 2012 and received her M.S. in Criminal Justice from the University of Cincinnati in 2015. She was a research assistant for the Psychopathology and Emotional Regulation Laboratory (PERL), and was involved in clinical assessment of psychopathology and personality research at Kent State University. Liuhong also worked as the Effective Practices in Community Supervision Program (EPICS) as a coder with the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute. In addition to academic and research work, she has interned and worked in various law enforcement agencies, court, and law firms in China and the United States. Liuhong’s academic and professional experiences have propelled her to pursue her passion in serving vulnerable populations and reaching them from macro levels in terms of community work, institutional changes, and national and/or international policies. Her research interests include social welfare policies, public policy research, violence prevention initiatives, and substance use and mental health disorders treatment practices.

Dalhee Yoon completed her MSW at the University of Washington in the Children, Youth & Families concentration. During her MSW program, she completed her internship at the InterIm Community Development Association WILD program, which is a leadership development program for Asian Pacific Islander high school students. She has joined the mural project as a youth program coordinator intern. Since graduating she has worked as a researcher at the National Youth Policy Institute and Gyunggido Family & Women Research Institute in the Division of Policy Research. Dalhee was involved in a variety of research projects associated with preventing antisocial behavior, positive youth development, and child abuse. Since she started her PhD program at MSASS, she has worked at the Begun Center for Violence Prevention, Research and Education focusing on adolescent behavior problems associated with child maltreatment.

Miyoung Yoon earned her MSW from the University of Michigan with a concentration in community and social systems with the management of human services. During her internship at Catholic Social Services of Washtenaw County, she contributed to the development of an employment program for ex-offenders and supervised undergraduate international social work summer interns. Miyoung currently works as a research assistant at the National Initiative on Mixed-Income Communities at MSASS where she explores positive youth development strategies in mixed-income communities. She is also conducting research on the effects of school and neighborhood contexts on youth risk behaviors. Miyoung plans to further examine the influence of school and neighborhood factors on the well-being of low-income minority youth.


Select Alumni

Stacey Barker is a Professor, Department Chair and Program Director for the BSW program at Eastern Nazarene College in Quincy, MA. Her research interests center around the integration of spirituality and social work. She was one of the recipients of Eastern Nazarene College’s Professional Achievement Awards in 2010. She is also the Associate Editor for the Social Work and Christianity Journal, published by the North American Association of the Christians in Social Work. In the spring of 2013 she was on sabbatical at the Caribbean Nazarene College in Trinidad, where she extended her previous research and explored the integration of spirituality and social work in Trinidad.

Ching-Wen Chang is Assistant Professor of Social Work,, Chinese University at Hong Kong. Dr. Chang’s research interests include social support of individuals with serious mental illness, recovery from mental illness and evidence based practice in mental health field. She is also interested in exploring effective social work interventions with an emphasis on cultural differences. She recently defended her dissertation entitled “Factors Affecting Mental Health Service Utilization among Latinos and Asians.” Dr. Chang’s research has been published in leading mental health journals including the Community Mental Health Journal, Family Relations, and the Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal.

Julian Chun-Chung Chow is the Hutto-Patterson Charitable Foundation Professor at the School of Social Welfare, University of California, Berkeley. He is a leading thinker in community practice, service delivery, and urban poverty. Dr. Chow’s current research interests include community practice and service delivery in urban poverty, ethnic and immigrant neighborhoods; community analysis and needs assessment; program planning and development; and cultural competency services. In 2011, Dr. Chow received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where he studied the development of social service systems and infrastructure in China. He also conducted research as part of a larger comparative study looking at how recent Chinese immigrants fare in Hong Kong, Taiwan and the San Francisco Bay area.

Richard L. Jones is an award winning administrator of large public and private human service agency systems. Currently, he is Director of the Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services in Cleveland, Ohio. Previous positions include serving as Vice President for the United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, Administrator of Employment and Family Services and the Child Support Enforcement Agency for Cuyahoga County, and as President of Metropolitan Family Services of Chicago, Illinois. In 2010, Dr. Jones received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Association of Social Workers’ Illinois Chapter.

Hyunsoo Kim graduated from the Mandel School in May, 2012 after successfully defending his dissertation entitled “Organizational culture and mental health service engagement of transition age youth.” He recently accepted a position as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Welfare at Dong-guk University, which is ranked as one of the Top 20 Korean Universities. Dr. Kim’s research interests are mental health, children & youth and their mental health service delivery issues.

Amy Krentzman is Assistant Professor at the School of Social Work and at the Center for Spirituality and Healing, University of Minnesota. She also serves as an Adjunct Research Investigator in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan Medical School. Dr. Krentman’s research focuses on factors that promote the initiation and maintenance of recovery from alcohol and other substance use disorders, particularly the mechanisms of therapeutic change that are precipitated by professional treatment, recovery community organizations, and 12 step programs. Current research projects include the development and testing of positive psychology interventions for individuals with alcohol and substance use disorders, the relationship between spirituality and alcoholism recovery, and the role of sober living houses on long-term abstinence.

Daniel Lai is Professor and Associate Dean of Research & Partnerships, Faculty of Social Work, University of Calgary, Canada. Daniel Lai’s teaching and research interests include health and aging, culture and health, racism, mental health, immigrants and immigration. Dr. Lai’s research projects examine issues of health and mental health, healthy aging, social exclusion, elder abuse, and family caregiving in visible minority populations. He has received research funding support and research career support from the Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research and served as Alberta Heritage Health Scholar from 2003 to 2009. As a prolific scholar, he also receives funding from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, and many other research institutes and funding sources.

Pamela Maimer is Senior Program Officer in the International Studies Division within the Office of International and Foreign Language Education at the U.S. Department of Education in Washington, DC. She provides programmatic assistance for multiple grant programs in international education and is responsible for the Fulbright Hays Group Projects Abroad—Short Term and the Title VI International Research and Studies Programs. Dr. Maimer has 15 years of experience in postsecondary education policy issues, including budget formulation, research and policy development for low-income, first generation college students. She has served as the policy lead for low-income and disadvantaged populations in a number of federal higher education programs.

Heehyul Moon is Assistant Professor at the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville. After receiving her Ph.D., Dr. Moon completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute on Aging of the University of North Carolina in 2014. Her long-term research interest lies in enhancing quality of life of vulnerable and underserved elderly and their families through interdisciplinary and translational research. Dr. Moon’s prior and current research centers on the study of physical and mental health of elderly and the consequences of stress related to caregiving of people with chronic illness (e.g., early-stage Alzheimer’s disease) and transition of care. In particular, she is very interested in dyadic interpretation of caregiving when both patients and their family members serve as sources of data and its impact on their dyadic relationship quality and physical and mental health.

David Pedlar is the Director of Research at the National Headquarters of Veterans Affairs Canada in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, a position that he has held since 2001. He was a Canada-US Fulbright Scholar, Rotary Foundation|Rotary Foundation Scholar and co-recipient of an International Psychogeriatric Association/Bayer Research Award in Psychogeriatrics. He has recently held university affiliations in Medicine at Dalhousie University and Nursing at the University of Prince Edward Island. Dr. Pedlar has been responsible for over forty research studies on Veteran health and has been an investigator in a number of Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR) funded studies. Dr. Pedlar was a Co-Director of the Prince Edward Island study center in two waves of the Canadian Study of Health and Aging. He conducts applied research, has an extensive record of scholarly publications and speaks on military and veteran health topics.

Mary Rawlings is the chair of the BSW and MSW programs at Azusa Pacific University, overseeing a program of approximately 400 students. Dr. Rawlings is interested in competency-based education, helping students develop skills necessary for entry-level practice, assessing outcomes of social work education and experiential learning models (such as service-learning) that can enhance student educational outcomes. She conducts research in developing observed structured clinical exams for evaluation of social work skills. She is the North American book editor for Social Work Education: The International Journal. Her dissertation research was recently published in the Journal of Social Work Education.

Amy Restorick Roberts, PhD 2013, MSSA, LSW, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Family Studies and Social Work at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a Scripps Research Fellow at the Scripps Center for Gerontology. With nearly a decade of post-masters practice experience in a continuing care retirement community, her scholarship aims to improve the quality of life of older people. Within this realm, her research focuses on the risk and protective factors that influence quality of life in old age, for older adults living in age-segregated environments as well as those who are aging in place within the community, for the purpose of strengthening systems of long-term care services and supports. Her interests also extend to the role of social work internationally to support the well-being of older adults worldwide.

Gautam N. Yadama is Professor and Assistant Vice Chancellor for International Affairs-India, at the George Warren Brown School, Washington University, St Louis, Missouri. He is also the Washington University McDonnell International Scholar’s Academy Ambassador to the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, India and the Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. Professor Yadama’s work focuses on understanding the social and environmental challenges of rural poor in the regions of South Asia and China.  His research examines the interconnection and interdependent nature of households and communities with a particular focus on solutions to improve the social, economic, and environmental and health outcomes. Serving as a faculty scholar in Washington University’s Institute for Public Health, he’s been conducted extensive community based research specifically in India, Nepal and China.