Your browser is unsupported

We recommend using the latest version of IE11, Edge, Chrome, Firefox or Safari.

PhD Student Profiles

Lisa Doot Abinoja

Lisa Doot Abinoja

Lisa worked for nine years in both clinical and administrative jobs, primarily working in community-based health centers with maternal child health populations prior to starting as an Assistant Professor at Trinity Christian College in 2014.   Learn More »

Katherine Ast

Katherine Ast

Katherine worked as a high school English teacher for five years, then transitioned to a community mental health center, then to a domestic violence agency, and finally to supporting individuals with developmental disabilities. She serves as Director, Quality and Research at the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Her research interests involve implementing patient-reported outcome performance measures in practice, involving communities and the interdisciplinary team, and creating rapid-cycle quality improvement programs.   Learn More »

Christine Barber

Christine Barber

Christine has experience working in mental health crisis intervention, both over the phone and via text as part of TXT4Life, one of the first programs of its kind in the country. She also has experience working with veterans for mental health therapy and case management as well as helping homeless veterans establish permanent supportive housing.   Learn More »

Doug Barge

Doug Barge

While getting his MSW degree Doug interned for a year at the Social Impact Research group at Heartland Alliance, which inspired him to continue down a research path. The Housing First approach was stressed there. He hopes to use that approach in studying housing models for the seriously mentally ill population.   Learn More »

Jodie Bargeron

Jodie Bargeron

Jodie has worked as a direct service provider, as a support group facilitator, and at the program and policy levels. In 2014, she joined the staff here at JACSW as a mental health research specialist. She enjoys practicing social work as a researcher and plans to study mental health through the lifespan, focusing on mid-life and older age.   Learn More »

Hyun-Seok (Edward) Cheon

Hyun-Seok (Edward) Cheon

Edward has provided mentoring and advocacy services, championing an education system that upholds equity, cultural awareness, and individual uniqueness. He also interned as a clinical therapist, providing clinical and case management services for people rehabilitating from substance use, and has coordinated a university-community partnership in running a federally funded program of addressing college and career readiness among students of low-socioeconomic status. His research interest is institutional collaboration in the field of social work to create social impact.   Learn More »

Lauren Cox

Lauren Cox

Lauren currently works at UIC’s Institute for Juvenile Research (IJR), where she supervises and educates multidisciplinary students, including master’s level social workers, who are learning evidence-based treatments for trauma and anxiety disorders with youth. Her research interests include trauma and anxiety disorders, social media use in childhood and adolescence, and dissemination and implementation of evidence-based treatments of trauma and anxiety disorders with underserved youth.   Learn More »

Cheryl Dimonte

Cheryl Dimonte

Throughout her education, Cheryl worked with various community groups to fight for access to mental health services in rural areas, healthy supermarkets in food deserts, and tools to address vacant housing in low income neighborhoods. After graduation, her passion for macro level social work led to an 8-year career in various roles as a public servant for Columbus City Council in Ohio. Her research interests include policy analysis in the areas of housing stability and affordability as well intervention methods to help prevent evictions.   Learn More »

Sara Duffey

Sara Duffey

Sara is interested in the intersection of health outcomes for older incarcerated individuals diagnosed with cancer. Sara works for the Lurie Cancer Center in research administration, supporting research programs to promote interdisciplinary research. Her previous experience includes partnering with advocacy groups to conduct clinical trial outreach and provide education to underserved communities and clinical trial management.   Learn More »

Lisa Elliot

Lisa Elliot

Lisa specializes in perinatal mental health and trauma treatment for LGBTQIA identified folks. She has diverse work experience in clinical and research settings and self-identifies as a clinician-researcher. Most recently, Lisa has served as the clinical director for an outpatient mental health practice in Chicago. She is interested in community-engaged intervention and implementation research in the areas of reproductive and perinatal mental health, particularly for gender and sexual minorities.   Learn More »

John R. Fallon

John R. Fallon

John’s work experience includes providing supportive housing services to mental health consumers in New Jersey, serving as a health educator to middle and high school students in the Bronx. He also assists the Department of Defense’s suicide prevention policy office. Currently, John oversees the compliance of Head Start grantees to federal regulations, overseeing programs serving the needs of low-income families in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.   Learn More »

Dana Franceschini

Dana Franceschini

Dana is currently employed by Aging Care Connections as the Transitional Care Supervisor, overseeing the coordination and implementation of two care models supporting older adults within primary care settings, as well as their transition home from the hospital. Her research interests include the social determinants of health, social work-led transitional care initiatives supporting older adults, and the partnership between community-based organizations and healthcare entities.   Learn More »

Livvy Gerrish

Livvy Gerrish

Livvy specializes in working with survivors of trauma and is passionate about trauma and violence prevention for individuals, families, and communities. Throughout her social work career, she has served as an advocate, counselor, educator, and organizer. She has relied heavily on the research and development of others and chose to pursue a PhD in social work to help advance the field for fellow service providers.   Learn More »

Xochitl Guerreo

Xochitl Guerreo

Xochitl is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over 17 years of experience in social work. During her MSW program at UIC, she interned at the UIC Institute for Juvenile Research, providing services to children participating in the Pediatric Mood Disorders Clinic. Most recently, Xochitl worked as a clinical social worker with the Cook County Department of Corrections. Xochitl is a proud first generation college graduate and mother of five. She intends to focus her research efforts on the impact of parental incarceration on children.   Learn More »

Kelly Horn

Kelly Horn

Kelly currently works as a family therapist in an outpatient setting, specializing in treating eating disorders. She also runs a group for teenage girls to build self-compassion and distress tolerance skills. She is mainly interested in researching issues related to LGBT and/or gender non-conforming youth and their relationships with family members or care givers.   Learn More »

Dennise Moreno

Dennise Moreno

Dennise has a BA in Sociology and an MSW from the University of Houston. Dennise has worked with Latinx(o), Hispanic, and immigrant communities for the past 10 and has experience in the areas of community development and civic engagement. Dennise’s areas of interest include social justice, economic justice, and immigrant and Latinx(o) communities.   Learn More »

Shawn Parra

Shawn Parra

Shawn (he/him/his) is a Dominican male, born in the US. He is a firm believer that individuals behave differently depending on their context, and not solely because of their biology. As such, he looks to this PhD to do more than work one-on-one with individuals but also help change oppressive systems themselves. His research and policy interests include mental health and increasing access for marginalized communities, and creating more culturally and linguistically appropriate treatments for the Spanish-speaking community.   Learn More »

Imani Pitman

Imani Pitman

Imani’s prior experience includes working at the local Boys & Girls Club, which led her to pursue her Masters in Social Work and she interned with Voices for Illinois Children. Currently, Imani works as the Program Manager at ChiGivesBack, Inc. Her research interests include economic mobility and racial equity.   Learn More »

Andie Riffer

Andie Riffer

Andie has clinical experience providing specialized sexual abuse services, and has developed and advocated for policy initiatives regarding sexual abuse in housing and preventing sexual violence through education, research, and advocacy. Andie is currently working on a qualitative research project regarding non-binary experiences and serves on the advisory board for the Alliance of Disability and Social Work. Andie values the role of art in social work and hopes to incorporate it into their future work.   Learn More »

Umair Tarbhai

Umair Tarbhai

Umair has worked as a consultant and researcher in many settings including After School Matters, The Kellogg School of Management, The Aga Khan Development Network, and the Human Development and Social Policy department at Northwestern University. Currently he is a Graduate Research Assistant at UIC’s Institute for Policy and Civic Engagement. His research interests include policy analysis, criminal justice reform, policing, and drivers of economic inequality.   Learn More »

Chlece Walker-Neal-Murray

Chlece Walker-Neal-Murray

Chlece is a licensed attorney, and the Executive Director and co-founder of Chicago Advocate Legal, NFP, a not for profit law firm located in Chicago’s Loop focusing on housing, family, DCFS appeals and the Preventive Law Initiative. She also works as a research assistant on child trafficking issues at the Center for the Human Rights of Children at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, as well as facilitating a class on Race and Bias, and working as a teaching assistant in the Masters of Jurisprudence program.   Learn More »

Antonio J. Wheeler Jr.

Antonio J. Wheeler Jr., LCSW, CADC

Antonio’s experience includes counseling victims of gun violence, substance abuse counseling, and working with perpetrators of domestic violence. He has worked as a counselor at the Illinois Department of Juvenile Justice, Cook County Hospital, Haymarket, Gateway, and PCC Community Wellness Center. As a PhD student, his interests include the impact of vicarious trauma on Black males.   Learn More »

Sheila Yousuf-Abramson

Sheila Yousuf-Abramson

Sheila is an alumnus of Jane Addams and a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) with 12 years of social service experience in child welfare, maternal health, disabilities, mental health, bereavement, and higher education. She is the Director of Field Education and Adjunct Professor at Dominican University’s School of Social Work. Her research interests include grief support for urban, adolescent youth and preparedness of new social workers entering the field post-grad.   Learn More »

Peipei Zhao

Peipei Zhao

Peipei has worked as a social worker and research assistant in a public health institution in Shenzhen, China for two years, serving on the HIV/STI prevention programs for men who have sex with men (MSM). She also participated in research on LGBTQ services development and evaluation. Her research interests include health disparities, healthcare discrimination, and intimate partner violence among the LGBTQ population in China.   Learn More »

Applying to the PhD Program