Student Experiences in the PhD Program

Jane Bonsu

“I came to Jane Addams College of Social Work’s PhD program looking for an educational environment that aligned with my core values of social, racial, and economic justice. I wanted a curriculum that balanced theory, research, micro and macro social work practice. I wanted a program where I could be challenged to find new solutions to old problems through rigorous, practical research. I’m delighted to say that I have found all of this and more at Jane Addams.

Over the course of my time in the PhD program, I have gained mentors in the faculty who have been invested in my growth as a scholar. I have had opportunities to published peer-reviewed research, present at academic conferences, and hone my teaching skills. Jane Addams has equipped me to confidently and competently step into a career of research, advocacy, and teaching.”

Janae Bonsu  |  Doctoral Student
Stephanie Bechteler

“I always knew that I wanted to be a researcher, first and foremost. I needed a program and an advisor that would help train me to think like a researcher, to ask the right questions, to identify or create the right sources of information, and to have a keen analytical eye and to present my findings effectively. I received all of this and more from my program at Jane Addams.

Students that attend the Jane Addams PhD program will participate in a well-designed program that will equip them with the skills and experiences they will need to work in many different environments, doing many different kinds of jobs. They will meet classmates and colleagues that will be as interested and motivated in the work as they are, and it’s refreshing to have that kind of support in your graduate program.”

Stephanie Schmitz Bechteler, PhD ’15  |  Vice President and Executive Director, Research & Policy Center at the Chicago Urban League
Susanny Beltran

“The Jane Addams PhD program curriculum is designed to help students shape their research agenda and gain the skills required to conduct rigorous studies that have real-life impact. The college also provides students the opportunity to develop teaching skills and offers the necessary supports.

In my three years in the program, I benefited from continuous support and guidance, including when applying for awards and scholarships, preparing for presentations, and conducting my dissertation.

Overall, I found the college to be a supportive environment for me to learn, teach, and conduct my research, which focuses on topics related to aging among Latino populations.”

Susanny J. Beltran, PhD '19  |  Assistant Professor at University of Central Florida
Andrew Repp

“In Jane Addams’ doctoral program, I have been fortunate to work with well-respected researchers, teach a master’s level course, and gain service experience as a student representative on the doctoral committee.

When I entered the program, I had a broad interest in veterans’ issues, but the program’s coursework helped me to refine my research focus. For example, one practical course assignment resulted in original research on veterans’ health care utilization.

Now that I am focusing almost exclusively on my dissertation and publishing, I am especially grateful to have the continued support and guidance of my dissertation committee, faculty-at-large, and my fellow doctoral students.”

Andrew I. Repp  |  Doctoral Student

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