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              2019–2020 Minority Fellowship Program Doctoral Fellows

 
Victoria-Aguilar Luis-Alvarez-Hernandez Autumn-Asher-BlackDeer John-Cocco Luis-Curiel
Victoria Aguilar Luis L. Alvarez-Hernandez Autumn Asher BlackDeer John Cocco Luis O. Curiel
University of Pennsylvania University of Georgia Washington University in St. Louis Indiana University University of St. Thomas
Second-Year Fellow Second-Year Fellow First-Year Fellow Third-Year Fellow First Year-Fellow
Mariama-Diallo Justin-Harty Crystal-Hayes Monique-Holguin Matt Ignacio
Mariama Diallo Justin Harty Crystal Hayes Monique Holguin Matt Ignacio (Tohono O'odham)
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey University of Chicago University of Connecticut University of Southern California University of Washington
First-Year Fellow First-Year Fellow Third-Year Fellow Second-Year Fellow Second-Year Fellow
Kynai-Johnson Carol-Lee Francisco-Lozornio Robert-A.-Mays.jpg Kenya-Minott
Kynai Johnson Carol A. Lee Francisco J. Lozornio Robert A. Mays Kenya Minott
Catholic University of America University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign University of Southern California Morgan State University University of Houston
Second-Year Fellow First-Year Fellow First-Year Fellow First-Year Fellow Second-Year Fellow
Kendall-Moody Shawna-Murray-Browne Gilbert-Nick Araceli-Orozco-Hershey Christine-Park
Kendall L. Moody Shawna Murray-Browne Gilbert A. Nick Araceli Orozco-Figueroa Christine Park
Norfolk State University University of Maryland, Baltimore Hunter College of City University of New York University of Washington Catholic University of America
Second-Year Fellow First-Year Fellow Second-Year Fellow Second-Year Fellow Second-Year Fellow
Amittia-Parker Charlene-Poola Luis-Ramirez Stephanie-Rachel-Speer Carolina-Villamil-Grest
Amittia Parker Charlene Poola Luis Ramírez Stephanie Rachel Speer Carolina Villamil Grest
University of Kansas Arizona State University University of Pennsylvania University of Denver University of Southern California
First-Year Fellow Third-Year Fellow Second-Year Fellow Third-Year Fellow Third-Year Fellow
 

Victoria Aguilar is a student in the doctoral program in social work at the University of Pennsylvania. She completed an undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of Connecticut and an MSW degree at the University of Pennsylvania. Her research focuses on immigrant children who have been separated from their families at the U.S. border to examine the impact and subsequent outcomes of the detainment, separation, and reunification experience. She works as a clinical social worker at Boston Children’s Hospital. Previously, she worked with grassroots organizations serving undocumented populations and supported student-run clinics through the University of Pennsylvania in West Philadelphia neighborhoods. After completing her doctoral degree, Ms. Aguilar plans to continue her current research to develop a scale that assesses the impact of parental behaviors, specifically fear and its effects on the mental health of children. She is licensed in the state of Massachusetts as an LCSW.

Luis R. Alvarez-Hernandez is a student in the doctoral program in social work at the University of Georgia. He completed a BSW degree at Dalton State College and an MSW degree at the University of Georgia. His research focuses on mental health in LGBTQ+ communities of color, especially among Latinx immigrants. Mr. Alvarez-Hernandez has a private practice in Athens, Georgia, and is a graduate research assistant for the Lazos Hispanos project, which uses community leaders to build connections between the Latinx community and service providersAfter completing his doctoral degree Mr. Alvarez-Hernandez’s goal is to become a faculty member and engage in research and teaching. He is licensed in the state of Georgia as an LCSW.

Autumn Asher BlackDeer is a student in the doctoral program in social work at Washington University in St. Louis. She completed an undergraduate degree in psychology at Arkansas Tech University and a master’s degree in social work at the University of Oklahoma–Tulsa. Ms. Asher BlackDeer’s research focuses on the cycle of interpersonal violence, mental health issues, and substance abuse affecting American Indian populations. Her research seeks to understand how structural violence influences, enforces, and sustains the conditions for these negative consequences. After completing her doctoral degree, Ms. Asher BlackDeer would like to increase the Indigenous professoriate by becoming a faculty member engaged in research and teaching. She plans to continue build her research by developing a conceptual framework of structural violence in American Indian and Alaska Native communities. 

John Cocco is a doctoral student at Indiana University. He completed an undergraduate degree in history at Wittenberg University and a master’s of social work at Indiana University. Mr. Cocco is currently a licensed mental health and substance use disorders therapist working with HIV-positive individuals and individuals in the criminal justice system. He has past work experience in the field of mental health and substance use disorders in addition to working with those returning to the community after incarceration. Mr. Cocco’s research is focused on implementing and evaluating the efficacy of group intervention that helps people recover from trauma using their own understanding of spirituality and on adapting current interventions for use with formerly incarcerated individuals. After completing his doctoral degree, Mr. Cocco would like to develop and implement evidence-based interventions to help people successfully return to the community after incarceration as well as advocate for policy changes to end mass incarceration and improve the prospects for people with criminal backgrounds. He is a licensed social worker in the state of Indiana.

Luis O. Curiel is a student in the doctoral program in social work at the University of St. Thomas. He completed an undergraduate degree in psychology and a master’s degree in social work at California State University, Northridge. Mr. Curiel is interested in preventing childhood trauma by examining the mental health needs of communities of color and reducing intergenerational trauma transmission. After completing his doctoral degree, Mr. Curiel intends to teach at the university level and dedicate his research to developing innovative teaching methods to improve education and training for social workers in mental health who focus on serving communities of color. Mr. Curiel is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of California.

Mariama Diallo is a student in the doctoral program in social work at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. She completed an undergraduate degree in public law at the University Gamal Abdel Nasser in Guinea and a master’s degree in social work at Columbia University. Ms. Diallo delivers mental health services to individuals who have experienced domestic violence/intimate partner violence and family violence and to survivors of other types gender based violence, including female genital mutilation, forced marriage, honor killing, and human trafficking. Ms. Diallo’s work in the community focuses on developing a curriculum and on training service providers to deal with these issues. After completing her doctoral degree, Ms. Diallo would like to expand her clinical work with the African diaspora in New York and promote social work education in developing countries, especially in Guinea. Ms. Diallo is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of New York.

Justin Harty is a student in the doctoral program in social work at the University of Chicago. He completed an undergraduate degree in sociology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a master’s degree in social work at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Mr. Harty’s research focus is mental health and substance use among young African-American fathers in foster care and fathers involved in the child welfare system. He is interested in how the state prepares young fathers to exit foster care and enter adulthood. Mr. Harty provides clinical mental health services to young fathers in foster care and foster care alumni. After completing his doctoral degree, Mr. Harty plans to continue his work academically and clinically. He will conduct research related to practice interventions and programming about mental health and substance abuse among young fathers in foster care. He also will provide mental health and substance abuse services to improve parenting skills, foster positive child outcomes, and maintain supportive coparental relationships. Mr. Harty is a licensed direct service child welfare employee in the state of Illinois.

Crystal Hayes is a doctoral student at the University of Connecticut. She completed a bachelor’s degree at Mount Holyoke College and a master’s of social work at Smith College. Ms. Hayes currently works with young women and their children in a clinical setting and teaches at  Smith College and North Carolina State University. Ms. Hayes has experience in nonprofit leadership and management as the former director of Racial Justice and Maternal Child Wellness at the YWCA Greater Triangle in Raleigh, North Carolina. Her research focuses on the childbearing experiences and perinatal health needs of incarcerated pregnant women in an effort to reduce health disparities and promote trauma-informed and gender-specific health care for imprisoned pregnant women. After completing her doctoral degree, Ms. Hayes hopes to secure a tenure-track teaching and research position, developing and leading a research agenda on the perinatal health needs of incarcerated pregnant women. Posttenure, Ms. Hayes is interested in a social work administrative dean or director position in which she can develop policies that create pipelines and mentorships for the next generation of minority scholars in the field.

Monique Holguin is a student in the doctoral program in social work at the University of Southern California. She completed an undergraduate degree in psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles, and an MSW degree at California State University, Los Angeles. Her research applies social network theory and analysis to identify barriers to behavioral health and health-service use and access to care for marginalized transition age youths. She recently provided clinical supervision for a community participatory-based research study addressing financial needs and social determinants through an integrated health service delivery model at a local county-operated pediatric clinic serving primarily low-income, racial/ethnic minority patients and families. After completing her doctoral degree Ms. Holguin plans to secure an academic position at a research university and continue her commitment to addressing racial/ethnic health-care disparities. She is licensed in the state of California as an LCSW.

Matt Ignacio (Tohono O'odham) is a student in the doctoral program in social work at the University of Washington. He completed an undergraduate degree in psychology at the College of Santa Fe and a master’s degree in social work at Columbia University. Mr. Ignacio’s field of work includes substance abuse prevention among Native American youth populations, co-ocurring mental health issues, and harm reduction prevention interventions. After completing his doctoral degree, Mr. Ignacio is eager to teach courses on historical trauma and other social determinates of health, as well as community practice and research methods courses.

Kynai Johnson is a student in the doctoral program in social work at The Catholic University of America. She completed a BA degree at Washington and Lee University and an MSW degree at The Catholic University of America. Her research focuses on transgenerational trauma and culturally relevant healing services in communities of color and the dissemination of this research to care providers. Ms. Johnson currently works as a bilingual, licensed, social worker at the Latin American Youth CenterAfter completing her doctoral degree she would like to continue to engage institutions of higher learning, local nonprofits, and community members in interventions using a social justice education framework. She is licensed in the District of Columbia as an LICSW.

Carol A. Lee is a student in the doctoral program in social work at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. She completed an undergraduate degree in sociology and education at the State University of New York at Albany and a master’s degree in social work at the University of Chicago. Ms. Lee’s focus area is substance abuse intervention development and implementation using a community-based participatory research approach for marginalized adolescents and young adults from disadvantaged communities. Ms. Lee works with the Newark Community Collaborative Board, in partnership with community residents, health-care consumers, service providers, and scientists, to address substance misuse and related health disparities. After completing her doctoral degree, Ms. Lee aims to contribute to empirical evidence on interventions that seek to eliminate health inequality and protect the health, safety, and quality of life for all, especially the young population,  and to incorporate her research agenda into social work education to help social workers achieve social justice. Ms. Lee is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Illinois.

Francisco J. Lozornio is a student in the doctoral program in social work at the University of Southern California. He completed an undergraduate degree in sociology at California State University Northridge and a master’s degree in social work at the University of Southern California. Mr. Lozornio’s area of behavioral health services includes family violence, poverty, trauma, and decarceration. Mr. Lozornio teaches at Northeastern Illinois University. He also delivers mental health services to returning citizens at a reentry program in Chicago. After completing his doctoral degree, Mr. Lozornio will continue teaching and working toward helping organizations adopt holistic models to improve mental health and wellness service delivery to individuals returning from prison to decrease community trauma and reduce recidivism. Mr. Lozornio is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of California.

Robert A. Mays is a student in the doctoral program in social work at Morgan State University. He completed an undergraduate degree in neuroscience at Temple University and a master’s degree in social work at the University of Marlyand, Baltimore. Mr. Mays’ behavioral health services focus on the mental health of young Black adults and culture as a protective and enabling factor. Mr. Mays works as a clinical social work therapist in the District of Columbia Public Schools. After completing his doctoral degree, Mr. Mays would like to continue treating and advocating for Black adolescents and young adults and educating future social work students, and he would like to contribute to the literature on Black culture and mental health. Mr. Mays is a licensed independent clinical social worker in Washington, DC.

Kenya Minott is a student in the doctoral program in social work at the University of Houston. She completed an undergraduate degree in social work at the University of Central Missouri and an MSW degree at St. Louis University. Her research focuses on the acceptance and use of racial equity policies and practices with school-wide behavioral interventions and supports. In particular, she is interested in how school administrators and mental health professionals understand, assess, and confront their own biases and the relationship of these processes to decision-making regarding the support of students' social emotional health. Mrs. Minott currently works on a research team that is examining the use of an intervention intended to decrease/delay adolescent engagement in high risk behaviors such as tobacco use, substance use, and sexual activity. After completing her doctoral degree Mrs. Minott plans to continue consulting and community-based research and to further her research and teaching opportunities by securing a tenure-track faculty position.

Kendall L. Moody is a student in the doctoral program in social work at Norfolk State University. His research focuses on the health-related quality of life of children and adolescents with chronic illness, specifically sickle cell disease. Mr. Moody sponsors an annual bone marrow drive with bethematch.org, and he conducts an annual sickle cell transition retreat that focuses on educating and empowering young adults with sickle cell disease by providing the skills necessary for navigating the transition from pediatric to adult health care. Mr. Moody is a clinical social worker at the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters. He completed his undergraduate degree in psychology and MSW degree at Norfolk State UniversityAfter completing his doctoral degree Mr. Moody plans to pursue a faculty position where he can teach, continue his research, and serve as a clinical mental health consultant to reduce mental health disparities among at-risk African American and Latinx children and families. He is licensed in the state of Virginia as an LCSW.

Shawna Murray-Browne is a student in the doctoral program in social work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. She completed an undergraduate degree in criminology and family science at the University of Maryland, College Park, and a master’s degree in social work at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Mrs. Murray-Browne’s clinical and community-based practice focuses on mind-body modalities to reduce symptoms from race-based traumatic stress in African American women, children, and activists. Mrs. Murray-Browne consults with organizations on nourishing a culture of mindfulness, antiracism, and impact. After completing her doctoral degree, Mrs. Murray-Browne would like to develop curricula supported by data on anti-oppressive work in community and practice. Mrs. Murray-Browne is a licensed clinical social worker in the state of Maryland. 

Gilbert A. Nick is a student in the doctoral program in social work at City University of New York, Graduate Center and Hunter College. He completed a BA degree at Oberlin College and a dual MSSW and MPA degree at Columbia University. His current research focuses on protective factors among high-end behavioral health service users, exploring risk, and identifying cultural and structural factors that impact access, quality and utilization of mental health services. He is currently involved in research projects related to stigma, cultural humility and community resiliency. Additionally, he works as a part-time psychotherapist in an outpatient mental health clinic. After completing his doctoral degree, Mr. Nick plans to pursue research, programmatic and policy initiatives geared toward improving mental illness and behavioral health outcomes in low-resourced communities while continuing to provide clinical services as a therapist and social justice advocate. He is licensed in the state of New York as an LMSW.

Araceli Orozco-Figueroa is a student in the doctoral program in social work at the University of Washington. She completed an undergraduate degree in Lengua y Literature de Hispanoamerica at the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California, Mexico, and an MSW degree at University of Washington. Mrs. Orozco-Figueroa’s research focuses on examining the historical, social, political, cultural, and environmental factors that affect mental health conceptualizations of women of Mexican descent living in the United States, including those from indigenous groupsShe currently provides informal clinical support to prior social work trainees and colleaguesAfter completing her doctoral degree she will pursue a career in research, teaching, and bi-national community service with individuals of Mexican and indigenous descent. She is licensed in the state of Massachusetts as an LICSW. 

Christine Park is a student in the doctoral program in social work at The Catholic University of America. She completed an undergraduate degree at Princeton University and an MSW degree at The Catholic University of America. Ms. Park’s research has focused on intimate partner violence and understanding and healing chronic shame by integrating a spiritual and religious perspective. She is now focusing on the relationship between childhood attachment insecurity and shame-proneness as it relates to mental health disorders. For nearly 8 years she has worked as a mental health clinician at the Catholic Charities of Arlington, primarily focusing on low-income individuals and families who pay for outpatient mental health services on a sliding scale based on income. After completing her doctoral degree Ms. Park hopes to carry the knowledge gained from her research into her work with underserved populations in a way that is culturally competent and sensitive to the specific needs of racial/ethnic minority populations. She is licensed in the state of Virginia as an LCSW.

Amittia Parker is a student in the doctoral program in social work at the University of Kansas. She completed an undergraduate degree in social work at the University of Kansas and a master’s degree in social work at the University of Texas. Mrs. Parker’s behavioral health research focuses on the intersection between mental health and the social environment of families of color with young children. She serves as president of the Kansas City Association of Black Social Workers and is the Race and Social Justice chair for the Kansas Association of Infant Mental Health. After completing her doctoral degree, Mrs. Parker would like a faculty position in which she can continue to pursue her research agenda, teaching, mentoring social work students, and serving the community through public advocacy and board leadership. Mrs. Parker is licensed in the state of Kansas as an LMSW.

Charlene Poola is a student in the doctoral social work program at Arizona State University. She completed a bachelor’s degree in sociology at the University of New Mexico and a master’s of social work at New Mexico Highlands University. Ms. Poola works as a consultant in the fields of mental health first aid, mental health training in schools, and for American Indian behavioral health systems. Ms. Poola has more than 15 years of work experience as a clinical social worker with expertise in mental health in schools and American Indian behavioral health systems. Her research interest concerns the effectiveness of evidence-based interventions in the behavioral health settings among American Indians. After completing her doctoral degree, Ms. Poola hopes to evaluate the effectiveness of evidence-based interventions in partnership with American Indian behavioral health agencies. She is licensed in the state of New Mexico as a clinical social worker.

Luis Ramírez is a student in the doctoral program in social work at the University of Pennsylvania. They completed an undergraduate degree at the Universidad Ibero, Mexico, and MSW degree at Columbia University. Ramírez works as a clinical coordinator at the Attic Youth Center and provides clinical services for an LGBTQ youth community center in Philadelphia. Their research focuses on developing a clinical approach for LGBTQ people of color across their lifespan that is attuned to the impact of multiple systems of oppressionAfter completing their doctoral degree Ramírez wants to use their research to develop research-based interventions that support LGBTQ people of color. Ramírez is licensed in the state of Pennsylvania as an LCSW.

Stephanie Rachel Speer is a doctoral student in social work at the University of Denver. She completed a bachelor’s degree in Spanish at the University of Colorado and a master’s in social work at the University of Denver. Ms. Speer has worked in various clinical mental health settings including outpatient, school-based, integrated care, telephonic services, intensive in-home services, and emergency evaluation and management. Her focus has been on racial and ethnic minorities and underserved communities dealing with various mental health and substance abuse issues. Ms. Speer’s area of behavioral health research focuses on mental health and substance abuse disparities for Latinos and African Americans with plans to develop culturally relevant programs and interventions to address disparities in mental health and substance abuse treatment and outcomes. She also intends to develop an intervention that addresses historical and insidious forms of trauma through the mechanisms of attachment. Ms. Speer intends to spend her career ensuring underserved communities are better represented in, and served by, current research and training by taking her skills back to the community in the form of research, program development, and mental health services. She is licensed in the state of Colorado as a clinical social worker.

Carolina Villamil Grest is a doctoral student at the University of Southern California. She completed a bachelor’s degree in social work at Florida State University and a master’s of social work at Catholic University. Ms. Villamil Grest has experience in the clinical setting, working with survivors of gender-based violence in residential services and in a legal service organization. Her behavioral health research interest focuses on the developmental trajectories of gender-based violence, intimate partner violence, and dating violence among youths and emerging adults, particularly immigrants and Latinos, in addition to substance use and mental health comorbidities. After completing her doctoral degree, Ms. Villamil Grest would like to obtain a tenure track assistant professorship that emphasizes teaching and mentorship of social work students and research in gender-based violence, substance use, and mental health.