Current Doctoral Students
Jeffrey Asprocolas, MSW, LCSW
Abby has an MSW from Portland State University. She has partnered for over five years with Native American organizations in an effort to counter top-down research by working with Native communities to develop cultural- and community-based measures that demonstrate the effectiveness of culturally based interventions. Her interests include indigenous frameworks of well-being for American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) youth and emerging AI/AN adults, human trafficking, and adolescent sexuality. She has co-authored several articles on Community Based Participatory Research with urban Native communities and has an encyclopedia entry in the Sage Encyclopedia of Street Crime in America on sexual street violence.
Ryan is a PhD Student in the School of Social Work at Portland State University. Ryan has a long history working with community based organizations in Portland that address health care, educational, and housing inequalities. Primarily, her role has been as a qualitative and quantitative researcher, gathering information about community members’ experiences of social and health disparities. Her research interests include social determinants of health; community based participatory approaches that focus on community leadership and self-efficacy; and cultural responsiveness within the special education service delivery system. Ryan works with PSU’s Social Determinants of Health Initiative (SDHI), which promotes health equity by conducting community-engaged research to identify, understand, and address social determinants of health. SDHI focuses on both "upstream" and "downstream" issues that affect health equity, and conduct interventions at both the macro and micro levels.
Danica Love Brown
Ms. Brown’s postdoctoral goal is to engage in policy or program development practice and research with Native American populations while continuing to teach as an adjunct faculty member. She is a member of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and loves dogs. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin is a PhD student in Social Work and Social Research at Portland State University. He received his BSW from Harding University in 2008 and his MA in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago in 2011. Kevin’s professional experiences have centered around the prevention and intervention of men’s violence against women, research in an academic setting on issues related to LGBT health and HIV prevention, and the promotion and monitoring of ethical academic research through work with Institutional Review Boards. His current academic interests include social work ethics, the history and philosophy of the social work profession, radical and critical traditions within social work, political philosophy, and the historical and contemporary relationship between social work and the state. He dreams of writing a dissertation on the potential of anarchist thought to transform the field of social work into a revolutionary, social change focused profession.
Beckie received her BA from Weber State University in 2003 in Elementary Education and her MSW from Portland State University in 2009. Beckie taught 3rd-9th grade students with learning disabilities and emotional challenges for two years. Beckie is the former Executive Director of Mental Health America of Oregon, and Peerlink National Technical Assistance Center. She has helped start multiple peer-run organizations including a drop-in center and a statewide advocacy organization. Beckie also has served on a number of non-profit boards of directors for several years. She currently serves on the governor-appointed Oregon State Hospital Advisory Board and SAMHSA's Wellness Steering Committee. Beckie has been a mental health advocate for individuals and families for more than 15 years. Her research interests include health literacy and people with mental health challenges, interpersonal violence, and self-injury. Her personal interests include reading, music, exploring waterfalls and her three cats.
Miranda returned to school to complete her bachelor’s degree in 2007 after working with low-income children and families in urban and rural Southwest Washington for eight years as part of Washington State’s Early Childhood Education Assistance Program. She studied psychology and human development at Washington State University Vancouver and became involved in research on the transition from child welfare services to adulthood for young people “aging out” of foster care. After completing a Master’s degree in Teaching she entered Portland State’s doctoral program where she has continued exploring the process of “aging out”, particularly the role of social ties in supporting educational attainment for foster youth, and is interested in ensuring access to higher education for young people who are “underrepresented” in college classrooms (low-income, young people of color, students whose parents do not hold a bachelor’s degree). She is interested in participatory work with young people, arts-based research methods, feminist methods of inquiry, and critical pedagogy.
Joseph Nicholas DeFilippis
Joseph received his undergraduate degree at Vassar College and a masters’ degree in community organizing at the Hunter College School of Social Work. He spent years doing volunteer work as a welfare rights organizer. Then, from 1999-2003, he served as the Director of SAGE/Queens, an organization for LGBT senior citizens. In 2003, Joseph became the founding director of Queers for Economic Justice, an organization working with low-income and homeless LGBT people, and led the organization for six years. He served on (and as a member of the Steering Committees for) two major activist coalitions in New York State: The Welfare Reform Network (1999-2002) and the NYS LGBT Health and Human Services Network (1995-2005). He is one of the primary authors of the infamous “Beyond Same-Sex Marriage” (which publicly critiqued the direction of the marriage equality movement) and one of the editors of “A New Queer Agenda” published this year by the Barnard Center for Research on Women. Joseph has also served as an adjunct faculty member in social work programs at Fordham University, Hunter College and Portland State University, where he has taught various courses in political economy, social justice, social welfare policy, community organizing and sexuality.
Kevin is Practicum Director and Instructor in the Dorothy Day Social Work Program at University of Portland, where he teaches courses on individual and group counseling, interventions with children and youth, and social work and sustainability. He also teaches Sustainability and Social Work in the MSW program at Portland State University. His research interests include youth mentoring, sustainability assessment and reporting in nonprofit organizations, and university-community partnerships. He serves on the President’s Advisory Committee on Sustainability at UP and is a board member of two local nonprofit organizations, Groundwork Portland and The Portland Kitchen. He has master’s degrees in Education and Social Work, and is currently a doctoral candidate in Social Work and Social Research at Portland State University.
Sarah R. Lazzari
Sarah received her BA in Sociology with a Criminal Justice Minor from University of Washington in 2010, and then received her MS in Criminology and Criminal Justice from Portland State University in 2012. Sarah spent numerous years working with at risk youth in foster care and children whose mothers were in prison. Currently, Sarah facilitates cognitive behavioral and parenting classes in Oregon’s prisons. Sarah’s research interests are focused on the impacts of incarceration on the family unit, and how we can empower incarcerated mothers and incarcerated fathers to parent their children. Sarah is interested in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies and prefers utilizing mixed method approaches. Email: email@example.com
Sandy received her BA from Prescott College in 2002 and her MSW from the University of Montana in 2006. Her practice experience includes community mental health, violence education and prevention, community case management for adults and children with disabilities and long term illnesses, clinical practice with youth, and leadership development. Sandy’s research interests include the criminalization of women, reproductive justice, disability, and feminist methodologies. She is also interested in anti-oppressive practice and social work education with a specific focus on the infusion of critical and feminist theories in education and practice.
Analucia received her Bachelor of Arts in Urban Studies and Political Science from Loyola Marymount University in 2007, and her Master's in Educational Leadership from the University of the Pacific in 2009. She has experience working with communities of color and advocating for educational equity, access, and reform. Her other research interests include xenophobia, critical race studies, and the undocumented immigrant experience. Prior to her entering the Ph.D. program in Social Work and Social Research in 2011, Analucia was the Director of Education at Su Salud in Stockton, California, and the Microenterprise Program Instructor at Goodwill of Orange County.
Martha Jean McCormack
Martha received her BS degree from the University of Oregon in 1974 and her MS degree in Counseling Psychology from Central Washington University in 1984. She entered the PSU PhD program in 2011 after 25 years experience in publicly-funded mental health services in Oregon and Washington state. She has held such positions as therapist, clinical supervisor, program manager, consultant, and administrator. During the five years prior to starting her doctoral program, Martha supervised a team of facilitators and family partners in a SAMHSA-funded early childhood wraparound project in Portland, Oregon. Her professional areas of expertise are systems of care, peer-delivered services, team-based planning, and program design and evaluation. Her research area of study during her doctoral program is caregiver strain in families raising children with mental health conditions. She currently holds a research fellow position with Big Brothers Big Sisters Columbia Northwest, in connection with The Center for Interdisciplinary Mentoring Research at PSU. E mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Rhen started her journey in advocacy work at a Women’s Resource Center in a community college setting in Portland Oregon. From here she traveled into the non-profit sector working with youth who were developing within oppressive juvenile justice and foster care systems. After developing a passion for research as an avenue towards improving the environmental context in which children and adolescents grow and learn, she pursued doctoral work in Social Work and Social Research at Portland State University in the combined MSW/PhD program. Rhen’s research interests include school climate as a contextual framework for understanding the myriad of relational dynamics that impact identity development and social-emotional well-being. Specifically, she is interested in the ways in which the education system fosters or hinders students’ experiences of inclusion. Disproportionate discipline practices, student identity affirmation within the school and classroom, exposure to social justice issues, and avenues for participation are the key dimensions of school climate that Rhen hopes to investigate and advocate for change.
Casadi “Khaki” Marino
Khaki received a B.S. in Sociology in 1993 and a MSW in 1999 from Portland State University and entered the PhD in Social Work and Social Welfare in 2011. She worked in community mental health for eighteen years in a number of settings including supported housing, secure and forensic facilities, and dual diagnosis programs. She is a certified alcohol and drug counselor and a National Yoga Alliance registered yoga teacher. Khaki has been active in the mental health consumer and mad movements and identifies as an individual in recovery. Her research interests include social recovery and mad activism and service delivery.
Elizabeth “Lisa” Norton
Lisa is a member of the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians where she has lived and worked for over 20 years. She has worked and volunteered in a variety of capacities for the Siletz Tribe, including Tribal Court, TANF, Child Welfare, Enrollment, Mental Health Research, and Small Business Development. She has been a sexual assault advocate for over five years, both on and off the reservation. She received her MSW from Portland State University, and is working on her Ph.D. in Social Work and Research. Her research interests include community-based, participatory action research. She also is looking at ways to reduce secondary trauma, as a result of sexual assault, in Indian Country. She currently serves as adjunct faculty at Portland State University’s Social Work Program, and a Sexual Assault Advocate Trainer for the Oregon Sexual Assault Taskforce and the Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board.
Peggy Nygren, MA
Peggy grew up and earned her BA and MA Psychology degrees in the Northeast region of the United States. Her work at the Yale Child Study Center provided her with research experience in social and emotional development in early childhood, epidemiology of childhood mental health disorders, and health risking behavior and social development program implementation in school-aged youth. Practical work with children and families was focused in a variety of University setting childcare centers. After relocating to Oregon, she managed several Federal grants at Oregon Health and Science University’s Evidence-based Practice Center and applied systematic review methodology to prevention topics such as screening for family violence and the efficacy of early home visitation programs. Her doctoral work at Portland State University has included developing protocols for community needs’ and kindergarten readiness evaluations, examining home visitation program links to healthy families, and understanding the role of multiple risk and protective factors in child maltreatment. Research interests include these areas as well as efficacy and implementation of prevention and intervention programs that benefit youth, families, and communities. Community program involvement includes the Portland Children’s Levy, Prevent Child Abuse- Oregon, and the Oregon Food Bank.
Meg completed her BA in Women's & Gender Studies in 2005 and her MSW in 2010, both from West Chester University of PA. Her primary interests revolve around feminist teaching and research methodologies. Prior to starting school she taught sexual violence prevention education in Santa Fe, New Mexico and coordinated a harm reduction program for sex workers and drug users in Philadelphia, PA. As a white, queer, femme, and feminist she enters teaching and research through the lens of these identities, work experiences, education, and life experiences in which she believes weave together, and cannot be separated or unattached to professional and academic work. Her interests in research, activism, and teaching include: Anti-oppressive social work practice and research, critical feminisms, intersections of sexuality and drug use, sex work and academia, examining privilege in sex work and sex worker activism, intimate partner violence and sexual violence in queer and transgender communities, intersections of privilege, and teaching about sexuality and consent.
Claudia earned her Diplom in Social Work in Bamberg, Germany in 2001 and her Master’s in Intercultural Conflict Management in Berlin, Germany in 2006. She has years of experience working with families around parenting issues and with homeless young adults. Claudia moved to the United States in 2007 and continued her work with families and young adults. She entered the PhD program in Social Work and Social Welfare at Portland State University in 2011. Her research interest revolves around work family conflict involving a cross-national focus.
Stephanie received a BA in Journalism and an MS in Psychology, both from the University of Oregon. Stephanie currently lives in Bend with her husband, three children and lab named Moose. In addition to being a student, she works as the Research Analyst for Deschutes County Health Services, where a primary role is program evaluation for a national childhood wellness program, Project LAUNCH. With a background in early childhood issues, Stephanie plans to pursue research focused on young children experiencing chronic stress due to environmental conditions.
Christine M. Velez Klug
Christine received her BA from Bates College in 2002 and her MSW from the State University of New York at Buffalo in 2010. She has experience working with adults and children living with mental health challenges, refugees from all over the world as part of the federal Match Grant program, adults with developmental disabilities, medical social work in a cancer hospital setting, and working as a case manager in a non-profit with the Latina/o population in upstate New York. Christine’s research interests include issues related to reproductive justice and women’s health with a focus on women of color, maternal and child health issues, critical social work, and integration of feminist methodologies in research. She is also interested in environmental racism as it affects women of color and marginalized communities. Email: email@example.com
Jeffrey is a doctoral student, researcher, and adjunct professor at the School of Social Work at Portland State University. He received his Bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice at Shippensburg University, and his Master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. An experienced child welfare practitioner, Jeffrey is trained in the application of Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Structural Family Therapy. He is the instructor for “Introduction to Child Welfare,” which is offered in the Bachelor of Social Work program, and is the co-principal investigator for Oregon’s statewide, longitudinal evaluation of the child welfare educational programs impact on individual and organizational outcomes. Jeffrey’s research interests relate to child maltreatment prevention and intervention, organizational effectiveness, quantitative methodology, and program evaluation. His dissertation research is focused on the harnessing the protective effects of sibling relationships in substitute care settings, particularly as sibling family sub-systems relate to well-being, stability, and permanency outcomes. Jeffrey has received Title IV-E grant funding to pursue education and training in Social Work practice and research, and is the recipient of multiple small grants and awards to present his work at national conferences. Jeffrey is a member of the Society for Prevention Research and the Counsel on Social Work Education.
Nichole (Nick) earned both her BSW and MSW from Portland State University. She has worked extensively with individuals labeled with developmental disabilities. She also has experience working with individuals living with HIV/AIDS, adults labeled with developmental disabilities and sexual offending behavior, and queer identified youth. She has recently finished a project talking with queer identified youth across Oregon about their experiences with sexual education in schools. Her research focus involves reframing the current discourse surrounding individuals labeled with an intellectual disability and their sexuality utilizing queer and feminist theories interlaced with disability studies’ literature. She is also interested in both queer and disability activism as it manifests locally, nationally, and internationally.