PhD Students

With over 300 graduates of our doctoral program, Berkeley Social Welfare produces top-notch professors and researchers for some of the best social work schools and policy centers throughout the country and around the globe.

Coming Soon: Download the CVs of our doctoral candidates and recent PhDs seeking academic appointments starting Fall 2019.

2019  – 2020 graduating doctoral candidates

Laura BrignoneLaura Brignone

laura.b@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2020 (expected)
  • MSW, University of California, Berkeley, 2015
  • BA, Stanford University, 2010

Research Interests: Gender-based violence, social seclusion, Latin American women's immigration, intersectionality in barriers to service, culturally-derived interventions


Stephania HayesStephania Hayes

stephania@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2020 (expected)
  • MA, Occupational Therapy, University of Southern California, 2011
  • BA, Health Science, University of Florida, 2008

Dissertation: Conceptualization and Measurement of Helping-Related Stress in Peer Support Specialists

Research Interests: Adult mental health, recovery ideology, consumer-operated services, coercion and involuntary treatment, professionalization of peer support, organizational theory, "big data" management, scale validation, mixed methods

Curriculum Vitae


Julia HernandezJulia Hernandez

juliah@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2020 (expected)
  • MSW, University of California, Berkeley, 2014
  • BA, Princeton University, 2009

Dissertation: Engagement of Fathers In The Child Welfare System

Research Interests: Child maltreatment, child welfare, engagement of fathers in the child welfare system, kinship care, early intervention services

Curriculum Vitae


Renee MackRenee T. Mack

reneemack@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2020 (expected)
  • MSW, University of California, Berkeley, 2013
  • MA, Columbia University, 2008
  • BA, Columbia University, 2005

Dissertation: The Impact and Influence of the Carceral State and Deinstitutionalization on the Institutional Care of the Mentally Ill

Research Interests: Forensic mental health; intersectionality of the criminal justice and mental health systems; mandated treatment for the severely mentally ill; disproportionality of racial minorities in systems of control, public policy and human rights

Curriculum Vitae


Current Doctoral Students

Brita BookserBrita Bookser

britabookser@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2021 (expected)
  • MA, Mills College, May 2014
  • BS, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, 2012

Research Interests: Child and family welfare, community mental health, the disruption of the preschool-to-prison pipeline, mental health consultation in early childhood education, restorative justice in schools, racial and economic inequities in education, prevention science, implementation science, strengths-based prevention/intervention


Mayra CazaresMayra Cazares

mcaza002@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2021 (expected)
  • MSW, University of California, Berkeley, 2018
  • BA, University of California, Riverside, 2014

Research Interests: Foster Youth/Transition-Aged Youth, Early Parenting, Maternal & Child Well-Being, Social Capital, Intangible Protective Factors (i.e., Love, Belongingness)


Jacklyn ChambersJaclyn Chambers

jaclyn_chambers@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2020 (expected)
  • MSW, New York University, 2009
  • BA, Colgate University, 2007

Research Interests: Intersection of social work and law, juvenile justice, child welfare, crossover youth, risk assessment and risk reduction for justice-involved individuals, adolescent development


Eunkyung ChungEunkyung Chung

eunkyung.chung@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2023 (expected)
  • MA, Seoul National University, 2017
  • BA, Seoul National University, 2014

Research Interests: Health and well-being of persons with disabilities, discrimination/microaggressions, identity development, intersectionality, school climate, mixed methods


Margaret DowneyMargaret Mary Downey

mmdowney@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2020 (expected)
  • MSW, University of California, Berkeley, 2016
  • BA, Temple University, May 2009

Research Interests: Health and home care, dissemination and implementation science in health settings, (reproductive) health and transformative justice, race/gender, integrative care, care work ethics, knowledge production in social work and medicine


Douglas EppsDouglas Epps

depps@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2021 (expected)
  • MSW, University of Washington, 2015
  • BA, University of Washington, 2013

Research Interests: Immigration policy, impact of immigration control on individuals and families, alternatives to detention, anti-immigrant bias, unauthorized migration and migrant rights, ethical policy reform, privatization of immigration control, and mixed methods

Curriculum Vitae

berkeley.academia.edu/DouglasEpps


Keegan FreiburgerKeegan Freiburger

keegan@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, 2024 (expected)
  • MSW, University of Califdornia Berkeley, May 2020 (expected)
  • BA, University of Minnesota, 2015

Research Interests: Healing/Transformative Justice, Community Interventions into Structural Violence/Oppression, White Supremacy in Education, Youth Liberation/Empowerment, Transformative Participatory Research, Critical Pedagogy


Walter GomezWalter Gómez

wgomezjr@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2020 (expected)
  • MSW, University of California, Berkeley, 2017
  • MA, University of California, San Francisco, 2009
  • BA, University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras, 2004 

Research Interests: Sexual minority men's health, methamphetamine use and recovery, aging with HIV, structural factors related to biomedical interventions for HIV prevention and treatment, intersectionality, and qualitative and mixed methods


Cristina Gomez-VidalCristina Gomez-Vidal

cgomezvidal@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2021 (expected)
  • MSW, University of California, Berkeley, 2018
  • BA, University of California, Berkeley, 2015

Research Interests: Nonprofit management, funder-fundee relationships, public/private partnerships, impacts of financial and policy incentives, program planning and evaluation, welfare state


Joshua GregoryJoshua Gregory

jrgregory@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2023 (expected)
  • AM, University of Chicago, 2018
  • BA, Northwestern University, 2012

Research Interests: Critical whiteness studies, critical race theory, the elimination of systemic and relational white supremacy in social services and education, and the integration of critical theories with social science research and practice methodologies


Ivy Hammond

ivy_hammond@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, 2022 (expected)
  • MSW, University of Southern California, 2015
  • BA, Sarah Lawrence College, 2013

Research Interests: Child Welfare Systems and Service Delivery; Child Maltreatment Prevention; the Commercial Sexual Exploitation of Children; Infant Wellbeing; LGBTQ Youth


Louisa Kornblatt

Louisa Kornblatt

lmkornblatt@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, University of California, Berkeley, May 2022 (expected)
  • MSW, University of California, Berkeley, May 2019 (expected)
  • BA, Washington University in St. Louis, 2014

Research Interests: Gender-based violence intervention and prevention, feminist theory, reproduction of abusive dynamics within systems of care, barriers to accessing services, community mental health, ethnography, theater of the oppressed, intersection of clinical social work and transformative art 


Juyeon LeeJuyeon Lee

juyeon.lee@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2020 (expected)
  • MSW, Seoul National University, 2016
  • BA, Seoul National University,  2013

Research Interests: Children and youth, prevention of behavioral health problems, promotion of prosocial development and subjective well-being, school-based social and emotional learning (SEL) programs, implementation science, multilevel and multivariate data analysis


Sergio Martinez

Sergio Martinez

sergio_martinez@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, expected May 2022
  • MPH, San Francisco State, 2011
  • BS, San Francisco State, 2004

Research Interests Education and Health Equity; Social Determinants of Health; Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and Latinx/Chicanx; Latinx/Chicanx Mental Health; Spectrum of Prevention; Education Policy Analysis; Urban youth; decreasing attrition rates for underrepresented minorities at the community college level, Mixed Methods; Ethnography; Critical Pedagogies, Critical Theory


Brenda Mathias

Brenda Mathias

brenda_mathias@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2023 (expected)
  • MSSA, Case Western Reserve University, 2014
  • BSW, Temple University, 2013

Research Interests: Neighborhood effects, impact of place, urban spaces, mixed-methods, participatory action research, community-building, youth, poverty, social innovation


G. Allen RatliffG. Allen Ratliff

garatliff@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2020 (expected)
  • MSW, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2012
  • BA, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2008

Research Interests: Sexuality and gender: intersectionality, conceptualization and theory; violence: perpetration, prevention, consequences and theory; power: theory and deployment; social work ethics and pedagogy; social welfare policy; critical, queer, and poststructural theories in social sciences; child and adolescent mental health and development; harm reduction


Cheng RenCheng Ren

cheng.ren@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2023 (expected)
  • MSSA, Case Western Reserve University, 2017
  • BA, Shanxi University, 2015

Research Interests: Community engagement and assessment, urban development, migration policy, migrant health and well-being, program evaluation, community database, computational social welfare


Joseph Roscoe

Joseph Roscoe

joe.n.roscoe@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2020 (expected)
  • MSW, Boston University, 2009
  • BA, University of Michigan, 2003

Research Interests: Intergenerational mental illness and substance use disorder, prevention science, implementation science, child welfare, quantitative methods


Katie SavinKatie Savin

Education

  • PhD, May 2020 (expected)
  • MSW, Hunter College, CUNY, 2011
  • BS, New York University, 2010

Research Interests: Advanced care planning in historically disenfranchised populations, public health policy with a focus on the intersection of healthcare disparities and death and dying legislation, employing critical social theories to examine institutional (mis)trust, disability studies


Valentin SierraValentin Q. Sierra, Jr.

vqsierra@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, University of California, Berkeley, 2024 (expected)
  • MSW, University of California, Berkeley, 2020 (expected)
  • BA, University of California, Davis 2017

Research Interests: Native American Youth, Urban Indian Health, Cultural Resilience Factors, Intergenerational/Historical Trauma, Digital Solutions to Health


Kelly Ziemer

Kelly Ziemer

kziemer@berkeley.edu

Education

  • PhD, May 2020 (expected)
  • MSW, Silberman School of Social Work at Hunter College, 2013
  • MSc, SKEMA Business School, 2009
  • BBA, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2005 

Research Interests: Emotions, biological markers of positive emotions and stress, mindfulness, contemplative practices, structural competence, prevention research, strengths-based intervention