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Doctoral Student Profiles


Nathan Berman

Research Interests: Social Welfare Policy, Poverty, Race and Segregation. Evidence based housing practices with chronically homeless individuals. The role of social work in both individual and community level services for the homeless, including Housing First, and other “no-strings attached” housing.

Bio: Nate received a Bachelor of Art in Political Science (2012) and is finishing the M.S.W portion of the joint M.S.W/PhD degree in Social Welfare at UWM. As part of the M.S.W requirements, Nate completed a clinical field practicum at a community mental health center whose clients were predominately homeless and had co-occurring mental health and substance use issues. In addition, he was appointed to the Board of Directors of a no fee, interest free, micro lending nonprofit organization in Milwaukee and has also been a Teaching Assistant for Social Work 206: Social Welfare Policy. Other relevant experience includes Research Assistantships, one of which was managing data collection for the study, “The Intersection of African American Male Unemployment and Health Status.”

E-Mail: nberman@uwm.edu


Katelyn Blair

Research Interests: Resilience, with an emphasis on at-risk youth; Parent-Child Interaction Therapy; implications of the risk and resilience factors associated with child maltreatment; translational research and the research-practitioner model of social work; child well-being; mixed-methods research; community-based research; trauma-informed care; mental health crisis intervention.

Bio: Katelyn received her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Psychology, with an emphasis in Leadership, from Central Michigan University in 2013. She was a 2012 McNair Scholar at Central Michigan University. Katelyn will earn her MSW in December, 2014 as part of the Joint MSW/PhD program. Her specialization in the PhD program is Child Welfare. She serves as a representative on the UWM Institutional Review Board. Katelyn is a 2014 recipient of the Advanced Opportunity Program Fellowship.

E-Mail: khblair@uwm.edu


Elise Collet

Research Interests: Comparing the use of spirituality and alternative coping mechanisms among diverse socio-economic stratums of the chronically ill and aging populations and their caregivers.

Bio: Elise received a bachelor's degree in History from UW Madison in 1998. She worked at a youth treatment center for 3 years, and in 2004 received a master's in social work with an emphasis on physical/mental health from UW Milwaukee. She has served as a social worker for the at-risk, mentally ill, medically frail, and geriatric populations for the past 7 years.

E-Mail: epcollet@uwm.edu


Jennifer Hernandez-Meier

Dissertation: Concurrent Polysubstance Use in College Students: Predictors and a Brief Social Norms Intervention to Abate Use.

Research Interests: Epidemiology and prevention of alcohol and substance use, as well as concurrent and simultaneous polysubstance use on behalf of young adults and college students; personalized normative feedback interventions; development of brief in-person and Web-based interventions for substance use; measurement of at-risk drinking.

Bio: Jennifer received her BS in Psychology and a Certificate in Criminal Justice from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, with specializations in double methods (macro and clinical) and behavioral/physical health.

E-Mail: hernan23@uwm.edu
Curriculum Vitae


Rebekah Johnson

Research Interests: Impact of globalizing Western mental health paradigms on social capital; ethics of involuntary mental health law; medicalization of social work practice.

Bio: Rebekah received bachelor's degrees in Social Work and French from Luther College in 2004. She interned at a residential children's home in South Africa, followed by service with the Peace Corps in Senegal. Beginning in 2008, Rebekah worked in various capacities of refugee resettlement in Wisconsin and the Washington D.C. area. Her experiences with refugee communities and abroad have motivated a critical inquiry into macro systems that impact her own community.

E-Mail: john2935@uwm.edu


Daria Mueller

Research Interests: prostitution, sex trafficking, violence against women, and their intersections with poverty/classism, sexism, racism, and criminal justice contact. Specifically, she is interested in evaluating policies and strategies related to the sex trade to determine what may best prevent entry and/or facilitate exit from the sex trade.

Bio: Daria worked in the field of public policy with Chicago-based non-profits for 10 years, focusing on policy solutions to address violence against women, poverty and homelessness, criminal justice reform, and particularly prostitution and sex trafficking. Her experience includes spearheading efforts to establish the WINGS Project, a treatment court for women with prostitution offenses in Chicago, and leading legislative advocacy for the End Demand Illinois campaign, which has transformed prostitution and human trafficking laws in Illinois. She has taught as an adjunct instructor at Dominican University’s Graduate School of Social Work. Daria received her MSW from the University of Illinois at Chicago and her BA/BSW from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

E-Mail: muell479@uwm.edu


Greg Powers

Research Interests: The criminal justice response to substance use. The design and evaluation of correctional interventions and alternative sentencing projects. Substance abuse policy, treatment, etiology and epidemiology. The effects of polysubstance use in young people. Data analysis and study design in substance abuse research.

Bio: Greg completed a Bachelor of Arts in 2005 with a focus on developmental psychology. In 2008 he was awarded an M.Sc. in Developmental Neuropsychology from a joint program between the University College of London’s Anna Freud Centre and Yale Child Study. During the interregnum prior to starting doctoral study, Greg assisted in evaluation research examining the reentry needs of Baltimore City Jail inmates. Currently, Greg works on several projects relating to polysubstance use and substance abuse interventions.

E-Mail: gpowers@uwm.edu


Matt Richie

Research Interests: Juvenile waiver legislation and juvenile confinement, the process of desistance, formerly incarcerated individuals' perceptions of the American Dream, group identification among former prisoners, as well as neighborhood dynamics and crime.

Bio: Matt Richie completed his undergraduate degree in criminal justice at the University of Wisconsin - Oshkosh in 2012. In his time at UW-Oshkosh, Matt taught for two semesters at Oshkosh State Correctional Institution through their Convicts to College program. In 2014, Matt completed his Master of Science in Criminal Justice at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. In his time at UW-Milwaukee, Matt was the field placement project assistant for the criminal justice department and was awarded graduate student of the year for the 2013-2014 academic year. He has presented at multiple regional and national conferences and recently published a book chapter on identity creation in social media.

E-Mail: mjrichie@uwm.edu


Nicole Robinson

Research Interests: Social justice, community-level and place-based interventions, effects of criminal justice policies on communities of color, community engagement and organizing, program evaluation, and multiculturalism in nonprofit management.

Bio: Nicole Robinson received a Masters in Social Work and a Masters in Public Health from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (2005). Nicole has over 10 years' professional experience working in the nonprofit sector, mainly as a program evaluator and nonprofit technical assistance provider. Past experience includes national evaluations of advocacy and social policy initiatives, evaluation capacity building, and evaluation of foundation grantmaking activities.

Email: nnr@uwm.edu
Curriculum Vitae


Laura Voith

Research Interests: Development of anti-violence and healthy relationship programs; Etiology and risk/resilience factors of child sexual assault/abuse; public health policy development; community based collaboration for practical implementation of evidence based interventions; racial, ethnic, and gender disparities of service delivery for Intimate Partner Violence.

Bio: Laura received her BA in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Later, she completed her MSW as part of a joint MSW-PhD degree in UWM’s School of Social Welfare. She has experience in counseling adolescents who have experienced abuse and coordinating community-based sexual assault services and a network of community-based advocates. Additionally, Laura has experience in research administration, serving as a grant development assistant beginning in 2013. Since 2011, she has assisted with and led quantitative and qualitative research studies with partners locally, at the state level, nationally, and internationally.

E-Mail: lavoith@uwm.edu
Curriculum Vitae


Lixia Zhang

Research Interests: Child welfare services; Child welfare policy; Child neglect; Child abuse; Welfare and acculturation of immigrant children; Mental health and education of immigrant children.

Bio: Lixia received her bachelor's degree in English Literature and Education from Huaibei Normal University in 2006. She earned her Master’s degree in Theoretical Linguistics from East China Normal University in 2010. She has also worked with a non-profit organization in Shanghai conducting research on migrant workers and migrant children in China.

E-Mail: lixia@uwm.edu