2021 Workshop

The Fragile Families Summer Data Workshop was held June 14 -18, 2021 virtually. The 2021 workshop included special sections on racial inequality, systemic racism and plans for the 22-year follow-up survey,

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Chelsea Allen

Chelsea Allen is a doctoral student at Columbia University’s School of Social
Work. She currently works with Dr. Courtney Cogburn examining the role of
racism and race-related stress in the production of health inequities. Additionally,
this work studies the effect of immersive virtual reality experiences on
psychological processes, such as empathy/social perspective taking, racial bias
and decision making. Previous to attending Columbia, she practiced as a clinical
therapist working with children and families. Chelsea’s scholarship is interested
in historical trauma and its specific application to African American communities.
Her current research involves developing a conceptual model that reframes this
theory through a multi-disciplinary lens that integrates various perspectives that
are related, but not intentionally grounded, in a historical traum framework.

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Hannah Berendzen

Hannah Berendzen is a doctoral student in Human Development and Family
Sciences at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research centers around
mitigating the effects of adverse childhood experiences. In particular, Hannah
focuses on cultivating strength-based, trauma-informed approaches to family
interventions that serve low-income schools and communities.

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Katie Berry

Katie Berry received her MPH from Boston University School of Public Health
and is currently a 2nd year PhD student in Epidemiology at the University of
Minnesota School of Public Health. She is also a predoctoral trainee on the
NICHD-funded T32 training program in Population Health Science at the
Minnesota Population Center where she works with Rachel Widome
(Epidemiology), John Robert Warren (Sociology), and Christopher Uggen
(Sociology). Katie's research focuses on understanding how non-healthcare social
policies shape the health of families who face social and economic disadvantage.
In particular, she is interested in examining the health consequences of structural
and policy barriers faced by individuals involved in the criminal justice system.
For her dissertation, she plans to evaluate the impact of state-level collateral
consequence policies on the mental health of individuals with criminal
convictions and their families.

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Kiana Bess

Kiana Bess is a doctoral candidate in Health Behavior Health Education at the
University of Michigan. Broadly, her research agenda focuses on advancing
health equity through social and structural determinants of health. Using CBPR
and community-engaged approaches, she is particularly interested in examining
neighborhood influences (housing & built environment) on health outcomes in
African American children and adolescents who reside in urban geographical
areas.

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Jessica Blume

Jessica Blume is a doctoral candidate in the Human Development and Family
Sciences department at Texas Tech University. Her primary research interests
include early intervention and prevention programs and examining how contextual
factors at the individual, family system, and policy levels contribute to risk and
resiliency. She is a speech-language pathologist and she examines developmental
trajectories of children with or at-risk for autism spectrum disorders, as well as
children impacted by socioeconomic adversity.

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Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown is an incoming second-year student in the HDFS department at the
University of Georgia. Graduated from Arizona State University with a Bachelor of
Science in Psychology. Research interests include risk and resilience, specifically
with the inclusion of biomarkers to reflect stress and physical health.

 

Hung-Yang Chen 

Hung-Yang Chen is a graduate student in the Department of Human Development
and Family Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Her research focuses
on how parenting contributes to children’s peer relationships, social-emotional
development, and psychosocial adjustment. Her research interests also include the
role of culture in this socialization process. She holds a MEd in Educational
Psychology and double BEd in Human Development and Family Studies and in
Educational Psychology and Counseling from National Taiwan Normal University.

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Yafan Chen 

Yafan Chen is a doctoral student at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey,
School of Social Work. Her research interests include child maltreatment, exposure
to intimate partner violence (IPV), and child and adolescent well-being. Her research
focuses on examining child adolescent behavioral and mental health outcomes after
child maltreatment and exposure to IPV.

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Hyeri Choi

Hyeri Choi is a PhD student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social
Policy and Practice. Her research focuses on low-income working parents’ economic
instability and work-family conflict. In particular, she is interested in how parental
labor market experiences and income have an impact on a child’s well-being. Prior to
entering SP2’s PhD in Social Welfare program, Ms. Choi earned dual bachelor’s
degrees in social work from Stony Brook University and the University of Seoul in
South Korea. She went on to obtain a master of social work (MSW) degree from
Columbia University, with a policy concentration. Pursuing her strong interest in the
policy world, Ms. Choi worked at former U.S. congressman Steve Israel’s local office
and the National Assembly of the Republic of Korea as a social work intern. She also
gained research experience in the Center for Research on Fathers, Children, and
Family Well-Being at Columbia University and the Korea Institute for Health and
Social Affairs (KIHASA).

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Akilah Collins-Anderson 

Akilah Collins-Anderson is a PhD student in the Public Health Sciences program
and National Institute of Mental Health T32 Predoctoral Fellow at Washington
University in St. Louis. Her research interests include mental and behavioral health
disparities, social determinants of health, chronic disease, and health education. Akilah
is specifically interested in contributing factors, evidence-to-action plans, and
implementation strategies around high-priority Black health issues.

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Tawnee Crews

Tawnee Crews is a second year doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at
the University at Albany, SUNY. Her research interests focus broadly on the
intersections of crime, family, and race. She is particularly interested in quantitatively
researching the intergenerational effects of criminal justice involvement. Currently,
Tawnee is conducting research that examines how experiencing parental incarceration
impacts legal cynicism.

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Christina Cross

Christina Cross is a Postdoctoral Fellow and Assistant Professor of Sociology at
Harvard University (beginning 2022). Her research falls at the intersection of families,
race/ethnicity, and social inequality. She examines how family structure, change, and
dynamics influence children’s life chances, particularly those from minoritized and/or
low-income backgrounds. Her work has appeared in outlets such as Social Problems,
Demography, and the Journal of Marriage and Family. Her research has been
supported by organizations including the National Science Foundation, the Ford
Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Social Science Research
Council. It has received numerous awards, including the American Sociological
Association’s 2020 Dissertation Award and the Population Association of America’s
Dorothy S. Thomas Award. Cross holds a PhD in Public Policy and Sociology from
the University of Michigan.

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Tia Dickerson

Tia Dickerson is a third year PhD student in sociology and criminology at Howard
University with interests in social inequality, mass incarceration, and sociology of the
family. Her current research agenda includes the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic
on married and cohabitating African American couples. Previously she has presented
work on the roles of race ideology and intermarriage in the marriage rates of African
American women.

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Rebecca Distefano 

Rebecca Distefano is a postdoctoral research fellow in the National Center for
Children and Families at Teachers College. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental
Psychology from the Institute of Child Development at the University of Minnesota.
Rebecca’s research focuses on risk and protective processes in the lives of families
experiencing homelessness and high mobility. She is particularly interested in the
consequences of instability on children’s cognitive development and the ways that
housing policy can best support homeless and highly mobile children and families. In
her current position, Rebecca is investigating the impacts of affordable housing on
family well-being in collaboration with the NYC Department of Housing Preservation
and Development.

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Nicholas Freeman 

Nicholas Freeman is a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology at the
University of California, Irvine. He earned his master’s degree in public policy with
an emphasis in public health from the University of California, Riverside (UCR), and
a bachelor’s degree in biology from UCR. His current research interests include
examining associations between maternal generational status and health outcomes
among U.S. adolescents as well as how these relationships are mediated by family
instability.

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Natalia Giraldo-Santiago 

Natalia Giraldo-Santiago’s research focuses on examining social determinants of
health (SDOH) across the life course and racial and ethnic inequalities in the access
and utilization of healthcare services. Specifically, Natalia’s program of research seeks
to explore individual and community level factors compromising health trajectories,
particularly for minoritized populations who are at the intersections of race, poverty,
and health disparities. Natalia’s long-term goals include evaluating the quality,
effectiveness, and cultural grounding of health and mental health interventions in the
United States.

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Jordan Goodwin

Jordan Goodwin is a doctoral student in the School of Social Work at Rutgers. Her
research focuses broadly on issues around housing instability, mental health, and
substance use among individuals and families, with a particular interest in trauma and
homelessness. Jordan is a licensed social worker and Presbyterian (USA) ordained
chaplain with direct practice experience in psychiatric treatment facilities and lowincome
housing communities. Jordan’s current research explores innovative programs
and policy solutions to chronic homelessness from the perspectives of Permanent
Supportive Housing residents and providers. Jordan holds an MSW from Rutgers, a
Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and a B.S. in Psychology
from the University of Florida.

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Xóchitl E. Guerrero

Xóchitl E. Guerrero is a licensed clinical social worker with over 20 years of
experience providing services to and advocating for members of Chicago's most
vulnerable communities. Xóchitl received her undergraduate degree in criminal justice
and sociology and her graduate degree in social work, both from the University of
Illinois Chicago. She is currently a doctoral student at the University of Illinois Jane
Addams College of Social Work in Chicago. Xóchitl is a graduate research assistant at
the Jane Addams Center for Social Policy and Research. Her research interests include
the impact of parental incarceration and immigration detention on children and families.
For nearly a decade, Xóchitl provided mental health services to men and women
detained at the Cook County Department of Corrections in Chicago. She has also
provided mental health services to unaccompanied minors from Mexico and Central
America and advocates strongly for the needs of children who are separated from
their families. Xóchitl is a recipient of the Diversifying Faculty in Illinois Fellowship
and hopes to join the faculty of a social work graduate program upon completion of her
doctoral studies. Xóchitl was born and raised in Chicago, is a proud first-generation
college graduate and mother of five.

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Sunghyun Hong

Sunghyun Hong, MSW, is a doctoral student in social work and developmental
psychology at the University of Michigan. Her interests center on the
developmental shaping of resilience and the ways biological, cultural-social, and
environmental factors protect and promote the functioning and wellbeing of
individuals. In addition, she applies a strength-based framework while utilizing
neuroscience techniques. Her current work examines how many youth and young
adults overcome and thrive in life under conditions of extreme stress.

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Huiying Jin

Huiying Jin is a doctoral candidate at the School of Social Work at Rutgers
University. She holds a master’s degree from the Crown Family School of Social
Work, Policy, and Practice at the University of Chicago and a bachelor’s degree in
Communication from the School of Journalism at Fudan University. Her research
focuses broadly on the well-being of children living in poverty, with a particular
interest in studying employment and work-life policies and programs. She is currently
working on a study that examines the effects of mothers’ nonstandard work schedules
and longitudinal child well-being among low-income families using data from the
Fragile Families study. Huiying’s research is formed by her experience as a journalist
and years of practice and research experience on multiple projects with scholars in
both U.S. and China.

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Mengguo Jing

Mengguo Jing is a PhD student in Human Development and Family Studies at
the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she studies children’s cognitive
development in the context of screen media. Her research focuses on
understanding 1) the fundamental cognitive processes, such as attention allocation
and symbolic representation, that are involved in early learning from different
sources of information (e.g., videos, stories, real-life demonstrations and 2) the
impacts of digital technology on mental health and academic achievement in older
children in the complex social-cultural environment.

 

Jair Johnson

Jair Johnson completed the first year of graduate school at Washington State
University. My research interests are sociology of the family, personal exchange
networks, race, social class. Currently I have been studying kinship exchanges
and the concept of reciprocity. Specifically, I would like to examine a research
question that addresses whether and how generalized reciprocity benefits children
within low-income households. I am particularly interested in single-parent black
households. Prior research supports the idea that kinship exchange, whether
between family members and/or friends is beneficial for parents and therefore
helps the family more generally.

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J'Mag Karbeah


J'Mag Karbeah is a PhD candidate in the University of Minnesota' School of
Public Health 's Division of Health Policy Management studying Health Services
Research, Policy and Administration. Her focus is on the sociology of illness.
J'Mag received her MPH (2017) from the University of Minnesota with an
emphasis on Maternal and Child Health. Her research marries her HSR and
demography training to analyze the impact of structural racism on maternal and
child health inequities. Her scholarship has done this by:(1) examining alternative
perinatal care models to address inequities in access and quality that Black
birthing people face and (2) acknowledging and challenging how anti-Black
racism is perpetuated through public health and medical institutions. In her
dissertation work she hopes to examine police contact as a form of structural
racism impacting adolescent health outcomes.

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Soobin Kim

Soobin Kim is a PhD candidate in the School of Social Work at the University of
Pittsburgh. She earned her MSW and BA with highest honors at Yonsei
University, South Korea. Her research focuses on economic inequality, poverty,
social welfare programs, and social policy. Currently, Kim is working on the
Pittsburgh Wage Study (https://www.pittsburghwagestudy.pitt.edu/), which
investigates the experiences of low-wage workers and the impacts of incremental
wage increases on their individual and family well-being.

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Patricia Lewis

Patricia Lewis, MSW, MPH, is a PhD candidate in Sociology at Emory
University and a Research Associate at the Global Research for Women (GROW)
network where she has collaborated on various mixed-methods projects
evaluating social norms around gender equity and gender-based violence in South
Asia. Her own research focuses on housing instability and intimate relationships
among American families. Patricia has a first-authored article using FFCWS data
in the Journal of Family Issues, exploring the role of paternal child support in
mother's risk of housing instability. Her dissertation research is a mixed-methods
project exploring the relationship between Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) and
housing instability among women living in urban centers in the U.S. The
qualitative portion of the project uses in-depth interviews to explore family
disruptions and IPV in the lives of mothers who access housing support services
in the greater New Haven area. The interviews with women provide a critical
context for the way in which intimate relationships and housing are intertwined,
while the quantitative project will begin to disentangle the individual-level and
community-level pathways in the relationship between IPV and housing
instability. Using multiple waves of the FF data, Patricia will investigate how the
social disorganization of a community effects a woman’s risk of housing
instability after experiencing IPV. Patricia lives in Connecticut with her husband
and 6-month-old daughter. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.

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Linda Li

Linda Li, MPH is a Social Policy and Policy Analysis PhD student at the
Columbia University School of Social Work. Her research interests include the
social determinants of health, human development, and social mobility. In
particular, she is interested in how social policies can help to reduce disparities in
life outcomes, and improve opportunity and wellbeing throughout the life course.

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Nikeea Copeland Linder

Nikeea Copeland Linder, Ph.D., MPH is the Co-Director of the Center for
Diversity in Public Health Leadership Training at Kennedy Krieger Institute and
an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins
School of Medicine. Dr. Linder’s research examines the impact of toxic stress on
the mental health and health-risk behaviors of youth. She is particularly interested
in identifying protective factors and understanding the mechanisms through
which individual, family, and cultural protective factors decrease depression and
health-risk behaviors and enhance adaptive coping.

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Michelle Livings

Michelle Livings is beginning her third year in the Population, Health, & Place
PhD program at the University of Southern California. She has previously earned
a Master's of Public Health with a concentration in Biostatistics from the Georgia
State University School of Public Health. Her research interests include maternal
and adolescent mental health, family violence, and violence interventions.

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Anais Mahone

Anais Mahone is a PhD student at the Rutgers School of Social Work. She was
awarded the Dean’s Fellowship by the Rutgers School of Graduate Studies. Her
research interests are healthcare access, racial disparities in health, generational
wellness, and the relationship between health and poverty. Anais’ research will
explore the institutional, environmental, and psychosocial stressors impacting
health outcomes among Black and Latino families.

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Minal Manisha

I am Minal Manisha from India and earned a Master’s degree in Social Work
from the Department of Social Work (2004), University of Delhi, India. I have
more than a decade of experience of working with not-for-profit organizations in
India. As a professional I had the unique opportunity of integrating research and
practice around children in need of care and protection in some of the most
underdeveloped regions of India. I joined the PhD program at School of Social
Work, UIUC in the year 2019. The doctoral student I am pursing my long-term
research agenda that focuses on improving the well-being of children through
meaningful integration of digital media in their ecosystem. I am working with Dr.
William Schneider and I am currently using data from the Fragile Families and
Child Wellbeing Study to understand how digital media influences parent child
interaction, child behavioral issues and parental warmth. Additionally, I am also
looking at the impact of digital media on socioemotional well-being of children.

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Helen C.S. Meier

Helen C.S. Meier is an Assistant Research Professor in the Population,
Neurodevelopment and Genetics Program at the University of Michigan’s
Institute for Social Research. She has a PhD in Epidemiologic Science and an
MPH in Hospital and Molecular Epidemiology from the University of Michigan
School of Public Health. Dr. Meier’s research focuses on biosocial approaches to
health inequalities and aging. She uses a life course framework to understand the
molecular pathways by which social and environmental exposures occurring
throughout life get “under the skin” to affect adult and later life health.

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Nayantara Nair

Nayantara Nair is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Human
Development and Family Studies at Purdue, and her research broadly focuses on
identifying pathways through which youth and family wellbeing can be fostered
in the context of adversity. She is currently in the analysis phase of her
dissertation, which utilizes the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study
dataset to explore cascading resilience processes in parents and adolescents
experiencing cumulative socioeconomic risks, separately within Black, Hispanic,
and White families. Ultimately, Nayantara hopes to work as a developmental
research scientist for an organization that aims to improve outcomes for
underserved youth and families through research, evidence-based community programming, and policy
implementation.

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Cynthia Navarro Flores

Cynthia Navarro Flores is a doctoral student in the Combined
Clinical/Counseling Psychology at Utah State University. Her research interests
include understanding risk and resilience factors in relation to the development of
psychopathology among ethnic minority youth, and tailoring intervention and
prevention programs for underserved /marginalized populations.

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Jihyun Oh

Jihyun Oh is a second-year doctoral student in Social Welfare at UCLA Luskin
School. Her research interest is child poverty and deprivation, in particular using
the concept of multidimensional child-focused deprivation and examining how
the application of the new measure to the U.S. contributes to child support policy
and practice. Jihyun Oh earned her BA in Social Welfare at the Catholic
University of Korea, her MA in Social Welfare at Seoul National University, and
her MSW at the University of Washington (UW), Seattle. Prior to entering the
UCLA doctoral program, in 2006-2011, she worked for various projects regarding
measuring national minimum cost of living and producing Korean Welfare Panel
Study data in the Division of Basic Social Security Research at the Korea Institute
for Health and Social Affairs (a government-funded think tank). After completing
her MSW, in 2017-2018, she interned in Partners for Our Children (UW-affiliated
child welfare research center) in Seattle. Through her doctoral study at UCLA,
Jihyun hopes to develop more comprehensive and systematic analysis that can
contribute to improvements in child support policy and practice.

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Emily Searl

My name is Emily Searl and I am a second-year sociology PhD student at UC
Davis. I am training in both quantitative and qualitative methods and my research
interests are work, family, and social stratification. I am currently using the Fragile
Families and Child Wellbeing Survey for a project about working mothers. I am
studying maternal labor force participation and well-being over time by
race/ethnicity and education.

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Saliha B. Selman,

I am Saliha B. Selman, from Istanbul, Turkey. I am becoming a fourth-year doctoral
student in the Human Development and Family Studies department. I am also a
Project Assistant in the Child and Family Ecologies (CAFÉ) Lab at UW–Madison,
and exploring the impact of early stress on young children’s cognitive functions and
parenting processes.

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Michaela Sisitsky

Michaela Sisitsky is a first-year doctoral student in the Child and Adolescent
Clinical Science program at Florida International University. At FIU she is a member
of the Child and Family Well-Being Clinic and Lab under the mentorship of Dr.
Justin Parent. Michaela’s research interests broadly include the impact of early
childhood stress and adversity on subsequent development of psychopathology,
intergenerational transmission of trauma, and biological markers of risk and
resiliency. Michaela hopes to use the Fragile Families data to investigate mechanisms
that contribute to racial and ethnic health disparities, in order to improve access to
and implementation of mental health interventions that are culturally responsive.

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Laura Sullivan

Laura Sullivan is a doctoral student in the Department of Policy Analysis and
Management at Cornell University. Her research interests include poverty and
inequality, the safety net, and spatial demography. More specifically, she is interested
in how policies and places affect people’s wellbeing and their ability to access
resources. Before her doctoral studies, Laura was a Research Analyst at the Urban
Institute and received her MPA from the University of Washington.

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Jenny Tanis

Jenny Tanis, LMSW, I am a third-year doctoral student in the School of
Social Work at Michigan State University. Prior to beginning the doctoral
program, I worked for over ten years as a clinical social worker in the child
welfare field in settings such as residential care, forensic medical care, and private
agency foster care/adoption. This experience has inspired my research interest in
fostering family wellbeing and preventing child welfare involvement. Using a
reproductive justice framework, I am interested in centering parental
empowerment as a means of facilitating access resources necessary to keep
families whole. I very much look forward to learning more through the Fragile
Families Summer Data Workshop and findings ways to use this valuable dataset
to further this important work.

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Dan Wang

Dan Wang, MS, is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Child, Youth, and
Family Studies in the College of Education and Human Sciences at University of
Nebraska–Lincoln. Her research focuses on the contextual risks and protective
factors for child health and family wellbeing. Her research to date centers on three
related strands, including fragile families, culture, and program evaluation. Dan
Wang strives to examine risks within micro contexts such as family and
neighborhood and within macro contexts such as culture and poverty, uncover the
pathways to resilience among children in adversities, and bridge family research
with practice through program evaluations. She is also interested in research
methodologies in quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method research design and
analysis.

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Jia Wang

Jia Wang is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Sociology at the University
of Wisconsin-Madison. Her general interests include social stratification,
inequality, and family demography. She is particularly interested in the
consequences of nonstandard employment and work schedules on life chances
of individuals and their children, and how such stratifying role of nonstandard
work varies across education groups.

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Xiafei Wang

Dr. Xiafei Wang is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work at
Syracuse University. Wang’s research focuses on unraveling mechanisms of
intergenerational transmission of trauma and exploring the factors related to
resilience development for trauma-affected individuals and families. Wang also
examines the effects of diversity factors on trauma and resilience, such as race,
gender, disability, and military experiences, to inform culturally responsive
programs. Wang has worked on multiple evaluation projects funded by the U.S.
federal/state government and the United Nations. Wang teaches HBSE, Diversity,
and Program Evaluation in the School of Social Work at Syracuse University.

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Durrell Malik Washington Sr.

Durrell Malik Washington Sr. is a doctoral student at the University of Chicago
Crown School of Social Work, Policy, and Practice. Originally from the Bronx
NY, he earned his master's from Columbia University School of Social Work
where he concentrated in Policy and Contemporary Social Issues. Durrell is a
Graduate Assistant at the Pozen Center Human Rights Lab at the University of
Chicago and the Neighborhood & Network Initiative at Northwestern University.
He is also currently a Duke University Social Network and Health Fellow. His
research interest lies in the intersections between Neighborhoods, Juvenile
Incarceration, Health, Families and Networks.

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Deadric Williams

Deadric Williams is an assistant professor at the University of Tennesee,
Knoxville. Deadric Williams’ research is organized around two general themes: (1)
racism and families and (2) stress, couples’ relationships, and health. His research
on racism and families uses Critical Race Theory as a theoretical perspective to
challenge conventional sociological research on racial economic inequality among
families. His second line of research examines stress and health as a longitudinal
and dyadic process among couples.

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Amy Yao 

Amy Yao, MSW, is a PhD candidate at Boston University School of Social Work.
Her research focuses on social determinants of health among urban mothers and
children. She is particularly interested in food security, economic wellbeing, and
longitudinal effects of material hardship.