UW School of Social Work E-news
October 2009  |  Return to issue home

Welcome New Ph.D. Students!

SSW welcomes Sharmistha Ghosh, Amanda Gilman, Sara Green, Charles Hoy-Ellis, Miriam Valdovinos and Jessica Rodriguez-Jenkins.

Sharmistha Ghosh joined our program as a transfer student from the UW Women’s Studies doctoral program. After completing two Master’s degrees, first in political science at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India, and then in public affairs at The University of Texas at Austin, Sharmistha worked in the Center for Women’s Development Studies (CWDS) in New Delhi on a project on the pioneers of the microfinance movement among the women in India.  Her research interests center on the issue of violence against women, specifically violence against women within the household in developing countries. As a social welfare scholar, her goal is to study how interventions made by microfinance programs affect women’s lives within the private sphere, particularly in terms of violence.

Amanda Gilman completed her MSW (with an emphasis in social policy) at Loma Linda University in June, 2009. She received her B.A. in sociology from California State University Long Beach. Amanda completed her field practicum at the San Bernardino Mayor’s Office under the Director of Community Safety and Violence Prevention, where she worked extensively on community-based intervention and prevention strategies for reducing youth violence and gang activity. During this time she also served as the project manager for a county-wide juvenile delinquency court assessment. In her doctoral studies she plans to continue researching issues pertaining to juvenile delinquency, including juvenile justice policies, prevention strategies, and the relationship to mental health.   

Sara Green obtained an M.A. in counseling psychology from the University of Santa Monica, and completed her practicum traineeship at the UCLA Center for Community Health facilitating family-based prevention intervention groups for Spanish speaking HIV-positive mothers and their adolescent children. Sara worked as part of the clinical intervention team at the UCLA Headquarters for the FOCUS Project, a family-level, resiliency training prevention program that serves Marine and Navy families at bases across the country. She is interested in strengths-based, mental health prevention programs for families, women and children and the cultural competency of such interventions and within social work practice. She is also interested in the protective mental health and coping factors of spirituality for at-risk families and individuals. Prior to joining our program, Sara worked as a therapist at the UCLA Child and Family Trauma Clinic, where she served English and Spanish speaking children and families.

Charles Hoy-Ellis completed his MSW (clinical/contextual practice) at the University of Washington in 2004. Since then he has been a clinician at Seattle Counseling Service for Sexual Minorities, providing therapeutic mental health and addictions counseling services to members of our lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (i.e., ‘queer’) communities. Charles’ research interests include biopsychosocial health and health care disparities in these communities and communities affected by HIV/AIDS, especially as they experience the aging process. He is interested in using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies to identify and develop intervention and prevention efforts that contribute to improving the quality of life of our queer elders.

Jessica Rodriguez-Jenkins graduated from the University of Washington with her MSW in June 2006. Then she worked in Juneau, Alaska, at a nonprofit community mental health clinic serving children and families before starting doctoral studies. Jessica worked within a variety of programs, including an early childhood mental health program and served as an early childhood mental health consultant for the Tlingit and Haida early head start programs in southeast Alaska. She also worked as a family out-patient therapist, and with transitioning young adults who were homeless. Jessica is interested in trauma-informed interventions with children and youth, looking specifically at culturally based treatment. She is committed to work in the area of social justice using empowerment and anti-oppression/ant- privilege frameworks and looking at the impact of oppression on society and subsequently the individual. Immediately before joining our program, Jessica worked at the University of Washington Medical Center as a per diem social worker in women and children, inpatient psychiatry and medical/surgery.

Miriam Valdovinos completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Psychology at California State University, Fullerton. Miriam’s most recent work experience was within the juvenile justice system in Texas, where she was the research and statistics coordinator for a county-run detention center and juvenile probation department. Previous to working with youth in the juvenile justice system, Miriam spent several years working with Latina victims of intimate partner abuse.  As she pursues a doctorate degree, she is interested in combining both her previous research experience and her field work in her future research endeavors. She is interested in investigating intimate partner abuse and its deleterious effects that plague our communities. Specifically, she wants to investigate intimate partner abuse and the effects it has on Latina women and their children. Another area she would like to investigate is the effect intimate partner abuse has on adolescent children. She wants to identify appropriate interventions for youth that have witnessed partner abuse among their parental figures before they themselves begin dating and they repeat the cycle of abuse. Ultimately, through her research she wants to be a catalyst in the field of intimate partner abuse.

October 2009  |  Return to issue home