Social work is special because I can teach students the subject matter, but I cannot teach them passion. That is something the students bring, and it is a key element in the learning process. Learning can be challenging, but those challenges are minimized by their passion that inspires them and increases their hunger for knowledge. I love getting to see the process unfold in the classroom, and for me, witnessing such progression and helping shape how that passion is used motivates me to be a better coach and mentor.
My research interests center on social determinants of health among the Latinx and African American populations; adolescent health-risk behaviors; and child welfare employee psychosocial outcomes. I am currently examining risk factors associated with suicide among Latinx adolescents, farmers, and agricultural workers. The issue of suicide disproportionately impacts these subgroups and I want to create knowledge that moves forward the understanding of this phenomenon. I am also engaged in examining how employment-based social capital impacts organizational behavior, intentions to stay with the agency, psychological distress, effects of work on family life, empowerment, and job burnout among public child welfare workers. I am also investigating the health beliefs and habits of child welfare workers.
Throughout my research and teachings I hope that my students gain an understanding that social work is a profession. Lots of people want to help others, but it takes more than a big heart to do so. It takes a set of professional skills to be able to make a difference in the lives of those with whom we work. My students hopefully understand that and work on building a skill set that will truly make them effective helping professionals.
- Ph.D., Boston College
- M.S.W., University of Michigan