Headquartered at IUPUI
Locations on 8 IU Campuses

Current Ph.D. Students

Sara Makki Alamdari


Sara Makki Alamdari is a first-year PhD student in social work. She received MA in social science research from University of Tehran and BA in civil engineering. Her research interests are community planning and practice, substance abuse prevention and education. She was an advocacy officer in IPPF Member Association in Iran. Also, she had been a sociology specialist in rural development projects in her country. Her MA thesis was: “The role of NGOs to combat substance abuse”. Also, she has an published article titled “The status of civil behavior teaching in Iran schools”. Addition to English, she knows Azerbaijani and Persian languages.

Richard A. Brandon-Friedman


Richard's research interests include the formation of identity in GLBTQ-identified adolescents and youth, the sexual behaviors of adolescents and how they affect the adolescents' lives, interventions with hard-to-reach youth, trauma-informed care, children/adolescents' navigation of the child welfare system, the interactions between social and intrapersonal identities and the intersections between sociology and social work. He is pursuing a double minor in Human Sexuality (through the Kinsey Institute at IU Bloomington) and in Sociology. Prior to joining the PhD program, Richard worked as a therapist for a foster care agency for several years and a case manager for several community mental health agencies and received advanced training in trauma-informed care and attachment-building interventions.

Haiping Chen


Haiping Chen is a current doctoral student at Indiana University School of Social Work whose areas of interest include youth development, civic engagement of older adults, and intergenerational volunteering. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Xiamen University in China where she worked on developing a volunteer support network in urban communities, exploring opportunities for community social workers, and developing a home-based community care program for older adults.

Hannah Cowles


Research areas include disparities within the Juvenile Justice System with a focus on transfer waivers. Hannah is a certified instructor for the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Hannah is employed by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute as a Disproportionate Minority Contact Program Manager.

Terri S. Gee


Terri has research interests in increasing permanency through adoption for children with special needs, trauma-informed care, and formal and informal support systems for foster and adoptive parents. Terri is currently working as a behavioral therapist for children and adults with developmental disabilities, traumatic brain injuries, and cerebral palsy, while enjoying volunteering as a child advocate.

Steven M. Hyer


My research interests are in military social work, intimate partner violence in the military, uses of Gottman Method Couples Therapy and Motivational Interviewing in the treatment of intimate partner violence.

Marea K. Kinney
Research and Teaching Assistant


Marea's research interests include intersection of gender identity and sexuality, macro leadership development in social work (community organizing, conflict resolution, interprofessional education), and the benefits of peer mentoring. In particular, Marea's primary research interest is the experience of persons who identify as gender queer. Marea is pursuing an external minor in research methods (visual sociology, cultural anthropology, and geographic information system) and was accepted into the first Certificate in College Teaching cohort at IUPUI. Prior to the PhD program, Marea received a Bachelor's degree in Psychology and with a minor in Women's Studies from Purdue University and a Master's degree in Social Work with a concentration in Leadership from Indiana University. Marea’s work at the university and in the community has been recognized with the 2015 Elite 50 award and the 2015 William M. Plater Civic Engagement award.

Isaac Karikari


My research interests encompass international development, multicultural studies, and civil society organizations, with a particular focus on child labor.

Jangmin Kim
MSW (김장민)


Jangmin Kim (김장민) is a doctoral candidate. His research interests lie in community and administrative practice in social work. He is particularly interested in interorganizational collaboration, child welfare service delivery system, human services management (e.g., critical management studies), community-based programs for the development of minority youth, anti-oppressive practice, and participatory action research. He is currently working on his dissertation aimed at examining the comprehensive and holistic process of school-community collaboration that helps address conflict in a constructive way to improve program quality within the school-community collaboration. He is also engaged in the Title IV-E Waiver Demonstration Project, a statewide program funded by the State of Indiana’s Department of Child Service. His primary role is to conduct a summative and formative evaluation of child welfare services. He received a BSW from Jeonju University (Jeonju, Korea), an MSW from both Chonbuk National University (Jeonju, Korea) and Portland State University. 

I-Hsuan Lin


I-Hsuan is currently a doctoral candidate. I-Hsuan’s research interests include women’s and gender issues, work-family interface with focus on work-family conflict and integration, work-family reconciliation policy and practice, gender-based wage gap and poverty, older adults’ civic engagement, social work education outcomes, and instrument development and validation. I-Hsuan has also been an Associate Faculty at IUPUI since 2012 and has taught courses at BSW- and MSW-level. She currently teaches practice research for MSW Direct online program. Before joining IUSSW doctoral program, I-Hsuan had worked in the field of gender equality promotion, women’s welfare, single-parent family service and financial assistance as a social worker, Director, and Director-general of the NPOs and an Administrator of the Department of Social Welfare, Taipei City Government for 7 years combined. She has also been a consultant for Awakening Foundation (in Taiwan) since 2006. 

Dustin Drew Pifer


Dustin Pifer, LCSW, LCAC is researching comorbid disorders and sexual health among 1st time offenders court ordered into treatment. He is a full-time counselor practicing MIT, CBT, and Prime For Life at St.Vincent Stress Center. He is also a Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) educator for local police departments. His professional interests include all addictions (substances and behaviors among all populations- adolescents to senior citizens) and sexual health promotion.

Samantha Taylor


I currently work full-time for Eskenazi Health as a Breast Cancer Patient Navigator/Researcher. I also work PRN for Indiana University Health as a medical social worker in the ER.

My research interests include the following:

  • Barriers to Medical Care and Health Disparities of Breast Cancer Patients
  • Women's Health Disparities
  • Women's Rights
  • Gender Wage Inequality

Matthew Walsh


My research interests include professional develop of social workers with a particular focus in how social workers perceive themselves and their profession as well as how other professions view social work. I am also interested in how social hierarchies impact individuals and issues related to child welfare.

Julie Walsh, MSW, LSW
PhD Student & Research Assistant


Julie Walsh is a doctoral student in the Indiana University School of Social Work with a primary research interest in the intersection of gender diversity, sexuality, and alternative relationship structures. Additional research interests include HIV, spirituality, nonprofit management, and macro social work practice. Julie comes to IU with a Bachelor’s Degree in All-Area Music Education from Butler University and a Master of Social Work Degree with a dual concentration in leadership and mental health/addictions from IU. Julie is currently serving as the Executive Director of GenderNexus, an emerging organization for the gender diverse community. 

Aaron C. Willis


My research interests are rooted in harm reduction, substance misuse, and mental health. My minor area of concentration is epidemiology. Currently, I am gathering coroner data of prescription painkiller and heroin overdose deaths to further understand the conditions and contexts of these deaths with the overarching intent of increasing the availability and reach of Narcan (naloxone), an antidote for prescription painkiller and heroin overdoses.

Eun Hye YI


Eun Hye is a Ph.D. student in the School of Social Work at Indiana University pursuing a minor in Economics. Her research interests are aging and the effects of social policies on older adults’ and their families’ well-being. She is currently exploring how American senior citizens respond to the legalization of medical marijuana. Additional research interests include socioeconomic justice and health disparity among older adults, caring labor, ageism, and gerontological social work education. She received her M.S.W. degree from Soongsil University (accredited by CSWE), Seoul, Korea, concentrating on  policy practice. Prior to beginning the Ph.D. program, she worked as a generalist social worker for communities in Seoul, Korea for several years, and as a researcher at a national research institute, involving quantitative analysis to evaluate the effects of workfare programs in Korea.