It is with great pride and pleasure that we present this year's doctoral candidates from the University of Washington Doctoral Program in Social Welfare. To view each individual's CV and portfolio materials, please select the person's name.

We welcome your inquiries about any of the upcoming graduates listed.  Please feel free to contact us or any of our faculty (the general number for the School is 206-543-5640) if we may be of further assistance.

Dr. Taryn Lindhorst
Behar Endowed Professor of Oncology and Palliative Social Work
Director, Center for Integrative Oncology and Palliative Care Social Work
Director of PhD Program in Social Welfare

Dr. Edwina Uehara
Professor & Ballmer Endowed Dean

Martha AbyMartha Aby

Influenced by over 15 years of teaching, clinical, supervisory, and public policy practice, Martha investigates the social justice implications of how states and the federal government fund and implement mental health services and infrastructure development efforts. Research projects focus on the sustainability of grant programming, the effects of productivity requirements on clinician behaviors, and state infrastructure grant implementation. Her dissertation examines the implementation of Minnesota’s Cultural and Ethnic Minority Infrastructure Grant, a program aiming to increase the number of licensed mental health professionals from communities of color, at the micro, mezzo, and macro levels. Martha enjoys and has experience in teaching courses on social work theory (human behavior in the social environment), methods (families and groups, organizations, and community practice), and clinical engagement (assessment skills and psychopathology). 

Youngjun ChoiYoungjun Choi

Youngjun’s research focuses on impacts of high technologies on older adults’ health and psychological well-being with social justice perspectives. Implementing publicly funded Internet-based counselling services for dementia caregivers, Youngjun saw the potential of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) as an advanced means in social service delivery system. Simultaneously, he also realized that many caregivers who needed supports could not benefit from the services due to limited access to the Internet. Based on the experiences as both researcher and implementer, it has become Youngjun’s long-term research and implementation goal to deploy digital technologies to bring a more comprehensive array of social services to socially disadvantaged groups. Youngjun is interested in teaching social welfare research, advanced quantitative methods, aging, and social policy courses.

Erin Harrop

Erin’s research focuses on the intersections of mental health and physical health, specifically in the areas of eating disorders, substance abuse, and weight-stigma. Her research agenda addresses weight stigma as a social justice issue, by examining the systemic factors that impact eating disorder patients’ access to care. Erin’s research is informed by her six years of experience as a medical social worker at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Her research has been funded by four fellowships, including a Leadership and Education in Adolescent Health Fellowship (Maternal Child Health), and two NIH Institute of Translational Health Sciences fellowships. Her dissertation involves a mixed-methods longitudinal study examining the experiences of higher-weight individuals with restrictive eating disorders. She also engages in advocacy work at local and international levels, working with the Academy of Eating Disorders, the Association for Size Diversity and Health, and the Department of Defense, as a reviewer for the Peer Review Medical Research Program. She enjoys teaching research methods and clinical classes, while maintaining a focus on integrating social justice content. 

Matt Ignacio

Matt Ignacio

As a tribal member of the Tohono O’odham Nation, Matt’s professional and research interests have largely focused on improving the health and wellness of American Indian/Alaska Native/Native Hawaiian people and communities. Matt’s dissertation is rooted in community-based participatory research approaches grounded in Indigenous theories and methodologies and explores harm reduction education and prevention interventions for urban Native youth. Matt is committed to supporting strengths-based approaches to social work practice, education, and research, with an emphasis on healing and wellness. Matt hopes to continue teaching courses on historical trauma and other social determinates of health, as well as community practice and research methods courses.

Kristin McCowanKristin McCowan

Born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, Kristin J. McCowan, MSW is a first generation African American PhD candidate in Social Welfare at the University of Washington. As a critical youth development practitioner and scholar,  Kristin’s research centers the experiences of marginalized youth as they contend with the ongoing consequences of social injustices that constrain agency and healthy development. Employing a wide range of methodological approaches, Kristin engages collaboratively with youth-serving organizations to study adolescent sociopolitical development. In doing so, Kristin hopes to develop innovative programming strategies that empower young people to be critical thinkers and change agents who are committed to addressing structural and material inequities within their communities.