Skip to main content

Meet our new doctoral students

By Brenda Vawter, Doctoral Program Coordinator

Joseph Frey received his bachelor’s degree in social work from Eastern Michigan University in 1996, and received both an MEd (2002) and an MSW (2009) from the University of Louisville. Most recently, Frey served as assistant director for community engagement, Office of Leadership and Service-Learning, at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. His areas of interest include poverty, asset development, community development and international social work. His career goals are to become a faculty member focusing on social problems of poverty. Frey will work as a research assistant with Dr. Paul Lanier.

Ashley Givens received bachelor’s degrees in psychology and sociology from Arkansas Tech University in 2008, and an MSW from the University of Arkansas in 2010. Since graduating, she has been working as a research associate and teaching the undergraduate and graduate Research and Technology 1 course at the University of Arkansas. Givens also provided field internship supervision for students in their field placements, and served on the university’s MSW Admissions Committee and the Student Standards and Support Committee. Her career goals are to focus on how characteristics of the life course affect families and adolescents, as well as domestic violence and its effects in adolescence on health and academic achievement. Givens is the recipient of a Doctoral Merit Assistantship, and will be working with Dr. Cindy Fraga Rizo.

Laurie Graham received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2009. As an undergraduate, she volunteered with the Orange County Rape Crisis Center and served as an intern in the Orange County Sheriff’s Office. Her work with survivors of intimate partner and sexual violence, combined with course work, led her to pursue an MSW from UNC, graduating in 2011. She used this opportunity to gain skills in serving survivors of trauma, research, and policy advocacy. Graham has been serving as programs director of the Orange County Rape Crisis Center, during which time she authored a manual on best practices for developing and implementing support group programs for survivors of sexual violence. Her work on this manual resulted in receipt of the 2013 Peer Support Award given by the N.C. Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Her ultimate goal is to develop evidence-based interventions to reduce the incidence of sexual violence and sex trafficking. Graham is the recipient of a five-year fellowship within the Royster Society of Fellows and will be working with Dr. Rebecca Macy.

Patricia (Tricia) McGovern received a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 2007, and an MSW in 2011, both from UNC-Chapel Hill. McGovern has been working as an addictions therapist for UNC Healthcare’s Alcohol and Substance Abuse Program. Her career goals are to work toward a tenured professorship at a research university and to conduct intervention research to advance the practice of treatment for substance abuse. As a doctoral student, she would like to study new treatment practices to reduce substance abuse. McGovern will work as a research assistant with Dr. Trenette Clark.

Elaina Sabatine received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Pennsylvania State University in 2011, and an M.Ed from East Carolina University in 2013. Sabatine recently worked as a science instructional coach and high school science teacher at Northampton County Schools. Her career goals are to bring an evidence-based developmental approach to education systems that are not capturing the full potential of all students—particularly the least advantaged ones. Sabatine will work as a research assistant with Drs. Natasha Bowen and Melissa Lippold.