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Meet our new doctoral students

Gerard Chung earned his bachelor of social work degree and MSW degree from the National University of Singapore. He worked for five years in Singapore as a social worker in a family center doing counseling, casework, and programs with at-risk families in the community. In the subsequent four years, he turned his focus to research where he was involved in evaluating a program to help multi-stressed families in Singapore. He also provided research consultation to various social work agencies in Singapore. Gerard’s goal is to develop social work research and practice with fathers. This includes developing and validating programs in the community that can better support fathers from vulnerable families. Gerard is the recipient of a merit award from the Graduate School. He will be working with Dr. Paul Lanier.

Ting Guan received her bachelor’s degree in social work from China Youth University of Political Studies and her master’s degree from Peking University. Ting has been a health social worker in Peking University People’s Hospital for eight years. She was entrusted to head the project of establishing a health social work service system assigned by the National Health and Family Planning Commission of China. In the project, she was dedicated to designing and implementing a series of innovative services, including community health promotion, support groups for patients and caregivers, financial assistance, as well as volunteer management. As a doctoral student, Ting’s research focuses on the relationship between the psychosocial development of children with illnesses and family support. She hopes to design and develop more preventive and family-oriented programs for children with illnesses. Ting’s research assistantship will be supervised by Dr. Gary Bowen.

Brooke Jordan received her BA from Asbury University in 2008 and her MSW from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2015. Brooke has spent the last 10 years working with survivors of human trafficking in direct practice settings, as well as in macro and policy work. She has worked with human trafficking prevention and intervention agencies in South Asia, Southeast Asia, Kentucky, and North Carolina. Most recently, Brooke has been working for the N.C. Pediatric Society as the program implementation coordinator for Fostering Health North Carolina. She has been traveling around the state, working with county departments of social services to help create local polices to improve the health outcomes of children in foster care. Brooke’s research interests center around domestic survivors of sex trafficking, and creating evidence-based, trauma informed prevention and intervention programs. Brooke’s research assistantship will be supervised by Dr. Dean Duncan.

Anna Parisi earned her BA in psychology from UNC-Greensboro in 2010 and her MSW from UNC-Chapel Hill in 2013, where she completed UNC’s Certificate in Substance Abuse Studies. Since graduating, Anna has worked as an outpatient therapist in community mental health centers in Durham, Wake, and Alamance counties. Anna has also helped to develop, manage, and facilitate intensive outpatient programs for individuals working toward recovery from addiction. She is trained in eye movement desensitization and reprocessing and intensively trained in dialectical behavioral therapy. Anna is currently licensed in North Carolina as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and a licensed clinical addictions specialist (LCAS). Anna’s research focus is on improving the availability and use of empirically supported treatments for comorbid mental health and substance use disorders. Anna is the recipient of the Daniels Emerging Scholar in the Addictions Fellowship and will be working with Dr. Matthew Howard.

Jonathan Phillips studied history and sociology at the University of Minnesota-Duluth as an undergraduate. His desire to put theory into practice led him to become a live-in community member at an independently run house for the homeless that served adult men. During that time, Jonathan also worked as a youth transition specialist at a residential treatment center, where he taught life skills to young men who were aging out of the juvenile justice and welfare systems. These experiences acted as a springboard for his pursuit of a formal social work education. Jonathan received a child welfare scholarship to pursue master’s studies at the University of Minnesota-Duluth, during which he cultivated academic and professional interest in the areas of homelessness, juvenile justice, adolescent mental health, and child welfare. Jonathan also has a background in web development and spent several years as both a graduate assistant and independent contractor with the University’s Center for Regional and Tribal Child Welfare, where he implemented web-based applications to assist social service agencies and their clients. Jonathan aims to use his time in the Ph.D. program to develop sound methodological and statistical skill sets and hopes to consequently improve the efficacy of interventions and treatments in his focus areas. His academic research will gravitate around child and family welfare in the context of client interaction and experience in the justice and mental health systems, with a particular emphasis on the multigenerational impact and socio-economic implications of such institutional involvement.

Anjalee Sharma earned her BA in psychology and women’s studies and a certificate in LGBT studies from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2012. She then received her MSW in 2014 from University of Maryland, Baltimore, where she specialized in clinical mental health. During her MSW program, she worked with federal prisoners through the Federal Public Defender’s Office where she performed mitigation assessments. She also gained experience working in substance abuse at Friends Research Institute in Baltimore, MD. There, she led recruitment and primary data collection at Baltimore City Detention Center, where she worked with newly arrested detainees experiencing acute opioid withdrawal. At UNC, Anjalee plans to continue working on substance abuse issues within the criminal justice population, focusing on the development and implementation of best practices, pharmacotherapy treatments, and continuity of care for disenfranchised populations. Anjalee’s research assistantship will be supervised by Dr. Matthew Howard.