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Meet our new doctoral students

Alexandria Forte received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Villanova University in 2011. She then returned to Colorado to work as the advocacy coordinator at the Children’s Hospital Colorado, where she helped pediatric residents advocate for their patients and their own rights as learners. This work informed Alexandria’s decision to pursue her MSW from University of Denver. Upon graduation, Alexandria began working at Denver Health as the research manager for a Department of Justice grant researching how community resources and mentorship could decrease recidivism rates of violent injury in youth. Concurrently, Alexandria helped develop a grant-funded pipeline program for youth interested in health careers with the goal of diversifying the healthcare workforce. Alexandria’s work in health systems has informed her research interests, which include the intersection of poverty and access to nutrition for Black communities and obesity. Alexandria was selected for membership in the Royster Society of Fellows and will be working with Rachel Goode, Ph.D.

Anderson Al Wazni received her bachelor’s degrees in religious studies and interdisciplinary studies at N.C. State University. During this period, Anderson studied abroad in South and Southeast Asia and was inspired by innovative humanitarian work by local organizations and international NGO’s in the area of women’s health, environmental justice, and anti-poverty work. She received her master’s degree in social work from Smith College in 2014, where she completed a thesis on Muslim women and feminist identity. Since graduation, Anderson has published, given public talks, and run CEU seminars in the area of Islamophobia, trauma, and women’s identities. She also teaches an introductory course on social welfare policy in the Smith College MSW program. Anderson is dedicated to pursuing research in the area of environmental justice-specifically focusing on how climate change, conflict zones, and human displacement interact. Anderson will be working with Mimi Chapman, Ph.D.

Terence Johnson received his bachelor’s degree in public health with a focus on health policy and management in 2013, and a master’s degree in pharmaceutical sciences with a focus on pharmaceutical outcomes and policies in 2017, from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. During his undergraduate and graduate career, he was selected to be a McNair Scholar and National Research Service Fellow. These opportunities provided him the opportunity to investigate barriers to antiretroviral adherence and health service use among justice-involved individuals living with HIV. After completing his master’s degree, he worked as a research associate with Dr. Gary Cuddeback at the UNC School of Social Work. Terence worked on two federally funded projects, in partnership with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety, that implemented a specialized approach to supervising individuals with severe and persistent mental illness under community supervision and that explored the impact of restricted housing on correctional officers’ emotional well-being. Terence is interested in the design of interventions to address the social and healthcare needs of justice-involved individuals. Terence’s research will be supervised by Gary Cuddeback, Ph.D.

Hayden Dawes received his bachelor’s in 2008 at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and earned his master’s degree in social work from North Carolina State University in 2014. Hayden has worked as a licensed clinical social worker in community and hospital settings. Most recently, he worked at the Veterans Health Administration, where he supported veterans with co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders. Hayden’s research experience includes the evaluation of food insecurity programs in the Dominican Republic and Haiti and applying a manualized alcohol-cessation treatment protocol to patients with Hepatitis C for a randomized control trial study. Hayden’s current research goals are to strengthen the efficacy of interventions targeting implicit bias and to further examine cultural humility at the intersections of mental health practitioners and healthcare systems. Hayden’s research assistantship will be supervised by Will Hall, Ph.D.​

Daniel Gibbs received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of South Carolina in 2011, and received his master’s in social work and juris doctor degrees from the University of Georgia in 2015. After graduation, Daniel researched and developed child welfare policy in his home state of South Carolina as a part of his role as the Child Law Fellow at the University of South Carolina School of Law. He then transitioned into law practice, where he represented volunteer guardians ad litem in child welfare cases. Additionally, Daniel taught bachelor’s and master’s level courses in social policy analysis at the University of South Carolina College of Social Work. Daniel’s areas of interest include child welfare policy and foster youth permanency, and his primary goal is to identify and improve the ways in which child welfare interventions and policies interact with the court system (and vice versa) to produce positive outcomes for children and families. Daniel will be working with the Child Welfare Research Group headed by Mark Testa, Ph.D.; David Ansong, Ph.D.; Selena Childs, MSW; and Paul Lanier, Ph.D.