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Meet our new doctoral students

by Susan White

The School of Social Work welcomes this year’s incoming cohort of doctoral students to the program. We are pleased to bring together scholars from across the nation and from Australia, Ghana and Taiwan.

Solomon Achulo
Solomon Achulo received a bachelor’s degree in management studies from Ghana’s University of Cape Coast in 2010. He worked for several years with children in need of care and protection before earning his MSW at Washington University in St. Louis in 2023. As a case worker with Department of Social Welfare in Ghana, Achulo assessed prospective foster parents, investigated child protection violations, and recommended appropriate alternative care. Achulo also has 4 years of macro practice experience. He assisted with monitoring the implementation of the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) program, Ghana’s cash transfer program, as well as the piloting of UNICEF’s Child Protection Toolkit in local communities. He has also been active in research at his graduate school at Washington University in St. Louis, serving as a research assistant at the Center for Social Development and the International Center for Child Health and Development. Achulo’s career goal is to improve the quality of living standards and well-being of low- and moderate-income households. He will be working with Associate Professor David Ansong.
Demeisha Carlton-Brown
Demeisha Carlton-Brown earned her AA in 2016 at Parkland College majoring in psychology before transferring to the University of Illinois, where she earned her BSW in 2018. She received her MSW from the Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis in 2020, concentrating on mental health. Since graduating, Carlton-Brown has worked as a social work researcher at the Race & Opportunity Lab at the Brown School of Social Work, where she has focused on community-based participatory research, strategic planning, and program management. At UNC, she plans to explore and strengthen socio-behavioral interventions that organizations are currently using to identify, define, and treat multigenerational trauma among Black populations. Carlton-Brown will be working with Professor Trenette Goings.
Pin-Chen Chiang
Pin-Chen Chiang earned her bachelor’s degree in social work from National Taiwan University in 2015. She worked with victims of intimate partner violence and advocated for gender equality as a licensed social worker in Taiwan for several years. She received her MSW with a practice specialization in sexuality and gender from Hunter College in 2021. During her master’s program, she offered counseling sessions for LGBTQ+ youth and evaluated their living situations to ensure the availability of basic needs and a safe environment during the pandemic. Drawing from her practical experience, Chiang believes that enhancing the visibility of gender-expansive identities and improving corresponding living situations are crucial for effective social services. Following her graduation, she became involved in research concerning the social safety net in Taiwan and global social welfare regimes. At UNC, she plans to focus her research on developing supportive interventions for LGBTQ+ youth’s mental health and enhancing family-centered services. Chiang will be working with Associate Professor William Hall.
Adam Englert
Adam Englert holds a BA from Coastal Carolina University and am MSW from the University of South Carolina (USC). After completing his master’s, Englert served as a behavioral health research associate and clinical instructor at USC. He also worked as part of the design team creating simulation labs for the HOPE-WWR Student Training Series for USC’s College of Social Work. Englert’s research interests include developing clinical judgment or professional implementation of evidence-based practice in community mental health settings, as well as experiential learning. Specializing in behaviorally based clinical private practice since 2019, Englert maintains a license as a Master Social Worker. Englert will be working with Professor of the Practice Allison Metz and will continue working in the implementation of evidence-based practice in mental health settings.
Jake Leite
Jake Leite earned his Bachelor of Forensic Biology in Biomedical Science from the University of Technology, Sydney, Australia. Leite, who conducted research on background DNA in unused body bags from morgues across Australia earned his BA with honors. In 2016, he moved to Brisbane, Australia, to work for Queensland Corrective Services in offender rehabilitation and management services, where he focused on research for intimate partner violence offender rehabilitation programs statewide. Five years later, Leite moved to Raleigh, N.C. to enroll in the MSW program at N.C. State University (NCSU). During his time NCSU, he completed research on LGBTQ+ intimate partner violence while also interning with the LGBT Center of Raleigh and Equality NC. There, he focused on LGBTQ+ policy, community organizing, and anti-LGBTQ+ legislation. At UNC, Leite plans to continue his legislative work, focusing on the detrimental effects of anti-LGBTQ+ policy on the LGBTQ+ community. Leite will be working with Associate Professor William Hall.
Sarah McGlothlin
Sarah McGlothlin graduated from Emory & Henry College in 2011 with a BA in public policy. She earned her MSW from the University of Montana in 2015. As a student, she worked on legislative initiatives to reduce prison recidivism and help formerly incarcerated citizens secure safe and affordable housing. She also provided student-based counseling at the University’s Student Resource Center. Additionally, she worked at the local hospital as an on-call first responder for survivors of sexual assault within the rural and American Indian community for forensic SVU cases. After graduation, McGlothlin worked as a perinatal and pediatric social worker in a hospital setting and later as an RA at UNC Horizons, a trauma-informed residential and outpatient perinatal substance use treatment program. Her research interests are in rural post-industrial communities and their effects on maternal health, child welfare, and social welfare programs. McGlothlin values one’s connection to place and the diversity of the natural, built, and cultural environment. She is committed to promoting social justice and equity in these contexts. McGlothlin will be working with Professor Paul Lanier.
Ally Waters
Ally Waters holds BA degrees in environmental studies and economics from Brown University, an MPP from the University of Michigan, and an MSW from UNC-Chapel Hill. Waters worked for several years in Washington, D.C., as a social and behavioral science researcher and later as a mental health crisis counselor and on a community support team. While pursuing her MPP, Ally cultivated a passion for mental health and criminal justice policy reform and service delivery while interning in the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Office of Behavioral Health Equity. In 2023, she completed her MSW at UNC School of Social Work, with a focus on mental health and criminal legal systems. She also earned a certificate in substance use and addiction studies. In addition to interning with the Orange County Office of the Public Defender, where she provided clinical interventions and mitigation advocacy for individuals in jail and the community, Waters also worked as a research assistant for Research Associate Professor Tonya Van Deinse on several projects related to the intersection of mental health and criminal legal systems. Waters continues to work with incarcerated individuals as a clinical specialist in the Orange County Criminal Justice Resource Department. She will be working with Van Deinse.