The University of Chicago

School of Social Service Administration Magazine

Congratulations to our SSA Students and the Class of 2020!

SSA flag is paraded through the crowd in the quad at graduation

SSA congratulates all of our students...those who graduated this June and those who will return to us next year.

Many have received awards and fellowships. Our student journal, Advocates' Forum, showcased excellence. And many of our second year master's students completed Programs of Study.

Graduating Doctoral Students

SSA Award Recipients

2020 Advocates' Forum

Programs of Study Certificates

Link to Convocation Information

Student Fellowships

2020 Hooding Booklet

Graduating Doctoral Students

Kallie Clark
Dissertation: Postsecondary Pathways in Chicago Public Schools
Chair: Marci Ybarra, Associate Professor

Jane Hereth
Dissertation: Disrupting Criminal Legal System Involvement Among Young Transgender Women: A Mixed-Methods Study Examining the Roles of Gender-Based Violence, Discrimination, and Social Support
Chair: Alida Bouris, Associate Professor

Yu-An Lin
Dissertation: The Effects of Organizational Factors on an Integrated Service Intervention and Outcomes for Substance-Involved Parents in the Child Welfare System
Chair: Jeanne C. Marsh, George Herbert Hones Distinguished Service Professor

Michael Park
Dissertation: Moving Beyond the Racial Triangulation: An Empirical Study of the Racialization Experience of Asian American Youth and its Influence on Developmental Outcomes
Chair: Yoonsun Choi, Professor

Sophia Sarantakos
Dissertation: Progressive Prosecution? An Analysis of Decision-Making Processes in Deferred Prosecution
Chair: Matthew Epperson, Associate Professor

Bikki Smith
Dissertation: The Importance of Place: An Examination of Area Disadvantage and Outpatient Addiction Treatment Services Access Within the Context of Healthcare Reform in the U.S.
Chair: Colleen Grogan, Professor

Yudong Zhang
Dissertation: Low-Income Mothers' Involvement with Doula Home Visiting Services
Chair: Sydney Hans, Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor 

SSA Awards

The Sonia G. Berz Honor Award
This award is given to a graduating Master's degree student for outstanding work and promise in the field of aging.

2020 Recipient
Jess Jankowski


The Solomon O. Lichter Memorial Prize
This award is presented to a graduating Master’s degree student for scholarship and professional leadership.

2020 Recipient
Mario M. McHarris


Wilma Walker Award

2020 Recipients
Prisca Tuyishime
Runner-up: Derek Nettingham


Leadership and Community Award

2020 Recipients
Lauren Chen
Aisha Naseem
Lily Hamilton
Kevin Lee


SSA Simons Doctoral Student Teaching Award

2020 Recipient
Jane Hereth


2020 Award for Excellence in Doctoral Student Mentoring at SSA:
Associate Professor Marci Ybarra

2020 Advocates' Forum

Advocates’ Forum is an academic journal that explores implications of clinical social work practice, social issues, administration, and public policies linked to the social work profession. The Editorial Board of Advocates’ Forum seeks to provide a medium through which SSA students can contribute to public thinking about social welfare and policy in theory and practice. Above all, Advocates’ Forum serves to encourage and facilitate an open, scholarly exchange of ideas among individuals working toward the shared goal of a more just and humane society.


Towards a Whiter Woodlawn: Racism and the University of Chicago's Employer-Assisted Housing Program
By Laurel Chen

The University of Chicago Office of Civic Engagement Response to "Towards a Whiter Woodlawn"
By Alyssa Berman-Cutler

Developmental Estrangement and Re-emergence of Love
By David ben-Jonah Bezalel

Workplace Discrimination and Undocumented First-Generation Latinx Immigrants 
By Josselyn Andrea Garcia Quijano

On the Ethics of Mindfulness-Based Interventions
By Howard Ruan

Framing and Agenda Setting Following the Mass Shooting Terror Attack in Christchurch, New Zealand
By Kira Bensman Monin 


Jamie Koenig
Yanwen Wang


Lauren Abrahams
Sara Bovat
Ana Carvalho
Alyson Emory Holsclaw
Caroline Kelly
Kathleen Longos
Matthew Teeters


Shantá Robinson, Assistant Professor

Programs of Study

The following students have received certificates for completing their Program of Study.

Addressing Educational Inequalities:

This Program of Study prepares social administration students to engage in work to understand educational inequality in the U.S., primarily focusing on K-12 contexts.

Tatiana Cortes 
Christopher Myers
Briana Payton 
Anna Rimlinger
Avery Scott 
Kristen Gore

Addressing Social Inequality:

This program prepares social administration students to confront social inequality as it takes shape at the front lines of key societal institutions – among them social service agencies, workplaces, courts, city halls, and community organizations.

Kristen Gore 
Jamie Koenig
Ximena Leyte Escalante 
Jennifer McAllister
Carly Murray 
Clare Smith
Allison Zindl
Grant Faid
Shining Lee

Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse:

The AODA ATP Program of Study is designed to equip students with the tools necessary to provide services to clients who abuse alcohol and other drugs. The training program addresses treatment approaches in addiction and non-addiction settings.

Gabrielle Engelmann
Janea Jones
Margarette Rodriguez 
Brian Rosenberg
Emily Sannini 

The Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy (GPHAP):

GPHAP provides students with the interdisciplinary training needed to face various economic, ethical, and social issues in today’s complex health care environment.

Ryan Carr
Armando Garcia
Richard Gauthier
Indira Imantayeva
Sooeun (Tiffany) Kim
Denise Ponce-Gavarrete
Ellen Plonsky
Tamika Songster
Samantha Steinmetz
Yanwen Wang

Older Adults 

This is the last year for the Older Adults Program of Study. These students will able to shape responses to a aging society by developing public policy, managing agencies and services, and defining clinical practice.

Tahani Alahdal
Georgina Banda-Herrera

School of Social Work

The School Social Work Program offers a specialized curriculum leading to Professional Educator Licensure with School Social Work Endorsement issued through the Illinois State Board of Education.

Lauren Abrahams
Nikki Bank
Hannah Barner
Ana Carvalho
Rebecca Chico
Joyce Chung
Bess Cohen
Susie Johnson

Transforming Justice Policies and Practices

This Program of Study immerses clinical practice and social administration students in classes and field placements that offer a rich exploration and examination of the policies, practices, histories and philosophies of the United States criminal justice system, with an emphasis on developing more just approaches.

Silvia Armas
Laurel Bornman
Clara Clarke
Tessa Courtney
Charlotte Goff
Amalia Golomb-Leavitt
Nicole Greal
Brian Rosenberg
Amber Kelley
Mario McHarris
Briana Payton
Noelle Petrowski
Alexandra Piper
Ameenah Rashid
Caroline Roa
Jordan Whealdon

Trauma Responsive Work

This Program of Study is for Clinical Practice students and seeks to create a community of trauma-responsive learners and practitioners across policy and clinical settings. The program aims to educate students in the values, principles, and skills that organize the behavior of practitioners using trauma responsive approaches.

Laura Abraham
Tahani Alandal
Whitney Adams
Suzanne Baber
Nikki Bank
Agata Bernat
Andrea Bierema
Colleen Canniff
Ana Carvalho
Qi Qi Chen
Rebecca Chico
Joyce Chung
Clara Clarke
Camille Debreczeny
Gabrielle Engelmann
Elizabeth Gilbert
Charlotte Goff
Nathalia Gonzalez
Nikki Goodman
Kristen Gore
Stephanie Green
Carly Hudson
Susan Johnson
Keyira Jones
Carly Jones
Kathleen Katsikeas
Megan Kay
Amber Kelley
Sooeun Tiffany Kim
Won Joon Lee
Jeniffer Lee
Kara Lessin
Jenn McAllister
Mario McHarris
Sumayya Menk
Rachel Mintz
Kira B. Monin
Carly Murray
Jennifer Naguit
Aisha Naseem
Briana Paytob
Samantha Perry
Ellie Plonsky
Meagan Rawls
Marco Renzi
Cassidy Reves-Sohn
Camila Richmond
Renee Ridolfi
Fiolla Riza
Brian Rosenberg
Anne Ruelle
Audrey Schield
Hanna Selekman
Rida Shahzad
Marie Shebeck
Taylor Sheridan
Sidra Siddiqui
Clare Smith
Whitney Stallings
Sophia Starks
Sarah Steinbach
Samantha Steinmetz
Wonkyung Sung
Michelle Tran
Silvia Turney
Rebecca Wagner
SaCora Williams
Imani Wilson
Mia Zera
Allison Zindl

Global Social Development Program

This program provides students with the opportunity to think about social problems, social policy, and social work practice in comparative cross-national perspective, grounded in scholarship and practice around a set of concrete issues. Students also engage in an internship or study program abroad, or work with international organizations, or immigrant or refugee populations in the United States.

Program of Study Cohort:

Kira Monin
Abigail Backer
Rebecca Bacon Ehlers
Indira Imantayeva
Kevin Lee
Marilyn Sethi
Sidra Siddiqui
Oyindamola Sunmonu
Yohan Moon
Katelyn Howell
Stephanie Green
Fjolla Riza

Certificate Cohort:

Jeniffer Lee
Anne Ruelle
Sarah Del Monte

Student Fellowships

Sara Bovat
Pozen Family Center for Human Rights 2020 Summer Fellowship Program

Vanessa Camacho
Pozen Family Center for Human Rights 2020 Human Rights Intern

Colleen Canniff
Mayoral Fellowship, City of Chicago Mayor's Office, Summer 2019

Laurel Chen
Graduate Global Internship, UChicago Grad, 2019 Kreisman Graduate Fellow, Mansueto Institute, 2019-2020 Academic Year Humanitarian Award, UChicago Student Leader Awards

Tiffany Kim
Carl A. Erikson Fellowship, GPHAP, 2019 Trauma Informed Care: Policy, Advocacy and Administration, University of Chicago SSA, 2019

Stephanie Lopez
IASSW Dee Yeck Award, Illinois Association of School Social Work, 2019

Matthew Parsons
Human Rights Internship Award, Pozen Center for Human Rights, Summer 2019

Briana Payton
Pozen Human Rights Internship (2019) and Truman Scholarship for Public Service Leadership (2016)

Ellie Plonsky
Erikson Fellowship, GPHAP, Summer 2019)

Howard Ruan
Summer FLAS, Center for East Asian Studies at University of Chicago, Summer 2019

Samantha Stenmetz
2020 Mary H. Bachmeyer Award Winner

Imani Wilson
Minority Fellowship Program, CSWE, 2019-2020

Alexandrea Wilson
Ray E. Brown Fellowship, Graduate Program of Health Administration and Policy, 2019-2020; Grad Global Impact "Pitch" Awardee, UChicago Grad, 2019-2020