Perrin Burnes earned her Bachelor of Science Degree at Texas A & M University at Commerce and her Masters of Science in Social Work (MSSW) at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA). She majored in Special Education and Guidance and Counseling. After teaching for a few years, Perrin entered the Real Estate and Asset Management profession. Over time Perrin became a specialist in low-income housing. After Perrin graduated at UTA with her MSSW, she had a great opportunity to work with an agency in Seattle, WA that specialized in the federally funded Housing. She traveled all over the country as an instructor and Technical Advisor. Eventually, Perrin supervised 6 Homeless Housing programs. Perrin is also a certified teacher for the SSI/SSDI Outreach Access and Recovery Program which teaches Case Managers how to assist clients to expedite the delivery of benefits and Medicaid/Medicare. Her MSSW degree gave Perrin the tools and experience needed to help train other professionals so that they too can assist clients to obtain the basic needs of life. These include housing, food and support services, etc. for clients that span a broad spectrum of our society. Perrin never gave up on her dream to teach at a University and earn a Doctoral Degree in Social Work. UTA has helped her to realize her dream.
Lester Collins, Jr., MDiv, MSW, is from the Twin Cities, MN. He earned his Master of Divinity from Andrews University in 2003. As a pastor he focused on youth, counseling, teaching, and community resources. He earned his MSSW from St. Ambrose University in May 2012 and was the Men's Intensive Outpatient Counselor at a hospital-based substance abuse treatment center in IL. He and his family recently moved to Arlington. He is interested in teaching, clinical practice, and research. His research interests focus on the impact of health and spirituality on the prevention and recovery of addiction.
Brandi Felderhoff received her BSW from the University of North Texas in 2008, during which time she was selected as Social Work Student of the Year by her faculty and peers. She received her MSW from Texas A&M University - Commerce in 2010, and during her studies there, was awarded the Student of the Year award from the Dallas Chapter of NASW. Brandi is the current NASW Branch Chair for the Texoma Branch of NASW Texas. As a social worker, Brandi has worked in the areas of guardianship, hospice and inpatient mental health treatment. Her primary research interests are in the area of mental health prevention interventions for active duty military personnel.
Nattacha Hope, LCSW received her Bachelor's and Master's Degrees in Social Work from The University of Alabama. Over the past nine years, she has gained a wealth of social work practice and clinical experience in the areas of community mental health, healthcare, public health, and early childhood education. Prior to joining the Ph.D. program, she was a Medical Social Worker in a teaching and research hospital within the Texas Medical Center located in Houston, TX. Her research interests are in the areas of women's mental health, specifically low-income women who have experienced trauma. Secondary interests include health/mental health promotion and disease prevention among underserved individuals and communities as well as social work in healthcare settings.
Lily Kim received a Bachelor’s degree in Library and Information Science from Sookmyung Women’s University and in 2008 received a MSW from Sookmyung Women’s University in Korea. She worked as an assistant manager at a community center working with Southeast Asian immigrants who came to Korea as marriage immigrants. She also worked as a researcher at the Korea Health Industry Development Institute where she participated in a project aimed at the prevention of chronic disease among group of senior citizens. In 2010, Lily entered our MSW program at UTA. Her internships at Catholic Charities and Recovery Resource Council led to her research interest in the area of immigrants’ issues with mental health and substance abuse.
Cecilia Mengo was born and raised in Kenya. She received her Bachelor’s in Human Geography from Moi University in Eldoret, Kenya in 2003. She completed her Masters of Social Work in spring of 2012 from Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green Kentucky, where she received the 2012 Outstanding Graduate Student award. Cecilia also received a certificate in poverty reduction in developing countries from Weitz Center for Development Studies in Rehovot, Israel in the year 2008. Born and raised in rural areas, Cecilia’s research will focus on women empowerment in rural and informal settlements nationally and internationally. Her research will also focus on policies that hinder women empowerment which is drawn from her seven years of experience working on issues of community development and social entrepreneurship with national and international organizations in Kenya. Cecilia also worked as an intern with International Center for Refugees and the Family Resource Program in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She is currently serving as a co-founder and a board member of Laikipia Community Empowerment Center, a grass root Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Laikipia District, Kenya. The NGO was established in 2010 to create a platform for people to address issues that affect their day to day life and improve their livelihoods.
Tracey Barnett, LMSW a native from Ripley, MS, moved Arlington to attend the PhD program here at UT Arlington. She received her undergraduate degree in 2008 from the School of Social Work, University of Mississippi, where she was awarded the NASW Undergraduate Social Work Student of the Year. She completed her Master of Social Work in May of 2011 from the University of Alabama (UA). While attending UA, she completed three poster presentations and assisted a student with a veteran’s research project. In spring of 2011 Tracey completed an internship with the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, MD. She is interested in researching the social determinants of health, health disparities and health equity in the African American community.
Kingsley Chigbu received his undergraduate degree in International Law and Diplomacy from Babcock University. In Spring of 2009, he completed his MSSW degree from the University of St. Thomas, Minnesota, where he completed a study on The Effects of New Medical Diagnoses on PTSD Sequelae in Adults: Implications for Preventative Health Practice and received the 2009 MSW Student Leadership Award. Prior to joining the PhD program, Kingsley worked as a research coordinator at the University of St. Thomas and at the University of Minnesota, Amplatz Children's Hospital. His primary research interest is on large scale/group violence and international social policy.
Shannon Graves, LMSW earned her Bachelor of Science in Social Work at Texas Christian University and her MSSW at UT Arlington. Her professional background is in non-profit development and grant writing, community organizing, and substance abuse prevention. She currently works as Program Director for Community Coalitions at Drug Prevention Resources, Inc. Shannon’s research interests are in the field of restorative justice, where she hopes to build on restorative solutions for addressing societal and cultural issues of violence, crime, and conflict. She is also interested in engaging in international peacemaking efforts.
Yi Jin Kim received his BSW from Baptist Theological University in Korea. He completed his MSSW degree at the UT Arlington in 2011 and completed a thesis which was a quantitative study examining the relationship between suicidal behaviors and physical and psycho-social predictors among adolescents. His research interests focus in the areas of adolescence, aging, substance use, and suicide.
Arati Maleku received her MSW from Washington University in St. Louis and her BSW from St. Xavier’s College, Kathmandu, Nepal. Born and raised in Nepal, she comes to the program with many years of experience in grassroots community-based organizations. Until recently, she worked with the largest healthcare foundation in Missouri where she was involved in several funded projects in the areas of tobacco control, healthcare workforce development, chronic disease prevention, violence against women, and obesity prevention. Her research interests are in the areas of social determinants of health and health equity. She is also interested in examining the role of economic globalization on global health disparities.
Kathleen M. Preble, LMSW born and raised in Ohio; received her BA in Political Science from the Ohio University Athens, Ohio, in 1999. In 2000, she joined the United States Peace Corps and served in Honduras, Central America for nearly three years. She completed her MSSW degree from the UT Arlington in 2005. For the past six years, Kathleen has worked with the refugee and human trafficking victim population in Fort Worth in social service and law enforcement agencies. Her research interests include human trafficking intervention and the use of neuroscience in social work.
Diana Pryor completed her BSW and MSSW from the UT Arlington. Her areas of practice are in the field of aging and mental health. She has worked in long term care as a Texas State Ombudsman and also as a licensed social worker in two nursing facilities. Diana focused additional learning on nursing facility administration in which she completed a required 1000-hour internship. She wants to enhance her skills in research methodology and apply them to the study of mental health within the aging population. Her ultimate goal is to teach geriatric social work in a college setting and to increase gerontological competencies in the social work profession.
Cara Wallace, LMSW is a 2006 graduate of our MSSW program. She received her undergraduate degree in social work at Texas Christian University in 2005. For the past five years, she has worked as a clinical social worker for Community Hospice of Texas. Her research interests are in hospice, ethical issues in healthcare, and in healthy family relationships.