Nine PhD Students Enter the Academic Job Market

November 11, 2019 @ 7:44 pm
By Communications Office

Since its inception in 1950, the doctoral program at Columbia School of Social Work has produced many of the world’s most influential leaders in social work and social welfare scholarship, both in the United States and around the world. Doctoral students receive a systematic intellectual grounding in the theory and history of social welfare, extensive training in research methods and statistics, concentration in a social work method specialization, and integrated exposure to social or behavioral science and theory.

The nine PhD candidates in the above photo are the latest to have undergone this comprehensive course of study. They are now joining the academic job market. We have listed their names, along with their research programs and dissertation titles, below, and you can also read more about them in this booklet (PDF: 43 pages).

“The doctoral program at Columbia School of Social Work has consistently provided a rigorous educational platform of study and research in an unparalleled learning environment,” says Associate Professor and Doctoral Program Chair Carmela Alcántara. “As you will see from their bios in the booklet, this year’s graduates are highly accomplished and exemplify the Columbia standards of excellence.”

Top row, left to right:

1) Julia Berenson
Research Program: “My research program focuses on the social determinants of health and the impact of social policies on health and health inequalities.”
Dissertation: Disparities in health across the United States and the role of social policies to close health gaps

2) Lauren Ann Bochicchio
Research Program: “My research program focuses on identifying, understanding, and remediating mental and physical health disparities within underserved and marginalized communities.”

3) Elizabeth Lee Doran
Research Program: “My research aims to provide robust empirical evidence on work-family policies, particularly for low-wage workers, and to understand how both employer and governmental programs can support working families.”
Dissertation: Childcare (in)stability and household (in)stability among low-income families

4) Xiaoning (Jack) Huang
Research Program: “I study migrant populations and social policies concerning migrants to inform structural changes that enhance social and human capital development and reduce health disparities in the context of a global society.”
Dissertation: Three essays on immigration

5) Soohyun Kim
Research Program: “My research program focuses on quantitative analyses on work and elder care for family caregivers and employment policies supporting their work-life balance, including paid family leave.”
Dissertation: The effects of paid leave policies on work and elder care

Second row, left to right:

6) Laura L. Kimberly
Research Program: “My research examines psychosocial and ethical dimensions of health and wellbeing, with a focus on the impact of medical interventions on perceptions of embodied selfhood and quality of life.”
Dissertation: Older adult kidney transplant recipients: the experience of adaptation and integration

7) Laurel C. Saricsany
Research Program: “I research financial wellbeing, with special interests in wealth and disadvantaged populations.”
Dissertation: The gender wealth gap in the United States, 2008–2013

8) Yi Wang
Research Program: “My research interests are inequality in child development and well-being, child multidimensional deprivation and poverty, early childhood interventions, social policy analysis, and global comparative research.”
Dissertation: Disparities in child development by family socioeconomic status

9) Yalu Zhang
Research Program: “I research health, poverty, and aging, particularly: 1) healthcare affordability, accessibility, and availability for older adults; 2) prediction, consequences, and policy response for health-induced poverty; 3) socioeconomic inequalities in physical frailty and cognitive function in later life.”
Dissertation: Prediction, consequences, and policy response for health-induced poverty


The Columbia School of Social Work has awarded more than 500 doctoral degrees. Interested in joining their ranks? Please go to the PhD Program page.