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LSU Today Flagship Faculty
What was your previous position and where?I was hired by LSU as an instructor in 2001. I completed my Ph.D. in social work at the University of Tennessee in 2002 and was hired as an assistant professor. LSU has been my only academic position.
What brought you to LSU?The chair of my dissertation work spent her early career at LSU and spoke positively about her experiences. I was introduced to the dean of the School of Social Work at the annual social work conference and he persuaded me to interview. I was very impressed by the campus and department. But, what really got me to LSU was the kindness and collegiality of the people I still have the pleasure of working with today.
What is your research interest?I have two primary research interests - social work intervention and religion and social work practice. Iím interested in parenting interventions with at-risk and maltreating parents. This includes a current project with a colleague implementing an attachment-based parenting intervention with maltreating parents involved in the child welfare system. My second interest developed subsequent to Hurricane Katrina. I became very interested in faith-based/church-related social service provision subsequent to disaster. Indeed, my research supports the notion that churches provide the true first responses subsequent to disaster.
What do you hope to accomplish at LSU?I hope to produce and sustain a body of research that is both in line with the LSU Flagship Agenda and that also supports our land-grant mission to provide service to the community. I like to think of my research as service-research in that not only does the research advance the knowledge base, but also provides services to the community.
What do you enjoy most about LSU?The best part of my job is collaborating daily with my colleagues in the School of Social Work and Womenís and Gender Studies! I love my research and the research participants I get to know, understand and hopefully influence in a positive manner. I love the students whom I get to mentor and educate today and who will serve marginalized, maltreated, mentally ill, undereducated, economically disadvantaged and oppressed members of our community tomorrow. And I love serving the LSU School of Social Work, the students and faculty, in my role as program director.
What are your major accomplishments?In late fall 2005, a practicing social worker in the Baton Rouge community approached me with an exceptional opportunity. She was interested in developing a psychoeducational social work intervention to work with children and their caregivers displaced and traumatized by Hurricane Katrina. Another colleague in the School of Social Work and I worked with the community practitioner to develop the intervention, secure more than $100,000 in external funding so that all services were free of charge for participants, implemented the intervention, and completed and published several articles on social work intervention implementation after disaster and an evaluation of this interventionís effectiveness. We were able to provide services to a total of 146 children and their caregivers in local public schools and at the Baker Federal Emergency Management Agency trailer park - all free of charge for participants. I was very proud of the research we completed, and the outreach and service that the project provided to very vulnerable community members.