Fourth-year Ph.D. student Alicia Mendez has been named Student Director at Large of the Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR)’s Board of Directors. As Student Director at Large, Mendez will serve as Chair of the SSWR Doctoral Student Committee, participate in various subcommittees, and represent student interests on the Board of Directors during SSWR’s monthly meetings. The position is a two-year term from February 1, 2020 through January 31, 2022. Mendez's role will be formally announced at SSWR's annual conference plenary session on January 16th.
“I am thrilled to have been elected as the incoming Student Director at Large for SSWR’s Board of Directors,” said Mendez. “As I’ve continued to grow as a student and researcher, I’ve realized that supporting student voices and engagement is a part of my academic identity that I always want to prioritize. My student colleagues and our faculty at Rutgers showed such genuine support in this endeavor of mine. I am certain their advocacy helped me get elected, and I am incredibly thankful for them and our community. In this role I hope to continue building up programs that serve doctoral student needs, as well find new ways to hear directly from doctoral students near and far what they hope to get out of attending SSWR and our community of researchers.”
Mendez’s research examines the impact of childhood sexual abuse on caregivers and their children, and its impact on the parent-child relationship, particularly when the child reaches older adolescence. She currently researches the organizational and client-level impact of child welfare agencies implementing trauma-informed, parent-infant mental health practices with substance using populations.
As an undergraduate, Mendez served as a peer mentor for transfer students. In this role she helped students coming from smaller community colleges navigate the much larger university system by connecting them to resources, services, and providing social-emotional support. In her first year at Rutgers University she founded a research and networking group for the Child Welfare and Well-Being Research Unit called Research Literacy, which aims to build community amongst faculty, post-docs, doctoral students, and research assistants. She has served as co-president of the Rutgers School of Social Work Doctoral Student Association, and currently holds the role as a Graduate Student Mentor for the Ronald E. McNair Post-Baccalaureate Achievement Program. In this role she supports underrepresented, first-generation college students who have goals of pursuing a Ph.D. as they prepare for and apply to graduate school.
Mendez earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Literature from the University of Washington, and as a dual MSW/Ph.D. student, recently earned her MSW from Rutgers University School of Social Work.