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Recent Grant Highlights & Selected Honors
August 24, 2021

Our faculty members are a dynamic community of leaders - tenured professors advancing the field of social work through original, published research, professors of teaching and professional practice, and part-time lecturers actively working in local communities and brining those experiences to the classroom.

Grant Highlights
Assistant Professor Laura Cuesta and Alejandra Ros Pilarz (University of Wisconsin) were awarded a Russell Sage Foundation-Gates Foundation Pipeline Grant for Emerging Scholars. Drs. Cuesta and Pilarz will study how regularity in child support receipt has changed over the past twenty years and the extent to which regularity affects custodial mothers’ employment and economic well-being.

Rutgers School of Social Work received philanthropic grants totaling over $340,000 for a two-year project to strengthen age-friendly communities in New Jersey. As part of a university-community partnership that began in 2015, Professor Emily Greenfield and team will continue to conduct research to advance knowledge on age-friendly community practice, as well as translate these findings into systems and structures to cultivate sustainable age-friendly community change. The State of New Jersey recently became the ninth state to join the AARP Network of Age-Friendly Communities. This project is accelerating efforts to plan a new center on aging within the School of Social Work.

Assistant Professor Woojin Jung received a Microsoft Azure grant worth $25,000. This award is given through Microsoft’s artificial intelligence (AI) for Humanitarian Action Project Initiatives and will be distributed in credits for its cloud computing services. The grant will support Dr. Jung’s latest project in the Republic of Congo to estimate its population’s food security vulnerability using satellite and social media data.

Assistant Professor Felix Muchomba was awarded a $250,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to support his study examining policy levers that have the potential to improve and reduce disparities in maternal health in New Jersey. The two-year grant is the largest RWJF grant received by the School of Social Work in the School’s history.

Professor Andrew Peterson was awarded a $150,000 grant from the New Jersey Division of Mental Health & Addiction Services to evaluate the implementation of a new statewide prevention infrastructure that identifies communities based on epidemiological analyses and implements evidence-based and culturally competent prevention strategies.

Selected Honors
Assistant Professor Qiana L. Brown was appointed as associate editor to the Journal of the Society for Social Work and Research. In this role, she will contribute to the strategic direction of the journal and help ensure the journal’s standards are rigorous and that its content advances knowledge development. Dr. Brown was also elected to the board of directors for the College on Problems of Drug Dependence.

Rebecca T. Davis, Associate Professor of Professional Practice and Director of the Office of Global Social Work Programs, was recognized as a Social Work Pioneer by the National Association of Social Workers (NASW) Foundation. NASW Pioneers are social workers who have explored new territories and built outposts for human services on many frontiers.

Lia Nower, Professor and Director of the Center for Gambling Studies & Addiction Counselor Training Program, joined the Board of Directors of the National Council on Problem Gambling.

Associate Professor Lenna Nepomnyaschy was named a Society for Social Work and Research (SSWR) Research Fellow. SSWR Research Fellows are members who have served with distinction to advance the mission of the Society — to advance, disseminate, and translate research that addresses issues of social work practice and policy and promotes a diverse, equitable, and just society.

Assistant Professor Hannah Szlyk has been selected to join a national cohort of 26 social work experts from around the U.S. and Canada who will spend the next 18 months learning about how to apply a futures lens to some of the most challenging problems of society. The project is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and was launched by Portland State University School of Social Work.

Assistant Professor Abigail Williams-Butler was named a member of the inaugural cohort of the 2021-2022 Early Career Faculty Fellows at the Institute for the Study of Global Racial Justice at Rutgers. Fellows are identified as the most promising early career scholars working in the areas of social justice and racial inequality at the university.

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