CYF Department Updates

Department of Children, Youth and Families

Welcome Message

Q1 2018

Dear colleagues:

We are delighted to announce the launching of our first department newsletter. The impetus for producing such a newsletter arose from the realization that department meetings often provide too little time to inform you as to what is going on in the department and too little opportunity to meet and interact with one another. Emails sent to all faculty are infrequently read and not accessible by our student members. We thus had three goals in mind when initiating this mode of communication. The first goal was to provide you with news as to the activities of the department as a whole and of individual members of the department, including faculty, staff and students.

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As department leaders, we seek to improve transparency in decisions and activities that have implications for all department members. The second goal is to facilitate interactions with one another by communicating our respective roles, activities and ambitions. We wanted to provide an opportunity to learn more about one another and the exciting things we are doing. Our third goal was to use this newsletter to build a sense of community and identity for members of our department. We are distinguished by our commitment to the well-being of all children, youth and families. We seek to protect children from abuse and neglect, help children who have been exposed to violence and other trauma; lift children and families out of poverty; prevent youth from engaging in risky behaviors like suicide, substance use and unsafe sex; and Developing the capacity of agencies, systems, schools and communities to support children, youth and families and provide them with the support and services they need. As we expand our efforts to build this sense of community, it is our hope that this newsletter will eventually link faculty and staff with our doctoral and MSW students, alumni and field placements.

In this first issue, we hope to bring you up to date as to our efforts to develop a structure for governance, explore the possibility of developing an Honors Program for our MSW students, promote the research of our faculty and students, and create a positive climate for all of our students, faculty and staff. In the future, we will seek your input to highlight your individual and collective achievements and honors, raise concerns, and make recommendations that can advance our goals and improve our ability to meet the needs of the communities we serve. We hope that this will promote active dialogue throughout our own community and welcome your contributions to that effort.

Upcoming Department Meeting Dates

  • March 7th, 3-5pm PT, City Center 1103
  • April 4th, 9-11am PT, City Center 1103
  • May 5th, 2-4pm PT, All faculty meeting, Trojan ballroom, Tutor Center
Department Governance

This past semester, Faculty Council requested for all departments a summary of our current and proposed structure for governance. We submitted the following:

The administrative structure of CYF currently consists of a leadership team, five permanent committees, (curriculum, faculty affairs, research enterprise, immersion and MAP orientation, and retreat planning), and two ad-hoc committees (MSW Honors Program and Positive Climate).

Leadership Team

Members: Lawrence A. Palinkas (chair), Tyan Parker-Dominguez (vice chair, curriculum), Omar Lopez (vice chair, field)

Role: Responsible for planning and direction, operations, budgeting and resource allocation for the department. The team will lead in a manner consistent with the School’s overall strategic plan and goals.

Term: Three-year appointment

Permanent Committees

Curriculum Committee:

Members (2017-18): Rosmaria Alamo (CT), Estela Andujo (CT), Rafael Angulo (CF), Juan Araque (CT), Ron Astor (TT), Steven Bush (SL), Sarah Caliboso-Soto (SL), Julie Cederbaum (TT), Bianca Harper (CT), Robert Hernandez (SL), Steve Hydon (CF), Terence Fitzgerald (CT), Jacquelyn McCroskey (TT), Ferol Mennen (TT), Christina Paddock (CF), Tyan Parker-Dominquez (CT), Lily Ross (SL), Michal Sela-Amit (CT), Ruth Supranovich (CF), Shanea Thomas (CF), Shantel Vachani (CT), Eugenia Weiss (CT)

Chair: Tyan Parker Dominquez

Role: Responsible for monitoring, and modifying the department’s curriculum, including vertical and horizontal alignment of courses; identify redundancy and submit any recommended changes in topics and assignments to curriculum council for approval; identify and invite student representatives, VAC and adjunct faculty to meetings in order to provide curriculum/course input/feedback.

Term: Two-year appointment

Managing and Adapting Practice (MAP) Team

Members (2017-18): Ruth Supranovich (CF), Omar Lopez (CF), Ferol Mennen (TT), Michal Sela-Amit (CT), Lily Ross (SL), Erik Schott (CT), Estela Andujo (CT), Jane Allgood (CT), Steven Bush (SL), Juan Araque (CT), Bianca Harper (CT), Shantel Vachani (CT), Sarah Caliboso Soto (SL)

Chair: Ruth Supranovich

Role: A subcommittee of the Curriculum Committee, the MAP Team is responsible for the training and instruction of the MAP curriculum for faculty and students. The Team meets weekly

Term: TBD

Faculty Affairs Committee:

Members (2017-18): Juan Araque (CT), Terence Fitzgerald (CT), Jeremy Goldbach (TT), Daniel Hackman (TT), Bianca Harper (CT), Maria Hu (CF), Michael Hurlburt (TT), Omar Lopez (CF), Lawrence Palinkas (TT), Shantel Vachani (CT), Debbie Winters (CF), Lisa Wobbe-Veit (CF)

Chair: Lawrence Palinkas

Role: Responsible for faculty development (including mentoring and training opportunities) and APRs.

Term: Three-year appointment

Research Enterprise Committee:

Members: Eunlye Ahn (PhD), Juan Araque (CT), Gordon Capp (PhD), Jordan Davis (TT), Terence Fitzgerald (CT), Daniel Hackman (TT), Michael Hurlburt (TT), Elizabeth Kim (TT), Cary Klemmer (PhD), Daniel Lee (PhD), Olivia Lee (TT), Sapna Mendon (PhD), Christina Paddock (CT), Abigail Palmer (PhD), Judith Perrigo (PhD), Janet Schneiderman (RT), Ankur Srivastava (PhD), Dorian Traube (TT), Carolina Villamil (PhD), Vivian Villaverde (CF), Eugenia Weiss (CT)

Chair: Lawrence Palinkas

Role: Responsible for identifying scientific research priorities, development of scientific research capacity and potential funding opportunities, and doctoral student support.

Term: One-year appointment

Department Immersion and MAP Orientation Committee

Members (2017-18): Tyan Parker-Dominguez (CT), Ruth Supranovich (CF), Sarah Jimenez McSweyn (SL), Estela Andujo (CT), Ferol Mennen (TT), Juan Araque (CT), Lily Ross (SL), Michal Sela-Amit (CT), Rosemary Alamo (CF), Steven Bush (SL), Steve Hydon (CF), Umeka Franklin (CF), Rafael Angulo (CF), Holly Priebe-Sotelo (CF).

Chair: Omar Lopez

Role: Responsible for planning and executing department’s annual immersion, identifying space and proposed costs for events, plan activities, prepare estimate for catering; identify speakers/multidisciplinary panel; collaborating with leadership and administrative assistant; identifying to create announcement and send invitation for rsvp; attend the orientation and recruit faculty volunteers for the day of the event.

Term: One-year appointment

Faculty Retreat Planning Committee

Members: (2017-18): TBD

Chair: Omar Lopez

Role: Responsible for planning and executing department’s annual faculty retreat, identifying space and proposed costs for events, plan activities, prepare estimate for catering; identify speakers/multidisciplinary panel; collaborating with leadership and administrative assistant; identifying to create announcement and send invitation for rsvp; attend the orientation and recruit faculty volunteers for the day of the event.

Term: One-year appointment

Ad Hoc Committees

MSW Honors Program Committee

Members (2017-18): Riana Anderson (TT), Estela Andujo (CT), Ferol Mennen (TT), Leslie Wind (CT) – note leadership team serves as ex officio members

Chair: TBD

Role: Responsible to assessing the feasibility and desirability of an Honors Program for department MSW students and to assist in program planning and implementation. This is an ad hoc committee. If the program is successfully implemented in 2018-19, the committee will become a subcommittee of the Department curriculum Committee and responsible for overseeing the program, including review of student applications and oversight of program seminars and other activities.

Positive Climate Committee

Co-Chairs: Susie Hess, Terence Fitzgerald, Tina Paddock, and Debra Waters-Roman.  

Members (2017-18): Jane Allgood (CT), Estela Andujo (CT), Danielle Brown (CF), Marissa Enriquez (CT), Umeka Franklin (CF), Terence Fitzgerald (CT), Jeremy Goldbach (TT), Susan Hess (CF), Christina Paddock (CF), Eric Rice (TT), Janet Schneiderman (RT), Holly Sotello (CF), Shantel Vachani (CT), Deborah Waters-Roman (CF), Robin Sax (MSW), Ankur Srivastava (PhD), Eugenia Weiss (CT)

Chair: TBD

Role: Responsible for advising department representatives to the School Sexual Harassment Task Force on priorities for sexual harassment prevention efforts related to students, staff and faculty. This is currently conceived as a short-term ad hoc committee and may become a permanent committee with additional responsibility for diversity and inclusion.

Term: One-year appointment

Committee Membership

Membership eligibility

Per the USC Faculty Handbook, department leadership team members are appointed to fixed terms by the Dean with possibility of reappointment. At the present time, all committee members are appointed by the department leadership team. With the exception of the Faculty Affairs Committee, all committees are comprised of volunteers who agree to serve for a specified period of time (usually one year). All full-time faculty members are eligible to participate on the committees and encouraged to volunteer. Similarly, with respect to APR reviews, all faculty and doctoral students are invited to attend committee meetings. Although part-time faculty are not eligible to serve on committees, they are invited to attend and participate. With the exception of the Faculty Affairs and Department Immersion and Retreat Committees, the department leadership team and all committees meet once a month. Reporting responsibilities are shared among members and summaries of committee meetings will be included in the Department Newsletter beginning in January 2018.


At the present time, there is no formal procedure for voting on department matters. It is expected that beginning in 2018, eligible faculty who self-nominate to serve on the Department Faculty Affairs Committee will be subject to election by colleagues in their respective faculty track.

Update on MSW Honors Program

The MSW Honors Program Working Group is a subcommittee of the departments Curriculum Committee. The first meeting of the Working Group was held on 10/30/17 with the following members in attendance: Riana Anderson, Estela Andujo, Sheri Kelfer, Linda Long, Larry Palinkas, Tyan Parker-Dominguez, Sarah Soto, and Leslie Wind.

Dr. Palinkas chaired the meeting. He began by explaining the rationale for exploring the possibility of creating an Honors Program for MSW students who are members of our department.

The first question addressed by the Working Group was whether it was feasible or desirable to create special sections of CYF required courses that would be taught by tenure-line faculty and have only honors program scholars. The sentiment is that this would be logistically quite difficult and difficult to staff with tenure-line faculty, even if there is a one-course mandatory requirement for all tenure-line faculty. It might also be problematic to separate honors students from other students. The Dean’s Leadership Scholars Program does not separate scholars from other students.

It was suggested that we could create a specialized seminar or seminars that honors students could take in place of an elective. They could participate in such a seminar each semester of their second year. Different faculty from all lines could participate in these seminars. One option might be to run in parallel seminars with a focus on research, policy and practice. Another option would be to only have one seminar that could cover research, policy and practice, with presentations by department faculty from all lines. The number of seminars might depend on how many students we enroll in the program.

The second question addressed by the Working Group was how do we identify and recruit students into the program. The consensus was to base admission into the program on GPA, a letter of recommendation from a CYF faculty member, and a personal statement. If we base it only on GPA, we may be admitting students who do not really belong in the program.

The third question addressed concerned the type of incentives would we provide students. It was recommended that Students could have the same access to the services of Advocoach that doctoral students currently receive. We could also offer a scholarship or stipend between $500 and $1,000. That amount could increase if we work with the Office of Advancement to solicit donations for scholarship/stipend purposes. We could list that they graduated with honors on their diploma if that is allowable, or give them an Honors Certificate upon graduation. We might consider off campus field trips to places they would not normally get to visit.

A fourth question concerned how to involve VAC students in the program. VAC students could participate in the seminars, along with the OTG students, just virtually. We might consider bringing all students together in LA for a retreat and request travel funds to support VAC travel for that purpose. It would be one of the few instances where VAC and OTG students meet and network with one another.

Finally, potential benefits of program participation students graduate was discussed by the Working Group. The Program could help prepare MSW students to apply for doctoral programs. It would also give honors students an advantage in applying for positions of employment at agencies where systems leaders participating in the meet-and-greet sessions work. The opportunity for these leaders to see the best and brightest of our students might also have a halo effect for other CYF MSW graduates seeking employment.

The Working Group met a second time on December 1, 2017. Working Group members in attendance included Riana Anderson, Estela Andujo, Sheri Kelfer, Linda Long, Larry Palinkas, Tyan Parker-Dominguez, and Leslie Wind.

discussion of a Honors Seminar focused on securing approval from Curriculum Council and giving students the flexibility of taking the seminar as an elective course either during the third or the fourth semester. Students would need to see a clear added value to participating in taking the seminar. This would include an opportunity to interact with tenure track faculty and to expose students to department faculty efforts in research, policy and practice. It was also suggested that each student would be paired with a faculty mentor, perhaps using the model of mentorship developed by Grace Park in the Office of Student Affairs.

One of the issues discussed that relates to feasibility is the need for program leadership and administrative support. It is anticipated that some tasks such as advertising the program and soliciting applications can be supported in part by other school administrative programs such as the Office of Admissions, Office of Student Affairs, and Office of Advancement. However, the program cannot be initiated without some assurance of adequate staff support to assume responsibility for assisting with admissions, scheduling, and faculty staffing of the seminar and receptions. A faculty coordinator or coordinators was also considered a high priority to provide leadership and oversight of program activities. Such an individual or individuals would need to make a commitment to this responsibility for an extended period of time to provide for continuity.

It was decided that student interest in the program would be assessed during the Department Immersion scheduled for January 4 and a Survey Monkey or Qualtrix poll of all CYF students to take place in January. It was also recommended that we discuss the possibility of having a department twitter account established to facilitate communication about the program.

Update on Department Research Enterprise

The first meeting of the Research Enterprise Committee was held on 11/15/2017. The meeting was attended by the following: Juan Araque, Terence Fitzgerald, Michael Hurlburt, Cary Klemmer, Olivia Lee, Sapna Mendon, Lawrence Palinkas, Abigail Palmer, Janet Schneiderman, Dorian Traube, Vivien Villaverde, and Eugenia Weiss

This committee was created for three specific reasons: 1) to facilitate the transfer of responsibility for the School of Social Work’s research enterprise from the clusters to the departments; 2) create opportunities for research for doctoral students who are members of the department; and 3) establish procedures for governance of research funding. The committee is charged with developing a strategic plan to support the research enterprise of the department and the research and scholarly activities of its faculty and students, and establishing procedures for soliciting and reviewing requests for funding for pilot projects and doctoral student research fellowships.

Research Council has established procedures for departments to submit requests to support research activities for the remainder of this fiscal year. In subsequent years, research funding will come directly to the departments. In response to the requests for proposals for this fiscal year, the Committee made the following recommendations: 1) fund pilot studies that are likely to have immediate and significant impact; 2) pay for editorial assistance used in submitting grant proposals and manuscripts; 3) provide support for pre-grant activities formerly handled by Hamovitch (mock grant reviews, consultation); 4) establish a monthly methods clinic for faculty and students; 5) establish a monthly space for discussing potential ideas for research; 6) establish a monthly brown-bag luncheon for presentations of research; and 7) invite directors of other research centers to consult with committee on formation and operation of research centers. Proposals are due to Research Council on January 25, 2018.

Future meetings will include a meeting with Dean Flynn to discuss opportunities for creation of research centers; a meeting with Scarlett Osterling and Office of Advancement staff to discuss topics elated to children, youth and families that are of interest to donors, meetings with center directors to discuss creation and maintenance of research centers, and virtual meeting(s) with NIH program officers to discuss opportunities for CYF research. Other activities include conducting a survey of non-tenure track faculty to identify research and scholarship interests and current activities; obtaining an updated list of current funding and grants in review of CYF faculty; identifying potential intra-departmental, inter-departmental, and intra-USC, and virtual centers that would meet needs of faculty and students; and identifying possibilities for T32 training grants that could be embedded or affiliated with research centers.

The next meeting of the committee will be sometime in January, 2018. Subsequent meetings will be held at scheduled monthly intervals. A doodle poll will be sent out to find out best time, day and week of each month for meetings. Meetings are open to all department members.

Update on Committee for Positive Climate

The Committee held its first meeting on 12/14/17. The meeting was attended by the following: Terence Fitzgerald, Jane Allgood, Riana Anderson, Estela Andujo, Susan Hess, Sheri Kelfer, Omar Lopez, Christina Paddock, Lawrence Palinkas, Tyan Parker-Dominquez, Eric Rice, Janet Schneiderman, Holly Sotello, Shantel Vachani, and Debra Waters-Roman.

The Committee was briefed by Professor Holly Sotello, who serves as one of the department’s representatives to the School Task Force. The Task Force has had one meeting to date to identify working groups and establish specific goals and objectives. Holly will be working on the Environment and Culture Workgroup. The frequency of Task Force Workgroup meetings has not yet been established, but is expected to be at least monthly if not more frequently.

of the meeting was taken up with the topic of sexual harassment. In addition to providing advice and input to the CYF representatives to the School Task Force, the Committee discussed additional roles it might play, including training faculty in how to support students when they do come forward with reports of sexual harassment, assisting faculty in having discussions with students if and when a report of sexual harassment has been made, and advising faculty in how to deal with a professor, student or staff member who has been accused of sexual harassment. There appear to be three kinds of conversations involving faculty, staff and students: 1) those that occur prior to a report that are designed to encourage students, staff and faculty who have experienced harassment to report it; 2) those that occur when a victim of harassment comes forward; and 3) those that occur after a report has been made and adjudicated to insure transparency. A suggestion was also made for having face-to-face training, similar to that currently conducted in the Los Angeles Unified School District, to complement existing on-line training mandated for all USC faculty and staff. Other suggestions for operationalizing sexual harassment training included use of the annual department faculty retreat to discuss the issue and creating venues and opportunities designed to increase faculty participation in training and implementation. However, it was also suggested that too much training might be counterproductive.

The topic of operationalization led to a discussion of a desire to claim a broader mandate for creating a positive climate in the department in addition to sexual harassment prevention that would include efforts to address other issues that affect the climate of faculty, students and staff, including diversity and inclusion, faculty workload, relationships between tenure-track and non-Tenure track faculty, and relationships between full-time and part-time adjunct faculty. The Committee voted to name itself the Committee for Positive Climate and established a mandate for addressing issues that reflect an existing or potential power differential (e.g., men versus women, faculty versus students, full-time versus part-time faculty). The Committee decided that one of its roles would be to create opportunities for department members to examine one another’s ideas about topics that influence department climate in general and individual well-being in particular. A second role of the Committee is to be a resource for department members seeking advice or assistance is addressing these topics.

Update on Curriculum Committee

Thus far this academic year, the Curriculum Committee has been focused on work in 3 key areas:

1) Vertical and horizontal alignment of courses. The Committee reviewed generalist and core course syllabi and student learning outcomes to identify and address unnecessary redundancies in content as students move from the generalist semester into the specialized course work and as they progress through the core courses. This work also raised a number of new issues that the committee will examine throughout the year: enhanced content in family therapy, group work, and CBT/TF-CBT, better integration of DSM in practice courses, and using a standardized approach to case conceptualization.

2) Implementation of Managing and Adapting Practice (MAP). A MAP subcommittee, chaired by Ruth Supranovich, was formed to oversee the implementation of MAP into the CYF core curriculum. The goal is for all CYF students to graduate with 40 documented hours of MAP training, which requires that all faculty teaching MAP content be certified as MAP instructors to sign-off on hours. The subcommittee met weekly in the fall semester to plan faculty trainings, prepare for student immersion and MAP orientation, determine ways to integrate MAP into coursework and assignments, consult with PracticeWise on ways to tailor MAP to our needs (eg, case conceptualization, influence of larger systems, diversity), discuss how first wave of MAP-trained students are faring in the job market, and strategize about MAP’s rollout on the VAC. By the start of the spring 2018 semester, virtually all of the incoming CYF students had completed the MAP orientation and on-ground faculty teaching core courses had completed MAP training.

3) Reviewing electives. A new subcommittee, chaired by Bianca Harper, is reviewing syllabi for all CYF electives to determine quality, fit with new curriculum, and gaps in offerings. This work will improve curricular cohesiveness and help in prioritizing

electives for VAC updates or conversion.

In other curriculum news, Curriculum Council approved the syllabus for a new Diversity Course In fall 2017. Students will be required to take this course in the 2nd semester in the MSW program, starting in Spring 2019. CYF course sequencing had to be adjusted to accommodate this much-needed new course. CYF students’ 2nd semester elective will be bumped to the 4th semester. The only exception is for PPSC students who must take the School Social Work course (614) in the 2nd semester, per state credentialing requirements. These students will take the diversity course in their 4th semester.

Faculty Highlights

Christina Paddock appointed to NASW Expert Panel

Professor Christina Maddock was recently selected to serve on an expert panel on family violence for NASW to revise their policy statements for Social Work Speaks, which is updated and published annually. The policy statements are published in Social Work Speaks: Policy Statements of the National Association of Social Workers ( and and guides NASW’s legislative, regulatory, and judicial advocacy. The panel’s task is to revise the policy in preparation for the 2020 NASW Delegate Assembly which will vote on whether to approve the policy for publication. Tina also serves as a member of the board for the California state chapter of NASW.

Ron Astor elected to American Academy of Social Welfare and Social Work

Along with fellow USC colleagues, Professor Michalle Mor Barak and Dean Marilyn Flynn, Professor Ron Astor was recently elected to become a member of the Class of 2017 of the American Academy of Social Welfare and Social Work (AASWSW). The AASWSW was founded in 2009 and is an honorific society of distinguished scholars and practitioners dedicated to achieving excellence in the field of social work and social welfare through high-impact work that advances social good. The Academy was established to: 1) encourage and recognize outstanding research, scholarship, and practice that contribute to a sustainable, equitable, and just future; 2) inform social policy by serving as a frontline source of information for the social work profession as well as Congress and other government agencies and non-government entities charged with advancing the public good; 3) promote the examination of social policy and the application of research to test alternative policies, programs, and practices for their impact on society; and 4) celebrate excellence in social work and social welfare research, education, and practice. The Academy also sponsors the Social Work Grand Challenges, 12 transdisciplinary initiatives designed to address major social problems and increase the pipeline of a new generation of social workers prepared to meet these challenges. Professors Astor and Mor Barak and Dean Flynn will be joining other USC faculty, including John Brekke, Iris Chi, Kathy Ell and Larry Palinkas, who were elected in previous years.

Ron Astor's team has two new Oxford University Press Books:

Welcoming practices: Creating schools that support students and families in transition. (discount code ASFLYQ6)

Mapping and monitoring bullying and violence: Building a safe school climate. (discount code ASFLYQ6)

Faculty Spotlights

Riana Anderson

Riana Anderson is a Tenure-Track Assistant Professor with the Department of Children, Youth and Families. She investigates how protective familial mechanisms such as parenting and racial socialization operate in the face of risks linked to poverty, discrimination and residential environment. Anderson is particularly interested in how these factors predict familial functioning and subsequent child psychosocial well-being when youth are enrolled in family-based interventions.

In addition to her research, Anderson is the developer and director of EMBRace (Engaging, Managing, and Bonding through Race) intervention. She loves to translate her work for a variety of audiences, particularly those whom she serves in the community, via blogs, video and articles.

A fun fact about Anderson is that she is obsessed with carbohydrates, particularly biscuits and cupcakes!

Umeka Franklin

Umeka Franklin is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Field Education with the Department of Children, Youth and Families. Franklin teaches both first and second year MSW students and places first year students at their internships. In addition, she trains students on Integrated Behavioral Health in the workforce development stipend program. Franklin is also the Coordinator of Military Social Work Field Education and places Military Track students at military focused internships. She is a member of the school’s Military Academic Center.

Franklin possesses specialized expertise in providing trauma mental health services, school social work, medical social work and services to military veterans and their families.

Her current professional interest is to complete and successfully defend her dissertation on “Addressing First Year MSW Students Preparedness of Field Education: A Gap Analysis” in March 2018.

Franklin will receive her Doctorate Degree in Education and participate in USC’s commencement ceremony in May 2018.

Susie Hess

Susie Hess is a Clinical Assistant Professor of Field Education in the Virtual Academic Center. She teaches integrative Learning for Social Work Practice and Applied Learning in Field Education. She earned her MSW from USC and began teaching practice courses at the school’s University Park campus in 2011.

Hess is an advocate, trainer, and consultant in the areas of trauma informed approaches and the intersections of intimate partner violence and homelessness. She co-founded the Trauma Informed Task Force of LA whose mission is to cultivate responsive and collaborative communities that foster healing and wellbeing ( Hess serves on the board of the NASW USC Unit, possesses a license in clinical social work in the state of Illinois, and is a certified teacher in Nonviolent Education and Parenting.

A fun fact about Hess is that she was featured in Nigeria’s number one celebrity journal in 1991, FAME, for serving as the Chief Bridesmaid for Dolores Odogwu, daughter of Asaba High Chief.

Lily Ross

Lisa Ross is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Children, Youth and Family. She has taught at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work for the past seven years. She started teaching as adjunct faculty and was promoted to full-time faculty in 2017.

Ross teaches various Practice classes in the CYF curriculum. She has worked with children and families for more than 15 years, with children of all ages in various social work settings. She is passionate about applying and teaching from a trauma informed, family centered approach.

A fun fact about Ross is that she is a frequent participant (and instigator) of spontaneous kitchen dance parties at her home!

Student Spotlights

Ankur Srivastava

Ankur is a 3rd year PhD student in the Department of Children Youth and Families. He was funded by the department in his first year to conduct a pilot study with Hijras in Mumba (India) in the summer of 2016, and subsequently in the summer of 2017 to develop a proposal to conduct a longitudinal study. Currently, he represents CYF as a student nominee at in the Sexual Harassment Task Force (SHTF).

Ankur’s research interest includes examining the impact of gender minority stress on mental health outcomes of gender non-conforming adolescents over time, using a psycho-social developmental framework. He is also interested in understanding the interplay of identities and roles as the develop over time, with a focus on gender transitioning and congruity among gender non-conforming adolescents.

He is currently involved in a longitudinal study (The Trevor Project Phase II) which attempts to recruit and follow a diverse sample of 180 LGBT adolescents for a period of one year to understand how suicidality changes over time as they transition into adulthood. The goals of this study are to examine individual trajectories of suicidality and risk over time and the role of gay-related stressors as risk factors for suicidality in this population.

Ankur is an enthusiastic amateur writer. His writing draws from and experiments with existentialism, magic realism and postmodernism. He also manages a secret blog (with a very existentialist name) that he uses to organize his writing.

Robin Sax

Robin is a second year full-time MSW student in the Department of Children Youth and Families. Robin will be graduating in May 2018. Robin is a recovering lawyer with experience in both criminal and family law. As both a prosecutor and criminal defense attorney, Robin has worked on many cases at the intersection of criminal law and family (dependency) law where there is often the use (and misuse of) of the court/legal system.

She was initially drawn to the “F” in CYF and hopes to pursue a career where she can marry her legal experience with social work skills. As a clinical social worker, Robin hopes to help people consider the best interests of children and help themselves in order to live happier, more fulfilling, less traumatic and less stressful lives.

Her long-term goal is to create a practice where she can assist families who need strategic guidance on co-parenting and custody evaluations. She also wants to help courts make better-informed custody decisions by helping parents and children who are in the throes of separation and/or divorce. envisions starting a one-stop shop office for divorce that is staffed with both lawyers and clinicians who handle everything from mediations, custody evaluations, therapy and co-parenting plans. Her goal is to help clients avoid the high fees and stresses associated with court and to help families develop real resolutions that consider the children’s well-being at the forefront of decision making.

Robin is currently an intern at Harbor UCLA in the Adult Outpatient Psychiatric Unit. She is utilizing DBT, CBT, PE, and ACT treatment protocols. She is trying develop as many clinical skills as she possibly can. As a lawyer, she began her career in the DA’s office. The DA’s office was a fantastic experience because it trained her, exposed her to many different cases and a high volume of them. She also got to experience camaraderie. Harbor UCLA is similar to her experience at the DA’s office and she hopes that she can continue working there or at a similar mental health community setting.

Robin is divorced and a mother to a 15 ½ year old daughter who keeps her own her toes. She is proof that people can have a second act in their lives and career path. With the help of an amazing therapist, who also went to USC, Robin is pursuing a new career. She is strongly considering pursuing a PsyD or PhD after graduation.