GSSWSR doctoral students

Doctoral Students

Saira Afzal


Saira Afzal is a licensed clinical social worker and currently practices at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia as a clinician on the Emergency Department/Extended Hours team. In this role, she has extensive experience working with children in mental health crises, child abuse, medical traumas, sexual assault incidents, and bereavements. Afzal is an adjunct instructor at Delaware State University where she enjoys teaching courses related to therapy modalities and psychiatric treatment. Read Saira Afzal's Biography

Christina Belknap


Christina Belknap is a licensed clinical social worker and doctoral student. She received an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania in 2017, where she was selected for a competitive PEARLS Fellowship, a Program in Mental Health Education Assessment, Recovery and Leadership for Social Workers. Belknap is a practicing clinician working primarily with adults, couples, and families in areas of mental health, trauma, and substance use. She is trained in Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing therapy (EMDR) and certified in faith-based spiritual counseling. Belknap is currently a facilitator for the GSSWSR CONNECT Wellness program and a teaching assistant at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. Read Christina Belknap's Biography

Anjali Bushan


Anjali Bushan currently serves as a Court Executive for the New Jersey Judiciary, where she oversees child welfare research in a number of areas including timeliness to permanency, human trafficking, and race equity. In this role, she also co-created a series of workshops aimed at helping staff apply a critical race perspective to court data. Bushan's professional experience is wide, encompassing various direct service as well as research experiences in both non-profits and government institutions. Bushan is interested in studying family systems with historical and critical race lenses, and her doctoral research will use these lenses to better understand South Asian families in America. Bushan received her Juris Doctorate and her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Pennsylvania. Read Anjali Bushan's Biography

John Edwards


John Edwards received his Master's in Social Service degree from the Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research at Bryn Mawr College, and is currently a doctoral student. Edwards received the Shahbanu Goldberg Award for his service to the School as well as the Patricia Burland Award for Best Clinical Case Essay. He was invited to teach a class in Advocacy and Negotiation at the GSSWSR. Edwards worked for several years at Mazzoni Center where he supervised a SAMHSA funded intervention that provided outreach services and peer support for gay and bisexual men and transgender individuals at high risk of substance abuse and HIV transmission. During the 2020-2021 academic year, Edwards received the McPherson Award for Excellence and the L. Diane Bernard Award for LGBT and Human Sexuality Projects. Read John Edward's Biography

Mariana Folco

Mariana Folco

A native Spanish-speaker from Argentina, Mariana Folco holds an MSW with clinical concentration from the University of Pennsylvania and a BS from Boston University. She has spent a decade working in nonprofit organizations, bilingual social service agencies, and youth development programs. A lifelong athlete and longtime coach, Folco has worked as a facilitator and adjunct instructor to integrate trauma-informed practices into youth programs, particularly those that use sport as a tool for development and community building. She currently also serves as a field instructor for the Sport Social Work Certificate program through the Alliance of Social Workers in Sports. Read Mariana's Biography

Lindsay Griffin


Lindsay Griffin is a doctoral student and Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over ten years of experience in the mental health field. Lindsay received her Master of Social Work with a clinical/direct concentration from the University of Pennsylvania. Over the course of her career, Lindsay has worked in several community-based positions and managed care in her work with children, adolescents and their families. Lindsay also has experience working with adults individually and with couplesRead Lindsay Griffin's Biography

Maisy Hughes


Maisy Hughes received her M.S. in Couple and Family Therapy from Thomas Jefferson University, and is a practicing therapist in Philadelphia. She works at the Joseph J. Peters Institute where she sees trauma survivors of all ages, many of whom have endured the effects of chronic intrafamilial trauma, poverty and marginalization. Hughes also works at Council for Relationships where she sees individuals and couples with a range of presenting challenges. She specializes in treating post-traumatic stress sequelae and is committed to providing services from a humanistic, client-focused perspective. Her research interests center around understanding what effective treatment looks like for chronically traumatized individuals.  Read Maisy Hughes' Biography

Katie King

k king

Katie is a licensed clinical social worker who has over a decade of experience providing clinical support to various populations and has intensive training in providing trauma-informed and trauma-focused services to children and families, in particular.  Katie received her Master of Social Work (clinical concentration) and Master of Public Health (global health concentration) from Temple University. Read Katie King's Biography

Sangeun Lee

Sangeun Lee

Sangeun has been working with Asian immigrant populations with limited English proficiency (LEP) since 2008 in the greater Philadelphia area. As a licensed social worker and certified case manager, Sangeun was selected as a national policy fellow at the Network for Social Work Management in 2019 and as an international doctoral scholar cohort of the Doctoral Scholar Institute (DSI) by the Rutgers University School of Social Work and Network for Social Work Management in 2021 and 2022 consecutively. Read Sangeun Lee's Biography 

Carmen Moedano

Carmen Moedano

Carmen Moedano is a licensed clinical social worker and a practicing staff clinician at the University of Pennsylvania’s Counseling & Psychological Services where she is a member of the social work training and supervisory team. Carmen has taught as an adjunct instructor for courses that include Clinical Social Work I & II at GSSWSR. Read Carmen's Biography

Lauren Montemuro-Rode

Lauren Montemuro

Lauren Montemuro-Rode received her MSW with a Gerontology concentration in 2013 from Washington University in St. Louis. Montemuro-Rode has extensive clinical experience related to aging, medical, and hospice care. While working towards her Ph.D. at Bryn Mawr College, she has taught and assisted teaching the Research Methods courses. She is interested in expanding research on advance care planning for her dissertation research. Read Lauren Montemuro-Rode's Biography

Lindsey Norton


Lindsey Norton received her Masters of Social Service and Masters of Law and Social Policy from Bryn Mawr’s Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. She has spent more than five years performing clinical research at the University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Center for Community Health Workers. Read Lindsey Norton's Biography

Andrea October

andrea october

Andrea October is the Trauma Resilience Training Coordinator for Philadelphia's Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbility Services, providing trauma trainings and consultation. Her research areas include trauma intervention with communities of color and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACES) education. Read Andrea October's Biography

Ann Perepezko


Ann Perepezko is a licensed social worker with an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania. She started her social work career at the Defenders Association of Philadelphia as a Child Advocate Social Worker before transitioning to a position at an elementary school in West Philadelphia focused on providing social-emotional support to students. Perepezko currently works in the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia's Center for Violence Prevention conducting research on social-emotional programming in schools throughout the School District of Philadelphia. Read Ann Perepezko's Biography

Kate Roberts


Kate Roberts is a licensed clinical social worker who holds experience working in community mental health. As an intensively trained Dialectical Behavioral Therapist (DBT), she worked with persons experiencing chronic suicidality, religious trauma, and co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders in the LGBTQ+ community. Read Kate Robert's Biography

K. Skye


K. Skye received their master’s degree in social work with a clinical concentration from the University of Kansas. They have worked as a therapist with training in Narrative Therapy and NET, as well as in child welfare, refugee resettlement, and hospice. Read K. Skye's Biography

Carolyn Solo

carolyn solo

Carolyn Solo worked at the Wedge, a community mental health agency in Philadelphia, as a therapist for three years, including one year as a supervisor of graduate student interns. Carolyn's primary research interests include the history and medicalization of schizophrenia, supervision and clinician development in community mental health settings, and the efficacy and impact of peer support for people with severe and chronic mental illness. Read Carolyn Solo's Biography

 Mary Florence Sullivan

Image of Mary Florence Sullivan, PhD Student

Mary Florence Sullivan is an experienced social worker with an M.S.W. from Columbia University. She worked in New York City in the Mayor’s Office to End Domestic and Gender-Based Violence and as part of an interdisciplinary team supporting the city's unaccompanied migrant youth. At the GSSWSR, Sullivan has facilitated the CONNECT curriculum, assistant taught Research Methods, and served as Writing Coach. In 2022, she received the GSSWSR McPherson Award for Academic Excellence and Community Service. Sullivan will teach Social Policy in Fall 2022. Read Mary Florence Sullivan's Biography.

Sara Bressi, Ph.D. Program Director, School of Social Work

Contact Us

Doctoral Program in Social Work (Ph.D.)

Sara Bressi

Ph.D. Program Director