Lalaine (Lainey) Sevillano is a doctoral student at the Steve Hicks School of Social Work. She obtained her Master of Social Work degree from California State University, Northridge in 2018 and earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology (with a minor in education) from the University of California, Los Angeles in 2007. Her scholarship is noteworthy as demonstrated by the numerous scholarships and awards she has received, including a University Continuing Fellowship for 2021-22. Lainey is also a California State University Sally Casanova Pre-Doctoral Scholar and a Chancellor’s Incentive Doctoral Program Fellow.

Driven by her intersecting social identities as a Pilipinx woman, immigrant, and first generation college student, Lainey describes herself as scholar-leader-activist. As a scholar at the intersection of social work and education, her research aims to eradicate mental health and education disparities for minoritized students such as herself. Her work has been published in Children and Youth Services Review and Social Work Research. Currently, she is a co-Principal Investigator and Project Director of a seed grant funded by the University Vice Provost of Diversity investigating how pedagogical caring strategies can enhance a sense of belonging for students who hold multiple minoritized social identities. She has recently been awarded two subsequent grants through the University to fund her dissertation: a sequential, explanatory mixed-methodological study to understand the relationships between racism and mental health and education outcomes among Asian college students.

As a leader, Lainey has been at the frontlines of DEI efforts within and beyond SHSSW. During her first semester at SHSSW she was invited by the Chair of the Committee on Diversity and Inclusion to serve as the Doctoral Student Representative, a position she has held for the last three years. Last academic year, Lainey founded and is currently directing the inaugural SHSSW DEI Student Task Force. Recognized as a leader in DEI, she has also been invited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) to sit on their national Task Force to Advance Anti-Racism.

As an activist, Lainey has been invited to speak and write about equity and inclusion, social justice, and decolonization. In February 2020, she was featured in the CSWE’s Center for Diversity, Social & Economic Justice’s monthly Educator Resource. Her activist efforts also include her service as a mentor in programs such as the MSSW Mentorship for Students of Color program and Intellectual Entrepreneurship Program.

Postsecondary education is often touted as a vehicle for social mobility, especially for minoritized groups. Yet, minoritized students continue toface barriers to attaining and completing postsecondary education. Lainey’s lived experiences and decade long career in the field of education, coupled with graduate-level training in social work, give her a unique perspective for understanding the comprehensive aspects of educational and mental health disparities that minoritized college students. To this end, Lainey’s goals are to: 1) understand how various aspects of marginalization (e.g., racism, colonialism, classism) affect the academic success and mental health of minoritized students; and 2) develop psychosocial interventions that cultivate empowerment and critical consciousness. Ultimately, her research aims to increase admission, retention, and achievement rates of minoritized students, as well as improve their mental health.

Research Statement

Teaching Statement

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Interests

Critical race theory, decolonizing; sense of belonging; internalized racism; culturally-responsive pedagogy; resistance; achievement; mental health; community-based participatory research; mixed methods