Nicole Kim is a doctoral student at The University of Texas at Austin Steve Hicks School of Social Work and a recipient of the Graduate School Recruitment Fellowship. She completed her Bachelor of Arts at the University of Notre Dame and a Master of Science in Social Work at Columbia University. Nicole’s primary area of research is in child welfare related issues and policy, including foster care, preventative services, and child and family well-being.

Nicole’s research and career is guided by her past experience as a foster parent and foster care caseworker in Texas. Following this experience, Nicole focused her studies on child welfare research and policy. She served as a clinical research assistant while a student at Columbia, studying the effects of early caregiving adversities on children. She gained further experience as a child welfare policy intern at Children’s Rights and the Center for the Study of Social Policy where she was later hired as a policy analyst. In this role, she was part of a team monitoring child welfare systems facing class-action litigation. Additionally, Nicole supported the Youth Thrive initiative, which worked to better support the development and well-being of youth involved in the child welfare and juvenile justice systems.

Nicole is currently working with Dr. Monica Faulkner and Dr. Shetal Vohra-Gupta. She is dedicated to strengthening families and addressing systemic and structural inequities children and families face within the child welfare and other intervening systems including juvenile justice, education, and health care systems. The children and families Nicole has worked with and cared for have deeply impacted her life and continue to inspire her daily while she pursues a career in research and widespread policy change.