Weiwen Zeng is a doctoral student in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work at the University of Texas at Austin. His interests in disability-related issues are grounded in his practice experience as a clinical social worker. For over four years, he was in direct practice with individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities (DD) and their families in medical and residential care settings.

Weiwen graduated with a Master of Social Science in Social Work degree in 2014 from the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK). He received extensive trainings in both quantitative and qualitative methodologies. Weiwen also received a fellowship to attend the 2014 Yale-CUHK Summer Research Practicum, an international research program led by Yale Sociology Professor Dr. Deborah Davis, which aimed to train young scholars in social sciences to conduct research in marriage, family, and happiness in modern China through extensive fieldwork in Shanghai and Hong Kong.

Weiwen’s expertise is in working with underserved families caring for individuals with autism/DD. After obtaining his master’s degree, he worked as a Research Assistant at the University of Hong Kong, where he collaborated with a social work faculty and local NGOs on a research project to educate individuals with autism/DD about topics related to aging and death. He then proceeded to work at a Hong Kong NGO medical and residential care service unit for individuals with autism/DD, which was the catalyst for his current research pursuits at UT. As a doctoral student at Steve Hicks School of Social Work, Weiwen completed the Graduate Portfolio in Applied Statistical Modeling offered by UT’s Department of Statistics and Data Sciences in 2020. Working closely with his advisor, Dr. Sandy Magaña, his current program of research involves developing innovative and evidence-based interventions for individuals with autism/DD and their families. His academic work has appeared in several peer-reviewed journals and book chapters including Autism; Annals of Epidemiology; Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities; Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health.

Weiwen enjoys teaching and mentoring students utilizing his personal, research, and practice experiences. Weiwen has strong teaching skills and is able to transition to both virtual and in person seamlessly. In fact, in the Spring 2021 semester, he was nominated for the UT Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD) Faculty/Staff Appreciation Award for offering support and guidance to students with disabilities

Research Statement

Teaching Statement

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Statement


January 7, 2022 Poverty’s reality is more violent than a TV show can capture

April 14, 2020 Doctoral student delivers COVID-19 relief in China

Curriculum Vitae

Professional Interests

Autism, developmental disabilities (DD), health disparities, lifespan development, family support and healthcare for people with disabilities, comparative disability policy and practice, advanced statistical methods