Tara Powell, PhD ’14, has a passion for improving the lives of children and caregivers that survive disasters.

Tara Powell in the Philippines
Powell in the Philippines

Now an assistant professor at the University of Illinois, Powell has recently talked with NPR’s Goats and Soda about her work on post-Katrina New Orleans and about the Journey of Hope, a school-based program to promote resiliency and help children cope with trauma.

“A lot of the kids were like, ‘We don’t want to draw. We’re not interested in talking about our Katrina experience,'” Powell tells NPR. “They said, ‘We want to talk about all the other issues we’re facing. There is a lot of scary stuff going on in our community. We don’t know how to keep ourselves safe.'”

Read the full interview here.

During her time at the School of Social Work, Powell researched and developed post-disaster mental health programs for areas such as Alabama and Oklahoma City after a series of tornados, and New York after super-storm Sandy. She also started her international work, in New Zealand and Italy after earthquakes, in Japan after the Tsunami of 2011, and in the Philippines (read more).

Learn more about current doctoral candidates at the School of Social Work.