Through our high-ranking academic programs, renowned research, and interdisciplinary approach to solving some of humanity’s greatest challenges, the Steve Hicks School of Social Work is already in the spotlight.  

Now, we’re shining a light on our outstanding faculty – literally.  

We recently launched a video series, Telling Our Stories, created by filmmaker Vanessa Reiser. The videos feature esteemed faculty members sharing their depth of expertise, the valuable work they do, and the impact of their work to the public good. 

View current videos or check back for new stories on our YouTube series

  • Professor Namkee Choi, Ph.D., discusses how her childhood in South Korea led to her interest in gerontology research, specifically helping older adults get access to sufficient mental health resources. 
  • Professor Diana DiNitto, Ph.D., discusses the intersectionality of social work, substance use as a chronic mental health issue, and her hope to bring change and healing through social work.  
  • Professor Lori Holleran Steiker, Ph.D., discusses her own addiction recovery, Project Naloxone, the work of University High School, and the need for interdisciplinary work in substance use and misuse research.  
  • Professor Sandy Magaña, Ph.D., focuses her research on developmental disabilities, and creating interventions for diverse populations, and their families and caregivers, to get the services they need to develop and learn.  
  • Professor Esther Calzada, Ph.D., talks about her research to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in academic achievement and behavior issues, helping parents and children connect in healthy ways, and teaching her students to question and challenge the status quo as a path to new ideas.  
  • Professor Yessenia Castro, Ph.D., describes her role as assistant dean for Doctoral education at SHS, as well as her research, which primarily focuses on how cultural adaptation variables influence cancer risk behavior among Latinos.
  • Professor Yolanda Padilla, PhD, describes her origins growing up on the US-Mexico border and how these early experiences shaped her interest in alleviating poverty, in health equity among immigrant mothers, and in opening her students’ eyes to how they can make a difference.
  • Professor Lauren Gulbas, Ph.D., originally planned to study medicine, but an undergraduate anthropology course steered her in a new direction. Now she teaches her students about suicide risk and prevention, in the context of health equity and cultural differences.
  • Dean Allan Cole shares the foundations of his desire to make a difference in the lives of others, his leadership approach to create spaces in which faculty, staff and students can thrive and do meaningful work, his personal interest in chronic health issues, and his hopes for the Steve Hicks School to make a lasting impact on society.
  • Associate Dean Rubén Parra-Cardona, Ph.D., shares his perspective on researching issues regarding family and society, particularly in the lens of being the Area Director of Research at the UT Latino Research Institute. Born and raised in Mexico, Dr. Parra-Cardona reflects on his upbringing, his political advocacy and organizing in Mexico, and the importance of higher education in his immigration experience. Through his work, the Steve Hicks School of Social Work impacts the world through the Office of Global Engagement, leaving a social work legacy that goes beyond borders.