Meet Our Alumni

Doctoral graduates of the Steve Hicks School of Social Work excel in their careers and are renown as leaders in many fields of social work practice in the United States and throughout the world. See a map of where our alumni are (PDF). Meet some of them:

Jeremy GoldbachJeremy T. Goldbach (Ph.D. ’12) is an associate professor of social work, associate dean for faculty affairs, and director of the Center for LGBT Health Equity at the University of Southern California Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Goldbach’s research interest involves understanding how discrimination may interrupt healthy human development, with a special emphasis on the experiences of sexual/gender minority (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender; LGBT) and ethnic minority youth.

The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the Department of Defense, the Trevor Project, the Zumberge Foundation, and the NIH Clinical Translational Sciences Institute all have provided funding for Goldbach’s research. He received recognition for his scholarship and mentoring, including the Sterling C. Franklin Distinguished Faculty Award and the USC Graduate Student Mentoring Award.




Erika KingMajor Erika King (Ph.D. ’16) is mental health flight commander and behavioral health consultant for the United States Air Force Academy. Her staff of 31 active duty, civilian, and contract members provide substance abuse, family maltreatment, and mental health outreach and prevention to 171,000 beneficiaries in the Colorado Springs community. Major King oversees clinics (mental health; alcohol and drug abuse prevention and treatment; and family advocacy) provide direct outpatient care to over 3100 patients each year. Major King has expertise in military policy history and developments specific to retaining a diverse force. Her special emphasis is applying intersectionality to explore military women’s retention. As a member of the Pentagon Women’s Initiative Team she is examining specific career trajectories to better understand the absence of women selected to general officer positions. Independently, Major King is researching the impact of family structure, race, and sexual orientation on military women’s retention. She received the United States Air Force Academy’s 2017 General Wilma Vaught Visionary Leadership Award.



Ruth McRoy

Ruth McRoy (Ph.D. ’81) is the Donahue and Di Felice Endowed  Professor at Boston College School of Social Work. McRoy is also the Ruby Lee Piester Centennial Professor Emeritus in Services to Children and Families at The University of Texas at Austin where she leads the research and evaluation Team for the AdoptUSKids project of the U.S. Children’s Bureau. This is in addition to her work as a co-founding director of research and innovations in social, economic, and environmental equity (RISE) at Boston College. McRoy’s research interests include race in adoptions, racial disparities in the child welfare system, openness in adoption, adoption matching, and family preservation. She has published over 100 journal articles and book chapters and twelve books. Numerous federal, state, foundation and local research grants supported McRoy’s research.  She served on multiple Boards including, but not limited to, the Society for Social Work and Research; the North American Council on Adoptable Children; and Black Administrators, Researchers and Scholars (BARS). McRoy is the recipient of many honors including the 2014 Child Advocate of the Year Award and is a fellow in the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare.



Tara PowellTara Leytham Powell (Ph.D. ’14) is an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign School of Social Work. Powell’s areas of expertise include child trauma, natural disasters, and intervention research. She conducts research  related to disasters or complex emergencies all over the world. Powell also specializes in curriculum development and co-created a school-based psycho-educational program to help children develop positive coping strategies in response to trauma and stress after a disaster. The program, Journey of Hope, is being implemented throughout the United States and internationally (read a story about this). Currently, Powell is involved with two projects: one is a multi-site study in Puerto Rico and Texas, funded by Americares Foundation, integrating mental health and psychosocial services among care providers; the second is in Jordan where she is examining a mental health intervention with Syrian Refugees. Powell recently completed a study of the Journey of Hope  in Tennessee and submitted an R21 to examine an adaptation of the Journey of Hope  for use in Puerto Rico.  She also receives funding from Save the Children and from the Campus Research Board.