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Recent Publications

My research agenda broadly focuses on understanding the implementation and outcomes of contemplative and other well-being interventions to address traumatic stress. In my time as a doctoral student, I have worked on two federally funded research projects aimed at improving child welfare practice and policy. I engage in research that is shaped by an intention to make evidence applicable in the real-world. I am passionate about disseminating research for the public good. I seek to facilitate rigorous, community oriented and engaged scholarship that is implementable and accessible for those who may be positively impacted by it. 

Conceptualizing Compassion

Faculty Supervisor: Dr. Sarah Jen

Social work has increasingly relied on evidence-based interventions and sought to quantify outcomes. However, for many social workers the impact of their work is facilitated through relating to and connecting with their clients. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine social workers’ experiences with compassion. Specifically, the research questions guiding this study included: (1) How do social workers conceptualize compassion? (2) How do social workers define compassion? (3) How do social workers use compassion in their work? The study included 12 social workers in two Midwestern states. Participants included completed semi-structured interviews that were transcribed verbatim and coded using thematic analysis. One of the findings I am most proud of from this study includes a data poem that was co-constructed with participants who took lines from their transcripts to create a poem called “Conscious Compassion.” Look for findings from this study in upcoming publications. 

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Resilience Alliance+

Faculty Dissertation committee:

Dr. Becci Akin (chair); Dr. Michael Riquino (methodologist); Dr. Kaela Byers, Dr. Nancy Kepple, and Dr. Ward Lyles

This dissertation study is occurring as a sub-study of the Kansas Strong for Children and Families research project. Resilience Alliance+ is a study focused on exploring how successfully interventions designed to address secondary traumatic stress among child welfare professionals can be implemented. This study includes child welfare professionals who are randomized into two groups; one who receives a psychoeducational curriculum called Resilience Alliance; and one who receives Resilience Alliance plus a loving-kindness meditation intervention. Participant scores for secondary traumatic stress, resilience, compassion and self-compassion will be compared pre and post intervention to assess for differences between the groups. 

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