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Launch of a new Social Policy Research Scholars program with the first cohort of doctoral students

The Social Policy Institute is proud to announce the launch of our Social Policy Research Scholars Program. With support from the JPMorgan Chase Foundation, the program supports doctoral students from historically marginalized populations underrepresented in academia in their research endeavors to achieve an inclusive society that is socially, racially and economically just. 

The scholars program is grounded in SPI’s focus on addressing pressing social issues through transdisciplinary empirical research, dissemination of evidence-informed policy, and training, guided by the Institute’s values and commitment to being inclusive, respectful, power-sharing, collaborative and sustainable. 

Doctoral research scholars connect with faculty, staff and students at SPI along with our faculty affiliate network and connections at WashU who will serve as liaisons, mentors and dissemination partners. Scholars engage with ongoing institute projects and access unique datasets and research collaborations in service of advancing their doctoral studies and future professional pursuits. Research scholars receive a $2,500 stipend in support of their contributions to the program, institute and advancement of their research agendas. 

Our inaugural cohort includes four students whose work embody SPI’s vision of reducing inequality in social, economic, health and education outcomes through evidence-informed policy and practice. 

Meet the scholars  

María Gandarilla Ocampo is a PhD candidate in Social Work at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research focuses on child welfare policy and child maltreatment intervention and prevention.  

Rehaana Herbert, a PhD student in Social Work at the University of North Carolina Greensboro, explores the well-being of Black women and the impact of systemic and structural problems that impede their financial well-being and social determinants of health.  

Lubaba Mitchell is a PhD candidate in Social Work in the joint doctoral program at North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research focus is on equitable access to higher education.  

Michelle Stage is a PhD student in Psychology at the University of Rhode Island. Her research aims to understand and alleviate health disparities among sexual and gender minorities or LGBTQ+ populations.  

Congratulations to our new scholars!