Autumn Asher BlackDeer

Autumn Asher BlackDeer is a member of the Cheyenne and Arapaho Tribes of Oklahoma and is a doctoral student at Washington University in St. Louis’ Brown School of Social Work. Her research is focused on the intersections of sexual violence, mental health, and substance use within American Indian populations. Autumn is a strong proponent for American Indian higher education, advocate for survivors of sexual violence, and is committed to addressing health disparities within Indian Country. To learn more about Autumn, visit her page.

Shih-Ying Cheng, MSW, LSW

Shih-Ying Cheng is from Taiwan. She earned her bachelor’s degree with a double major in Sociology and Public Finance from National Cheng Chi University in 2007. She then received a master’s degree in Social Work from National Taiwan University in 2011. After graduation, she became an activist and a licensed social worker working with marriage immigrant women and survivors of intimate partner violence in Taiwan. Currently, Shih-Ying is a doctoral candidate in the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis. Although pursuing a doctoral degree and studying abroad was not in her life plan, she enjoys her life at the Brown School now. To learn more about Shih-Ying, visit her page.

Research Interests:

  • Services and policies that address intimate partner violence
  • health and social service utilization among recent immigrants
  • implementation of evidence-based practices

Xuan Huang

Xuan Huang is a doctoral student in Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interests include identifying social and cultural factors related to interpersonal violence, preventing violence, healing trauma, and building resiliency. She also attempts to adopt evidence-based practice strategies to promote healthy relationships and reduce bullying in different cultural settings. She is co-founder of an NGO Brighten Youth Up Institute that works to find local solutions for preventing and intervening in case of bullying in Chinese contexts. Xuan earned her MSW from the Brown School in 2011. Before entering the social work field, she was a newspaper reporter.

Deidi Olaya Rodriguez

Deidi Olaya Rodriguez is a PhD student in Social Work at the Brown School. Her research interests broadly include violence against women and children, with a particular interest on gender economics and prevention. Deidi most recent work was as a consultant for UN Women, Conservation International, and Casa de la Mujer on topics related to women in the Colombian peace agreement, and political participation. She also was a research project director at the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault at the University of Texas in Austin, where she received her Master of Science in Social Work.

Molly M. McLay, MSW, LCSW

Molly M. McLay hails most recently from Champaign, Illinois, having received a BA in English Writing and Women’s and Gender Studies from Illinois Wesleyan University (2006) and an MSW from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2011). Molly’s research focuses on the development, implementation, and evaluation of interventions for gender-based violence, both prevention and treatment-focused. As a licensed clinical social worker, Molly has worked in both areas, empowering survivors in their healing processes and empowering communities to shift their thinking around these issues to promote consent and healthy relationships. Molly also works as a part-time telehealth therapist alongside her work as a PhD student. A longtime poet and musician, Molly also plans to develop evidence-supported creative writing interventions to aid in both prevention and therapeutic response efforts, centering on the change process that happens in writing and how that can translate to individual and systemic belief changes. To learn more about Molly,  visit her page.

Luissa Vahedi

Luissa VahediLuissa is a Canadian who earned her master’s degree in Epidemiology at Queen’s University. Her research interests pertain to sexual and reproductive health and rights in humanitarian settings. Luissa is interested in conducting interdisciplinary research that integrates the methods and frameworks of epidemiology to the study of gender-based violence and sexual/reproductive health in settings characterized by conflict, displacement, and weak governance. She is currently working on a project with Dr. Lindsay Stark in collaboration with UNICEF Italy that focuses on understanding the effect of COVID-19 on the safety of migrant and refugee women and girls. She hopes to build a career, both inside and outside academic settings, that is focused on narrowing the gap between research and policy as well as practicing applied social epidemiology.