Meet the school’s newest faculty members
VCU School of Social Work assistant professor Matthew Bogenschutz, Ph.D., is conducting research on community engagement and the policies that influence social change. “I’m attracted to the VCU School of Social Work because they value community-engaged research and Virginia is experiencing some huge changes in how Virginians with disabilities are supported. I would love to be part of the process of making life better for people with disabilities in the Commonwealth, and I embrace opportunity to share this passion with students who will be future advocates for social change.” He is currently working on a project with the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities program. The program is set up to provide students from 12 different disciplines with the skills to serve people with neurodevelopmental disabilities.
Karen Chartier, Ph.D., comes to Virginia Commonwealth University from the University of Texas. While at UT, Chartier split her time between conducting alcohol epidemiological research and working with Texas Node of National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Clinical Trials Network. At VCU, Chartier moves back and forth between the School of Social Work and the Virginia Institute Psychiatry and Behavioral Genetics. Her goal is to focus her research on a genetics, social environment, and alcohol dependence involving Hispanics and African Americans in Richmond, Va. and the surrounding areas. Chartier explained that few genetics studies for alcohol dependence are conducted in these two populations, which is an inequity that should be addressed to help assure that all benefit from any emerging health advances in this research.
Sunny Shin, Ph.D., is an associate professor to the School of Social Work. Prior, to joining Virginia Commonwealth University Shin was the Director of the Dual Degree Program in the School of Social Work and School of Theology at Boston University. His past work providing clinical services to children and families in a hospital social work department in Seoul directly influences his current professional goals. Shin strives to generate empirical evidence that impacts policy, social work practice, and service delivery for children and families at risk of both maltreatment and substance abuse. Professor Shin is a proud instructor who strives to propel the aspirations of his students. “There is no simple pleasure more satisfying than meeting new students who just started their social work careers. When I hear about their practice interests and future plans, I think about many individuals, families, and communities that would greatly benefit from future social work practitioners sitting in my classroom.”
Hyojin Im, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the School of Social Work. Prior to joining the faculty, Im completed a postdoctoral research fellow at University of California Berkley Mack Center on Mental Health and Social Conflict. She is currently teaching research methods, a critical component of the M.S.W. curriculum. When asked about her proudest moment since joining the School of Social Work, she expressed that knowing that her students are learning and understanding the material gave her great pride. Im’s current research focuses on how to tackle issues that derive from political conflicts and prolonged violence in the international refugee community.
Alex Wagaman, Ph.D., received her doctorate at Arizona State University, where she completed her dissertation study, in part, using a participatory action research approach with LGBTQ young people. Her favorite experiences in her first semester at VCU School of Social Work have been interacting with students through research and community partner work. “Recently, I was asked to work with some of our alumni to address a gap in services to the LGBTQ community. A student of mine wrote a paper on her interest in this area and we were able to bring her on to work with us.”