As a means to foster communication among researchers and educators from various academic and other research institutions, the FSWI Scholar Network provides researchers, practitioners and educators opportunities to collaborate with others in the emerging field of financial social work.

If you are interested in having your contact information and a summary of your current research posted on our website, please complete the form.

Arnaa Alcon
Bridgewater State University School of Social Work (
Research Interests: Financial fluency, personal financial literacy in ESOL populations, retirement security.
Current Research: Evaluation of community-based retirement and investment planning programs, "financial caregiving" for older adults for whom English is not their first or primary language

Jeffrey Anvari-Clark
University of North Dakota, Department of Social Work (
Research Interests: Financial social work, financial behavioral health, financial interdependence, and behavioral interventions in developing financial efficacy.
Current Research: Theoretical and empirical exploration of financial interdependence (sharing money resulting in beneficial and/or detrimental outcomes), and financial behavioral health.

Julie Birkenmaier
Saint Louis University (
Research Interests:  Financial capability and financial credit, Financial credit within asset development efforts, Social work's role in financial capability efforts, International and domestic micro enterprise
Current Research:  Longitudinal study of credit building efforts within asset development efforts, Qualitative study of micro enterprise program in rural Haiti

Christine Callahan
University of Maryland School of Social Work (
Research Interests:  Financial burden of illness; financial quality of life, especially as it impacts health-care decision-making; financial capability in vulnerable populations, including those facing medical, psychosocial, and environmental stressors
Current Research:  Continued data analysis from dissertation ("Cancer, Vulnerability, and Financial Quality of Life: A Mixed Methods Study"); participating actively in current and new projects at the UMSSW Financial Social Work Initiative

Mary Caplan
University of California, Berkeley  []
Research Interests:  Economic survival strategies material hardship, social policy, informal economy How people on SSI make ends meet.

Admire Chereni
University of Johannesburg []

Research Interests: Human migration, transnational migration, families and children, social protection, environmental justice, micro-finance
Current Research: My work has implications for social work practice with transnational migrants. It has implications for developing perspectives and models for addressing the needs of migrant populations as well as global challenges facing society.

Elena Delavega
University of Memphis (
Research Interests: Conditional Cash Transfers. Education policy for low income children.
Current Research: Conditional Cash Transfer policy for education in the global context as it relates to economic and social development indicators.

Mat Despard
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Social Work (
Research Interests: Assets, livelihoods, and financial services among poor and vulnerable populations in developing countries (focus on Haiti) and the U.S.; nonprofit management and leadership; social entrepreneurship; social businesses; financial capability.
Current Research: Youth savings account demonstration in Ghana; formative research on youth assets in Kenya and microenterprise development in Haiti; understanding the financial knowledge needs of MSW students.

Kumar Durgesh
University of South Carolina (
Research Interests:  Understanding the financial sustainability of nonprofits both at macro and micro levels
Current Research:  Community Capacity, financial sustainability of nonprofit organizations

Rukshan Fernando
Azusa Pacific (
Research Interests:  CFDIs , Microfinance, Social Entrepreneurship
Current Research:  Intersection of social entrepreneurship and social work practice

Jodi Jacobson Frey
University of Maryland School of Social Work  []
Research Interests:  Scholarship of teaching with focus on financial social work practice outcomes from advanced education and training. Additional scholarship areas include workplace behavioral health, employee assistance and trauma (with an emphasis on suicide prevention). Pilot study to evaluate outcomes from financial social work training with focus on knowledge, skills and attitudes. Research to better understand social work's unique role and potential contribution to financial sustainability for working families. Direct impact on how social work practitioners work with working families and communities resulting from their completion of professional training and higher education on financial social work / financial stability.

Terri Friedline
University of Pittsburgh (
Research Interests: Improving young people's life outcomes through saving, educational attainment, theories on saving, asset development, and social policy.

Michelle Garner
University of Washington, Tacoma  []
Research Interests:  Mostly unrelated but homelessness and lack of financial education among our clients and colleagues has me interested in these topics (and asset building).

Sally Hageman
Eastern Washington University  [
Research Interests:  Asset development for low-income communities. I am currently a research assistant for Dr. Vernon Loke examining asset building services in the state of Washington, debt literacy, asset building service for homeless populations Impact on the education of social workers and providing services to low income clients

Eric Hadley-Ives
University of Illinois, Springfield  []
Research Interests:  Low income commumunities Economic development in low income communities. History of rhetoric and ideology concerning fairness and justice related to economic inequality. I'm interested in what sort of arguments have been most successful in influencing policies that redistribute economic power, opportunity, and wealth. What ways can activists and communities present their case to policy-makers and the electorate that will build majority support for redistributive policies?

Youngmi Kim
Washington University  []
Research Interests:  Asset-building programs, impacts of parental assets on child outcomes. Examine the association of parental assets and child educational attainment. 

Peter Kindle
University of South Dakota (
Research Interests:  Financial literacy in the fringe economy. Attempt to understand the distinctive elements of financial literacy in the fringe economy.
Current Research:  I am attempting to understand the distinctive elements, if any, that constitute financial literacy in the fringe economy.

Vernon Loke
Eastern Washington University  []
Research Interests:  Asset-building policies and interventions and financial capabilities of service providers/social workers. Financial literacy and capabilities of service providers and what are their training needs. 

Brandon McLeod
Maryland Budget & Tax Policy Institute and Maryland Alliance for the Poor (MAP) []
Research Interests:  Financial Social Work, Income Supports to working families and other antipoverty programs.

Ilsung Nam
University of Pittsburgh (
Research Interests: Financial hardship, mental health, gerontology, caregiving, grief, end-of-life care.
Current Research: My current research is focusing on the relationship between financial hardship and emotional well-being of caregivers of individuals with dementia. Stress caused by financial hardship exacerbates their caregiving burden and result in severe mental disorder (e.g.,MDD). Ethnic minority people are more likely to have financial hardship and thus poorer emotional well-being.

David Okech
University of Georgia  []
Research Interests:  Economic well-being of children, asset-building, financial security. Asset building among low-income households. Institutional framworks for building assets.

Jennifer Romich
University of Washington  []
Research Interests:  Poverty and social policy tax and transfer programs. Low and moderate income family financial well-being. Ethnographic study of family financial mobility. Study of non-bank financial services. Research on combined marginal tax rates.

Anne Sparks
Ohio University  []
Research Interests:  Best practices in financial literacy education. Preparing social work students to provide financial education. Compile research that has been done and promising models for an overview article. 

Deborah Svoboda
University of Maryland School of Social Work  []
Research Interests: Gender-based violence; economic empowerment of women and communities of color; organizational management & planning; social justice; social work education; social policy development.

Stacia West
University of Kansas []
Research Interests: Investigating the relationship between financial fragility and housing instability among single mothers; the outcomes of emergency savings programs for very low income groups; and the financial behaviors of low to moderate income young adults.

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