Nathanael Okpych, PhD

Associate Professor

Nathanael J. Okpych, PhD, joined the School of Social Work in 2017. He completed a Ph.D. in social service administration and an M.S. in biostatistics and epidemiology (both University of Chicago), as well as master’s degrees in social work (Rutgers) and clinical psychology (Duquesne). Dr. Okpych’s professional experience includes providing mental health services to youth in residential, school, and community settings, as well as working for several years in college residence life.

His professional experience in social services and higher education dovetail to inform his research on factors that influence postsecondary education outcomes for youth with experience in foster care. His work focuses on youth characteristics (e.g., social networks and social support), policies, and programs that promote postsecondary education entry and completion. Dr. Okpych has published widely in this area, including a 2021 book titled Climbing a Broken Ladder: Contributors of College Success for Youth in Foster Care (Rutgers University Press, 2021). Most of Dr. Okpych’s work involves using quantitative methods to analyze administrative data and survey data, but he is also involved in mixed methods studies that draw on the experiences of young people who were involved in foster care.

Learn more about Dr. Okpych’s work at his website:

Research Interests

Outcomes of youth with experience in foster care
Child welfare policies and practices that support postsecondary education access and completion
Community-based and campus-based programs that support postsecondary education completion
Social networks and social capital
Quantitative methods and survey analysis

Curriculum Vitae

View Nathanael Okpych’s CV

Assistant Professor Nathanael Okpych
Contact Information
Phone(959) 200-3622
Office LocationRoom 211 HSSW