Nathanael Okpych, PhD
Nathanael J. Okpych, PhD, has been an Associate Professor in the School of Social Work since 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: https://www.nateokpych.com/
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
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