Project Team


Mark Courtney, Professor | Website

Mark Courtney is a Professor in the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration. His fields of special interest are child welfare policy and services, the connection between child welfare services and other institutions serving vulnerable populations, and the professionalization of social work. His current work includes studies of the adult functioning of former foster children, experimental evaluation of independent living services for foster youth, reunification of foster children with their families, and the influence of juvenile courts on the operation of the child welfare system.



Nathanael J. Okpych, SSA Doctoral Candidate

Nathanael J. Okpych is the Project Director of the California Youth Transitions to Adulthood Study (CalYOUTH) and a student at the University of Chicago, where he is pursuing a doctoral degree at the School of Social Service Administration and a master’s degree in biostatistics and epidemiology through the Department of Health Studies. He also holds a master's degree in clinical psychology from Duquesne University and a master's degree in social work from Rutgers University. Nathanael's professional experience includes providing mental health services to youth with emotional disturbances in residential, school, and community settings, as well as working for several years in college residence life. These two areas of professional experience inform his research on understanding and promoting college persistence among foster care youth. 



Pajarita Charles, PhD, Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration

Laura Napolitano, PhD, Assistant Professor at Rutgers University

Harold Pollack, PhD, Helen Ross Professor & Deputy Dean for Researcher & Faculty Development at the University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration



Huiling Feng, SSA Doctoral student

Justin Harty, SSA Doctoral student

Keunhye Park, SSA Doctoral student

Brittani Kindle, SSA Master's student

Dominique Mikell, SSA Master's student

Brooke B. Stevenson, SSA Master's student