Shih-Ying Cheng, MSW, is a doctoral candidate in the School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Under the direction of Dr. Melissa Jonson-Reid, she is completing her Ph.D. in social work in Washington University in St. Louis with an expected degree date of May 2021.

Inspired by her five years of social work practice working with survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV) and marriage immigrants who migrated to Taiwan through international marriages (mostly via marriage brokers), her research focuses on gender-based violence (GBV), with special attention to more severe forms of violence and GBV among vulnerable populations. Her doctoral dissertation, awarded by the National Association of Social Workers and Influencing Social Policy, examines the associations of policy- and case-level factors and intimate partner homicide (IPH) over time with a focus on differences within and between victims’ sex and race/ethnicity subgroups. The study conducts analyses using the National Violent Death Reporting System, Restricted Access Database (NVDRS-RAD), and links data to Census and policy data (e.g., IPV arrest policies, gun control policies) using the geographic indicator in the NVDRS-RAD. The dissertation study aims to inform evidence-based policy making in preventing future IPH.

In addition to the dissertation, Shih-Ying participates in research projects on various issues of GBV—including teen dating violence, sexual harassment, sexual assault—as well as needs and experiences of the more vulnerable population, such as recent immigrants in the U.S. and in Taiwan. Her work includes both qualitative and quantitative studies, although she is more skilled at quantitative methodologies. Her short term goal is to further collaborate with social service agencies and conduct research that examines the unique experiences related to GBV among recent immigrants and racial/ethnic minorities, such as facilitators and barriers of help-seeking. In the long-term, she hopes to map culturally appropriate, evidence-based policies and services for recent immigrants and racial/ethical minorities to better address GBV.

Her teaching, like her research, reflects a passionate interest in GBV and evidence-based practice. She teaches the course entitled “Evidence Based Practice Skills” and serves as a teaching assistant in multiple courses including “Intimate Partner Violence,” “Research Methods,” and “Program Evaluation” in Washington University in St. Louis. She uses collaborative learning that emphasizes empowerment, interactive training, and skill development in her teaching. Shih-Ying’s passions in teaching and mentoring origins from the great mentored experiences she has had since she started studying social work in college. She hopes to bring in critical consciousness that contributes to an alternative worldview that values the voices and experiences of the marginalized communities—just as she learned from her professors.


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