2021 CORSW Community Impact Award Winner

Dr. Jessica Yang is an assistant professor in the Social Work Department at Winthrop University. She began her social work educational journey at Appalachian State, where she earned her BSW and MSW before moving on to the University of Denver, where she earned her doctorate.

Dr. Yang is a student-focused social justice scholar with a passion for diversity and difference, and she has devoted her career to improving outcomes for marginalized youths by examining and improving oppressive and marginalizing systems. Currently, Dr. Yang is working on multiple projects throughout her community. She is working collaboratively with the local school district to understand disproportionate discipline practices affecting students of color and other marginalized student groups. As part of this project, she is also working to implement restorative practices by providing professional development, training, and support to educators and administrators. As part of this partnership, she provides ongoing professional development to educators, district employees, and parents in the areas of school discipline, child behavior, mental health and illness, and parenting strategies. Yang also is part of a team that includes all school districts in the county and the local substance use provider. She is working to design, deliver, and evaluate a substance use prevention program and treatment options for youths with substance use disorders. Finally, Yang is working to understand the pedagogy of teaching about diversity, equity, and inclusion through the piloting of a novel teaching intervention.

When not engaging in community-based research, Dr. Yang teaches courses in the BSW and MSW programs at Winthrop University. Primarily she teaches human behavior and mental health-related courses helping students to explore the bounds of normal and the consequences of abnormality across systems. Dr. Yang is licensed in the state of South Carolina as an independent social worker specializing in clinical practice.