Amy Castro Baker is the recipient of the 2017 Excellence in Teaching Award, Standing Faculty, School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2). Dr. Castro Baker is an assistant professor at SP2 and teaches in the MSSP and MSW programs. Dr. Castro Baker’s research explores how economic and social policies contribute to gender and race disparities, particularly within housing and lending markets. She was awarded the GADE Research Award, the Society for Social Work and Research Outstanding Dissertation Award and the Nina Fortin Memorial Dissertation Award for her work on women and risky lending in the foreclosure crisis. In 2016 she and Amy Hillier co-founded the SexGen policy lab at Penn, which aims to build and disseminate knowledge at the intersection of critical theory, gender, and sexuality with a distinct focus on policy, economic and housing research. The SexGen lab provides mentorship and methodological scaffolding for students to engage with faculty on gender, sexuality and applied policy research. Her current projects include community-based research focused on housing policy, asset accumulation, and LGBTQ youth experiencing housing insecurity and homelessness. Lab members are also collaborating with faculty and students across SP2, nursing and education to develop curriculum that prepares graduates to work with LGBTQ communities.
Excellence in Teaching Award for Non-Standing Faculty
This year there are two recipients of the Excellence in Teaching Award for non-Standing Faculty at SP2, Jacqueline Strait and Meredith Myers.
Dr. Strait graduated summa cum laude from Georgetown University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and earned her MSW and DSW degrees from SP2 at Penn. Dr. Strait has a great passion for clinical social work practice and specializes in helping young adults heal from trauma. Her research and writing focuses on dissociative phenomena in clinical practice, particularly as it manifests in the therapist-client dyad. She teaches courses on Mental Health Diagnostics and Anxiety and Depression in the MSW program. She is inspired by her students, the brave hearts and brilliant minds she feels fortunate to think and learn with.
Dr. Myers has been a lecturer at Penn since 2009 and teaches Interpersonal Dynamics in Nonprofits that Thrive in SP2’s Nonprofit Leadership program. In addition, she teaches in the Wharton School, including in Executive Education programs and in the Master’s Program in Applied Psychology. She runs training programs within the Leadership Division for the Lipman Family Prize around strengths-based leadership, emotional intelligence and team building, and the Nonprofit Board Fellows around facilitation, optimal entry onto a board of directors, and entry onto teams in general. In recent years she has helped develop and execute training programs to build problem-solving methods and collaboration capacity within mission critical teams at both NYC Fire Department and Navy Special Warfare. Her training in negotiation, conflict resolution and mediation allows her to help people navigating complex and often contentious situations involving diverse groups, work that has taken her across the US, Latin America and India. In her research and consulting around cross-sector partnerships, she has coached international leaders, executives and board members in industry, non-profits and foundations on how to forge healthier relationships for more sustainable business results and community outcomes. Dr. Myers holds a PhD in organizational behavior from Case Western Reserve University. She graduated from Penn with a BA in international studies and a BS in economics.