David W. Engstrom, PhD, MA is an Associate Professor in the School. His research focuses on immigration policy and services to immigrants and refugees. Dr. Engstrom has written extensively on the plight of vulnerable immigrant populations, such as torture survivors and trafficked person and has been a keynote speaker at international conferences speaking on human rights and corruption. Dr. Engstrom founded the MSW Thailand Summer Internship Program in 2002 and has supervised nearly 84 students in internships ranging from child welfare to human trafficking to mental health. With Dr.Loring Jones, he co-created the Thailand Semester Abroad Program in 2008. He has been a visiting professor at the Faculty of Social Administration at Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand and has taught it its PhD program for many years. As part of his role as the Coordinator for International Programs at the School of Social Work, Dr. Engstrom has set up collaborations with academic institutions in Mexico and Germany.
Mario Garrett, PhD, has worked with all three longitudinal from-birth databases sponsored by the British government. As the team leader of a United Nations Population Fund, and as the Program Manager/ Director of Programs with the United Nations International Institute on Aging, Dr. Garrett coordinated a five-year project looking at support for the elderly in the People’s Republic of China. Since 1995, Dr. Garrett has been working exclusively with national American Indian and Alaska Native (AI/AN) populations.
Loring Jones, DSW, is a Professor in the School. He has extensive teaching, research, and practice experience focused in the areas of the social welfare of children and international social services. His research in Thailand has included an investigation of recruitment for human trafficking. For the past seven years he has accompanied SDSU students to Thailand on their annual summer study tour. This experience has given him extensive knowledge of Thai culture, health care, social services, economics, and language.
Yawen Li, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the School of Social Work. Her research focuses on health disparities and inequality in healthcare access among older Chinese American and Chinese adults. Dr. Li has published on sociocultural and environmental determinants of health and health-seeking behaviors among older Chinese adults. She has research collaboration with scholars from several universities in China. Dr. Li served as the manager of the China Program at University of Southern California and worked on education and research collaboration between USC and several universities in China from 2003 to 2008.
Sally Mathiesen, PhD, MSW. Dr. Mathiesen’s research and teaching agenda has a strong focus on international social work education. She has conducted trainings and presentations in several Caribbean countries, participated in student exchanges in Mexico, Eastern and Western Europe, and Thailand, and worked as part of a post-tsunami interuniversity research team in American Samoa. Dr. Mathiesen was the 2010-2011 recipient of a Fulbright Research & Teaching Scholar Award to Barbados where she conducted research on mental health services and taught at the University of the West Indies. She is a co-author of a guidebook for developing international student exchanges that was recently published by the Council on Social Work Education
María Luisa (‘Mari’) Zúñiga, PhD, is Associate Professor in the School of Social Work. She is an epidemiologist who conducts Community-Based Participatory Research to study the intersection of alcohol and drug use, mental health, sexual risk behaviors and self-care practices that contribute to poor health among diverse, vulnerable populations. Dr. Zúñiga specializes in the health of populations living in the U.S.-Mexico border region and in transnational health. She has worked extensively with Latinos living with HIV, U.S. Latino immigrant populations, and international and domestic migrants and their families in the U.S. and Mexico. Ongoing research on substance use, migration and health (PI: Zúñiga, Health Initiative of the Americas) indicates changes in mental health and drug and alcohol use practices in the context of migration and family separation among Latino immigrants from Yucatán, México. Dr. Zúñiga maintains strong research ties and student training collaborations in the states of Yucatán and Baja California, México.
Knut Tielking, PhD (Habilitation), is a Guest Professor in the school. He comes from the University of Applied Sciences of Emden/Leer in Germany. As a professor of social work he has the top priority in prevention and health promotion, especially in the context of addiction and drugs help. During his 17 years of scholarly activities at different german universities he has successfully implemented a variety of new undergraduate and graduate programs and also many research projects concerning fields of action of social work. He has actively taken part in committee work and international cooperation of universities. In the last ten years he was an Associated Professor and Guest Professor at the Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj-Napoca/Romania.
Ingrid Kollak, PhD is a professor in the department of Health Care Management (B.Sc. and M.Sc.) at Alice Salomon University of Applied Sciences (ASH) in Berlin since 1995 with a specialization on international nursing education and care und case management. She is the head of the Master’s Program Biographical and Creative Writing (M.A.) since 2010. She studied Social Science, Literature, and Education at Ruhr University in Bochum and received her Ph.D. in German Literature at the University in Essen. She is also a registered nurse (RN) and and a care and case management trainer licensed by the German Society of Care and Case Management.
Stefan Schmidt, M.Sc. Health Sciences and Nursing, is a graduate of and doctoral student at the Martin-Luther-University, Halle-Wittenberg, Germany. After qualifying in Geriatric Nursing, he worked in different ambulatory and care facilities for the elderly in Germany. Since 2009, he has been working as a research assistant at the Department of Social Work and Education of the University of Neubrandenburg. In addition, he is a lecturer at the Alice Salomon University Berlin, in the bachelor program of Health Care Management. He is a Care and Case Management Trainer licensed by the German Society of Care and Case Management.
Recent Visiting Scholars
- Mr. Chanon Komonmarn, Thammasat University, Thailand (2012)
- Ms. Ana Niculaes, Universitatea Pedagogica, Moldova (2012)
- Dr. Somsak Amornsiriphong, Nakorn Pathom Rajabat University, Thailand (2011)
Undergraduate International Opportunities
- SW 496 – Costa Rica – Summer 2014
- SW 596 – Dublin, Ireland – Summer 2014
- SW 596 – Munich, Germany – Summer 2014 (pdf)
- Shanghai Summer Program – Summer 2014
- SW 496 - Thailand – Summer 2015
- HHS 350 – Additional Courses
Graduate International Opportunities
In addition to the opportunites below, the SDSU School of Social Work is in the process of developing field practicum opportunities at the following agencies in Tijuana, Mexico: Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo, Integral de la Familia (DIF – child welfare placement), Hospital de Salud Mental de Tijuana, A.C. (psychiatric hospital), and Ciudad de los Niños (orphanage).
- MSW Thailand Semester Abroad
- MSW Thailand Summer Internship
- SW 596 – Dublin, Ireland – Summer 2014
- SW 596 – Munich, Germany – Summer 2014 (pdf)
- Study Abroad, Germany – Alice Soloman University (pdf) -program partly developed by SDSU SSW
Mexico / Tijuana Collaboration
The SDSU School of Social Work collaborates with the School of Social Work in Tijuana to foster binational educational, program, and research activities.
Faculty and students from the School of Social Work in Tijuana traveled to San Diego to participate in agency visits and a lecture by SDSU social work faculty in April of 2013.
A delegation of undergraduate and graduate students from the Latino Student Social Work Association accompanied by its two faculty advisers, Drs. David Engstrom and Maria Lusia Zuniga visited three social service agencies and met with students at the Escuela de Trabajo Social in Tijuiana, Mexico on November 15, 2013. The LSSWA students had an enriching dialog with the students from the social work program in Tijuana and have started a planning group for future bi-national collaboration.
The School of Social Work is pleased to announce that a field placement for graduate students at Cuidad de los Ninos in Tijuana, Mexico, has been established. Two outstanding students have already completed their field placement at through this exciting collaboration, and the School of Social Work will be identifying additional field practicum opportunities in Tijuana soon.
- See the Mexico Field Practicums page.
Financial Aid for International Study
Non-SDSU International Social Work Study Opportunities
- Spanish & Human Services – Lima, Peru
- May 25 – July 5, 2014 (six weeks)
The program covers Peru’s social programs and challenges through hands-on participation in the planning and building of community centers. Also, your Spanish will improve dramatically! The six-week course is equal to two college semesters.
Additional Study Abroad Resources and Information
SDSU Study Abroad Resources
- College of Health & Human Services Undergraduate International Experience
- SDSU Office of International Programs
- SDSU International Student Center
- College of Extended Studies – Travel Studies
- SDSU Latin American Studies
Country Conditions and Travel Warnings and Health Recommendations
- U.S. Department of State Country Conditions
- U.S. Department of State Travel Warnings
- Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Travel Advisories
- U.S. Center for Disease Control Traveler’s Health
Country Background and Statistics
Social Work Study Abroad Programs