Welcome to the School of Social Work, Dr. Ogbonnaya!
Born and raised in the city of Los Angeles, California Dr. Ijeoma Nwabuzor Ogbonnaya knew social work was always the career of her dreams. One could even say social work runs in her blood. Her mother, aunt, and sister are social workers for the City of Los Angeles.
Dr. Ogbonnaya has fond memories growing up with a mom who is a dedicated and passionate social worker. Straight out of high school Dr. Ogbonnaya knew she would one day earn her PhD and her mom helped inspire and encourage those dreams. It was always a goal of hers to attend Spellman College, and that is where she earned her BA in Psychology. She earned her MSW from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007. During her MSW studies, Dr. Ogbonnaya focused on macro practice and discovered her passion for merging social work practice with research. She describes herself as always having a passion for the child welfare field and started working with co-occurring maltreatment and domestic violence in the child welfare field.
In 2012, Dr. Ogbonnaya earned her PhD in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She stated, “Part of my Nigerian culture and feeling a sense of responsibility to succeed for my family kept me motivated while earning my doctorate.” She is grateful for the memorable opportunities she had along the way, and in particular, her mentor, Dr. Rebecca Macy, whom she had the pleasure of working with in her Ph.D. program and is someone she still can count on to this day.
After a two-year fellowship as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at the University of Southern California, Dr. Ogbonnaya found a home at San Diego State Univeristy. She attributes the sense of collegiality and the positive work environment to making her feel right at home in the School of Social Work.
Dr. Ogbonnaya is eager to meet Social Work students to pass on her knowledge and expertise in the areas of child welfare, domestic violence, and racial/ethnic disparities. We welcome her to our faculty!
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Written by: Megan Clauson