Mon - Fri: 9:00 - 5:00 PT
6505 Alvarado Road, Suite 209San Diego, CA 92120


Graduate Assistant

Emily Allison

Emily is a third-year graduate student at San Diego State University who is pursuing her dual master’s degree in Social Work and Public Health (MSW/MPH). Her passion for illuminating frontline social work experience at the macro-level is highlighted through her internship with Alvarado Hospital as a medical Social Worker and as a Behavioral Specialist with ACES. Over the last year, Emily has worked as a Board Fellow, providing consulting services to the board members of a local non-profit organization in San Diego. This year, Emily will be serving an administrative intern with Rady Children’s Chadwick Center and as a graduate assistant with the Social Policy Institute working on projects related to aging across the lifespan.
Graduate Intern

Afrah Shah

Before joining SDSU, Afrah graduated from UC Irvine with degrees in psychology and criminology. She has experience working as a case manager and advocate in Los Angeles for survivors of sexual or domestic violence. She is currently in the final year of her MSW degree, with a focus on macro social work.

Afrah brings knowledge on intimate partner violence, mental health, and criminal justice as she works towards her MSW at SDSU. Along with her academic pursuits, she continues her work in intimate partner violence by answering calls for a crisis hotline. She is passionate about trauma-informed care, mental health, and enjoys spending her free time drawing or painting.
Graduate Assistant

Jocelyn Smith

Jocelyn is in her third year as a graduate student pursuing a dual MSW/MPH at San Diego State University. She is a proud University of Pittsburgh alumni, where she completed her bachelor’s degree in Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics in 2013, and launched her career as a Registered Dietitian. She is a fierce advocate for food justice, food insecurity, and equitable, accessible healthcare. Her career over the past decade has been peppered with opportunities to engage in direct patient care, research, community needs assessment, program development and implementation, and advocacy. As a dual MSW and MPH major, she is excited to be merging the social justice frameworks and tenants of social work with macro perspectives in public health to more fully understand the systems in which we grow, live, and work. She is currently conducting research on the knowledge and attitudes of healthcare professionals about older adults and sexual health needs.
Graduate Intern

Etta Thordarson

Etta Thordarson is an Advanced Standing graduate student at San Diego State University, pursuing her Master's degree in Social Work. Etta received a degree in Psychology from California State University of Fullerton.

With a ten-year career in the behavioral health sector, Etta is a dedicated professional who possesses a deep passion of both macro and micro aspects of the field. Etta is a graduate intern at SPI and is poised to channel her enthusiasm into a specialized focus on behavioral health for aging adults.
Graduate Assistant

Nancy Verdin

Nancy Verdin is a dedicated advocate for uplifting communities and championing positive change. She has made contributions through her roles at diverse non-profit organizations, focusing on vital areas such as youth advocacy and education, drug prevention, and community organization. A proud alumna of the University of California, Irvine, Nancy holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology, which ignited a passion for community involvement and catalyzed her drive to actively contribute to constructive transformation. Currently, she is actively pursuing a Master's Degree in Social Work, specializing in Administration and Community Development, in the hopes of elevating her skills and knowledge to lead impactful initiatives.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Nancy finds joy in the simple pleasures of life such as exploring scenic trails, indulging in thought-provoking films, or savoring the delightful blend of a matcha iced latte with almond milk, while enjoying a good book.
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