Research, teaching, and social work: Q&A with Assistant Professor Jamie Yoder

Assistant Professor Jamie Yoder aims to incorporate experiences for hands-on learning in the classroom as much as possible.

Jamie Yoder is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work at Colorado State University. Learn more about why she came to CSU, and her research interests in youth at risk and juvenile justice.

1. What brought you to the School of Social Work at Colorado State University?
I came here because of the many opportunities to advance juvenile justice and child welfare research, and because of the engaging and disciplined students in the school. The devotion and passion of CSU students for social justice issues in their community and beyond is inspiring. The CSU community overall is collaborative, supportive, and collegial, and I feel honored to be part of it.

2. What are your interests, and how did you get into that topic?
My research interests are focused on youth at risk or involved in the juvenile justice system, specifically studying youth who have committed sexual crimes. In particular, I look at the precursors to youth sexual and non-sexual criminality including early life trauma or victimization and early family experiences. I also study the outcomes of family and trauma oriented services that seek to ameliorate early life risk factors.

I gained an interest in juvenile justice after I worked as a treatment provider, case manager, and therapist in both residential settings and foster care settings. Many of the youth, across the continuum of care and in varied systems, had similar risks related to trauma and family experiences. I also noticed, anecdotally, that the youth who committed sexual crimes had high rates of sexual trauma or had very little awareness or knowledge around healthy sexual expression.

I began to think of this problem through a prevention lens—if we can better understand the pathways to youth sexual and non-sexual violence, we can begin to target those problem areas much sooner in the developmental life course.

Jamie Yoder3. What’s your teaching philosophy?
I want students to create their own narrative around their learning experience. This requires students to critically appraise how they know what they know, and how they can continue to direct their own learning in the most effective way. So, as much as possible, I try to incorporate experiences for hands-on learning in the classroom.

My goal as an instructor is to foster an environment that engages students through activity and application. I work collaboratively with students to create learning opportunities by synthesizing, questioning, criticizing, analyzing, and applying skills. I try to nurture an inclusive learning atmosphere that incites critical conversations and uses activities or materials to challenge thinking and inspire new ideas.

4. What’s your favorite thing about campus so far?
I think my favorite thing about campus so far is the “bikeability.” I really appreciate how campus, and Fort Collins in general, is designed so bikers can easily share the road!

The School of Social Work is part of CSU’s College of Health and Human Sciences.