Erin Neill

Erin Neill hopes to work at a university where she can research and continue working as a social worker. When she isn’t studying or working as the networking officer in the HDFS Graduate Student Network, she enjoys spending time with friends and her significant other relaxing, exploring Des Moines, and participating in yoga classes at the gyms on campus.

Erin thrives at Iowa State

Erin Neill always knew she wanted to go to graduate school, and because of this, she got involved in research opportunities throughout her undergraduate career. After achieving her bachelor's degree in psychology, Erin obtained a master’s degree in social work.

After working in the field as a case manager and social worker, Erin’s desire to help out others increased, but she did notice some differences between what she learned in the classroom to what she did in the field.  

“I saw a disconnect in graduate school,” she said. “You learn things by the book, but as a social worker when you try to follow that protocol it doesn’t work, and that upset me. I wanted to look at how to connect the two.”

In order to start connecting her research and knowledge, Erin decided to obtain a second master’s degree in developmental psychology. She worked with Carl Weems at the University of New Orleans. Here, she researched different aspects of trauma under Weems’ guidance. In the fall of 2015, Weems accepted a job at Iowa State, and Erin followed him here.

“I like researching with Dr. Weems,” she said. “He’s a good mentor and always lets me get involved. When it came to time to look at programs, I saw a Ph.D. in human development and family sciences would let me combine my interests in research, social work and psychology. All elements play a role in HDFS.”

Erin is very glad she decided to continue researching with Weems at Iowa State University. She said she feels like more than just a number here. Her professors care about her success, and the students she meets are very supportive.

“People think, ‘why Iowa?’” she said, “But it’s about what a university offers, and that’s why I came here. They support you and give you a network of opportunities in order to succeed later.”