Student Interns

Chih McDermott

Chih McDermott is a J.D. Candidate in his second year at Penn Law and the Field Center’s 2020-2021 Lerner Fellow in Child Welfare Policy. Chih earned a B.A. from Williams College in 2014 and an M.Ed. from Boston University in 2016. He started his professional career with Teach for America (TFA) and taught mathematics for five years at Durfee High School in Fall River, MA. During his summers, Chih helped train new teachers with TFA and worked as an education policy intern in the Rhode Island Governor’s Office. At Penn Law, he volunteers with the Youth Advocacy Project advocating for the rights of young Pennsylvanians involved in the adult criminal justice system and is an associate editor on the Journal of Law and Public Affairs. This past summer, he worked as a legal intern at Juvenile Law Center. Chih hopes his law degree will help him dismantle systemic barriers facing young people.

Sirui Chen

Sirui Chen joined the Field Center in September 2020 as a 2nd year full-time MSW student from the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice with a macro concentration. Her first-year field placement was at United Communities Southeast Philadelphia where she worked as a truancy case manager intern to support students attending Furness High School in South Philadelphia. She graduated from Renmin University of China in 2019 with her Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics. Sirui is excited to be part of the Field Center to understand more about the child welfare system and promote the well-being of children.

Daphne Chimbel

Daphne Chimbel joined the Field Center as a volunteer intern in September 2020. She is an Advanced Standing MSW student from the School of Social Policy and Practice with a clinical concentration. Her MSW Field Placement for the Summer of 2020 was with the Center for Autism where she conducted individual and family therapy sessions. She received her Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Missouri in 2018. Her BSW field placement was with Heart of Missouri CASA where she advocated for children in the foster care system. Post-college, Daphne worked for Missouri Alliance for Children and Families as a Care Manager where she supported youth in foster care who had mental health and behavioral care needs. While volunteering at the Field Center, Daphne hopes to learn more about how policy and research can influence positive change in the child welfare system.

Jennifer Kwon

Jennifer Kwon joined the Field Center in January 2021. She is an Advanced Standing MSW intern from the School of Social Policy and Practice with a clinical concentration. Her MSW Field Placement is with Ravenhill Psychological Services where she co-facilitates a sex offender treatment group and conducts individual sessions with the program’s adult forensic population. Through her volunteer work with the Field Center, Jennifer hopes to engage with macro interdisciplinary work in child welfare and continue learning how to best advocate for the voices of children and their families. Jennifer graduated from the University of Pittsburgh’s School of Social Work in 2019. She was a fellow in the Child Welfare Education for Baccalaureates Program, interning as a caseworker at Allegheny County’s Office of Children, Youth, and Families and working afterwards as an Intake caseworker in Delaware County’s Children and Youth Services.

Xuan-Phuc (Jessi) Nguyen

Xuan-Phuc (Jessi) Nguyen joined the Field Center as an undergraduate intern through The Philadelphia Center in February 2021. She is an international junior from Beloit College in Wisconsin double majoring in Education & Youth Studies and International Relations. Her summer research was about social reintegration of mostly female Vietnamese survivors of human trafficking. Jessi has worked with the Blue Dragon Children’s Foundation in Vietnam which provides support to child victims of trafficking and their families. Through her Field Center internship, Jessi is looking forward to gaining insights about the U.S. child welfare system, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

John Gyourko, MSW

John Gyourko, who joined the Field Center in August 2020, is a PhD in Social Welfare student at the University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy and Practice (SP2). A Virginia native, John earned his Bachelor’s degree in Psychology at Virginia Tech and his Master of Social Work degree at Virginia Commonwealth University. He received the 2020 MSW Student of the Year award from the National Association of Social Workers (Virginia chapter). Prior to joining SP2 and the Field Center, John held multiple clinical and macro practice positions with public and private social service agencies. As a child welfare policy specialist with the Virginia Department of Social Services, he has administered credit monitoring, identity protection, and Independent Living programs for youth in foster care. John’s research interests focus on public policy, service delivery, and the adult outcomes of children and youth in foster care. To date, John has been involved in multiple Field Center projects focusing on the experiences and needs of current and former foster youth during the COVID-19 pandemic. As a member of the Field Center team providing pro bono support to the advocacy organization Think of Us, John has co-authored state data briefs detailing the impact of COVID-19 on young people with foster care experience. John’s ongoing work with the Field Center includes co-authored research reports, academic conference presentations, and peer-reviewed journal articles to disseminate child welfare- and foster care-focused study findings. He was recently awarded an SP2 Summer Research Fellowship to investigate identity theft victimization among foster youth.

Curriculum Vitae