Rachel joined Hope College and the Frost Center for Data and Research in 2022. Previously, she served as a faculty member and BSW program director in the Department of Sociology & Social Work at Calvin University (2009–2022). During her tenure at Calvin, Rachel regularly taught the Social Research and Social Science Statistics courses and engaged in community-based research and evaluation with numerous organizations, such as Family Futures, Gilda’s Club, the Eastown Community Association and Treetops Collective. Rachel has served as external evaluator on local projects, such as the Westside Collaborative’s evaluation in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and on national projects, such as a faith-based childcare study with the Center for Public Justice.
Rachel’s area of research focuses on gendered violence and institutional responses, such as law enforcement response to reported sexual assaults and university responses to sexual violence. Rachel engages in both qualitative and quantitative research and enjoys working with undergraduate students on projects.
At Hope, Rachel serves as the Director of Surveys and Research, partnering in research and evaluation activities with the college and non-profit, for-profit and government organizations.
- Ph.D., Social Work, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2013
- MSW, University of Michigan, 2005
- BSW, Calvin College, 2004
- Journal of Social Work Education Best Teaching Note published in JSWE in 2019. Recognized at the Council on Social Work Education Annual Program Meeting, 2020.
- Outstanding Thesis Award for 2013–2014, University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) Graduate Awards Committee, Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences, 2013.
- Alice Dan Dissertation Award, Center for Research on Women and Gender, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2012.
- “Get Students Involved! Student Engagement in Program Assessment through the Social Research Course,” with N. Sweda and J. Heil, poster accepted at the Baccalaureate Social Work Program Directors Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana, March 2022
- “Views of the police in sexual assault victims’ decisions to not report: A qualitative exploration,” with K. Lorenz and S. Dewald, Violence and Victims, 36(3), 2021
- “Women convicted of intimate partner homicide in Oromiya regional state of Ethiopia: Profile and associated factors,” with M. Kassahun Desta, Violence Against Women., May 2020
- “Unfounded, cleared, or cleared by exceptional means: Sexual assault case outcomes from 1999–2014,” with K. Lorenz and N. Sweda, Journal of Interpersonal Violence, September 2019
- “Police officers’ rape myth acceptance: Examining the role of officer characteristics, estimates of false reporting, and social desirability bias,” Violence and Victims, 33(1), December 2017
- “Making judgments: How blame mediates the influence of rape myth acceptance in police response to sexual assault,” Journal of Interpersonal Violence, August 2016
- “Experiential, team-based learning in the social work research course,” with J. Ravenhorst Meerman and K. Hossink, Journal of Teaching in Social Work, 35(5), 2015
- What do students really think about doing research?” with K. Hossink, poster presented at the North American Association of Christians in Social Work Annual Convention, Annapolis, Maryland, 2014
OUTSIDE THE COLLEGE
Rachel spends time outside work chasing after two young children, thinking about future house projects, and enjoying her walkable Eastown neighborhood in Grand Rapids.