Bianca De Bellis

Bianca R. De Bellis, LMSW, M.Ed is a doctoral student at the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work. She began her career working as a Special Education teacher for the New York City Department of Education through the AmeriCorps program the New York City Teaching Fellows. She later transitioned to a social work role where she provided students counseling and worked on a multi-disciplinary team to support students holistically through social-emotional interventions and restorative practices. She directed the implementation of a school wide mental-health curriculum which covered topics including suicide awareness, anxiety management, self-esteem and emotion regulation. Additionally, she supported staff trainings on suicide prevention, trauma-informed education practices and restorative practices.

Bianca’s current research interests include utilizing a trauma-informed mental health intervention as a major tenet within traditional restorative practices to further mitigate the school-to-prison pipeline and adverse effects correlated with exclusionary discipline. These changes will support better social emotional and academic outcomes for all students, but particularly for those with trauma histories or those from other marginalized backgrounds. She hopes to contribute to the advancement of social work and education through both research and practice by focusing on a holistic student model addressing the rights of dignity, diversity and social justice. 

Bianca is currently mentored by Dr. James Huguley and will contribute to the Just Discipline Project by supporting the implementation of restorative practices within select Pittsburgh public schools, and through designing and implementing trauma-informed mental health interventions within traditional restorative models.

Bianca, received her BA in Sociology from Boston College, her M.Ed from Hunter College, and her MSW from Rutgers University. 

Research Interests

  • Trauma-informed restorative practices
  • School-to-prison pipeline
  • Educational harm reduction 
  • Trauma-Informed K-12 mental health interventions


Huguley, J. P., Davis, C. D., Stief, E. M., Haynik, R. H., Henderson, M. A., De Bellis, B. R., ... & Cherry, M. C. (2023). From Practice-to-Research-to-Practice: Leveraging Reciprocal Partnerships to Advance Racial Justice in Education Across Contexts and Ecological Levels. Journal of Community Practice, 1-22.

Huguley, J. P., Fussell-Ware, D. J., McQueen, S. S., Wang, M. T., & De Bellis, B. R. (2022). Completing the Circle: Linkages Between Restorative Practices, Socio-Emotional Well-Being, and Racial Justice in schools. Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, 30(2), 138-153.