Sara Goodkind

  • Associate Professor, School of Social Work, Department of Sociology, and Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program

Associate Professor Sara Goodkind earned a PhD in social work and sociology, a graduate certificate in women’s studies, and an MSW, all from the University of Michigan.

Goodkind’s research and scholarship focus on marginalized youth and the inequities they experience. Much of her work examines social service programs and systems that work with young people, concentrating on young people’s experiences in educational, child welfare, and juvenile justice systems and how these systems both construct and meet the needs of the young people they serve. Dr. Goodkind developed her scholarly interests as a result of working with youth, as a teacher, mentor, facilitator, and social worker. She utilizes a critical perspective in her work to examine understandings of gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexuality, and age that shape service design and delivery and then to explore the effects of this service provision, with the aim of ensuring that interventions are culturally relevant, gender responsive, fair, and effective. Dr. Goodkind’s research also focuses on institutional biases and systemic inequities, tracing young people’s pathways through systems and providing evidence and advocacy for much-needed policy change. Much of this work is via community-based participatory research projects that engage youth as collaborators in effecting systemic change.

Selected Funded Grants

Redefining Resilience and Reframing Resistance: Evaluation of a Violence Prevention and Health Promotion Empowerment Program for Black Girls (2017-2020)

Funded $349,000 by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

Principal Investigator (with Britney Brinkman and Kathi Elliott, co-PIs)

Selected as participant in the second cohort of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Interdisciplinary Research Leaders Program. Conducting a participatory evaluation of an empowerment program for Black girls and sharing findings with policy makers and community leaders.

Pittsburgh Wage Study (2017-2020)

Funded $249,858 by the Heinz Endowments (2018-2020)

Funded $41,250 by the Social Science Research Initiative, University of Pittsburgh (2017-2018)

Co-Investigator (Jeffrey J. Shook & Ray Engel, PIs)

Collaborating on a mixed-method longitudinal study of the effects of wage increases among low-wage hospital workers. Leading qualitative portion of the study.

See the Best in Me Photovoice Project (2016-2017)

Funded $10,000 by the FISA Foundation

Co-Principal Investigator (with Britney Brinkman, Co-PI)

Piloted Photovoice project with Gwen’s Girls program participants, ages 12-18. The goal of the project is to engage girls in participatory research to challenge stereotypes of Black girls.

Bachelors of Arts in Social Work International Field Placement Program (2016-2017)

Funded $34,667 by the U.S. Department of State Office of Global Educational Programs

Principal Investigator

Awarded a capacity-building grant to develop international field placement opportunities for BASW students.

Adolescent Research in Community (2016-2021)

T-32 Training Grant funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development

Core Faculty and Executive Committee Member (Dr. Elizabeth Miller, PI)

Participating in a post-doctoral training program to mentor a new generation of adolescent health researchers to conduct interdisciplinary, translational, community-partnered research addressing adolescent health priorities outlined in Healthy People 2020.

Developing Interdisciplinary Collaborations in Gender and Violence Research (2015-2016)

Funded $24,790 by the Integrative Social Science Research Initiative, University of Pittsburgh

Principal Investigator

Led interdisciplinary team of researchers to develop agenda for and infrastructure to support collaborative research and training in gender and violence.

Representative Publications

Goodkind, S. (2016). Inequities affecting Black girls in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County. Pittsburgh, PA: FISA Foundation and the Heinz Endowments.  

Goodkind, S. (2013). Single-sex public education for low-income youth of color: A critical theoretical review. Sex Roles, 69(7/8), 393-402.

Goodkind, S., Schelbe, L., Joseph, A., Beers, D., & Pinsky, S. (2013). Providing new opportunities or reinforcing old stereotypes? Perceptions and experiences of single-sex public education. Children and Youth Services Review, 35(8), 1174-1181.

Goodkind, S., Shook, J. J., Kim, K. H., Pohlig, R., & Herring D. (2013). From child welfare to juvenile justice: Race, gender, and service experiences. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 11(3), 249-272.

Goodkind, S., Schelbe, L., & Shook, J. J. (2011). Why youth leave care: Understandings of adulthood and transition successes and challenges among youth aging out of child welfare. Children and Youth Services Review, 33(6), 1039-1048.

Goodkind, S. (2009). “You can be anything you want, but you have to believe it”: Commercialized feminism in gender-specific programs for girls. Signs, 34(2), 397-422.

Goodkind, S., Ruffolo, M., Bybee, D., & Sarri, R. C. (2009). Coping as a mediator of the effects of stressors and supports on depression among girls in juvenile justice. Youth Violence and Juvenile Justice, 7(2), 100-118.

Goodkind, S., Ng, I., & Sarri, R. C. (2006). The impact of sexual abuse in the lives of young women involved or at risk of involvement with the juvenile justice system. Violence Against Women, 12(5), 456-477.

Goodkind, S., & Miller, D. L. (2006). A widening of the net of social control? “Gender-specific” treatment for young women in the U.S. juvenile justice system. Journal of Progressive Human Services, 17(1), 45-70.

Goodkind, S. (2005). Gender-specific services in the juvenile justice system: A critical examination. Affilia, 20(1), 52-70.


Areas of Expertise