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Our Team

Chan Hellman, PhD, Executive Director, Professor

Chan Hellman director of the Hope Research Center

Chan joined the University of Oklahoma in 2002. Chan is a professor in the Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work and Founding Director of the Hope Research Center. He also holds Adjunct Professor appointments in the OU College of Public Health and School of Community Medicine.

Chan’s current research is focused on the application of hope theory to predict adaptive behaviors and hope as a psychological strength that buffer stress and adversity among those impacted by family violence. In this context, he is also interested in the impact of prevention and intervention services on improving hope and well-being. Chan has also begun to examine the effects of collective hope on a community’s capacity to thrive.

Chan has numerous scholarly publications and books and has presented his research at both national and international conferences. Chan teaches both the master’s and doctoral level primarily in the areas of positive psychology, research methods, and statistics. 


CV: Vita (pdf)

Evie M. Muilenburg-Trevino, PhD, Director of Administration, Research Scientist

Evie Muilenburg-Trevino

Evie M. Muilenburg-Trevino is a senior researcher at the Hope Research Center. She received a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with a specialization in research, evaluation, measurement, and statistics from Oklahoma State University in 2009. She has partnered with nonprofit organizations for the past 15 years to conduct outcomes research of their programs and services. In addition, she has her work published in peer reviewed academic journals.

Her research interests include hope theory, nonprofit outcomes, positive psychology, well-being, organizational behavior, psychometrics and methodological studies.


CV:  Vita (pdf)

Ricky T. Munoz, PhD, Director of Research, Professor

Ricky T. Munoz- Sr. Fellow

Ric is an assistant professor at the Zarrow School of Social Work. Ric engages in applied hope research, exploring within vulnerable populations both the origins of hope and the role a hopeful mindset plays as a driver of resilience.  Ric's research uses data analysis techniques such as structural equation modeling to test theories explaining the relationship between hopeful thinking to other variables like social support, quality parenting, and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). He has over a dozen publications related to hope and resilience, and regularly presents his research nationally and internationally.


CV: Vita (pdf)

Nicholas Dubriwny, MSW, Sr. Research Fellow, Instructor

Nicholas Dubriwny

Nicholas Dubriwny is an adjunct faculty member with the Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work with the University of Oklahoma.  Nic received his MSW from OU in 2011, and is currently a Licensed Professional Social Worker as well as clinical supervisor with Family & Children's Services in Tulsa.  Much of Nic's research has focused on outcome-based program evaluations with local nonprofit agencies.  His work has been published in a number of peer-reviewed journals, as well as various presentations both nationally and internationally.  Current research interests include the relationship between Hope and Child Well-Being, as well as examining the ability to increase Hope over time. 


Angela B. Pharris, PhD, Sr. Research Fellow, Professor

Angela Pharris, Instructor, Social Work

Angela’s current research is in child welfare and human service organizations and the application of Hope Centered and Trauma-Informed framework. Hope is a psychological strength and a buffer to stress, adversity, and burnout and a hopeful mindset improves organizational and individual outcomes. She is interested in the impact of intervention services, which improve program outcomes and client wellbeing. Angela is particularly interested in programs and services aimed at serving older youth in foster care and youth who turn 18 while still in foster care. Angela is working with a research team to explore how we can adapt Hope Theory as a framework to improve assessment, planning, and interventions aimed at supporting youth during the transition to adulthood. Also, Angela does research using training and simulation to advance knowledge and skills in child welfare practice.

Dr. Pharris joined the University of Oklahoma in 2017. Angela is an assistant professor in the Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work and the coordinator for the Center for Child Welfare Simulation and Training.


Jedediah E. Bragg, PhD, Sr. Research Fellow, Instructor

Jedediah E. Bragg

Jedediah is a Post-Doctoral Research Fellow and Community Faculty at the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work.  In his work, Jedediah engages in research for the school exploring the use of social simulation as an educational tool for undergraduate and graduate students.  His specific research with the Hope Research Center focuses on assessment of hard to identify populations, in particular the sexual and gender minority population.  Jedediah’s data analysis techniques allows for more nuanced ways off assessing human sexuality, and through the use of structural equation modeling the exploration of how both micro- and macro-level social supports impact individual levels of hope and over all flourishing.


CV: Vita (pdf)

Jennifer Jack​son-Stowe, Graduate Research Assistant

Jennifer Jackson-Stowe Picture

Jennifer Jackson-Stowe is a Graduate Research Assistant at the Hope Research Center and is currently pursuing her Master’s degree from the Anne & Henry Zarrow School of Social Work at the University of Oklahoma. Jennifer received a Bachelor’s of Arts in Anthropology and French from Tulane University.

Jennifer’s work has centered on trauma-informed and hope-centered programs for children and teens with multiple Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), including exposure to domestic violence and child abuse. Her interests also include applying hope theory to teacher burnout as well as developing hope-focused interventions for people experiencing chronic pain, illness and disability.

Maggie Penny, Graduate Research Assistant

Maggie Penny Headshot

Maggie Penny is a Graduate Research Assistant at the Hope Research Center and is currently pursuing her Masters of Social Work from the Anne and Henry Zarrow School of Social Work at the University of Oklahoma.  Maggie received her Bachelor of Science in Sociology and Spanish from Oklahoma State University.  

Maggie’s work with HRC consists of assisting NorthCare in becoming a hope-centered Agency.  Her interests are supporting veterans and their families, researching burnout, secondary traumatic stress, and how hope mitigates these in a social service setting. 

Felipe Oyarzo, Graduate Research Assistant

Felipe Oyarzo has a Bachelor's degree in Education from the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, and he is currently a MSW student at OU Tulsa and works as a Graduate Research Assistant for the Oklahoma DHS Project.

He has worked for several research centers including the Center of Studies of The Ministry of Education of Chile and the Early Childhood Education Institute (ECEI) of the University of Oklahoma.

He has published in peer-reviewed journals of Education, and has recently published and presented at the 7th World Conference on Psychology Sciences in Washington DC and The Cyprus International Conference on Educational Research.

Recent Alumni

Kasey Rinehart

Jason Featherngill

Bethany Trueblood

Eden Nay

Jessica Stanley

Rachel Baluh