Shelby Elaine McDonald, MSW

PhD Candidate & Adjunct Professor, Graduate School of Social Work

  • Biographical Description

    • Shelby Elaine McDonald, MSW, is a PhD candidate and adjunct professor at the Graduate School of Social Work at the University of Denver (DU).

      Undergraduate Education

      Ms. McDonald attended Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (Virginia Tech) from 2002 to 2006, where she graduated summa cum laude with a BS in psychology. Her area of concentration was physiological measures of emotion regulation and their relation to the development and expression of aggression in children.  Shelby's  academic honors include the awards for Virginia Tech's Outstanding Graduating Senior in Psychology, Outstanding Graduating Senior in the College of Science, and Woman of the Year (2006), as well as a National Science Foundation REU grant to conduct research at the University of Wisconsin's Waisman Center for Brain Imaging and Behavior.

      Post Undergrad

      After graduating in 2006, Ms. McDonald accepted enrollment in Virginia Tech's PhD program for Developmental and Biological Psychology to pursue her interests in behavioral genetics research. Although working in such a significant field of research was intellectually fulfilling, she found herself longing for a social activist role and resigned from the program in 2007. From 2007 to 2009, Ms. McDonald worked as a Senior Research Specialist for Virginia Tech's Transportation Institute, providing assistance to faculty conducting human factors engineering research aimed at addressing health and fatigue issues among the professional truck driving industry.

      MSW Education

      As an MSW student at DU, Shelby worked at the Institute for Human-Animal Connection and American Humane Association. In association with these projects, she has been involved in trauma-focused research and performed  advocacy duties in conjunction with the Colorado LINK Animal Abuse Model Program, a project that seeks to promote human welfare by establishing Colorado as a model state for progressive and effective strategies for addressing and reducing animal abuse.

      Doctoral Studies

      Shelby entered the doctoral program at GSSW in the fall of 2011. Currently, she serves as the project coordinator and GRA for the NICHD funded research collaboration between the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Graduate School of Social Work at DU where she is pursuing her primary research interest in developmental outcomes of youth with intimate partner violence experiences. 

  • Contact Details

    • Shelby Elaine McDonald

      Graduate School of Social Work

      University of Denver

      2148 S. High St., Denver, CO  80208

      Office: 461 Craig Hall; 303-871-2506;  Home: 321-514-8782


      Flickr Account


  • Courses Taught

    • SOWK 4900 Methods for Evaluating Practice/Programs (Winter 2014; Tuesdays 3-5:30pm) Description: Provides MSW students with strategies for evaluating social work practice at multiple system levels. Prerequisite: SOWK 4201 or admission to advanced standing program.

      SOWK 4901 Applied Practice Evaluation Research (Spring 2014; Tuesdays 3-5:30pm) Description: Provides MSW students with the opportunity to conduct a practice evaluation project in their field setting. Prerequisite: SOWK 4900.

  • Research Interests

    • -Physical and mental health outcomes of children exposed to intimate partner violence (IPV)

      -Community violence and neighborhood collective efficacy

      -LGBTQQIA IPV services

      -Human-Animal Interactions/Anthrozoology

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  • Social Work Links

  • Anthrozoology Links

  • IPV/DV Links

This portfolio last updated: Apr 14, 2014 10:58:56 PM