Shelby Elaine McDonald

Shelby Elaine McDonald

Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University

Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, Virginia Commonwealth University

  • Educational Background

    • 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.



  • Social Work Doctoral Education

    • Shelby entered the doctoral program at GSSW in 2011 and graduated in 2015. During this time, she served as the project coordinator and GRA for a NICHD-funded research collaboration between the Colorado Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the Graduate School of Social Work at DU. Her dissertation work utilized person-centered statistical techniques to examine profiles of risk, protection, and socioemotional functioning among children exposed to intimate partner violence.

      In August of 2015, Shelby joined the School of Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University as a tenure-track Assistant Professor.

This portfolio last updated: Nov 23, 2017 6:10:27 AM