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Research Interests

Dr. Zhan received her bachelor’s degree in history from Peking University, China in 1991, and her PhD in social work from Washington University in St. Louis in 2001. She joined the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2001. Dr. Zhan’s research centers on identifying social policies and other factors associated with the long-term economic well-being of low-income families with children. Specifically, her research examines the impact of educational approaches, specifically in the forms of postsecondary education and financial management training, on the long-term economic well-being of low-income families. She also examines the role of asset development, an approach that aims to develop human capital and to promote economic security for low-income families through facilitating their financial asset accumulation. Dr. Zhan’s interests focus on financial asset development, human capital development, financial literacy and education, and program evaluation. Dr. Zhan is currently working on or planning several projects, including: evaluating the impact of education loans on college graduation and postgraduate career choices; evaluating the financial and well-being outcomes of a law school clinic specializing in elderly financial abuse; and, examining financial assets, debt, and financial service utilization of low-income population.


BA, History, Peking University, Beijing, 1991

MA, History, Peking University, 1994

PhD, Social Work, Washington University, 2001


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