Ph.D. Students

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Leah Bouchard portrait

Leah M. Bouchard

Ph.D. student


CV » [PDF]


A.M., University of Chicago
B.S.W., Appalachian State University

Leah M. Bouchard is a second-year doctoral student. She draws on systems and life course theories to inform her interests in the well-being of youth in rural geographic areas. Her focus is on substance use and juvenile justice, with an emphasis on social, environmental, and personal identity development of rural youth. Bouchard is currently engaged in independent and collaborative research with social work, sociology and health scholars as well as community leaders and rural schools. These interests stem from a long-standing passion for identifying ways to support the healthy development of rural youth and their families.

Prior to beginning the doctoral program, Bouchard was a senior therapist with Youth Villages in East Tennessee. She provided Multisystemic Therapy (MST) to juvenile justice-involved youth and their families with a goal of rehabilitation over punitive corrections. She holds a Master of Arts from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration (SSA), concentrating in policy and advocacy for children and youth. She served on the Curriculum Policy Committee at SSA to advocate for a geographically-inclusive curriculum to bring rural strengths and struggles into consideration in social work education. While in Chicago, she worked with the Center for Policy, Practice & Innovation (now Ahlquist Center for Policy, Practice & Innovation) at Children’s Home + Aid to leverage resources and advocate for policy change to benefit Illinois children and youth. Bouchard and her teammates garnered support from legislators, partnered with community organizations to widen the impact of their advocacy, and made evidence-based recommendations for drafting and implementing state and federal legislation.

Bouchard received her B.S.W. from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina in December 2015. Originally from rural Western North Carolina, she completed multiple internships with children and youth in her community during her college years. Most notably, she held a year-long internship in positive youth development with 4-H designing summer programming for youth in rural North Carolina.

Bouchard is an advocate for self-care and spends as much of her time outdoors as possible. She enjoys porch-sitting, cooking, gardening, reading, running, and hiking the Blue Ridge.


Bouchard, L. M., Shin, S. H., & Chartier, K. G. (in press). Alcohol use in adolescence across U.S. race/ethnicity: Considering cultural factors in prevention and interventions. In D. Frings &  I. P. Albery (Eds.), The handbook for alcohol use and abuse: Understanding from synapse to society. Elsevier.

Bouchard, L. M., Price, S. K., & Swan, L. E. T. (in press). The role of the contemporary Christian Church in the rural American South: Philosophical approaches to operationalizing religion in research. Social Work & Christianity.

Under Review 

Hitti, S. A., McDonald, S. E., Green, K., Bouchard, L. M., & Sullivan, T. Evaluation of the self-report Inventory of Callous-Unemotional Traits in a sample of urban middle school students: A multidimensional Rasch analysis. Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment.

Peer-reviewed presentations

Farmer, E. M. Z. & Bouchard, L. M. (2019). Rural-urban differences in outcomes from group home treatment for youth. Poster presentation for the Society of Social Work and Research 23rd Annual Conference, January, 2019. San Francisco, CA.

Bouchard, L. M. & Kim, K. M. (2019). Longitudinal study of substance use, the parent-adolescent relationship, and socioeconomic status amongst rural youth. Oral presentation for the Annual School of Social Work Student Research Symposium, April, 2019. Richmond, VA.

Wike, T. L., Bouchard, L. M., Stim, H., Hodges, J. C. (2019). A systematic review of the relationship between cyberbullying and mental health outcomes. Poster presentation for the World Anti-Bullying Forum, June, 2019. Dublin, Ireland.

Bouchard, L. M. & Wike, T. L. (2019). Gone for now or gone for good: The need for narratives of rural high school seniors who intend to leave their communities following graduation. Oral presentation for the 44th National Institute on Social Work and Human Services in Rural Areas, July, 2019. Paducah, KY.

Bouchard, L. M. & Price, S. K. (2019). The role of the contemporary Christian Church in the rural American South: Philosophical approaches to operationalizing religion in research. Oral presentation for the Rural Sociological Society 82nd Annual Meeting, August, 2019. Richmond, VA.