Dr Sarah Ascienzo

Assistant Professor

Picture of Dr Sarah Ascienzo


Sarah Ascienzo, PhD, LCSW is an Assistant Professor of Social Work in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at North Carolina State University. Dr. Ascienzo has over 15 years of clinical practice experience with children and families adversely affected by psychological trauma, including work as a trauma-focused clinician in community- and school-based settings and child forensic interviewer. During her clinical career, Dr. Ascienzo specialized in the treatment of complex trauma, and worked extensively with child welfare-involved youth. She also has experience as a trainer and program implementer in the areas of trauma-informed/responsive care, clinical interventions for trauma-exposed youth, and vicarious trauma/secondary traumatic stress. Informed by her practice experience, Dr. Ascienzo's research broadly focuses on mitigating the impact of direct and indirect trauma exposure and building healthy and resilient communities. This includes an emphasis on secondary traumatic stress and vicarious trauma among helping professionals. She utilizes a variety of methodological approaches, and strives to participate in collaborative, culturally competent, community-engaged, and translational research. Her most recent projects have included an analysis of  posttraumatic stress symptom progression and treatment outcomes during Trauma-focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; an exploration of the meaning making process of youth following trauma exposure; and an examination of factors impacting the implementation and sustainability of trauma-focused interventions. 


  • PhD in Social Work from University of Kentucky
  • MSW in Social Work from Colorado State University
  • BA in Psychology / Minor in Women and Gender Studies from James Madison University