Linnea HjelmGraduate Student


Linnea is a doctoral student in the Civil Society and Community Research program. Her current research interests, which are informed by her past community work, intersect with families, schools, and communities and are founded in the socio-ecological model. Specifically, she aims to study how the implementation of comprehensive sexual education in primary and secondary schools might promote the prevention of sexual and relationship violence. She understands that young people face mixed messaging from parents, peers, and social media on what is healthy and safe in relation to sex and partnership. Therefore, she pursues questions on how community health and mentorship programs, schools, peer groups, and families might work in informed collaboration to support, educate, and empower young people in their sexual and interpersonal development. Using social learning and exchange theories of development, Linnea hopes to better understand the barriers and facilitators of youth engagement and leadership in sexual education and advocacy.

Education and Relevant Experience

BA, Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies, Hope College

Linnea earned a bachelor’s degree in which she studied both Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies at Hope College in Holland, Michigan (‘18). There, she directed a peer-led violence prevention organization that promoted bystander intervention, positive sexuality, and healthy partnership. Based on the collegiate trainings, she created an adaptive curriculum for high school students that was published and implemented in three local public schools. Linnea also served as a crisis advocate at a local women’s crisis and advocacy center. It was through these roles that she faced the consequences of limited (or absent) education and community support around sexual health and victimization. Before starting at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, Linnea worked as a technician for two years at the major inpatient psychiatric hospital in Grand Rapids, MI. For her patients, sexual trauma and poor sexual health were major contributors to the experience of mental illness and were significant barriers to recovery and resilience. Passionate about teaching and leading, Linnea hopes to incorporate her experience and ideas to propose realistic and accessible solutions for schools and families alike.

Teaching Experience

Teaching Assistant, CSCS 570, Community-Based Research and Evaluation
Teaching Assistant, CSCS 600, Community Issues and Action Capstone

Portrait of Linnea Hjelm, who has short brown hair and is wearing a black blazer, pink pants, and fun green earrings.


  • Civil Society & Community Studies

Degree Program

  • PhD Human Ecology: Civil Society & Community Research