Athens, Ga. – Tamara Hurst, a Ph.D. student in the School of Social Work at the University of Georgia, recently was awarded the inaugural Doris Duke Fellowship for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, along with 14 other doctoral students from across the country. Beginning in September, Hurst will participate in a two-year learning experience designed to encourage researchers to seek ways to prevent child abuse. She also will receive an annual $25,000 stipend.
“The Doris Duke Fellowship is really going to provide me with a huge boost to my research-a big stepping stone professionally,” Hurst said. “Already, it has provided me with a lot of support for what I need to do, without having to stress out about funding.”
Launched by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, the program continues the legacy of Duke, the tobacco heiress and philanthropist, who took a special interest in the needs of children. The program, which challenges doctoral students to examine the many factors that contribute to a child’s risk for abuse or neglect, is intended to stimulate a long-term interest in child welfare.
Hurst will be paired with a mentor and will participate in a collegial network for fellows, attend annual knowledge sharing meetings and take part in presentation and training opportunities. Fellows come from a range of fields, including social work, public health, medicine, public policy, education and economics.
“Since it is a multidisciplinary fellowship, I will be able to branch outside of social work and pull from other disciplines,” Hurst said. “I am really looking forward to meeting a lot of people who work in my same area, but not necessarily in social work, so I can help them be informed about what social work is all about, and they can tell me what they are doing.”
For her research, Hurst will develop a primary prevention program in the commercial sexual exploitation of children. She will work with her mentor, Michael Holosko, the Pauline M. Berger Memorial Professor of Family and Child Welfare at UGA’s School of Social Work. Upon completion of her Ph.D., she plans to keep her options open as to whether she will pursue academia or the policy arena.
“This award has completely changed what I am able to do, where I can go, people I can talk to, participants I can get,” Hurst said. “I want to be able to travel to some of the agencies that are working in the area I am interested in, and the Doris Duke Fellowship allows me to do that.”
For more information on UGA’s School of Social Work, see http://ssw.uga.edu:8091/plone.