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In 1989, Carolyn Thomas, a longtime BC Social Work Professor and PhD Program Chair, established a fellowship fund for doctoral students at the school, providing financial support to help encourage them to successfully complete their studies.
The 2016 recipients of the fellowship are doctoral students Sarah Dow-Fleisner and Anne Day Leong. Dow-Fleisner, who holds an MA in child development from Tufts University and a BA from Colby Sawyer, is focusing her current research on resilient functioning among high-risk families, the impact of the sibling relationship in high-risk families, and intervention programs for families and children. Leong, who holds an MSW from the University of Pennsylvania, lists research interests including: cross-cultural measurement, culturally appropriate education, community-based participatory research, early childhood education, and Head Start. Dow-Fleisner’s faculty advisor is Summer Hawkins; Leong is working with Stephanie Berzin.
"Sarah brings with her a strong background in both childhood health and child development, as well as a host of great ideas for research projects moving forward," says Hawkins. "I look forward to her ongoing scholarship, as she works to bridge the gap in what is currently a largely un-researched area between these two spaces."
"Anne's work embodies the effective application of research designed to be implemented to create real change," explains Berzin. "Her work appears right at the intersection of research and real life, and I'm confident her work will inspire improvements in policy and programs moving forward."
Both students say that they are grateful to receive the Thomas Fellowship.
"It's an honor to be recognized by the Boston College School of Social Work in this manner," says Dow-Fleisner, whose dissertation is focused on maternal depression and its impact on child well-being. "I'm hopeful it will help me move closer to creating substantive change with regards to maternal depression."
"This fellowship means I can do the work to finish my dissertation," says Leong, who is writing on the experiences of culturally diverse Head Start families. "Without it, I wouldn't be able to easily complete the qualitative aspects of my research that are going to provide me with a more comprehensive answer to my research question around parent involvement in this important program."