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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 2015 recipient of the fellowship is fifth-year doctoral student Erin Singer, who initially came to Boston College after receiving an MSW from Portland State University. Her research interests include: positive youth development for sexual and gender minority youth, and youth emancipating from long-term foster care. Thomas' own research was also devoted to children and child welfare services.
"Erin is relentless in her pursuit of research that improves the lives of children," says her advisor, Professor Stephanie Berzin. "In particular, her work focused on issues that youth from the LGBT community are facing is not just theoretical, but it has true practice implications to strengthen our service system."
Erin's dissertation is entitled "Reducing Health Disparities for Sexual Minority Youth: The Influence of Natural Mentors." In addition to pursuing her research, Singer is currently teaching the course Policy Issues for Children, Youth and Families.
"I'm grateful to be able to receive this fellowship," she says, "as it has allowed me to devote more time to my research and to completing my dissertation. Boston College, and Professor Berzin in particular, has made a huge difference in helping me to develop professionally, to really go after the research I am passionate about, and to focus my interest."