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MSW and doctoral students honored at Graduate Student Recognition Celebration

Several students were honored at the 15th Annual Graduate Student Recognition Celebration, held on April 10 at the Carolina Club.

Alison Doernberg received a 2013 Graduate Education Advancement Board Impact Award for her work supporting North Carolina families facing cancer. This award is given to a graduate student whose research is of exceptional benefit to North Carolina.

Statistics indicate that an estimated 2.85 million U.S. children are living with a parent who has been diagnosed with cancer. In North Carolina, 52,000 people were diagnosed with the disease in 2012. What are the needs of N.C. families facing cancer?

Doernberg, who received her social work and public health master’s degrees in 2012, focused her research on helping families in which a parent or caregiver was diagnosed with cancer. For her project, she partnered with Cancer Services, a nonprofit organization in Winston-Salem that seeks to enhance the quality of life for cancer survivors and their families.

Alison’s outreach to clients of Cancer Services included focus groups, online surveys and interviews. She ultimately identified six dimensions of successful family navigation of cancer: connection, positivity, adaptability, control, acceptance and resilience. Challenges identified for families facing cancer included family communication, finances and logistics of daily living, and emotional and behavioral health. Her research will inform the development of interventions that will benefit Cancer Services clients and that will promote resilience in all North Carolina families facing cancer.

The following students were recognized for receiving prestigious external fellowships:

  • Natasha Holt – Rotary World Peace Fellowship
  • Jennifer Pappalardo – Carolina Child Welfare Education Collaborative, Child Welfare Leadership Fellow
  • Tiffany Washington, doctoral – John A. Hartford Geriatric Social Work Initiative Hartford Doctoral Fellowship, American Society of Nephrology Advances in Geriatric Nephrology Travel Support
  • Tonya Williams – Carolina Child Welfare Education Collaborative