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Reeves Fellowship enables doctoral student to pursue research in child trauma

By Susan White

Kanisha Coleman enrolled in the School of Social Work’s Ph.D. program in 2012, eager to learn and ready to begin her own rigorous research into how child trauma affects development.

“I’ve just long been interested in exploring parent-child relationships and how that plays a role in child maltreatment,” said Coleman, who earned her undergrad degree in psychology from UNC. “I think children are the most vulnerable population when it comes to their environment. They are very vulnerable to what they see and what they learn from their parents.”

Being able to focus on her studies from day one and not having to worry about how to pay for her education has been a huge relief, said Coleman, who is receiving full financial support from a fellowship fund thanks to a generous donation from Sam and Betsy Reeves of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla. The Reeves’ gift, which was received four years ago, enables the School of Social Work to offer selected doctoral students two years of financial assistance. The fellowships cover the costs of in-state tuition, health insurance and a nine-month academic stipend. In exchange for faculty grants, which help to fund years three and four, students assist with teaching and research.

“This funding has been very important because it takes away a lot of stresses that could have come had I not had the money,” Coleman said. “It has really helped to lift a lot of pressure off my shoulders and helped me to really focus on schoolwork. I wish that was the case for everybody—to not have to worry about money.”