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Research Capstone Award Recipients Are Announced

September 7, 2017

The finalists receiving the Research Capstone Award for MSW Students (formerly the Research Award for MSW Students) have been announced. They are: 

Each received $500. The two were among the 10 individuals and teams of semi-finalists, representing seven CalSWEC consortium schools, who received $250 for their initial proposals,

Read more about the Research Capstone Award

The award encourages and supports student research that will contribute to the evidence base for policy and practice in public human services. It was established by CalSWEC’s Research and Development (R&D) Committee, in conjunction with the California Association of Deans and Directors (CADD). 

What Inspired Them

When asked,"Why did you decide to pursue this particular project?" the award recipients provided the following responses:

Kate Mallula:
I am interested in social determinants of health and am driven to contribute to our understanding of how maternal and early childhood exposure to stress impact maternal health, child development, and parenting. I was also dedicated to pursuing a project that would be meaningful and useful to Homeless Prenatal Program (HPP), the agency where I completed my second-year internship. Whether a family was staying in transitional housing, doubled-up with another family, or deciding which tradeoffs to make in order to pay rent, residential instability was a tremendous stressor for the clients I served as a clinical case manager at HPP. Consequently, the relationship between residential instability and birth outcomes struck me as an urgent area of research given the disruptive effects of the housing crisis on San Francisco families and their communities.  

Read about what inspired the 2016 Finalists

My internship and my research reinforced that focusing solely on families who are living on the streets—while absolutely vital—overlooks many more families experiencing residential instability who are less visible but are also navigating extremely precarious situations.  Staff at HPP work tirelessly on the frontline of the housing crisis to prevent homelessness by connecting clients to limited resources, providing information, promoting maternal and child health, and instilling hope. I hope that this project will inform future interventions, policies, and resource allocation as HPP continues to provide invaluable services to the families it serves and as the city continues to tackle the housing crisis and its effect on the wellbeing of families.    

Megan Maurer: 
I decided to pursue this project after completing my first year interning with Orange County Child and Family Services in the Adoptions Department. I was curious about the ways in which Child and Family Services, along with community agencies, could improve with regard to the challenging needs of our families in the critical post-placement and post-adoption period. Adoptive families face challenges as they adjust to their new family dynamics. For transracial adoptive families, there are additional, unique challenges in dealing with the differences in cultural and/or ethnic backgrounds between the parent(s) and the adopted child.

Read about what inspired the 2015 Finalists

This present study aims to examine the relationship between cultural socialization practices and participation in post-adoption services and the effect on family relationship quality among transracial adoptive families. By foregrounding these issues, I hoped to explore potential practice implications for supporting transracial adoptive families during post-adoption. This study suggests that increasing specialized educational and community resources that address the significance of the adopted child’s race and ethnic identity development may promote the overall family relationship quality.