Doctoral student Laurie Cook Heffron has been awarded a Harrington Dissertation Fellowship for the academic year 2014-2015. This award is the highest given to continuing students at The University of Texas at Austin.
“I feel immensely honored and privileged to receive this generous support from the university,” Cook Heffron said. “I think it indicates a turning point in the general awareness about and concern for the rights of migrating women. It is my hope that my work will inform practice, policy, and the training of future social workers related to immigration in general and more specifically to migrating women’s experiences of domestic and sexual violence.”
Cook Heffron has both direct social work practice and research experience with a variety of communities, including refugees, victims of trafficking, asylees, and other immigrants in Central Texas. As a doctoral student, she is interested in exploring the experiences of, and relationships between, violence against women and migration to the United States. She is currently the Associate Director for Research at the Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault (IDVSA) at the School of Social Work.
“The Harington Fellowship is a huge individual honor for Laurie. I’m not surprised that the university chose to recognize her; she is an independent thinker, scholar and scientist and her dissertation research has great promise to add depth and breadth to a field where gaps for marginalized groups are still persistent,” said Noël Busch-Armendariz, associate dean for research at the School of Social Work and IDVSA director. “I am really proud of Laurie and of all that she has accomplished already. She is a great ambassador for the School of Social Work and IDVSA, and her work is reflective of our meaningful contributions as a profession.”
The Harrington Fellowship program was established by the late Sybil Harrington of Amarillo to honor the memory of her husband, Donald D. Harrington. In addition to receiving a generous stipend, Harrington Fellows become lifetime members of the Donald H. Harrington Society.