Katie McCormick, a doctoral candidate in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work (SHS), was selected for Donald D. Harrington Dissertation Fellowship for the 2023-2024 academic year.

The Harrington Fellowship is the highest graduate fellowship award given by the University of Texas at Austin, and recognizes doctoral candidates’ exceptional academic performance, commitment to pursuing a graduate degree in a designated area of study, and potential to become outstanding scholars and citizens.

McCormick is conducting a study that will provide insight into both the sources of occupational stress and the protective factors that mitigate occupational stress for harm reduction workers active on the frontlines of the opioid epidemic.

“There’s not much known about harm reduction workers, so I’m excited about filling in a gap in knowledge,” McCormick said. “My goal is to emphasis experience of those across the state and translate that into palatable, easy to understand materials that emphasizes their work.”

McCormick’s dissertation, titled “Contributors of Occupational Stress and Burnout Among Texas Harm Reduction Workers,” draws upon her prior research and experience at the University of Houston’s SUSTAIN Center and the University of Texas at Austin’s Addiction Research Institute. McCormick’s committee members are Fiona Conway, Casey Klaborn, and Laurie Hollerin-Steiger, who McCormick described as “instrumental” to her research over the last three years.

“I’d love to have this research shape or inform a series of interventions,” she said. “People don’t operate in isolation, and they’re affected by many other environments. I’m looking forward to working with harm reducers to enhance their efforts, support staffs and make better results.”

The Harrington Fellowship is not the first award given to McCormick for her research. Previously, she was recognized by the Hogg Foundation for the prestigious Harry E. and Bernice M. Moore Fellowship.

McCormick is the second Harrington Fellowship recipient at SHS in as many years, joining John Moore for the high distinction.

“We celebrate Katie and her accomplishment with pride and gratitude,” said Dr. Allan Cole, Dean of SHS. “Our school shines because of the caliber of our students and their innovative research which furthers social work in both the profession and academy.”