COLLEGE PARK, MD (June, 2017) – Catherine Kuhns, a doctoral student in the College of Education’s Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology, has been selected to receive a Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being.
The fellowship is aimed at developing “a new generation of leaders capable of creating practice and policy initiatives that will enhance child development and improve the nation's ability to prevent all forms of child maltreatment.”
As a winner of the fellowship, Kuhns is one of 15 doctoral students selected from applicants across the country who will receive an annual stipend of $30,000 for up to two years, designated for dissertation and related research at their academic institutions. Doris Duke Fellows will also be able to network through peer learning opportunities.
Kuhns will be starting her fourth year in HDQM’s human development program in the fall, and Dr. Natasha Cabrera serves as Kuhns’ advisor. Kuhns is a graduate assistant in the COE’s Family Involvement Lab, where Dr. Cabrera is director.
Kuhns’ dissertation research focuses on the ways in which maternal stress from sources such as parenting and economic worries and depression shape child development in areas like language and social development.
“Such research on the intersection of maternal stress, depressive symptoms, and social support has vast implications for policymakers interested in providing effective support for mothers of young children and minimizing the use of harsh, punitive parenting strategies that may develop into child maltreatment,” Kuhns said.
Her research into the topic is part of her broader interest in low-income ethnic minority parents and their children during early childhood.
“My ultimate goal is to work in a position that has a direct influence on family policy and is impactful for families and children in our country,” Kuhns said. “I am particularly interested in working with our country’s most vulnerable populations, and in particular low-income and ethnic minority families who face additional barriers to positive development and success.”