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Congratulations to Graduate Research Student Award Recipients

The Levin College of Public Affairs and Education would like to congratulate the following students who received the Graduate Research Student Award in recognition of their pursuit of doctoral dissertation or master’s thesis research.

Stacey SinwaldStacey Sinwald
Department of Counseling, Administration, Supervision and Adult Learning Department
Sit and Stay: Impacts on Healthcare Workers' Experiences Interacting with a Certified Therapy Dog
A recent addition to many mental health, physical health, and educational settings Is the incorporation of therapy dogs. Stacey’s dissertation project sought to identify the phenomenon that occurs when adults (specifically healthcare workers) interact with a certified therapy dog. Questions such as what people are experiencing (psychologically, emotionally, physiologically, socially, etc.) during their interaction, and what benefits are perceived to come from the interaction were investigated.


Casandra SweeneyCasandra Sweeney
Department of Counseling, Administration, Supervision and Adult Learning Department
The Importance of Diversity in Modern Environmentalism
Cassandra's research addressed a noted lack of diversity in modern environmentalism. There are myriad organizations in the Northeast Ohio region; she recruited participants from at least ten. She emailed a survey to membership at each organization and provided leadership a breakdown of responses. Using participatory action research (PAR), she and other leaders analyzed this feedback to revise policy and practice to foster greater diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging. 


Melissa CarterMelissa Carter
Department of Urban Education: Counseling Psychology
Black Doctoral Students' Experiences with Racism and Racial Trauma in Graduate School
The proposed study aims to understand the experiences of Black doctoral students with racism and racial trauma during doctoral study. As the current literature under-represents doctoral students and doesn't provide a multicultural lens, Melissa proposed a qualitative critical phenomenological study. Results of this study were intentioned to raise awareness for the various needs of Black students, as well as provide critical information for academic Institutions and stakeholders related to supporting Black students.


Xiaona JinXiaona Jin
Department of Urban Education
The Ohio Seal of Biliteracy: Outcomes and Access
Xiaona’ s quantitative study will use statewide student data to examine education outcomes for students who receive the Ohio Seal of Biliteracy (SoBL) as well as individual end school factors that predict the likelihood of a student receiving the SoBL.



Kelli HessKelli Hess
Department of Urban Education: Counseling Psychology
Application of the Minority Strengths Model to Sexual Minority Young Adults
The objective of Kelli’s study was to examine a strengths-based model through a positive psychology lens that explains positive outcomes for sexual minority young adults in response to the deficit-based minority stress model. She examined the direct and indirect effects of social support, community connectedness, family acceptance, identity pride, self-esteem, and resilience on well-being and positive health behaviors. Results from this study will inform clinical practice and outreach/prevention programming with this population.