Social Work

MSW Fellowship Students Share Their Research

Written By: UCF School of Social Work | August 4, 2021

The UCF School of Social Work MSW Traditional Track awarded six new first-year graduate level students with a $10,000 fellowship to assist them with tuition, fees, and other expenses for academic year 2020-2021.

Under the guidance of Maxine McGregor, MSW program director, all fellowship recipients conduct research on a social work topic of interest to present to faculty. Below are samples of the student-led research.


Arlette De La Rosa

Arlette De La Rosa – “Barriers to Accessing Healthcare Services for Homeless Youth: A Systematic Review”

Faculty Mentor: Assistant Professor Julia O-Connor

While conducting my research, I found that the stigma attached to homeless individuals caused longer waiting periods in healthcare facilities. They were also subjected to inconsistent follow-up. The research demonstrated that these barriers caused homeless individuals to develop a mistrust of healthcare workers. Part of my discussion recommends that healthcare workers – including social workers, should be provided with trauma informed-care training.

This research experience tested me as a student because it was supplemental to my graduate courses and taught me a lot about time management and organization. I valued the ability to learn outside of the classroom and plan to carry this insight into future projects. Click to view Arlette’s research poster.

Laura Henderson

Laura Henderson – “Barriers to Accessing Healthcare as a Refugee in the United States: A Systematic Review”

Faculty Mentor: Assistant Professor Asli Yalim

Apart from having to start over and adjust to a new culture and way of life, refugees must also navigate access to basic healthcare needs. My systematic review notes how barriers like language and cultural differences, and the cost of healthcare, were frequently mentioned as challenges to healthcare access for refugees.

The lack of accommodations implicate solutions like community engagement programs, in-person interpreters, and cultural liaisons not only have an impact on refugee groups, but also other immigrant groups living in the United States.

For me, the most valuable aspect of this project was learning how to undertake a new kind of research and creating a poster presentation. Covering a topic that I am passionate about really made this a great learning opportunity. Click to view Laura’s research poster.

Amber Lechner

Amber Lechner – “A Systematic Review of Suicide Postvention Programs in Schools Around the United States”

Faculty Mentor: Associate Professor Kimberly Gryglewicz

Through my research, I sought to answer: ‘What suicide postvention programs do schools use in the United States, and which are empirically effective?’ Suicide postvention includes aiding families and friends with healing and recovery, after losing a loved one to suicide. Though there are not many empirically supported postvention suicide programs in the United States, the school-based programs focused on classroom or small group discussions appear effective.

Results show a connection between helping a community heal from a suicide, while simultaneously working to prevent and intervene with more suicides that may arise after the death. However, there is a need for further empirically-backed research and increased longitudinal studies with qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methodologies. The desire to conduct more randomized controlled trials on postvention programs has also been expressed by researchers and mental healthcare professionals.

I have always been passionate about suicide research, and it was amazing to research a side of it that I was not aware of. Learning with Dr. Kim Gryglewicz was incredible, as she’s an expert in this area. I truly valued how much I learned during this poster creation. Click to view Amber’s research poster.

gift box
To help fund student scholarships, faculty excellence and innovative programming.

Related News Articles

Gift box icon


To help fund student scholarships, faculty excellence and innovative programing.
Support UCF