Ernie Gullerud Award
Year: 4.5 year PhD student
MSW/BSW: Yonnsei University in Korea
Hometown: Pusan, Korea
Area of Focus: Child Maltreatment
What attracted you to the University of Illinois?
After getting my Masters, I studied social welfare and worked in a child maltreatment area as a social worker. It’s well known that American universities are more advanced in the quality of that area. I liked the faculty members’ areas of interest, and I had heard that they were very supportive of doctorate students, both financially and academically.
How has the scholarship helped you achieve your academic goals?
For my dissertation, I’m looking at the impact of differential response in child maltreatment. I’m a research assistant for CRFC, and with the new child response legislature in Illinois, we’re measuring how it can reduce child maltreatment. I’m looking at how families become stronger with the new child welfare system—how the CPS collaboration with community organizations can change families’ stress, coping strategy, etc. Although I’m evaluating the same outcome as the CFRC, I’m looking at the factors in the family more in detail.
I was planning to collect data through telephone surveys, so I had to hire interviewers. The award really helps me to handle these costs. I had a budget from an external grant, but I ran into unexpected costs like hiring professional trainers for the interviewers.
How do you believe your work will help others?
Both Illinois and other states want to see new systems. With policy, there’s more confidence in adopting new approaches, so I want to look at what services make family changes and how their effects—both for families and policy.
What are some of your goals for the future?
I hope to do things on not just a domestic level, but also an international one as well. I’d like to work on how to prevent child maltreatment using both formal methods (like CWS) and informal ones (like social networks). I hope to stay in the U.S. perhaps as faculty, to continue my research about how to prevent child maltreatment with established systems here and then how to apply that internationally.
If you could say anything to potential donors, what would it be?
The SSW is great in terms of scholarships, faculty, and the environment. But the quality depends on how much support the school can provide for students—not just money, but also the research quality that makes the school more attractive to students. It’s my wish that our ranking could be more widely recognized by outsiders.