Yesterday, at the conference presentation I did, they began with by reading my bio. Basically it states my education and my research interests. I was presenting on ethical considerations with social media in social work. As usual, after the presentation, attendees will come talk to me about the presentation and seek resources. However, yesterday was unusual in the sense that a person came up to talk to me about my research interests. She wanted to talk to me about child exposure to domestic violence. I was super excited as I love talking about research and any information I can pass along about domestic violence and child exposure makes me happy. Her questions are the same I hear from many people–they know kids who are being exposed but don’t know what to do to help them. They are not necessarily looking for professional resources like therapy rather they are looking for things they can do on a personal level to help. I spoke with her about some of the things I have learned that have had a positive influence on children’s lives. The assistance doesn’t need to be directly related to the violence they are seeing, hearing, and experiencing. It can be highlighting and encouraging existing talents such as art, music, and sports. Or giving kids opportunities to experience new things. Mostly, it’s modeling caring relationships so kids can experience alternatives. These “interventions” are rather simple, but may make a huge difference. I think it’s a matter of gathering more information of informal supports and getting this information out to the general public.
I’m a second year Social Work PhD student with a minor in Public Health at the University of Minnesota. I have a BSW from College of St.Catherine/St. Catherine University and a MSW with a concentration in Program Development, Policy, and Administration from Augsburg College. My main research area is examining social learning theory as a prevention tool, specifically, the socialization of men into fatherhood and the parenting and partnering practices of men who have been exposed to domestic violence as children. In addition, I’m interested in prevention of gender based violence by engaging men in prevention efforts and how structural violence contributes to the transmission of HIV/AIDS and health disparities in women