Doctoral Scholars Receive Grand Challenges for Social Work Fellowships

PhD; Research; Social Work; Students

JaNiene Peoples (left) and Yingying Zeng are GCSW inaugural doctoral awardees.

Brown School doctoral student JaNiene Peoples and Yingying Zeng, a Brown School doctoral candidate, have been awarded Grand Challenges for Social Work (GCSW) Doctoral Fellowships.

Peoples and Zeng are among 13 social work students nationwide selected for this inaugural cohort of doctoral awardees. The fellowships are funded by a grant from the New York Community Trust and provide mentorship and a $3,000 stipend to support the recipients’ dissertation or capstone expenses. The program’s aim is to increase the number of social workers committed to addressing the 13 subject areas supported by the GCSW, which champions social progress through science.

Peoples’ research project falls under the “eliminate racism,” category. Her research project is titled “Mechanisms Linking Racial Discrimination and Substance Use in Black College Students: An Ecological Momentary Assessment Study.”

“Racial discrimination and substance use are pressing public health issues that disproportionately impact Black Americans,” she said. “Receiving the Grand Challenges for Social Work Doctoral Award enables me to center health equity, enhance health disparities research related to substance use, and inform prevention and intervention efforts for Black and other racial and ethnic minority students on college campuses.”

Peoples is honored to have been selected for the fellowship and welcomes the support for her dissertation study in combatting racism.

Zeng’s project “Immigrants’ Experiences of Asset Building: Implications for Asset-Based Policies” focuses on the “build financial capability & assets for all” category.

“Receiving the Grand Challenge for Social Work Doctoral Award enables me to translate my research from theoretical to practical,” Zeng said. “I hope that findings from my dissertation can inform immigrant integration policies and programs, target vulnerable immigrant families and provide support to facilitate asset accumulation and long-term stability.”

Honorable mentions were given to doctoral students Nancy Jacquelyn Pérez-Flores and Peter Sun for their proposals on mental health literacy and rural health disparities.