Heidemann Wins Dissertation Award
A national social work organization has awarded USC School of Social Work doctoral student Gretchen Heidemann with funding to support her dissertation research on the transition of formerly incarcerated women into the community.
The Robert L. Schneider Dissertation Award, which includes a $1,000 cash grant, is given annually by Influencing State Policy to scholars whose dissertation is focused on social policy research at the state level.
Heidemann, the only student selected for the honor this year, said she has always been interested in policy issues rather than clinical work. She is hopeful that her research, which explores the positive and negative factors that influence the reintegration process for women in the Los Angeles region, will inform state policy decisions.
“There are so many barriers in place for this population,” she said. “With that criminal record, you can’t get a job, you can’t get housing, you can’t get assistance.”
Heidemann will use survey and interview data to explore the experiences of formerly incarcerated women. She is scheduled to finish her dissertation by next spring.
In addition to authoring academic publications on the topic, she plans to develop a report outlining her findings that she hopes will be valuable to policy makers and the general public.
“It came at a perfect time because I’m just starting data collection,” she said, explaining that she is offering a small, cash incentive to study participants.
In addition to this award, Heidemann recently received a $20,000 Haynes Lindley Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship Award to support her research.
- Master of Social Work