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UK STUDENT SELECTED FOR
CORNELL SUMMER INSTITUTE

By Selena Stevens

 

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“Better understanding may lead to the development of more effective strategies for engaging clients in treatment and in training child welfare workers in the process. Identification of barriers to treatment may improve and enhance outcomes for these children.”

Linda Wermeling, doctoral student,
College of Social Work

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May 9 , 2002– (Lexington, Ky.) – University of Kentucky College of Social Work doctoral student Linda Wermeling is one of 12 students nationwide who have been selected nationally to attend the 10th annual Summer Research Institute at Cornell University. The 2002 institute is sponsored by the National Data Archive on Child Abuse and Neglect (NDACAN) and will be held at Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., May 28-June 2. It is an intensive experience in secondary analysis of data sets collected by NDACAN. The 12 participants were selected based on previous research experience and their level of commitment to their research.

In her doctoral program, Wermeling completed two research papers, which focused on how substance abuse and mental health problems are detected and dealt with among clients nationally in child welfare systems. Her reviews of data and literature on the subjects revealed gaps in services offered to child welfare clients, as many services tend to focus on caretakers' problems as opposed to that of the child. More study in this area, she said, could lead to breakthroughs for better services. She will use her time at the institute for further study of data in these areas.

"Better understanding may lead to the development of more effective strategies for engaging clients in treatment and in training child welfare workers in the process," Wermeling said. "Identification of barriers to treatment may improve and enhance outcomes for these children."

During the summer institute, Wermeling will learn new methods of statistical analysis that can help her better review data. She also will work on her two papers with an eye toward publishing them in journals.

Students in the institute receive assistance in refining research plans, and resolving technical problems and statistical analysis issues. They participate in workshops, research presentation and computer sessions led by NDACAN and Cornell staff and researchers.

Wermeling earned her master of social work degree at UK in 1995, in the midst of a 26-year career with Kentucky state government from which she retired in 2000. She is an instructor for the UK College of Social Work at its Northern Kentucky University satellite program and is a certified alcohol and drug counselor in Kentucky. She plans to enter a university teaching career full time following completion of her doctoral program, tentatively slated for 2004. To complete the requirements of the doctoral program, she is engaged in a dissertation exploring why social workers leave the profession.

Wermeling and her husband, Frank, live in Covington. Her stepson, Ryan Wermeling, lives in Bowling Green and soon will graduate from high school. Wermeling said she and her husband, a graduate of the UK College of Law, hope Ryan, who is considering a career in medicine, will become the second generation of Wildcats in their family by attending UK.


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