PhD student nominated for Social Work award

A PhD student from the University of Bedfordshire has been shortlisted in the upcoming Social Worker of the Year Awards 2022.

Student, Kirstie Baughan, received the nomination in the ‘Social Justice Advocate Award’ category for her work with Central Bedfordshire Council.

Kirstie – who is studying for a PhD with the University’s Institute of Applied Social Research (IASR) – is currently exploring the integration experiences of unaccompanied young refugees and looks at how these integration experiences can be improved, particularly in the field of social work. 

Speaking about the nomination, Kirstie said: “I am so proud to be a finalist for this award. Advocating for social justice is exactly what social work is all about. I hope that my research with unaccompanied young people will help to amplify the voices of these fantastic individuals and promote more compassionate, inclusive communities.”

Kirstie hopes that her research will improve the integration experiences of young people by identifying what works well in diverse communities and will lead to the development of a practice toolkit to support professionals in communicating with young people about the topic.

After being nominated for the award by Central Bedfordshire Council, Kirstie’s nomination was reinforced by testimonials from the University of Bedfordshire.

Dr Helen Connolly, Senior Lecturer in Sociology, is part of the supervisory team overseeing Kirstie’s PhD studies alongside Professor Ravi Kohli, the Director of Studies.

Helen congratulated Kirstie on being shortlisted, adding: “Kirstie’s nomination and subsequent shortlist for the social work awards are testament to her steadfast commitment to social justice for refugees and asylum seekers, and to the care and protection of unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children and young people.

“She has carried this commitment into her PhD studies with us at the University of Bedfordshire and we are very proud of all that she has achieved in both her advocacy and studies.”

The Social Worker of the Year Awards is a national event celebrating social work in England, attracting hundreds of entries every year to highlight outstanding practitioners and exceptional practice.

The winners of the 2022 awards will be announced at a ceremony on Friday 4th November.

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