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U. of I. student wins Doris Duke Fellowship to promote child well-being

3/20/2014 | Sharita Forrest, Education and Social Work Editor | 217-244-1072;

[ Email | Share ] CHAMPAIGN,Ill. — Catherine P. Corr, a doctoral student in special education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, has been named a recipient of a Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being.

The awards are conferred by the Chapin Hall Center for Children, a research and policy center at the University of Chicago that is supported by the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Through mentorships and the creation of a peer-learning network, the fellows program nurtures doctoral students who are interested in practice and policy initiatives that enhance child development and prevent child maltreatment.

Fellowships are awarded annually to 15 outstanding doctoral students in various disciplines, who are selected through a national competition. Corr is the first recipient in her field as well as the first student at the U. of I.’s Urbana campus to receive the honor.

Fellows receive an annual stipend of $25,000 to support completion of their dissertations and related research. Stipends are renewable for a second year based upon recipients’ progress on their dissertations and their active participation in the program’s collegial learning network and professional development opportunities.

During the fellowships, recipients select and work with two mentors – an academic mentor who oversees the technical quality and rigor of their research, and a policy mentor working at a government agency or nonprofit organization that assists the recipient with framing their research questions and linking their research with policy and practice.

The focus of Corr’s doctoral research is identifying the training and professional development needs of practitioners in Illinois’ early intervention and child welfare systems that work with maltreated children who also have disabilities.

Corr will work with College of Education faculty members Ted Burke and Rosa Milagros Santos Gilbertz as her policy/practice mentor and academic mentor, respectively. Burke is the director of the Early Intervention Training Program in the department of special education; Gilbertz is a professor in the department and Corr’s adviser in the doctoral program.

A Chicago native, Corr earned a master’s degree in early childhood special education at Illinois and a bachelor’s degree in elementary education at the University of Iowa. Corr has worked as a developmental therapist, an infant-toddler teacher and a recreational therapist.

Earlier this month, Corr and Natalie Danner, who also is a doctoral student in special education, were selected as co-recipients of a student Campus Award for Excellence in Public Engagement for Academic Year 2013-2014. The honor recognized their work providing training and technical support for volunteers with Champaign County Court Appointed Special Advocates for Children (CASA), a local nonprofit organization that protects the rights and well-being of children involved with the juvenile justice system.
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Editor's note: To contact Catherine Corr, email; Rosa Milagros Santos Gilbertz: 217-244-3558;

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