USF Professor Receives 2017 Fulbright Scholarship

April. 18, 2017 | Joliet, Ill.

Dr. Alicia McLaughlin was awarded a 2017 Fulbright Scholarship. The grant will allow her to travel to Guyana, South America to assist with the training of aspiring social work professionals at the University of Guyana to help combat the country’s suicide issues.

The University of St. Francis (USF) is proud to announce that Associate Professor of Social Work Dr. Alicia McLaughlin has been awarded a 2017 Fulbright Scholarship. McLaughlin is the first professor at the university to receive this honor.

McLaughlin plans to conduct her research at the University of Guyana in Guyana, South America, and will focus on the nationwide suicide epidemic affecting the country associated with mass murders by cult leaders. Currently the suicide issue is being addressed collaboratively by the country’s Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education and the University of Guyana social work department. McLaughlin will work with the undergraduate social work students at the university on how best to address the suicide issue, particularly among the young population. She plans to focus on the stigma surrounding suicide and mental health issues. McLaughlin’s goal is to leave behind a comprehensive mental health suicide prevention and treatment training program for social work faculty and professionals within Guyana’s community.

McLaughlin has taught at USF for nine years in the bachelor’s and master’s social work programs. “The values associated with social work promote the dignity and worth of a person,” says McLaughlin. “I am so privileged to be in the position to train aspiring social work professionals at USF and I really look forward to doing the same in Guyana.”

McLaughlin will spend the fall 2017 semester in Guyana, and it is her hope that the University of Guyana and the Univeristy of St. Francis will take the opportunity to build an educational exchange of students.

“I want to see USF students travel to Guyana to learn about how systems operate in another context. I would also love to have University of Guyana’s social work students come to USF to obtain their Master of Social Work degree. This would enhance their classroom experience and provide additional training for social workers in Guyana.”

“The Fulbright award allows Alicia to model our educational tenet of helping students prepare to help others,” says university Provost Frank Pascoe. “This is 21st century Franciscanism:  welcoming, caring, serving, and doing. Alicia’s work embodies our core values of respect, integrity, compassion and service.”

The Fulbright Scholarship was created in 1946 by Senator J. William Fulbright as a way of increasing the mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. It is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government. The goal of the scholarship is to develop open communication and long-term cooperative relationships. Since the scholarship was created, more than 370,000 individuals have participated in the program.

The University of St. Francis, in Joliet, Ill., serves 3,900 students nationwide, offering undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs in the arts and sciences, business, education, nursing and social work. There are over 48,000 USF alumni across the globe. For information, call 800-735-7500 or visit University of St. Francis: Bigger thinking. Brighter purpose.