Crystal HayesCongratulations to doctoral student, Crystal Hayes, who was recently selected to receive a Council on Social Work Education Minority Fellowship through its Mental Health & Substance Abuse Fellowship Program.

“I am honored and humbled to be joining the CSWE Doctoral MFP community. I am most excited about joining a community of committed academics of color devoted to addressing health disparities and promoting research and scholarship that gives us hope for a more just world.”

These highly competitive fellowships are awarded to social work doctoral students who demonstrate potential for assuming a leadership role in practice, research, teaching, and policy for mental health and substance abuse services to underrepresented and underserved persons and communities.

Fellows receive financial support for up to three years to facilitate completion of their dissertation and related research, and have the opportunity to participate in professional development and other learning opportunities as part of a network of social work doctoral students within the fellowship.

Dr. Kathryn Libal, Crystal’s academic mentor, described Crystal’s research on reproductive health care and justice for incarcerated pregnant women in the United States as one of the few studies in social work on this topic. “Drawing on Black feminist thought, intersectionality, human rights, and theories of reproductive justice, her work will provide crucial insights to policymakers and prison administrators on the impacts of limited access to reproductive health care. As importantly, she stands to shape social work education in efforts to integrate a critical Black feminist perspective on mass incarceration and its effects.”

Crystal Hayes, MSW, is a PhD student at the UConn School of Social Work. She began her social work career in community based mental health, and in nonprofit leadership development and management. She worked at the Center for Child and Family Health at Duke University and her practice was in maternal and pediatric mental health. She was also the Director of Racial Justice and Maternal Child Wellness at the YWCA of the Greater Triangle in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Currently, Crystal is on the part-time faculty at North Carolina State University and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Smith College School for Social Work. Crystal has worked at NC State in the Department of Social Work since 2011 in various capacities in both the undergraduate and graduate social work programs, field education, and curriculum development.