A University of Kentucky graduate student recently received two prestigious awards from the National Council on Family Relations, a professional association focused on family research, policy and practice.
Laura Frey, a doctoral candidate in the UK College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, received the Student Award and the Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award.
The Student Award is given for overall excellence as an emerging scholar who exhibits high potential for future scholarly contributions. She is the first UK student to receive this award—the highest given to a graduate student in family sciences.
Frey of Griffin, Indiana, is working with Jason Hans, an associate professor in the UK Department of Family Sciences in the School for Human Environmental Sciences and the council’s 2002 Student Award winner.
She received the Outstanding Graduate Student Paper Award for a paper that explores how family members’ reactions to disclosure of suicidal thoughts or attempts affect an individual’s mental health going forward. This award is given to a graduate student who is conducting unique family research that is likely to make a meaningful contribution to the field.
“To date, family research on suicide has primarily focused on surviving family members' experiences of bereavement and stigma following suicide, so Laura's research emphasis represents an important shift toward a systemic and proactive perspective on the role family members can play in suicide prevention and intervention,” Hans said.
“Family and relational issues have an important impact on the development and treatment of suicidal behavior within the individual, and the individual action of suicide can profoundly impact surviving family members and the family system,” Frey said.
Her winning paper is one of three studies that comprise her doctoral dissertation.
Frey will receive her awards during the council’s annual conference, Nov. 19-22 in Baltimore.