Doctoral Fellowship Award

Ms. Noemi Marquez

Please join us in congratulating Ms. Noemi Marquez on receiving the 2019 Doctoral Fellowship Award from the Center for Human Rights & Social Justice (CHRSJ).

Her innovative and important research: The Lived Foster Care Experiences of Transgender and Gender Diverse Young Adults is consistent with the CHRSJ’s Pillar: Promoting Inclusive Communities for Individuals with Diverse Sexual Orientations and Gender Identities initiative. This research is innovative and addresses a notable gap in the literature. Moreover, the study represents a promising step toward advancing knowledge about a particularly underserved and marginalized subgroup of transgender young people.

We commend Ms. Noemi for her advocacy and commitment to human rights and social justice!

Center for Human Rights and Social Justice's Research Fellowship

Joshua Holzworth

Joshua Holzworth, a Bachelor of Social Work student in his junior year, was awarded the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice's 2019 Research Fellowship to work with Dr. Ashley Austin on qualitative and quantitative research projects focused on elucidating risks to well-being, as well as sources of resilience, faced by transgender and gender diverse youth and adults. Josh’s primary clinical and research foci include mental illness, stigma, marginalized populations, and Jungian approaches to clinical intervention. Congratulations on this prestigious award!

Center for Human Rights and Social Justice Student Advocate Award

Please join us in congratulating the CHRSJ 2019 Student Advocate Award Winners.

Their passion and commitment to activism and are an inspiration to students across the Barry University Campus. Their efforts align with the mission of the CHRSJ to create safe and inclusive spaces on campus and in communities locally and globally.

Michidael Ceard

Michidael Ceard was born in Port Au Prince, Haiti. She immigrated to Miami in April 2013 with her family at the age of 13. She is currently a junior studying English Literature and seeking to minor in Africana studies at Barry University.

Ceard has worked on numerous civic engagement projects with the most notable being the Temporary Protected Status Workshop for undocumented people in Opa-Locka and the Rights-for-Restoration campaign that successfully helped in adding amendment 4 to the Florida Constitution. With time, she plans to become a civil rights attorney working with a nonprofit for social justice and exclusivity.

Jamie Vaughn

Jamie Vaughn is currently a 1st year graduate student in the School of Social Work at Barry University and currently works as a Graduate Assistant for 1HTC. She comes to Barry with a master's in Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies from Florida Atlantic University. Her future career paths include working in sexual assault prevention, comprehensive sex education, and sex therapy. After graduating, she hopes to receive her PhD in Human Sexuality or Clinical Sexology.

Doctoral Fellowship Award

Ms. Maria Tapia

The CHRSJ awarded doctoral student, Ms. Maria Tapia, with the 2018 Doctoral Fellowship Award. Her proposed research titled, “Understanding School Mental Health Perspectives Toward LGBT Populations,” is a promising step toward creating safer and more inclusive schools for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning/Queer (LGBTQ) youth in South Florida. Moreover, findings from her proposed study have the potential to extend existing knowledge and research in this area

Center for Human Rights and Social Justice Student Advocate Award

On behalf of the School of Social Work and The Center for Human Rights & Social Justice (CHRSJ), we are delighted to congratulate Paola Montenegro and Paris Razor for receiving the Student Advocate Award.

As active student leaders involved in consciousness raising as well as social and political activism, they have helped instigate community and state level change. Their efforts align with the mission of the CHRSJ and our commitment to promote wellness in marginalized communities — locally and globally.

Paola Montenegro

Paola Montenegro’s most significant accomplishment as a civically engaged student leader is her contribution to the development of community service programs and projects, including: (1) the growth of collaborative and long-term community partnerships; (2) student recruitment and financial support of students’ participation in service programs; and (3) community and campus education efforts focused on human and environmental rights. Her leadership in the Alternative Breaks Executive Board led to the creation of two new programs with deep community partnerships dedicated to long-term social change: the Port-de-Paix, Haiti Solidarity Partnership and the McAllen, Texas Border Encounter.

Paris Razor

Paris Razor is a third-year English major specializing in literature and professional writing. A Barry Service Corps Fellow, she works with the Student/Farmworker Alliance as a steering committee member to advocate the rights of farmworkers. Dedicated to human rights and social justice, she has made it a priority in her life to be active in her community.

Faculty Research Mini-Grants


Dr. Nowakowski-Sims was awarded a $1000 research grant from the Center for Human Rights and Social Justice to explore trauma-informed services for families impacted by child-to-parent violence. Dr. Nowakowski-Sims’ innovative and timely grounded theory research used focus groups to explore experience of 20 youth/families who participated in diversion programs for child-to-parent violence in South Florida. The study was aimed at better understanding the role of trauma in youths’ experiences with child-to-parent violence and subsequent violence prevention and intervention programs. Data highlighted the overlap between childhood adversity, household dysfunction, and family conflict among participants. Findings also indicated that adverse childhood experiences were often ignored or overlooked within the existing violence prevention programs.

Dr. Nowakowski-Sims is disseminating her findings locally through trauma informed trainings and workshops with local service providers. Her focus involves facilitating a shift away from using punitive intervention approaches to violence prevention work with youthful offenders, and toward trauma informed, rehabilitative approaches which recognize the importance of addressing childhood trauma in violence prevention and intervention work. Dr Nowakowski-Sims has presented the study’s findings at national and international venues. Specifically her research was presented at the Council for Social Work Education in Dallas and at the Society for Social Work and Research in Washington, DC. In addition, Dr. Nowakowski-Sims joined more than 2,500 practitioners, researchers, and educators in Dublin, Ireland to explore the latest developments in social work and social development