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W&L’s Amanda Dorsey ’21 Awarded a Fulbright to India The award will support a nine-month research project in India investigating intervention service access for individuals with disabilities.

Amanda-Dorsey-1140x760 W&L’s Amanda Dorsey ’21 Awarded a Fulbright to IndiaAmanda Dorsey ’21

Washington and Lee University senior Amanda Dorsey ’21 has received a Fulbright-Nehru open study/research award to complete a nine-month project in India investigating intervention service access for individuals with disabilities, titled “Optimizing Home Plans for Children with Developmental Disabilities: Lessons from COVID-19.” Dorsey is majoring in cognitive and behavioral science (CBSC) and minoring in poverty and human capability studies.

“Lockdowns in response to the COVID-19 pandemic spurred much innovation around ways to offer intervention services within the homes for people with disabilities,” Dorsey said. “I discovered during an internship in India with an NGO in 2019, however, that there were already many people with disabilities that were out of reach of in-person intervention services. This project seeks to apply strategies learned during the pandemic to address an intervention service gap that was existent before COVID-19.”

Dorsey also plans to pursue further studies in social epidemiology to quantitatively investigate the intersection among disability, health, resource access and health outcomes.

“This Fulbright project will both provide the essential context needed to inform future research questions while expanding my intercultural fluency,” Dorsey said.

Dorsey’s Fulbright award comes on the heels of her recent Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) for Hindi.

“The Critical Language Scholarship will take place in the summer before my grant begins and will be essential in helping me to prepare for my Fulbright research,” Dorsey said. “During my project, I want to be able to communicate with families in their local language, as we may be discussing potentially vulnerable topics around disability and their experience during COVID-19. I also want to comfortably navigate the country using Hindi, which will enhance the immersive nature of my experience. I am looking forward to maximizing the CLS program to best prepare myself for my Fulbright research.”

On campus, Dorsey serves as the lead of peer career advising in the Office of Career and Professional Development and as a research assistant under CBSC professors Karla Murdock and Wythe Whiting. She is also a group exercise instructor and past president of the Pre-Health Club.

“Amanda is a curious, resourceful, conscientious and proactive scholar,” Murdock said. “I am particularly excited about her Fulbright project because I know that it will serve families who will gravitate toward her warmth and kindness and rightfully trust her to do right by them through her empirical work. At a moment when the international community is reeling from the pandemic and its economic and political fallout, I relish the thought of Amanda Dorsey representing the U.S. abroad.”

Dorsey has already been accepted to Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health to earn her master’s of public health in global epidemiology and has deferred her acceptance until after her Fulbright experience.

“Within this project, you can see pieces of my research experience from the CBSC Department, my mission and ethical considerations from the Poverty Studies Department, and a knowledge of community engagement and service access from my internships in global health and disability,” Dorsey said. “This Fulbright Award will be a culmination of many different facets of my W&L experience, and I am so grateful for this opportunity to tie together each of these experiences.”

The CBSC Department is home to two Fulbright recipients this year, Dorsey and Lorena Terroba Urruchua, both of whom work in the research lab of Professors Murdock and Whiting.

“One of the greatest pleasures of teaching at W&L is witnessing our students find their strengths and grow into young professionals who are fully prepared to do good in the world,” Murdock said. “Lorena and Amanda have crafted Fulbright projects that make exquisite use of their CBSC skills as well as the individual talents that make each of them so special. The CBSC faculty are very proud that they have found these avenues for serving the greater good.”

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