CAMDEN — The Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers–Camden has named Stephen Bernardini, of Sicklerville, one of two recipients of its prestigious David K. Sengstack Graduate Fellowship for 2012-13.
The fund supports the best and brightest graduate students as they study childhood while pursuing their doctoral degrees at Rutgers–Camden in the nation’s very first PhD program in this burgeoning scholarly discipline.
Matthew B. Prickett, of Audubon, was also awarded a fellowship.
“The Sengstack Fellowship really helps validate the hard work and dedication of the Childhood Studies graduate students,” Bernardini says. “It is a personal honor because it shows how the department values my academic achievements and service. The award motivates me to do the best research that I can do and that drive is what will ultimately help me craft a truly outstanding dissertation.”
In addition to pursuing his doctoral degree at Rutgers–Camden, Bernardini is a graduate research assistant and teaches a course titled “Childhood and Sexuality.”
As a Rutgers–Camden undergraduate, Bernardini took on childhood studies as an academic minor and says he was immediately drawn to the field. He received his bachelor’s degree in psychology from Rutgers–Camden in 2009.
“I really believe that helping to shape the field of childhood studies through my own work, and the work I have been able to do with the faculty members in my department, has started to allow more people to understand children and childhood in new and different — and hopefully better — ways,” he says.
Bernardini’s dissertation research focuses on examining the ways people think and feel about young people and sexuality.
“I use ideas from risk theory, queer studies, and childhood studies to investigate how people think and feel about child sexuality at a social and cultural level,” he says. “I feel my research is crucial to understanding children and childhood and helping others to think about their own work in relation to young people.”
The Sengstack Fellowship was established in 2008 and is awarded to full-time graduate students based upon academic merit and financial need. The Sengstack Foundation seeks to support and nurture issues related to children.
The Department of Childhood Studies at Rutgers–Camden offers bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD programs that put the issues, concepts, and debates surrounding the study of children at the center of its research and teaching missions.
Through a multidisciplinary approach, the Rutgers–Camden childhood studies program aims to situate the study of children and childhood within contemporary cultural and global contexts.
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Media Contact: Ed Moorhouse