Cary Carr awarded Lockhart Dissertation Award

By Katarina Fiorentino Klatzkow

Cary Carr, M.P.H., a public health Ph.D. student with a concentration in social and behavioral sciences, was selected for this year’s Madelyn Lockhart Dissertation Fellowship. Awarded by the Association for Academic Women at the University of Florida, one Ph.D. student from any UF Ph.D. program is chosen each year. This prestigious recognition celebrates an outstanding researcher who has overcome challenges, positively contributing to their campus and local community.

Cary Carr, M.P.H., a public health Ph.D. student.

The award honors and celebrates the life of Dr. Madelyn Lockhart, former dean of the Graduate School and dean of International Studies and Programs. Passionate about helping students achieve their dreams, Lockhart established this fellowship program to support the work of Ph.D. students defending their dissertations.

Carr has dedicated her academic and professional career to working with non-profit groups, and advocating for survivors of violence and abuse. Her primary research interests include sex worker’s rights, violence prevention, sexual wellbeing, body image and feminist methodologies.

“I was incredibly honored to receive this award. During my Ph.D., I have faced many personal challenges, and there were times I seriously doubted if I would be able to graduate,” Carr said. “Some of the challenges I faced stemmed from the same structures I fight against within my work and research and created significant financial issues that I did not anticipate navigating, especially as a single mother during the start of my program.”

The fellowship awarded $2,000 to assist in the dissertation phase of Carr’s doctoral studies.

Carr’s dissertation examines the current landscape of violence prevention for sex workers in the United States, as well as the urgent need for evidence-based interventions that take a comprehensive approach to improving sex workers’ health and overall well-being. Additionally, her research explores care barriers facing sexual violence service providers, with aims of developing comprehensive recommendations for improved violence prevention and response for sex workers.

“In my work in violence prevention with nonprofits, I recognized that there was very little funding allocated toward prevention and I decided I wanted to understand more about how to address the root causes of violence. My goal is to pursue a career as a researcher and instructor in which I can work with students on community-driven research,” she said.

Carr with her family.

The fellowship selection committee was highly impressed with her ability to articulate the importance and transformative potential of her dissertation work and felt that her publications, presentations and outreach activities, which extended over and above the call of duty required during her research, elevated the transformative potential of her work.

Additionally, they commended her on her academic achievement, compassion for helping communities and individuals within those communities, and dedication to helping others overcome challenges.

“Until all of us are free from sexual violence, none of us are free. That means that our response services, prevention interventions and policies must be developed through an intersectional lens,” she said. “I believe that sex workers were some of the original feminists, and that their voices and perspectives are critical to future violence prevention efforts, including the prevention of sex trafficking.”

Ultimately, this fellowship supports Carr’s mission of incorporating a public health lens to prevent violence.

“Receiving this award has inspired me to continue my work and hopefully foster safe spaces for all survivors of violence,” she said.