Long Island University, Brooklyn Campus Psychology Doctoral Student Recognized for Humanitarian Work
Ilana Kramer to Receive Prestigious K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award from Association of American Colleges and Universities
Helen Saffran,Associate Director of Public Relations
Long Island University
Brooklyn, N.Y. – A summer in war-torn Burma, a semester working with vulnerable youths in Kenya and three years in the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office working with teenage victims of sex abuse helped earn Ilana Kramer – a third-year student in the clinical psychology doctoral program at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award for 2010 from the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U).
The 28-year-old from Prospect Heights was one of only nine students nationwide this year to be recognized with the prestigious award, which she will receive at the AAC&U’s conference in Washington, D.C., held Jan. 20-23.
“Ilana Kramer is well known within the program for her commitment to humanitarian work, both internationally and in this country,” said Dr. Nicholas Papouchis, director of clinical training in the Ph.D. psychology program. “She is one of a large group of Ph.D. students who are dedicated to working with the diverse student body at the Brooklyn Campus. These students are much sought after as trainees by the larger psychological community."
Kramer said earning the award would not have been possible without the support of the higher education community.
“This support has allowed my teaching to extend far beyond the traditional classroom setting, whether working with orphaned Kenyan youth or teaching Burmese refugee girls about human rights and gender violence,” she said. “Teaching and learning is at its very best when the flow between academia and community work is continuous and far-reaching. Receiving this award affirms me as I pursue this vision of education."
Kramer was an undergraduate student at Cornell University when she developed an interest in studying the behavior of adolescents coping with trauma. As a senior, she studied in Ghana, working with vulnerable youths on issues of gender and violence. “While in Ghana, I really saw a need for a global view of mental health issues. The power of learning the perspective of another culture is an important tool for a clinician,” asserted Kramer, who grew up in Vernon, N.J.
From 2004-2007, while completing her master’s degree in humanities and social thought at New York University, she worked for three years in the Brooklyn D.A.’s office as a counselor for Safe Horizons, dealing with adolescent girls suffering from sexual trauma. During the summers of 2007 and 2008, she worked on the Thai-Burma border with Burmese refugee women. “I was teaching them skills in mental health counseling, so they could go back into their communities to help others who had suffered from the human rights abuses inflicted upon them by the Burmese military,” she said.
As a doctoral student at Long Island University’s Brooklyn Campus, Kramer has worked as a graduate assistant for Gladys Schrynemakers, assistant provost of the Brooklyn Campus, and she has traveled with psychology professor Joan Duncan to Kenya, where the pair conducted community work that addressed vulnerable youth issues.
The rigorous application process for the K. Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award is open to all doctoral level students planning a career in higher education. Candidates must “demonstrate a commitment to developing academic and civic responsibility in themselves and others.”
“The Cross Scholars represent the finest in a new generation of faculty members who will be leading higher education in the next decades,” AAC&U President Carol Geary Schneider said.
Ilana Kramer, who plans to graduate in Spring of 2012, hopes to go on to a career in higher education, while also continuing her work on the grassroots level, working with trauma populations, locally and internationally.
“It’s true that I came into my doctoral program primed with a passion to work on trauma issues, but I must give credit to my peers and faculty,” she said. “The hundreds of teaching moments I’ve experienced pushed me towards my goals in the field. There is a sense of community here that I’ve never experienced in academia, an enormous humanity of spirit among faculty and students in the program, and I thrive in it.”
For more information about Long Island University’s Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology call the Admissions Office at 718-488-1011; or the Clinical Psychology Department at 718-488-1164.
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