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Social Policy Grant Furthers Psychology Graduate Student’s Research

This fall, Applied Psychology Graduate student Ashley Boal was named a Society for Community Research and Action's Policy Initiative Grant recipient. Designed to fund and encourage public policy research, Boal will use this grant to complete her dissertation on Oregon’s batterer intervention programs policy. Boal answers questions about her work at PSU and her plans for using the grant:

What is the focus of your graduate research? 

Currently I am a 4th year graduate student in the Applied Social and Community Psychology doctoral program. During the course of my time at Portland State I have worked with Dr. Eric Mankowski to conduct research that focuses on intervention programs for intimate partner violence offenders known as batterer intervention programs.


In particular I am interested in the intersection of research and social policy. My dissertation will focus on the implementation of state policy for batterer intervention programs in Oregon.

How does this award impact your dissertation?

The Public Policy Initiative Grant is crucial to my dissertation work as it will allow me to not only survey programs throughout Oregon, but to travel across the state to conduct interviews. I hope to better understand their responses to the policy as well as their experience implementing it. It also provides me with the funding to purchase all of the necessary equipment and programs to effectively complete the study. 

What’s next?


Findings from the study will be presented back to the committee so that they have the potential to actually impact policy. This project is being conducted in collaboration with the group that created and maintains this policy, the Oregon Attorney General's Standards Advisory Committee, receiving this funding reinforces Portland State's mission to work within and serve the community. 


Why did you choose PSU’s Applied Psychology Program?

I chose to study at Portland State University for a number of reasons.  Most importantly I was very interested in the research that Dr. Eric Mankowski conducts and I wanted to work with him on those research topics.  Additionally, I appreciate the applied nature of the psychology graduate program.  The program focuses on rigorous training to conduct research that is relevant to addressing real world issues; it resonates with my own philosophy and interests. 

My time at Portland State has given me a great deal of insight into how to make research relevant and useful to those in the community and receiving this grant is a testament to the importance of those goals.