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McNair Scholar 2013Lekie Dwanyen

Lekie Dwanyen is a senior at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, majoring in Family Social Science. Her educational goals consist of obtaining a Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy, followed by her Ph.D. in the same discipline. Lekie is especially interested in the provision of counseling and therapy for children who are emotionally disadvantaged by family dysfunction such as divorce and abuse.

Lekie Dwanyen photo
My dream is to utilize the invaluable learning experiences I acquire during my education in a way that benefits my communities and the families within them. No matter one's definition of family, it is unit that largely influences our existence, a unit that works best when strengthened. My goal is to be a tool within the kit of family empowerment.

Research project

The Maternal Experiences of HIV-Positive Women

Abstract: The United States maternal care system is one that is in charge of providing comprehensive knowledge and preparation for expecting mothers. The U.S. is also a nation where the largest percentage of new infections of HIV among women in 2010 occurred in those between the ages of 25-34 years old, the prime childbearing ages (CDC, 2012). Little research has focused on the provision of specialized maternal care for these women. The purpose of this study is to explore the maternal experiences of HIV-positive women in order to determine what their physical, psychological, and social needs would be for the potential development of a specialized childbirth curriculum. A strategic meta-analysis was used to evaluate studies identified for inclusion. The effect of stigma and social messages on the mother's health and perception of her own experience, barriers and fears about parenting, attitudes towards health care and specific parenting issues that emerge during parenthood were all themes related to the maternal experience. Download poster. [PDF]

Faculty profile

Dr. Shonda M. Craft is an assistant professor in the Department of Family Social Science at The University of Minnesota- Twin Cities. Dr. Craft attended The Ohio State University where she received her Bachelor's degree in Psychology, her Master's Degree in Family Social Science, followed by her Ph.D. in Marriage and Family Therapy. Her research interests include Marriage and Family Therapy, Cultural Identity, Sexuality and Public Health, and Intimate Partner Violence. Dr. Craft is published in multiple research journals including but not limited to AIDS Education and Prevention, Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, and Journal of Interpersonal Violence.