Psychology Bilinski Fellows
What is the Bilinski Fellowship?
The Bilinski Educational Foundation was established in honor of Russell Bilinski, a researcher, professor and entrepreneur and his wife Dorothy Bilinski, an adept artist. The Bilinski Fellowship is an extension of the foundation that awards $30,000 to doctoral candidates who are ambitious and responsible during their graduation year. Typically, this final year is spent writing and completing a dissertation. This allows doctoral candidates to devote time solely to their dissertation without worrying about other obligations.
Rosie Shrout, a psychology Ph.D. candidate from the University of Nevada, Reno was awarded a Bilinski Fellowship for 2018-2019. Her dissertation looks at how couples cope with concealable chronic illnesses.
Shrout is recruiting couples from a variety of Nevada colleges, through an online survey that asks how the couples communicate and manage illness. Shrout's research observes how couples deal with stressors, with her primary research interests in relationships and health. She wants to see how the couples manage illness together and how the relationship affects each individual, specifically, "How one person's physical and mental health impacts the other person's physical and mental health," said Shrout. Shrout is analyzing how mental illness, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and sleep disorders affect communication and coping strategies in a relationship. She also notes, "how stressful the illness is to the afflicted individual is also important." Overall her analysis will determine what makes couples succeed in coping and what causes couples to fail and drift apart.
Having a Bilinski Fellowship has given Shrout the time to focus on her ambitious dissertation and will help give her time to seek employment in academia.
Catalina Vechiu, a psychology doctoral candidate from the University of Nevada, Reno was awarded a Bilinski Fellowship for 2018-2019. Her dissertation utilizes a website she has designed to determine the effectiveness of web-based psychoeducational intervention in people with a history of trauma.
Vechiu was inspired by her patients while working as a behavioral health extern at Community Health Alliance. According to Vechiu, "There is a dire need for psychological interventions that increase access to care for individuals in Nevada." She realized that many of her patients were able to attend their medical appointments, but few sought out treatment for their mental health. She believes that by providing her patients with information about trauma treatment between appointments, her patients will be inclined to seek treatment. She will be recruiting patients and performing an experiment utilizing her website. For one week, she will follow two groups of participants to see if those who were offered the website were more likely to seek treatment.
Vechiu aspires to become a psychologist in an academic medical health center in Chicago, Ill. Of her future Vechiu said, "I hope to alleviate suffering and develop interventions that will have a meaningful impact on the lives of other people."