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Student Spotlight: Amanda Fackler, PhD

Amanda Fackler

Amanda Fackler is a student in the College’s PhD program.  She is working as the GRA for Dr. David Patterson on his homelessness project, and is excited to work on such an important endeavor. “It’s such an honor to work with Dr. Patterson, Fackler said. “I count myself very privileged to join him and the Knoxville Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) team in the critical work they are doing. I will be assisting in community engagement, data analysis, and reporting of the coordination of care and services delivery outcomes for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. In addition to my desire to learn more about the research being done, working with Dr. Patterson and his team is an opportunity of a lifetime.”

As a PhD student, Fackler acknowledges that the experience feels much more creative and collaborative than her previous educational experiences have been. “The undergraduate and graduate school experience felt more like an exercise in knowledge acquisition to be utilized in practice,” she explained. “In contrast, this experience is an exercise in creative thinking and collaboration to build upon knowledge in the field of social work.  It probably goes without saying, but so much of this experience is affected by the pandemic in which we find ourselves. I long for the day when we can gather together with one another in person to discuss ideas and one another’s work and progress.” 

Once she completes her PhD, Fackler hopes to work toward faculty tenure. “My ultimate goal is to research and teach,” she stated. “My primary research interests are related to the Grand Challenges for Social Work, specifically building a stronger social fabric through creating social responses to a changing environment. I strongly believe in the Societal Goal of the Grand Challenges which states ‘we aim to catalyze social responses that strengthen individual and community capacities for anticipating and adapting to environmental changes, particularly for vulnerable groups, and reduce inequities in exposure to environmental risks and access to needed resources.’ I look forward to doing my part to make a difference.”