Katie Hastings (on the far left), our 2015 Burberry Award winner and current HDI research assistant, was honored last week with AUCD’s Anne Rudigier Award. This award recognizes an outstanding student demonstrating a commitment to supporting people with developmental disabilities and their families. Dr. Kathleen Sheppard-Jones shared that “this is AUCD’s highest pre-professional award and a powerful example of the high quality trainees that work and learn at HDI.”
Hastings is an HDI Graduate Certificate student and a Research Assistant for the KY Peer Support/Network Project, where she has contributed tremendous energy and passion toward helping students with intellectual disabilities develop friendships and join their communities. She is a doctoral student in the UK School Psychology program, and she serves on the board of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Kentucky and works directly with a young lady with Down syndrome to access supports. Hastings has been very proactive and demonstrated tremendous individual leadership in recruiting students to participate in the KY Peer Support/Network Project and developing a Student Leadership module to train students with disabilities to take on leadership roles at school.
I have been the research assistant on the KY Peer Support Network Project since January 2014. My primary role is to support my designated pilot site schools and monitor data collection from each of our schools every month. My favorite part of the job is visiting with my pilot sites; I travel to each of my 3 schools once a month. I have developed some great relationships with my contacts at the schools and have even gotten to know some of the students! I also love presenting to different groups about the project. I have been involved with presentations to the Kentucky Exceptional Children’s Conference, Kentucky Association for Psychology in the Schools, and the Down Syndrome Association of Central Kentucky. Of all the environments I find myself in as a graduate student, HDI and this project are my favorites! –Katie Hastings