University of Vermont

Chelsea Fifield, CESS Social Work senior a NEERO Presenter

Chelsea Fifield

Chelsea Fifield, a senior in CESS Social Work Department and the Honors College garnered high praise for her poster presentation, The Professional Interface of Intimate Partner Violence and Restorative Justice, at the recent meeting of the New England Educational Research Organization (NEERO), held Wednesday, May 2nd through Friday, May 4th in Portsmouth, NH. 


 “As an undergraduate I was certainly in the minority there, “ she said, speaking of the conference participants in her poster session, most of whom, she explained were Master’s and Doctoral students.  A look at the conference program for her poster session includes among the presenters several faculty members as well. 


“I was told continuously how amazing and professional my poster was, and how professionally I delivered a synopsis of my research in conjunction with my professional attire,” she said confidently.  Chelsea carried out her research study into IPV and RJ for her senior thesis, completed under the careful and expert guidance of her advisor, Professor Holly Lynn-Busier.   


Chelsea explained that since her advisor was not able to attend the conference because of her teaching commitments, “numerous people commented on how great it was that as an undergraduate I had carried out what they identified as ‘rigorous’ research and that I was confident to come to the conference and present my study on my own.”  This was in contrast to most of the 15 or so other undergrads at the conference that came with their advisors in tow to help explain what they had done.   


As for her research, Chelsea said that while “both intimate partner violence and restorative justice approaches have existed for centuries worldwide,” what set her study at the cutting edge was “the use of restorative justice within cases of intimate partner violence.” She continued, “over the past decade this topic has become a hot button issue, perhaps most notably in Vermont, with its leadership in both domestic violence advocacy and restorative justice approaches, making the University of Vermont and CESS the ideal research site for such exploration.” 


Again, speaking of her conference experience, she said, “I think it was a real reflection of the quality of research that the College of Education and Social Services prepares us as students to carry out and professionally present, in conjunction,” she continued, “with the amazing support that our advisors provide us with, signally out for special praise, her advisor, Professor Holly Lynn-Busier.   


She added that “being a CESS student provides you with the people skills necessary to carry out concrete and credible qualitative and quantitative research and the creative mindset to really get in there and analyze the data from multiple perspectives.”  And in an tribute to her program, she made it clear that “CESS prepares you to be a ‘relatable professional,’ if you will, in that you are taught to know and take value in what it means to carry yourself like a professional while also being welcoming and open-minded.” 


As to her plans after graduation, Chelsea said that she was moving to Florida, where she hopes to pursue a career in social work.  After gaining a couple of years experience, she said she would most likely attend graduate school to obtain my M.S. W.  And while her plans after that were up in the air, she was “excited to get out there, gain experience, and leave all my options open so I do not miss out on any of them!”