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2021 Disability Research Mentorship Program for Black Graduate Students

Since 1969, CQL | The Council on Quality and Leadership has been a leader in working with human service organizations and systems to continuously define, measure, and improve quality of life and quality of services for youth, adults, and older adults with disabilities. The vision of CQL is a world of dignity, opportunity, and community for all people. The fight against injustice and for equality is embedded into this vision.

Last year, in the wake of the protests which continue to call out the glaring racial injustices and horrific police brutality affecting the lives of Black people across the country, CQL introduced a research mentorship program for Black graduate students studying disability. We recognize that systemic racism, prejudice, and microaggressions impact who gets funding and research opportunities. Yet, academic and research job candidates are often judged on their history of publications and presentations. CQL’s research mentorship program is specifically aimed at helping provide Black students with opportunities to build up their resumes with research publications.

The CQL Disability Research Mentorship Program for Black Graduate Students provides students with access to a large dataset to analyze. We also support and mentor each student as they navigate the research and peer-review publication process utilizing this data. We anticipate by the end of the Mentorship program students will have an accepted/in-press or under review peer-reviewed journal article (sole or first author) which they can add to their CV. Students will also have an opportunity to present their work.

Available Data

Students in the Mentorship Program will be able to utilize Personal Outcome Measures® (POM) quality of life data about people with disabilities to formulate and explore their research questions. The POM is a person-centered quality of life tool, exploring the presence, importance, and achievement of outcomes, along with the supports that help people achieve those outcomes.

Our POM data, which encompasses interviews from thousands of people with disabilities, includes approximately 400 variables, comprising of demographic data and quality of life areas, including:

  • Safety
  • Abuse and neglect
  • Best possible health
  • Continuity and security
  • Rights
  • Treated fairly (due process)
  • Respect
  • Using environments
  • Living in integrated environments
  • Interacting with other members of the community
  • Participating in the life of the community
  • Natural support networks
  • Friends
  • Intimate relationships
  • Deciding when to share personal information
  • Social roles
  • Choosing where and with whom to live
  • Choosing where they work
  • Choosing services
  • Choosing personal goals
  • Realizing personal goals

To examine the specific data included, please see the POM manual, specifically the decision-making question pages (demographic variables are listed on p. 85). The data is quantitative; however, if you don’t have a quantitative background, you can still participate – we can co-analyze and co-write the findings with you.

To help guide the development of your research ideas, examples of a few of our studies using these data include:

If you have questions about the data, or would like to discuss your research idea to see if it is feasible please contact CQL’s Director of Research Carli Friedman.

Mentorship Program Process

CQL’s Director of Research, Carli Friedman, PhD, and CQL’s President and CEO, Mary Kay Rizzolo, PhD, serve as mentors for this program. Both Carli and Mary Kay have extensive experience with mixed methods disability research, journal articles, and peer review.

As part of this mentorship program, students will receive guidance about conducting research for publication and navigating the peer review process. We will help provide guidance for students in refining research topics, conducting the analysis, structuring and writing the journal article, submitting the article for peer review, and responding to feedback from peer reviewers. If applicable, we are also happy to sign off on independent study hours for your graduate program.

This program is designed to support Black graduate students to build up their CV, not increase their burden. As such, the length of the mentorship program is flexible. While we plan to offer ongoing support and believe this program will last about a year, we will work with the selected students to determine the best timeline for them given their workload and other responsibilities.

How to Apply

Prior to applying, please review the POM manual to ensure your research idea fits within the bounds of the available data.

If interested in applying for the 2021 Disability Research Mentorship Program for Black Graduate Students, please complete the following application.

  • Applicants must be a Black graduate student in the United States studying disability.
  • Black graduate students with disabilities are especially encouraged to apply.
  • Background in quantitative research or a history of peer-reviewed publications is not required.
  • Applications will be judged on the proposed research project and its relevance to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities.
  • The application asks:
    • Please tell us a little about what you are studying in grad school and what your academic interests are, including how they relate to people with disabilities.
    • What do you hope to do after you graduate?
    • What in particular would you like to explore with CQL’s Personal Outcome Measures data (e.g., research idea)? Why is your research idea important?
    • CV/Resume
    • Writing sample (optional)

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until this year’s mentorship student/s have been selected. We will begin reviewing applications in June 2021.

We are no longer accepting applications. Thank you for your interest and please check back again next year!

Please direct questions to Carli Friedman.