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Five Questions with Faculty: Catherine Lawrence

Catherine Lawrence enjoys the tulips in Washington Park, one of the benefits of working on the Downtown Campus. (Photo by Mark Schmidt)

ALBANY, N.Y. (May 17, 2017) — Catherine K. Lawrence came to UAlbany as a Master’s student at the School of Social Welfare (SSW) says that at each step on her career path, a door opened for her at the University.

“Thus I became a PhD student, then a federally funded Research Professor and now a member of the faculty,” said Lawrence, an assistant professor at SSW who specializes in issues of poverty, child welfare and the distribution of social goods in the United States.

What are you working on now?

I am part of the research team of the National Child Welfare Workforce Institute. We are working on an internal and external racial equity agenda, and I am excited about combining my social work skills and my research skills on this project.

What made you decide to pursue your field?

I decided to get a PhD after finishing my Master’s of Social Work out of a craving to study social problems and social policy more deeply.

If you weren’t teaching at a university, what would you be doing?

I would probably run for elected office. But don’t hold me to that!

What was your first job?

My first job was as a field biologist and environmental educator in Missouri. I worked with the Missouri Botanical Garden and the St. Louis Regional Outdoor Education Center. Missouri has amazing natural beauty, although not enough snow.

What’s the best thing about working at UAlbany?

In addition to so many lovely people, the best thing about working at UAlbany’s Downtown Campus is that I can walk to the park AND to the state Capitol and so cover my love of nature and my love of politics in the same walk.

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