Hoyle awarded Phi Kappa Phi dissertation fellowship

Jessica Hoyle, a doctoral candidate in public health sciences in the College of Health and Human Services, recently received a $10,000 dissertation fellowship from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

This award supports active Phi Kappa Phi members in the dissertation writing stage of their doctoral study; it is given to 15 students annually to support 12 months of dissertation writing. Hoyle is the second UNC Charlotte recipient of this award.

“The Charlotte chapter of Phi Kappa Phi is thrilled by the news of Hoyle’s dissertation fellowship award,” said Stephanie Norander, Phi Kappa Phi Charlotte chapter president. “This award reflects the commitment to lifelong learning and academic excellence fostered by Phi Kappa Phi. Hoyle’s success will be a memorable moment in our chapter’s long history.”

Hoyle plans to use the fellowship to help her prioritize time to research, work and write her dissertation. As a full-time lecturer, a wife and mom to two young children, finding dedicated time to focus on her research can be difficult.

“I am fortunate enough to have a supportive husband and a flexible schedule; however, I am the primary caregiver, which can make it incredibly difficult to prioritize working time when my children are at home during school breaks,” said Hoyle. “This award allows me the financial flexibility to hire childcare, which allows me to structure and dedicate significant protected writing time even during schedule disruptions.”

Through her research, Hoyle seeks to further population-level research on individuals with developmental disabilities to better understand their health in relationship to behavioral, social and environmental factors. Her work focuses on the critical period from childhood to emerging adulthood.

“People with developmental disabilities are connected to fewer people, so they often have limited social capital, therefore limiting their ability to benefit from knowledge and opportunities that others take for granted,” said Hoyle. “My dissertation focuses on the role of social capital (the resources, both tangible and intangible, we get from the people we know) in the lives of people with developmental disabilities.”

Hoyle hopes to expand this research in the future by studying adults and older adults with developmental disabilities.

Hoyle has attended UNC Charlotte since fall 2018 and has been a member of the Charlotte chapter of Phi Kappa Phi since 2019. She is no stranger to Phi Kappa Phi’s support, as she has received a couple of the society’s Love of Learning awards to support conference travel.

“One of the great things about Phi Kappa Phi is how the organization supports its members’ pursuit of education and learning,” said Hoyle who expressed appreciation for retired faculty members Sarah and Jim Laditka.

“[Drs. Laditka] have given me opportunities to participate in research, which is the best way to learn how to conduct research,” said Hoyle. “They have been incredible role models of professionalism. I really cannot say enough about their impact on my time at UNC Charlotte. I owe so much of my success to their mentorship, encouragement and support.”

Hoyle has published six peer-reviewed studies, presented 15 papers at conferences and taught more than 600 students this academic year. She completed a certificate of graduate studies in gerontology from UNC Charlotte. Her master’s and bachelor’s degrees in music therapy are from Appalachian State University.

For more information about the Charlotte chapter of Phi Kappa Phi, email Stephanie Norander, chapter president, at snorande@uncc.edu.