A public policy PhD candidate at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa has been selected for a prestigious international fellowship. Cambodian native Soksamphoas Im, in the College of Social Sciences’ Department of Political Science, was selected for the American Association of University Women (AAUW) International Doctoral Fellowship during the 2019–2020 year. The fellowship provides a $20,000 award towards her dissertation research on the emergence of Cambodia’s new national aging policy, which focuses on elderly rights and economic opportunities.
Im will embark on original fieldwork in Cambodia to study the national and global networks that led to the development of the new policy, as well as its impact on elderly populations. Like other developing countries, Cambodia is responding to changes in population demographics, economic insecurity and family structures that leave older citizens particularly vulnerable. She hopes that her dissertation will contribute to important conversations about the rights of the elderly in developing countries, such as whether this new rights-based approach will reduce poverty and age discrimination in Cambodia.
“Being selected as an AAUW award recipient is an honor and privilege as the fellowship allows me not only to continue my PhD program but also help me to accomplish my dissertation research project in a timely manner. I hope to inspire other female graduate students at UH Mānoa to apply for AAUW distinguish fellowship,” said Im.
In the future, Im hopes to work towards policies that protect the needs of all vulnerable populations, such as older persons, disabled persons, children and low-income families.
“This award will allow Im to do important and unprecedented fieldwork such as interviewing local and global policy makers and activists that are working to improve rights and protections for Cambodia’s aging population,” said Katharina Heyer, associate professor in UH Mānoa’s department of political science.
More information about AAUW‘s educational funding and awards can be found here. Deadlines to apply for AAUW‘s funding are between November to December 1.