UK College of Social Work Doctoral Student Receives Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGESW) Fellowship

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Rujeko Machinga, a Ph.D. student in the College of Social Work at the University of Kentucky, has been recognized as a pre-dissertation fellow of the Association for Gerontology Education in Social Work (AGESW).

The AGESW pre-dissertation fellowship program provides students with a range of professional development opportunities, including working with nationally recognized faculty experts in Gerontological Social Work.

“I am honored and excited for this opportunity,” Rujeko said. “As an aspiring gerontology scholar, my future will significantly benefit from this fellowship.”

Rujeko credits her upbringing in Zimbabwe for her interest in social work. Having been raised in the philosophy of Ubuntu—which Rujeko says emphasizes compassion, human dignity, and collective unity—she was inspired to make a difference in her community through a career in human services.

Rujeko’s research explores the often-invisible relationship between intimate partner violence and older adults. She has previously collaborated on research, manuscripts, and conference presentations on topics ranging from HIV risk predictors among older adults to the sexual health of Black women.

“It is such an exciting time for gerontological social work,” said Rujeko. “I intend to place gerontology perspectives on the map and adequately prepare the next generation of gerontology social work leaders.”

Dr. Jay Miller, dean of the College of Social Work, said the college is proud of Rujeko’s accomplishments.

“Her work serves as an example of the impact our students can have,” Dean Miller said. “We look forward to seeing how Rujeko progresses and the contributions she will make to AGESW via this amazing opportunity.”

Rujeko currently serves as a Student Board Member for AGESW and is a Chapter Parliamentarian for the Association of Black Social Workers. She is an ad-hoc reviewer for the Journal of Gerontological Social Work and serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for Psychotherapy, Counselling, and Care Services in Zimbabwe.

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For 85 years, the University of Kentucky College of Social Work (CoSW) has been a leader in social work education. As a college, we promote community and individual well-being through translational research and scholarship, exemplary teaching, and vital community engagement. We are committed to the people and social institutions throughout Kentucky, the nation, and the world. Like the University, CoSW is an organization that cultivates a diverse academic community characterized by interpersonal fairness and social justice. We are fiercely committed to developing outstanding social work professionals — leaders who will serve individuals, families, and communities through innovative and effective practices that are guided by cultural competency, systematic ethical analysis, and a keen and pragmatic understanding of the human condition.