Kenny Feder recently joined the Moore Center team and is a PhD candidate in the Department of Mental Health. He received a BA from Wesleyan University in 2012 and majored in both Physics and Psychology. After graduating, he completed a Fellowship at Connecticut Voices for Children, a think tank that uses research and advocacy to promote policies in the best interests of Connecticut's children.
“For most of my time at Voices, my work focused on defending the rights of children in the State's foster care system. This work was rewarding, but also frustrating, because while a lot was being done to support victims of abuse and neglect, very little was being done to actually prevent abuse and neglect in the first place. This sparked my interest in public health and prevention research,” he says.
Kenny relocated to Baltimore this month and will start his PhD program in the fall. Having friends in Baltimore has helped his transition, and he sees many similarities with his native Philadelphia.
“Baltimore is similar to Philly in a lot of ways, most of all because it has so many neighborhoods, each with a distinctive character. I'm enjoying the process of getting to know the little cities within the city,” he says.
Kenny believes that his work with Dr. Elizabeth Letourneau at the Moore Center over the next few years will give him the experience and opportunity to combine his interest in public health policy and his desire to make communities safer for vulnerable children.
“I came to Hopkins because of the opportunity to work on sexual abuse prevention at the Moore Center. In my experience, child sexual abuse seems so scary and intractable that even professional advocates often shy away from the topic. At the Moore Center, we want to use research and evidence to change the way the public thinks about child sexual abuse from inevitable to preventable,” he says.
Kenny also brings with him a passion for teaching, playing music and singing. “I worked as a middle school physics teacher in an enrichment program for high-achieving, low-income students from Philadelphia. I was also involved with arts and music at Wesleyan, performing in a few plays and directing a student a cappella group. I love music, and I play the guitar and sing. I'm hoping I have the time to keep that up once I dive into the PhD program.”
True to his high-achieving nature, Kenny is already looking ahead to life after Hopkins. “I think I could be happy working in academia, a think tank or in a public health or child welfare agency, and in my dream world, I'd like to spend time working in each of the three. But regardless of where I do it, what I want to do is work to prevent childhood victimization.”