The Hayley Petit Injury and Violence Prevention Fellowship awards young women enrolled in a college or university with a stipend from the Petit Family Foundation to study injury and violence prevention with Connecticut Children’s experts.

After running successfully for five summers, the program expanded in the fall of 2019 to offer fellowships to college students during the fall and spring semesters. The program provides Fellows with an opportunity to shadow staff members in different clinical areas throughout Connecticut Children’s. The Fellows also develop research proposals that fit within their own unique interests. The Injury Prevention Center’s focus areas include intimate partner violence, teen driving safety, youth suicide prevention, and elderly fall prevention.

Apply for the Hayley Petit Injury and Violence Prevention Fellowship

Spring 2024

Download the Fellowship application information.

Petit Fellow Applications 

Applications Due


Start Week

End Week

Summer 2024

Monday June 3, 2024

Friday June 7, 2024

Monday June 10, 2024

Monday August 5, 2024

Fall 2024

Monday October 7, 2024

Friday October 11, 2024

Monday October 14, 2024

Monday December 9, 2024

Spring 2025

Monday February 3, 2025

Friday February 7, 2025

Monday February 10, 2025

Monday April 7, 2025


Stewardship Report

Read the Hayley Petit Injury and Violence Prevention Fellowship stewardship report prepared for the sponsor, the Petit Family Foundation. 

Fellowship Testimonials

Maliha Ahsan, Eastern Connecticut State University

During the summer of 2018, I was chosen as one of the four women recipients of the Hayley Petit Injury & Violence Prevention Fellowship. I am thankful for the relentless support I’ve received from Garry Lapidus PA-C, MPH, the team at Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center (IPC), additional staff from Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, and my remarkable peers during the five week program. This fellowship was funded by the Petit Family Foundation in honor of Hayley Petit and her resilience, strength, and advocacy.

This experience exceeds what I can justify into words. Over the course of my time at the IPC, I was given the privilege of working side by side with highly educated and trained individuals in the field of injury and violence prevention. I was able to expand my knowledge by reading scholarly articles, participating in group book discussions, receiving short lessons on research methods, facilitating my own research proposal on the prevalence of violence in public school districts, and watching video documentaries/movies. I was also provided the rare exposure of attending Pediatric Grand Rounds sessions and clinical job shadowing with the orthopedics department at Connecticut Children’s. We discussed relevant issues in our society today, such as Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), teen driving safety, and youth suicide. All in all, the information I learned has opened my eyes to societal concerns that I have never acknowledged prior to this fellowship.

The mission of this fellowship became quite apparent—that injuries and violence, whether intentional or unintentional, are very much predictable and preventable acts. We—as young aspiring professionals—are here to enrich lives. We shine a spotlight, only to stand outside of it. We draw strength from our differences and using collaboration and different perspectives, we draw strength and resilience. We all recognize a piece of ourselves in others and hope to leave this world a better place than we found it. We are here to do the best work of our lives. I am beyond grateful for this opportunity.

Natalie Wickenheisser, University of Connecticut

The Hayley Petit Injury & Violence Prevention Fellowship was a unique and in-depth experience that I will carry with me throughout my career in healthcare. I had the opportunity to learn so much, apply my knowledge to real-world problems through the creation of a novel research proposal, and got to know the wonderful staff at Connecticut Children’s Injury Prevention Center. Through this fellowship, I was exposed to how essential the field of public health is to medicine, and have become inspired to incorporate public health advocacy into my career as a healthcare provider. It was a truly remarkable experience to be able to work side by side with the incredibly bright young women who were accepted into the program.

I am so thankful to the Petit Family Foundation for this opportunity, and I highly recommend it to other young women in science.

Maggie McGeary, Villanova University

The Hayley Petit Injury & Violence Prevention Fellowship at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center has opened my eyes to the capacity for change across all patient care settings and for the community as a whole. I applied to this fellowship with the hope of gaining a new perspective into holistic patient care and within the first week, it had already exceeded my expectations.

Throughout this summer, we gained a deep understanding of the history of injury prevention and the possibilities it holds for the future. We were able to shadow in various units throughout Connecticut Children’s, attend Pediatric Grand Rounds sessions, and work with the incredible Injury Prevention Center research staff to develop individual research proposals. Each staff member carefully supported and mentored us in pursuing our own research ideas, helping each fellow to form research projects that can be carried out in the future. Through this mentorship, they provided us with countless resources and vast knowledge for our future careers.

The importance of everything we learned throughout this fellowship became especially clear when I shadowed in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Operating Room. I was able to see injury prevention in every step the doctors and nurses took and recognize how I can implement it in my future as a nurse. Through opportunities like this, I have learned to never accept circumstances as fixed because there is always room for improvement. Everything we have learned during this fellowship has implications into our futures in healthcare and will guide us to be leaders in patient care in our careers.

The Hayley Petit Injury & Violence Prevention Fellowship has empowered me, and the other young women, to make change, not in two years when I graduate, but beginning today as a nursing student. I am so grateful to have been part of this opportunity as I know the things I have learned throughout this fellowship will remain at the very core of my nursing education and have a significant impact on my nursing career in the future.

Madison Adams, University of Connecticut

For the summer of 2018, I was selected to be one of four women given the opportunity of being 2018 Hayley Petit Injury & Violence Fellows at the Injury Prevention Center of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. This fellowship seeks to expand understanding of violence and injury prevention through research, outreach, and education. Activities include discussion and literature review, exploration of injury prevention resources and statistics, shadowing experience in pediatric specialties, attendance at lectures, and the development of a research proposal. The IPC is composed of a diverse group of professionals with different approaches and interests, but their dedication and passion for injury prevention were clear in all cases.

As an aspiring physician, the clinical job shadows were an incredibly meaningful experience. I shadowed Heidi Sweeney, APRN, in gastroenterology and Garry Lapidus, PA-C, MPH, in the emergency department. Both experiences gave me insight into injury prevention in clinical practice. In addition, the fellows even became “Stop the Bleed” certified, empowering us to take action quickly and effectively in the face of trauma.

Attending Pediatric Grand Rounds was one of my favorite experiences of the fellowship. Pediatric Grand Rounds is a weekly meeting of health care providers to provide them continuing, evidence-based education. I value the concept of lifelong learning, so this experience was particularly meaningful. However, research was not just limited to practicing attending physicians or scientists. On “Resident and Fellow Research Day”, we had a resident research presentation about preventing ingestions in children. This was one presentation of research directly related to injury prevention, but injury prevention as a whole was a common theme throughout grand rounds. This inspired me to continue conducting research into my professional life, especially on subjects with such practical implications in the improvement of quality of life.

I now have an understanding of the epidemiology of injury and violence in addition to strategies used to prevent injury and violence through educational, environmental, and legal means. After the fellowship, we will be advocates for the predictability and preventability of injury, separating injury from the unintentional accident it is often thought to be. Overall, I hope to bring this new knowledge and perspective on injury with me as I move forward in my academic and clinical career. Prior to this fellowship, I was excited to be in a setting that valued both medicine and public health as both fields are important parts of my educational background. However, I learned through the fellowship that these fields are not independent of one another. This experience has reinforced my desire to combine my interests in public health and medicine in my future career with a focus on prevention, promotion, and advocacy. I am a stronger woman from this experience, and I cannot thank Garry Lapidus, PA-C, MPH, and the IPC staff enough.

Aziz Sandhu, University of Connecticut
Natalie Fulco, Fairfield University
Grace Nichols, University of Connecticut
Ashley Mulryan, University of Connecticut

Our time as Hayley Elizabeth Petit Fellows has been one of the most impactful and rewarding experiences we’ve ever had. As a whole, each of us has been fascinated by public health and its impact at different levels of society, and this fellowship has granted us with a holistic experience in the field. We were mentored by medical anthropologists, clinical psychologists, medical practitioners, lawyers, researchers, and clinical social workers to gain an encompassing understanding of the issues surrounding health inequity, domestic violence, child maltreatment, safety, and suicide. We were able to network with these professionals and understand how public health is a collaborative, community effort.

Coming into the Injury Prevention Center (IPC) on the first morning of our fellowship, none of us had any idea what to expect – we had all arrived free of expectations and with open minds. However, after spending six weeks immersed in the IPC and the surrounding Hartford community, we would quickly learn that no description or testimonial could ever do this experience justice.

The mentorship and opportunities for exposure that the IPC afforded us are unparalleled. Mr. Garry Lapidus, PA-C, MPH really guided us, emphasizing our learning, and inspiring us with his dedication and contributions to the field. We had the opportunity to ask questions, sit in on numerous research meetings, attend weekly Pediatric Grand Round lectures, shadow clinicians in patient care settings, and see how the IPC interacts with the surrounding Hartford community.

The IPC and its employees provided us with the tools and knowledge to further develop our careers. We cannot thank them enough for not only guiding and mentoring us for six weeks, but also for the incredible strides in injury prevention and advocacy that they have made. The work they do has only reaffirmed our aspirations to work in the healthcare field, and given us the tools to go forth and implement public health and injury prevention into our future endeavors.

Due to the generosity of the Petit Family Foundation, we were able to have this incredible opportunity to learn, grow, and lead through this fellowship. It has been an honor to uphold the Petit Family Foundation’s mission to further empower women in the sciences and carry on Hayley Petit’s legacy of community engagement, kindness, and compassion.

Precious Baker, Eastern Connecticut State University

During the summer of 2016, I was one of the six individuals chosen as a Hayley Violence and Injury Prevention fellow. These six weeks has immensely changed my perspective outlining the science behind preventing violence and injuries in relation to the field of public health. This unique fellowship offered me opportunities to learn in a variety of settings including in the emergency department at Connecticut Children’s Hospital, attending conferences regarding domestic violence, and from the diverse backgrounds of the staff at the Injury Prevention Center.

One of the most rewarding experiences I had during the fellowship was the clinical job shadows. I enjoyed having the opportunity to fully immerse myself in the healthcare field surround by highly trained and educated individuals. This validated my passion and desire to work in the field of medicine as I approach my last year as an undergraduate and look at my future for a career in medicine.

Another fantastic opportunity the fellowship offered me was attending pediatric grand rounds. Pediatric grand rounds presented insightful knowledge in the areas of global healthcare, childhood psychosocial trauma and health disparities, and the use of donor milk as a supplement for infants in efforts to prevent premature death. As a conclusive project, the fellows and I presented a research project that investigated the career of domestic violence shelter workers to Dr. Petit and the research team at the Injury Prevention Center.

Before the fellowship, I had a perspective that violence was just another adversary in our society. Garry Lapidus, PA-C, MPH, and the team at the Injury Prevention Center, shaped a coherent perspective that violence and injuries are predictable and preventable and therefore can be significantly decreased.

The amount of knowledge I have gained from this fellowship is far to grand to be justified in this testimonial. It is an honor to be a Petit fellow and I am excited to take my experience from the fellowship and apply it to my career in the healthcare field. I am thankful for the guidance of the team at the Injury Prevention Center and the staff Connecticut Children’s Hospital for allowing me to have this awesome opportunity!

Neha Pawar, University of Connecticut

During the summer of 2016, I worked at the Injury Prevention Center at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center as a Hayley Petit Injury and Violence Prevention Fellow. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got accepted – all I knew was that I would be working with a field of healthcare that I wanted to perhaps go into (public health). What drew me to the Fellowship was its spirit – the memory of Hayley Petit, her drive for STEM and her passion for people, was felt so strongly as soon as I walked through the doors.

This Fellowship is about much more than just academia and public health research. While I was there, I did receive the opportunity to attend pediatric grand rounds, complete qualitative research about the meaning of injury and public health intervention, learn about and witness public health intervention in practice (such as programs regarding child motor vehicle safety, infant falls, and motorcycle policy-making), and shadow leading physicians in their fields. I even got to observe an abdominal colectomy and ileoanal pull through from inside an OR and less than 4 feet away.

My favorite part of the material work that I completed in the duration of the Fellowship was the ethnographic analysis of workers at a domestic violence shelter. Drawing conclusions from my own, self-constructed research and assessing potential intervention programs and psyches of staff who experienced a huge public health issue in our society every day, domestic violence, made me excited to know more and do more projects such as that one.

While the program at the Injury Prevention Center allowed me to facilitate my desire to do clinical/social science research and reinforced it with concepts and training to culminate in a real application within a community that was close to home, it gave me so much more than just what I can write on my resume. Garry Lapidus, PA-C, MPH, helped me to solidify my reasons for wanting to make an impact in the public health field. His infallible support regarding whatever ideas myself and the Fellows had, coupled with his insights about public health issues both in terms of logistics and ethics were extremely helpful and timeless. Furthermore, I met remarkable professionals who influenced the way I saw the world and its health discrepancies, and I had the opportunity to learn by example by seeing them publish papers and present their research findings to myself and the other staff every week.

The most important thing I received from the Fellowship wasn’t a new knowledge of public health intervention and programs, however: I became a stronger woman through working with extraordinary peers every single day. The diverse and dynamic group of young women I met as the other Hayley Petit Fellows were truly inspirational and influential – they, like the staff at the IPC, were all changemakers. Going through this journey with them, learning, researching, hashing out conflicting and horribly opposing ideas, and completing a final ethnographic research project we had spent hours on together was the most rewarding component.

I know this Fellowship will be something I take with me throughout my career, and that the relationships I made at the Center will be a constant resource for me always. I cannot possibly thank Garry, the staff, and the rest of the Fellows enough for the opportunity and I highly recommend this experience for anyone interested in the public health and healthcare fields.

Alyssa Pilkington, Fairfield University

The Hayley Petit Fellowship with the IPC was not only insightful, but inspirational. While I became educated on important public health issues, I was also moved by personal accounts of medical professionals, DV court advocates and animal control officers. Between DV conferences, a CPR certification, clinical job shadows and FAR more, the entire six weeks was packed full of incredible experiences and opportunities that could have never presented themselves to me in a setting separate from this one.

Having come into this viewing it as an educational opportunity, I left with far more than a greater expanse of knowledge. The staff of the IPC and the other fellows have forever made their mark on me as a student and a young adult who’s continuing to find her place in the helping field. Because of the Hayley Petit Fellowship and those who worked relentlessly to bring it to life, this summer has been my most memorable by far. I can’t thank them enough.

Martha Sherman, Temple University

In the spring of 2016, I was accepted as one of six Hayley Petit Injury and Violence Prevention Fellows. The fellowship is supported and funded by the Petit Family Foundation, and executed by Connecticut Children’s Medical Center’s Injury Prevention Center. The six fellows and I spent six weeks completing a variety of activities and projects, all educative in nature. The goal of this fellowship was the education of the fellows about injury and violence prevention, and there really wasn’t a second I spent at the IPC that I wasn’t learning.

Garry Lapidus, PA-C MPH, was an invaluable resource to me, not only because he guided our progress but he also answered difficult questions and welcomed our ideas. It felt to me like the fellowship was a collaborative project. Sometimes our scheduled activities went to the wayside to make room for important ethical discussions around injury and violence prevention, but all in the name of education. We spent the majority of our time reading or watching presentations or videos, which were followed with discussions and questions.

Outside of these core objectives, we also received real-world experience through CPR training, research meetings, Grand Rounds, clinical shadows, and conferences. To me, this was the most exciting and awesome part of the fellowship. Getting to see what happens at Connecticut Children’s on a daily basis, through job shadows and research meetings, was very exciting and educative for me. I got to meet so many people who do so many different things for Connecticut Children’s, and it gave me an appreciation for how all these parts come together to keep children well.

Possibly the most enjoyable part of the fellowship was getting to meet and work with so many amazing people. The Injury Prevention Center has an incredible staff who were all willing to jump in and help us whenever needed. Working with the five other fellows was also so inspiring. We all came from radically different backgrounds and have radically different goals for our careers, but every one of us gained something from this fellowship and taught the other fellows something. I would just like to say thank you to the Injury Prevention Center staff, the Petit Family Foundation, and of course the other fellows. This was an unforgettable experience that I would highly recommend to anyone.