Feylyn Lewis ('13)
When Feylyn started at Regent University, attending a doctoral program in the United Kingdom wasn’t in her foreseeable future plans. “Going to school across the pond was not on my radar,” the Master of Arts in Community Counseling 2013 graduate admitted. Only after Dr. Stephen Parker, professor in the School of Psychology and Counseling, advised her to only apply to doctoral programs that had faculty on staff who fit within her research specialty did she begin the search for schools outside of the US border. Feylyn is interested in the lives of children and young adults who provide care for their parents because of a parental disability or illness. Her interest led her to apply to the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom, where the world-renown researcher on young caregivers, Dr. Saul Becker, currently resides. “It was through the encouragement of my Regent professors and my family that I stepped out on faith and applied to the PhD program in Nottingham. Thankfully, I was accepted, and I’ll begin research on the identity development of young adult caregivers under the supervision of Dr. Saul Becker this October. The idea that I’ll be conducting significant, original, and global policy-influencing research under the world’s top authority on young caregivers is absolutely mind-blowing,” Feylyn states. “I had such a small vision for myself, but God had something so much grander in mind.”
For Feylyn, her life so far has seemed like Genesis 50:20 (“what was intended to harm, God purposed it to do good and to save many lives”) come alive. Her mother became physically disabled when Feylyn was 12 years old, leaving Feylyn's older brother (at the time merely 19 years old) to provide care for their mother. He stopped attending college to care for their mother and became the main financial support in their home for many years. Unfortunately, young caregivers do not yet receive the same recognition in the United States as they do in the United Kingdom. Thus, Feylyn's brother provided care without a support system in place. Witnessing her older brother's experience motivated Feylyn to pursue advocacy work for young adult caregivers. After earning a PhD in Social Work at the University of Nottingham, Feylyn plans to move back to the United States to start a national non-profit organization for young caregivers. She hopes to maintain an international presence in young caregiver research and social policy work through lobbying, lecturing, and consultation.