American Education Research Association Awards Kent State Professor for Outstanding Research
Christa Porter, Ph.D., assistant professor of higher education administration in the College of Education, Health and Human Services, was awarded the Review of Research Award by the American Education Research Association (AERA) for her research article, “Understanding Influences of Development on Black Women’s Success in U.S. Colleges: A Synthesis of Literature."
This award is shared by her co-author, Janice Byrd, Ph.D., assistant professor of counselor education at Pennsylvania State University.
The article was published in June 2021 in the Review of Educational Research (RER) journal, a high-impact educational journal that publishes critical research review articles. Porter and Byrd’s research article was handpicked by an editorial board to receive this AERA award, which is given in recognition of outstanding research articles.
“It’s amazing for Dr. Byrd and I not only to get our work published in that journal, but it's even more amazing to be recognized as the most outstanding publication in the journal,” Porter said.
The purpose of their study was to illuminate Black women’s developmental processes and how these processes have influenced their success within U.S. college environments. Porter and Byrd conducted a literature synthesis to see how various publications were talking about Black women in the scope of identity development and student success in college.
“We pulled the information all together, and came up with a rich understanding of what we need to do better as faculty, staff and administrators on campuses,” Porter said. “What we need to do better as researchers when we're talking about their experiences, and what we can do at a research, practice and policy level; as well as what we can do better to really advance the discourse of student success and identity specifically from the perspective of Black women in college.”
Porter and Byrd’s research article went further in depth on concepts such as intersectionality and the nuance of identity development, which set them apart from previous studies. The editorial board that chose their article appreciated how the article could be used in a variety of settings across different domains in education.
“I don't need an award to know that my work is valued,” Porter said. “But it informs us that folks are actually thinking about the work and wanting to think critically about Black women's experiences in college and want to celebrate it. It validated our work and lets us know our work is going to be disseminated to a mass audience. It's legible across discipline and digestible across practices. Everyone who's working with Black women and girls can read this article, and it can make sense.”