Katherine McCarthy: Social Justice in Higher Education Award

Katherine McCarthy posing in her gradation regalia on the University of Maine campus.The Social Justice in Higher Education Award is presented to a graduating student in the student development in higher education master’s program who has demonstrated deep and consistent commitment to understanding, analyzing, and advancing both theory and practice related to diversity, inclusivity, and social justice in higher education as evidenced by both academic and co-curricular pursuits and accomplishments during their graduate studies.

Katherine McCarthy (she/they) is one of the co-recipients of the 2023 Social Justice in Higher Education Award. From Greenville, North Carolina, Katherine received a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) in 2017. During their time at UNCG, Katherine worked for Housing and Residence Life for three years. This sparked an interest in higher education. At the University of Maine, Katherine’s most valuable experiences have continued to be outside of the classroom in an assistantship with the Office for Diversity and Inclusion. She has had a fabulous mentor and supervisor, Anila Karunakar, director for the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, who taught Katherine so much about a social justice-oriented approach to professionalism, which will follow them in their first professional role. At the University of Maine, Katherine’s focus has been on supporting the students in our spaces to learn and utilize frameworks for better communication and tools for engaging across differences. She is also passionate about understanding response language, which is responding to the ways in which implicit bias manifests in workplaces, as a professional competency.