Student, registrar receive Distinguished Journalism Award at SACRAO

Junior Ashley Edwards and Rodney Parks received the journalism award at the Southern Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers conference in Raleigh for their work on transgenderism in higher education.

Matthew McCrickard of Belmont awards Ashley Edwards and Dr. Rodney Parks with the Margaret Ruthven Perry Award Distinguished Journalism Award.
Junior Ashley Edwards and Registrar Rodney Parks received the Margaret Ruthven Perry Distinguished Journalism Award on Feb. 16. The honor is awarded annually to the top SACRAO journal article. The publication, entitled Transgenderism and the College Experience, provides an ‘in their own words’ narrative of the challenges transgendered students face while transitioning during the pursuit of their bachelor’s degrees.

The ground-breaking research provides a glimpse into the challenges these students face on a daily basis. Such challenges include determining personal identity, struggling against the classification of a mental disorder, and attempting to live life as the opposite gender until their transition can be underway. Even during the transition, students still struggle with their identification on academic and legal documents, which cause problems both in the classroom and with campus services, such as health care and housing. The goal was to provide recommendations on how to better serve the unique needs of this growing population on college campuses.

Additionally, Edwards and Parks presented a formal session during the course of the conference describing the research and making recommendations to more than 60 participants. The presentation was a huge success, providing an inclusive environment for an informed discussion of the needs of these students and provided guidance on how to proceed with future solutions.