Graduate Student, Community Research and Action
Katy’s research interests center exploring community-based efforts to increase leadership, empowerment, and active citizenship among youth. Originally from Jackson, Mississippi, Katy graduated from Millsaps College in 2014 with a B.A. in English Education. She then taught high school English in her hometown before moving to Nashville to pursue an M.Ed. in Community Development and Action (CDA) from Vanderbilt University. While in the CDA program, Katy worked with several youth-centered nonprofit organizations in Nashville to build program capacity through research and evaluation. This work culminated in a master’s thesis entitled “Institutional Supporters and Protective Advisers as Mediators to Persistence Among First-Generation and Low-Income Community College Students.”
Currently, Katy works with her primary advisor, Dr. Brian Christens, on a community engaged research project in partnership with the Nashville Civic Design Center. This project explores the impact of a place-based curriculum that engages youth in addressing community issues through planning and design of the built environment. She also co-facilitates Student Tactical Urbanism Organizers (sTURBO), a youth research collective focused on community health and well-being for residents of the Nolensville Pike corridor. Her other projects include a qualitative study in partnership with Crossroads Campus and a needs assessment in partnership with the Nashville After Zone Alliance.