As of December, I will admit I was not yet on Pace University campus. I was finishing a semester abroad, and was reaching out to my research adviser (Tyler Kalahar) to begin catching up on tasks. I was revisiting our goals and outline, and I began to look into literature to support our goal. I found it difficult to find any published work that fit well with our goal, and we had to begin to adjust our focus. Instead of focusing on transitioning to college from high school, we decided a different approach would be necessary. We decided to instead change it to the success of transgender students, and decided to focus on that. I was not yet, at this point, doing any real work on the project- we waited for the spring semester to begin before I started the actual research portion of the project.
Transgender Student Success in Higher Education and Implications of Housing Policy aims to address the lack of understanding surrounding transgender students in their higher education experiences. It goes beyond just their success, delving into mental health concerns, and implications set forth by housing policies. I aim to use the policies of university to see where institutions are failing their transgender students, and crossing the policies to form a set of objectives and suggestions for Pace University to consider for the community. I expect to achieve from this a greater understanding of the needs of the transgender community at large, and to be able to propose change in order to support future transgender students in their experiences in higher education, specifically at Pace University. I intend to put together a literature review based on research surrounding transgender students in the higher education community, and then to combine this with an overview of housing policies currently in place across a range of universities within in the New York area.
Describe and reflect on your progress so far.
So far into the research process, I feel behind. I definitely believe I should have a lot more completed based on the requirements and the timeline, but I’m trying not to be too hard on myself about it- I’m a university student, after all, and sometimes time doesn’t allow us to complete everything we want to all the time. I do, however, feel confident in my ability to complete the project on time. I have also found that the library has been very helpful in some instances, and I have found myself growing very confident in the use of online databases and distinguishing the articles that will have the most relevance to exactly what I’m studying.
Explain any challenges and/or successes you have experienced with this project.
I’ve had a few great challenges while undergoing the research process- I have had a hard time finding literature on my topic, despite hours of scouring databases. And then, of course, once I find something that might help, it’s either unattainable even with library support or I’m only able to receive previews. But, these still have a good amount of information. I have also had to struggle through the topic being immensely personal to myself, and coming across and working through triggering material has been another major setback for my research process. However, these moments remind me exactly why I’m working so hard.
Describe what you have learned from the project so far.
I’ve learned a great deal about the social standing of issues surrounding transgender students in college. There is a severe lack of research done on the topic, suggesting a lack of concern for the community at large. I am making a generalization here, but I feel it is true. There are only mentions of a few universities across the board in regards to implementation of policies and their impact on students. There is a lot of discussion surrounding mental health, so it is known that transgender students are at higher mental health risk, but there’s a lack of suggestion on how to assist students through this via university policy. I’ve learned there’s a whole lot of work to be done on this issue, and I’m eager to start seeing some changes.