College of Health Sciences and Human Services

Congratulations to Dr. Kai Medina-Martinez!

March 15th, 2019 --The College of Health Sciences and Human Services wishes to congratulate Dr. Kai Medina-Martinez, of the Department of Social Work, for their successful dissertation defense at the University of Utah, entitled “YOU ARE NOT WHO YOU SAID YOU WERE WHEN YOU WERE HIRED!”: AN AUTOETHNOGRAPHICAL ACCOUNT OF A STUDENT AFFAIRS PROFESSIONAL’S TRANS* BECOMING.

The study specifically examines, through autoethnographic vignettes, the experience of a student affairs educator as they navigated their trans* becoming while working on a university campus. While many higher education institutions include gender identity and gender in their non-discrimination policy and offer trans* affirming healthcare, practice has neglected to reflect a standard that honors trans* staff and faculty in the manner that support their ability to thrive within the academy. By considering historical person life events, workplace encounters, and institutional policies, the data analysis in this study relies on the conceptual framework of borderlands and microaggression theories. Findings indicate that trans* microaggressions, regardless of the intent, cause the derailment of one’s trans* becoming, and as a result have a detrimental effect in the work life of trans* professionals in higher education. This study offers insight to assist trans* educators as they navigate their trans* becoming as well as recommendations for student affairs administrators to consider as they strive to support their trans* colleagues.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Kai Medina-Martinez!