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Research and Advocacy Director Dr. Margaret McGladrey led feminist participatory evaluation efforts to understand the effects of participation in The Girl Project (TGP) on students and their communities.

Margaret McGladrey | Research & Advocacy Director

Margaret, Ph.D., is an applied sociologist committed to participatory action research with government agency and nonprofit organization partners in the arts, child welfare, education, and public health. After completing a postdoctoral fellowship with the Tisch College of Civic Life at Tufts University, Dr. McGladrey served as Director of Program Capacity and Support for the Kentucky Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Network responsible for supporting local CASA programs that train and guide community volunteers to advocate in Kentucky courts for the best interests of children experiencing abuse and neglect. She made the difficult decision to leave paid work for CASA in fall 2020 after being recruited back to University of Kentucky as the project director for two institutional research initiatives:1) developing a pilot program to prepare for a major grant application to the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to recruit and retain underrepresented minority faculty in biomedical and behavioral science research and 2) managing the implementation of opioid overdose prevention and treatment practices in criminal justice settings as part of the biggest grant UK has ever received, the NIH-funded HEALing Communities Study. With Voices Amplified, she created The Girl Project: Next Generation middle school mentoring program and serves as the Research and Advocacy Director responsible for the program's feminist critical pedagogy and grant-writing/evaluation. She also is a certified teacher of Kundalini Yoga (E-RYT 500) and has been teaching mindfulness, meditation, and yoga classes in community and school settings for more than 10 years.

Benefits of The Girl Project 

A comprehensive evaluation of TGP 2017 led by alumni found that after participating in TGP, students experience: 

  • lower level of body shame

  • lower level of self-consciousness about their appearances

  • high levels of self-confidence

  • increased ability to set boundaries in friendships, family relationships, and romantic relationships

  • increased leadership capabilities

  • enhanced writing and creative skills

  • increased ability to plan for their futures

  • relationships with role models and mentors who help them set professional and academic aspirations

click below to read peer-reviewed

research articles:

The PhDivas

A team of 8 alumni of the classes of 2014, 2015, and 2016 served as co-researchers who developed the research questions (i.e., what do we want to know about TGP?), determine the mixed-methods data they thought would best

answer their questions, and analyzed the data. The co-researchers, who dubbed themselves the PhDivas, included Erin Connors, Maya Creamer, Emma Draper, Rachael Prewitt, Maya Smith, Harper Sutton, Raiffa Syamil, and Olivia Tussey.

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