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Honors and Awards

Associate Professor of Educational Psychology Christy Byrd Receives Chancellor’s Creating Community Outstanding Faculty Award

Christy Byrd

NC State College of Education Associate Professor of Educational Psychology Christy Byrd says that young people are the future of the country, but they have a lot they can teach adults now about how to make positive change in society. 

Byrd has been able to translate her theoretical research into practical applications for students, educators and pre-service teachers through her work on projects, including #PassTheMicYouth, Dining with Democracy and TEDxYouth@ChavisWay.

Now, that work has been recognized through a 2024 NC State Chancellor’s Creating Community Outstanding Faculty Award.  

“Having my work recognized means that NC State recognizes the value of my work and confirms for me that I should keep doing what I value: helping educators and scholars understand how to create environments that support students’ success and amplifying the voices of young people who are making change in their communities,” Byrd said. “It’s especially meaningful that I was nominated by one of my friends and collaborators, who I admire greatly.”

Byrd’s research examines the ways in which students make sense of race and culture in school environments, and she is currently the co-principal investigator on a grant-funded project that is developing a tool to conceptualize the multidimensional nature of STEM identity in college students who are African American attending historically Black colleges and universities.

In nominating Byrd for the Outstanding Faculty Award, Maru Gonzalez, an assistant professor and youth development specialist in the Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences, referred to Byrd as the “The Beyoncé of ethnic-racial socialization research,” citing her international impact on the field. 

“Dr. Byrd’s scholarship on youth critical consciousness has provided educators and youth-serving professionals with the tools to help students inspire sustainable social change in their communities,” Gonzalez wrote. “Dr. Byrd’s work has had a positive and significant impact on students, colleagues, practitioners and the communities with whom she works. She is an inspiration and an icon.”

Through #PassTheMicYouth, Byrd has helped amplify the voices of youth and, through her work with Dining with Democracy, she works alongside Associate Professor of Social Studies Education Paula McAvoy to help pre-service and in-service educators learn to engage their students in open discussions related to difficult political topics. Through her work with TEDx, Byrd has co-created a storytelling curriculum that will be published through 4-H.

She is currently working on a book related to her work, entitled “Teaching Storytelling in Classrooms & Communities: Amplifying Student Voices and Inspiring Social Change,” alongside Gonzalez, Michael Kokozos and Katie McKee.  

“A lot of my research is theoretical and so, sometimes, it feels very far from the lives of real people. Through my work with #PassTheMicYouth, Dining with Democracy and TEDxYouth@ChavisWay, I can see what we know in theory coming to life and having a real impact on young people. It’s an honor to work with them and be even a small part of their journey,” Byrd said.