Dr. Benson Receives GRAM Award for 2022-24 to Support Research

Dr. Kristen Benson, an associate professor in the Department of Human Development and Psychological Counseling and program director of the marriage and family therapy graduate program, has been selected to be the 2022-2024 Graduate Research Assistant Mentoring Program (GRAM) Awardee. 

GRAM is designed to provide research-active faculty with the opportunity to mentor talented graduate students through collaborative work on the faculty members' research projects. The award provides $14,000 in funding per year for two years, to be used as a stipend to support one full-time graduate assistant per year. 

“I am honored to do this work with support from the community, and to have the opportunity to support a student who wants to be involved in social change through research,” said Benson. 

As part of this award, Benson’s graduate assistant will be helping her with a research project on anti-transgender legislative discourse and families.

“I am thankful that the GRAM reviewers saw value in this work, which impacts the people of North Carolina,” noted Benson. “These awards and this type of research are important if we want to live our value of inclusive excellence at App State.”

Benson’s research areas focus on social justice and inclusion in couple and family therapy and LGBTQ+ inclusions in families.

Gretchen Miller, from Fort Collins, Colorado, will be Benson’s graduate assistant. She is earning her Master of Arts in marriage and family therapy and will begin her second year in the program this fall. 

For Miller, the assistantship will allow her to delve into a topic she is passionate about - how laws and social rhetoric impact the lived experience of transgender and non-binary people.

“As a future therapist, this research will allow me to support the mental health of a community that faces a massive amount of discrimination, and it allows us to understand, on a larger scale, how our policies and laws impact a person’s life,” noted Miller.

Kristen Benson
Published: May 25, 2022 9:42am