HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from the University of Southern Mississippi
Dr. Lissa Stapleton, assistant professor in the Higher Education Student Affairs program at The University of Southern Mississippi, has been selected as the winner of the 2015 Melvene D. Hardee Dissertation of the Year Award presented by NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.
The award recognizes outstanding dissertation research conducted by doctoral degree recipients presently in, or intending to enter, the student affairs profession. Stapleton, who has been a member of the Southern Miss faculty since August, 2014, was honored for her dissertation titled, "The Unexpected Talented Tenth: Black d/Deaf Student Thriving Within the Margins."
"I was extremely humbled and honored upon learning that I had received this award," said Stapleton, a native of Columbus, Ohio. "I contacted my chair, family and participants immediately, as my dissertation journey was supported by a community of people. I couldn't have done it without them."
Before coming to Southern Miss, Stapleton served as a community director at California State University Northridge where she worked specifically with Deaf and hard-of-hearing students. Having learned American Sign Language as an undergraduate, she was able to have direct communication with her Deaf students. This connection allowed her a deeper understanding of the challenges, successes and equity issues Deaf students, faculty and staff encountered on a daily basis.
Among Stapleton's short-term goals are to successfully obtain tenure and promotion, convert her dissertation into a book, and to become more involved with local, national and international Deaf education organizations.
Stapleton, a first-generation college student, graduated from Wright State University in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in social work and a minor in African American studies. She earned a master's degree from the University of Dayton and a doctorate from Iowa State University.
She and the other national award winners will be honored at the NASPA Annual Conference, set for March 21-25 in New Orleans.