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Marona Graham-Bailey’s passion was, as described by her parents, “to learn to tell stories that needed to be heard.” When she came to Michigan in 2011, her experience as a journalist and educator made her well suited to that goal. And during her time in the Joint PhD Program in Women’s and Gender Studies and Psychology, her outstanding qualitative and quantitative research skills promised that her ambition would become a reality.
Graham-Bailey passed away in 2013, but her efforts to tell important stories remain alive. In December 2018, the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education published “Examining college students’ multiple social identities of gender, race, and socioeconomic status: Implications for intergroup and social justice attitudes.” The paper’s first author is Graham-Bailey.
Adapted from her master’s thesis, the paper displays Graham-Bailey's deft and creative approach to data driven research. Its publication emerged from combined efforts of faculty advisors Tabbye Chavous and Abigail Stewart, along with graduate students Bridget Richardson Cheeks and Benjamin Blankenship. Publishing this work, Stewart notes, is significant not only as a tribute to Graham-Bailey; it also provides others with the opportunity to learn from and expand upon her research.
“Marona was already a powerful and brilliant independent voice in the fields of Psychology and Women’s and Gender Studies,” she says. “My colleagues and I are determined to ensure that her unique perspective finds a permanent place in the scholarship in our fields.”
To further Graham-Bailey's mission of telling important stories, her parents, Maryemma Graham and Ronald Bailey, have established a fund to support graduate student research in psychology and women’s studies. The first recipient of the grant is Women’s and Gender Studies and Psychology PhD candidate Kayla Fike, whose work examines how young people of color display empathy and altruism despite experiences of discrimination. Fike will use grant funding to travel to the Society for the Psychological Study of Social Issues’ annual conference in San Diego this June.
“I am truly honored to receive a grant from the Graham-Bailey Fund,” Fike says. “A major aim in my career is to present research that illustrates the kind and genuinely good nature of Black youth. I am co-chairing a symposium at SPSSI entitled 'Everyday notions of radical resistance: Individual, dyadic, and community perseverance' that will focus on exploring the ways marginalized peoples restore human dignity and demonstrate radical resistance in the face of injustice. SPSSI is a great venue to discuss this work and receive meaningful feedback from thoughtful scholars, and the Graham-Bailey Fund made it possible for me to make the trip. A huge thanks to Drs. Graham and Bailey and the Women's Studies Department!”