Annemarie Vaccaro

It typically takes decades of work to earn a lifetime achievement award. But Annemarie Vaccaro, associate professor of Human Development and Family Studies in the College of Health Sciences, has earned such an award at age 44.

NASPA—Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education—recently named Vaccaro the recipient of the 2017 George D. Kuh Outstanding Contribution to Literature and/or Research Award. The designation honors an individual who has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to research and scholarship, and whose work has had a significant or transformative effect on higher education and student affairs practice in a national or international context.

Vaccaro, who also directs the University’s College Student Personnel Program, said she is simply committed to giving a voice to marginalized students through rigorous scholarship that can bring positive change to higher education policies and programs. “Students have a complicated view of their lives that scholarship has not caught up with. We are just acquiring the language to convey some really complicated realities,” she said.

On the heels of receiving the NASPA award, Vaccaro also published her third book, Centering Women of Color in Academic Counterspaces, co-authored with Melissa J. Camba-Kelsay of URI’s Center for Student Leadership. The book addresses the stark realities of women and students of color on predominately white campuses. The award and book speak to Vaccaro’s commitment to listen to and share students’ untold stories in ways that resonate across higher education.