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Sharing the Science of Success

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    Jennifer Knight says she was encouraged to research issues of concern to women by Psychology Professor Traci Giuliano

Psychology graduate publishes book on how women can overcome challenges in the workplace

While earning her Ph.D. in psychology, Southwestern University graduate Jennifer Knight excelled at scholarly research, but she realized quickly that her academic articles were not reaching the general public.

That’s what inspired her to write a book with a fellow student she met in graduate school, Eden King. The book, titled How Women Can Make It Work: The Science of Success, consists of research combined with insights and anecdotes from their experiences in the workplace.

“As two women who have training in psychology but are immersed in pop culture, we thought this would be a really fun way to bring research to the public,” Knight said.

The 272-page book focuses on discrimination faced by women and the best ways to overcome challenges. It includes 40 chapters, covering everything from job interviews to interpersonal relationships in the workplace. Knight and King worked on the book for about a year, dedicating nights and weekends to the task. They then found their publisher, Praeger, and continued to work diligently toward their goal of sharing their information with the public.

As a Southwestern student, Knight said she was encouraged by mentors such as Psychology Professor Traci Giuliano to research issues of concern to women. After graduating from Southwestern in 2000 with a degree in psychology, Knight went on to earn both a master’s degree and doctorate in organizational psychology at Rice University.

It was there that she met King and the two of them worked under Psychology Professor Mikki Hebl, who is a friend of Guiliano’s. Guiliano and Hebl both specialized in research on gender, which was an inspiration for Knight and King’s research. Knight is now a psychologist for the federal government in Washington, D.C., and King is a professor at George Mason University in Washington, D.C.

Both King and Knight have written scholarly articles for numerous academic journals, including the Journal of Applied Psychology, Human Resource Management Journal and Group and Organization Management. Their research has also been featured in major media outlets, including Good Morning America, The New York Times, Allure, CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and the CBS Evening News.

One of King’s most noteworthy research projects was a 2005 study in which she and Hebl compared how store clerks treated obese customers compared to shoppers of normal weight.

Originally from San Angelo, Knight decided to attend Southwestern after coming to a Junior Visit Day.

“Southwestern provided me with such a great education. I am just incredibly grateful for all of the time the professors put in with their students. I learned so much about critical thinking and research methods,” Knight said.

She said she enjoys her job and is looking forward to sharing her book with others. Knight and King created a Facebook page to provide an outlet for readers to post feedback and for the authors to send updates. Though it is a new book release, they have already received praise from an author, the Washington Post and an assistant professor at Yale University. The book is available at Amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble. Knight can be reached at howwomenmakeitwork@gmail.com.

−Kristen McLaughlin