The Kathleen Christensen Dissertation Award

This award recognizes a recent graduate of a doctoral program who has already made a significant contribution to the work and family knowledge base. The Kathleen Christensen Dissertation Award has been created to encourage doctoral candidates and early career scholars to reach for/achieve high and rigorous standards of research relevant to the work and family area of study. It provides financial support to help a promising work-family scholar to initiate post-dissertation research.  This award is co-sponsored and co-selected by the Work and Family Researchers Network and the Society for Human Resource Management. This award is made possible by generous support from the Northrop Grumman Corporation, the Families and Work Institute, the SHRM Foundation, SHRM’s National Study of the Changing Workforce, and the Work and Family Researchers Network members.

Honoring Kathleen Christensen   

Kathleen Christensen directs the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation’s Working Longer program. Dr. Christensen currently serves as co-President of WFRN. Previously, Christensen established and spearheaded the Sloan Foundation’s Workplace, Work Force and Working Families program. Under her leadership, the foundation has been credited as a driving force in creating the field of work-family research and with launching a national movement to make workplace flexibility a compelling national issue and the standard of the American workplace. Dr. Christensen planned and participated in the 2010 White House Forum on Workplace Flexibility, as well as the 2014 White House Summit on Working Families.

In 2010, Dr. Christensen was named by Working Mother magazine as one of the, “Seven Wonders of the Work-Life Field”. In 2004, she was awarded the inaugural Work-Life Legacy Award by the Families and Work Institute. She is the author or editor of seven books, including some of the earliest research on contingent work and work at home.

Christensen earned her Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University. She began her professional career as a policy analyst at the Urban Institute in Washington, D.C., and later joined the faculty of the Graduate Center, City University of New York, where she was a Professor of Psychology.

2024 Award Recipient: Tania Hutt

Nominator Kate Weisshaar writes: “Dr. Tania Hutt received her PhD in June 2023 in the Sociology department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC). She is currently an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Dr. Hutt’s dissertation, titled “A New Dimension of the Motherhood Penalty: Perceptions of Future Childbearing Risk,” proposes that our understanding of motherhood should be broadened to include perceptions of potential motherhood, in addition to current motherhood. This conceptualization has important implications for how we consider gender inequality in the labor market and within employment settings. Through a series of rigorous and highly innovative empirical studies, including two survey experiments, an audit study of employers, and in-depth interviews with mothers and employers, Dr. Hutt illustrates how employers’ anticipation of women becoming future mothers creates a unique form of inequality that is not solely related to gender or current parental status.”  The Work and Family Researchers Network and the Society for Human Resource Management are honored to recognize the exceptional work of this recent doctoral recipient.

2024 Honorable Mention: Victoria Daniel

Nominator Yujie (Jessie) Zhan writes: In addressing her doctoral dissertation “The Hidden Side of Work‐Family Boundary Management: Uncovering the Role of Cognitive Boundary Work and Boundary Context Questions, Dr. Daniel developed a theoretical model explaining how cognitive boundary work unfolds and how it relates to different performance and well-being outcomes for individual employees. In doing so, her dissertation studies are among the first to start bridging some important gaps in the work-family boundary literature. To address her research questions, Dr. Daniel conducted a qualitative study and three quantitative survey studies using different designs. Dr. Daniel analyzed data from two sources, posts from online discussion boards and text responses from open-ended survey questions, following a grounded theory approach. Through this inductive study, she identified four components of cognitive boundary work, including anticipating boundary needs, boundary planning, regulating boundary implementation, and adapting boundaries. She also identified the critical role of boundary context that shapes boundaries and impacts the amount of cognitive boundary work.” The Work and Family Researchers Network and the Society for Human Resource Management are honored to recognize the exceptional work of this recent doctoral recipient.

Nomination and Selection Procedures

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Past Recipients