Past Press Releases

For immediate release: March 20, 2013

Layli Maparyan, Ph.D., the Katherine Stone Kaufmann '67 Executive Director of the Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW) at Wellesley College, has announced that Sumru Erkut, Ph.D., WCW Associate Director and Senior Research Scientist, as the Susan McGee Bailey Research Scholar, effective July 1, 2013. This award is presented to a researcher whose work places women’s perspectives at the center of the inquiry while addressing critical issues growing out of a global understanding of the lives of women and recognizing the importance of linkages and new insights inherent in an interdisciplinary approach: Maparyan made the announcement during a meeting of all WCW staff:

"It is with great delight that I name Dr. Sumru Erkut as the 2013-2014 Susan McGee Bailey Research Scholar for a 12-month term beginning July 1, 2013. In recognition of 35 years of outstanding research at WCW, first as a Research Associate (1978-1989), then as a Visiting Research Scholar (1989-1992), then as a Senior Research Scientist (1992-present), and including service as an Associate Director of WCW (1995-present) and a member of the Interim Executive Committee (2010-2012), Sumru is most deserving of this award. But, of course, this is not a service award, but rather a research award, and I would like to outline just a few of the highlights of Sumru’s research – research that has helped WCW gain its international reputation as one of the leading, if not the leading, women-and-gender research-and-action institutes in the world:

"Garnering over 38 grants during her tenure at WCW, including many from NICHD, NIMH, NSF, USAID, and numerous foundations, large and small--and I’d like to point out her special role in getting the NICHD training grant that allowed WCW to support a group of postdoctorual research scholars (2004-2009):

  • Contributing 22 publications to WCW’s famous “Working Papers” series--in addition to scores of refereed journal articles, book chapters, and final reports
  • Research on women and leadership, including the influence of women on corporate boards, leading to the now widely known “three women make a difference” benchmark
  • Research on middle school girls’ confidence and competence
  • Research on how female undergraduates are ignored in social psychology research (as compared with male undergraduates, who were the historical “generic subject” of social psychology)
  • Numerous studies related to Latino youths--on fatherhood, self-esteem, acculturation
  • Theoretical work bilingual research instruments and intercultural research generally
  • Research on racial and ethnic identity, including its measurement and the unique case of multiracial and mixed-ancestry individuals
  • Research on links between sport/physical activity and other markers of well-being, such as self-esteem and reduced sexual risk-taking
  • Most recently, leadership on the evaluation of PPLM’s “Get Real” sex-education curriculum, which has been a particular boon to the researchers she has been mentoring, Jenny Grossman and Linda Charmaraman.

"While I can’t imagine life at WCW without Sumru, from my perspective, it couldn’t be more fitting to offer her this award as a capstone to an illustrious career (that I’m sure isn’t over, not really) and as a way of recognizing her, not only as a research leader within our community, but also as an important scholar to larger communities. I have asked Sumru, as part of this award, to consider collecting some of her most important research insights, theories, and other thoughts into lasting legacy form, whether in a book or some other signature publication. It is important that the women geniuses of our world leave a record of “what we know” for the benefit of future generations and all humanity, and I view it as part of my role as Executive Director here to facilitate this in my own small way here at WCW. Thus, please join me in recognizing and celebrating the work of Dr. Sumru Erkut, our next WCW Susan McGee Bailey Research Scholar!"

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