Dominique Baker is Honored with a National Award for Excellence in Education Research for Work that Pays it Forward

Dominique Baker, Associate Professor of Education Policy in the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, has received the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Early Career Award for 2023. The honor was presented at an awards ceremony at the AERA National conference in Chicago on April 15, 2023.

The award honors an individual in the early stages of their career no later than 10 years after receipt of the doctoral degree, for outstanding study in the field of educational inquiry.

Baker’s research focuses on the way that education policy affects and shapes the access and success of underrepresented minoritized students in higher education. She primarily investigates student financial aid, affirmative action, and policies that influence the ability to create an inclusive and equitable campus climate. She believes education policy can transform lives, but only if thoughtfully constructed based on evidence that includes the experiences of those directly impacted.

Baker says she is honored to receive the award. “Working within community to imagine a better world, and to find the evidence for the best pathways to improve our society is one of the privileges of my life.” She went on to say, “I will never have enough words to say how grateful I am so I will keep trying to show it by paying forward the support I’ve received.”

Simmons Dean, Stephanie Knight, says, “We are extremely proud of Dominique for her work that makes a meaningful difference in the lives of students and educators. This national award is very well-deserved.”

Baker joined SMU (Southern Methodist University) in 2016. Her research has been published in a variety of journals, including the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis, Journal of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, and Teachers College Record. Her work and expertise have also been highlighted by The New York Times, The Washington Post, National Public Radio, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Inside Higher Ed, amongst others.

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