Psychology Professor receives Martin Luther King, Jr Award for Social Justice

By Lisette Labbe ‘18, Caroline Braverman, ‘18, and Dominic Bolton, ‘18

At the the fourth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner, Professor Loretta Brady ‘99 of the Psychology Department was awarded the Martin Luther King Jr. lorettaMLKSocial Justice award along with student Donald Stokes ‘17. This year's student-led Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner in Davison Hall welcomed a record number of 300 attendees to hear poems and speeches from student-leaders. In addition, Donna Brazile, interim Chairperson of the Democratic National Committee, served as the keynote speaker and shared about King's legacy and her experience continuing his life's work. Stokes and Brady were nominated by the Saint Anselm community based on their ability to inspire and lead others to compassion and courage and because their actions reflect Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s overarching message of eliminating discrimination, oppression, and injustice. Both Professor Brady and Donald Stokes truly embody what it means to be an Anselmian.

Professor Brady was a member of the Saint Anselm College Class of 1999 and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology. She received her Masters in Clinical Psychology at Fordham University in 2001. Professor Brady continued at Fordham University and completed her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 2006. At the 2015 Martin Luther King Jr. Dinner, Professor Brady was the keynote speaker and delivered an impactful message about continuing Dr. King’s work and progress in the United States. As a tenured professor, Professor Brady has used her knowledge and skills to dedicate her time to areas both inside and outside of the classroom. She has designed and implemented events and taught courses focused on diversity. She also works with organizations which help the homeless, specifically those affected by trauma and addiction. As a professor, she challenges students with assignments that can link psychological theory to real world situations, making for enlightening and engaging classes. Professor Brady chooses class assignments, course projects, and research papers that have to do with real issues in the community to better equip her students to have the skills and knowledge necessary to work in the community after leaving Saint Anselm College.

Professor Brady’s research and work in and out of the classroom has worked on issues of social justice. As a psychologist, Professor Brady examines relationships between justice and psychological phenomenon such as the social psychological research on in-grouping and out-grouping. An in-group is a group (such as race or social class) to which a person psychologically identifies as being a member, while the out-group is a social group with which an individual does not identify as. In-grouping and out-grouping can lead to stigmatization, stereotyping, and discrimination. Professor Brady’s work focuses on highlighting the shared aspects across groups, such as values, interests, and language, as a way to reduce the negative effects of in-grouping and out-grouping. She is passionate about helping people thrive despite adversity and recognizes that resilience and having a full life is important for every individual.

“There are some paths I can influence, obviously it would be difficult to alleviate poverty by myself, but what I can do is start to bring groups together and  highlight some of those values and interest areas that are shared.”

As part of this work, Professor Brady is passionate about building a community for underrepresented populations. For example, every year, Professor Brady helps with a community event called “Women in Tech.” Those who participate are women who are in the tech industry, women who are curious about tech, and women who have been in the industry for many years but want to connect with the up-and-coming generation  and share what they’ve learned over the years. For on campus work, Brady likes to invite women of color entrepreneurs on campus to speak. She picks this demographic based on the fact that women of color are often underrepresented.

“I think it is important that students hear from a variety of voices.”

The Social Justice Award also reflects Professor Brady’s current work – capacity building translational research projects where she connects the evidence-based research with specific populations’ needs within the community. For example, she is working with two youth service organizations to help them apply for grant-funding and develop a training program to address staffing needs.

Within the Psychology Department, at Saint Anselm College, in New Hampshire, and within the areas of Psychology and Social Justice, Professor Brady has devoted a lifetime to working towards social inclusion and bringing different perspectives of those unrepresented to help build and grow communities. Her work is deeply valued and necessary for the progress of social justice. We are fortunate to have her in our department and in our classrooms and look forward to see what she will do next!