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Jenny Baker
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SIOP Award Winners: Meet 2021 Lee Hakel Graduate Student Scholarship Award Winner: Min Geiger

Liberty J. Munson

As part of our ongoing series to provide visibility into what it takes to earn a SIOP award or grant, we highlight a diverse class of award winners in each edition of TIP. We hope that this insight encourages you to consider applying for a SIOP award or grant because you are probably doing something amazing that can and should be recognized by your peers in I-O psychology!

This quarter, we are highlighting the winner of the 2021 Lee Hakel Graduate Student Scholarship Award:  Min Geiger for her paper, Feeling Depleted? If English Is Not Your First Language, You Might Be Experiencing Stereotype Threat.


Why did you apply (if applicable)?

I applied for the award to see if my dissertation topic, research questions, and research design, were interesting and rigorous enough to be recognized by the SIOP community—the leading institution in the I-O psychology field. Thus, I am so honored and grateful to receive the award, as I feel my dissertation is recognized by the leading scholars in the field.

Share a little a bit about who you are and what you do.

I am a PhD candidate at the John Chambers College of Business and Economics, West Virginia University. My primary research examines implicit bias and how it influences marginalized groups in the workplace. In addition, some of my research explores how the use of artificial intelligence might perpetuate bias in the workplace. I am also interested in how big data can contribute to a better understanding of organizational phenomena. I am currently working on my dissertation and planning to be on the job market this fall.

Describe the research/work that you did that resulted in this award. What led to your idea?

My dissertation, which led to the award, examines non-native English speakers’ daily experience of stereotypes about their stigmatized identity at work. Initially, my personal experience as a non-native English speaker in the US sparked the idea. Then, I dived into the literature on implicit bias and how it might affect non-native English speakers in English-speaking environments. I found several theoretical frameworks that fit well with my research questions, and the initial idea was developed into my dissertation topic.

What do you see as the lasting/unique contribution of this work to our discipline? How can it be used to drive changes in organizations, the employee experience, and so on?

An estimated 67.3 million people are non-native English speakers in the US, which is one in five U.S. residents. Although non-native English speakers may face overt and subtle discrimination at work because of their non-nativeness, these individuals have been out of the spotlight in the discussion on diversity and inclusion. I believe examining non-native English speakers’ experience as language diversity is important to obtain a complete picture of workplace diversity. I hope my research will help organizational leaders understand the challenge that non-native English speakers may face at work.

Are you still doing work/research in the same area where you won the award? If so, what are you currently working on in this space?

Yes, I am currently working on other stigmatized individuals’ experience in the workplace. For example, my colleagues and I are working on research that examines how negative stereotypes about women’s ability in STEM affect female scientists who are currently working for STEM organizations. I am also working on research with my colleagues that explores whether employees with mental illness anticipate discrimination at work, which in turn affects their feelings and behaviors. I hope my research will be able to provide evidence-based recommendations that help organizational leaders improve workplace diversity and inclusion.

What’s a fun fact about yourself (something that people may not know)?

I have not eaten at a restaurant since the pandemic started. I recently got vaccinated, and I am so excited to explore restaurants and eat all types of yummy food—it’s been more than a year!

What piece of advice would you give to someone new to I-O psychology? (If you knew then what you know now…)

One thing I learned from my experience from being a member of SIOP and the broader I-O psychology community, everyone is so friendly and willing to offer advice and lend a hand in any way possible. As a graduate student, it may seem to be somewhat intimidating to reach out to other researchers and/or practitioners to ask for help or advice—at least I felt that way when I started my PhD. However, once you reach out, you would immediately realize how amazing our community members are, and there is nothing to be afraid of.    


About the author:

Liberty Munson is currently the principal psychometrician of the Microsoft Technical Certification and Employability programs in the Worldwide Learning organization. She is responsible for ensuring the validity and reliability of Microsoft’s certification and professional programs. Her passion is for finding innovative solutions to business challenges that balance the science of assessment design and development with the realities of budget, time, and schedule constraints. Most recently, she has been presenting on the future of testing and how technology can change the way we assess skills.

Liberty loves to bake, hike, backpack, and camp with her husband, Scott, and miniature schnauzer, Apex. If she’s not at work, you’ll find her enjoying the great outdoors, or she’s in her kitchen tweaking some recipe just to see what happens.

Her advice to someone new to I-O psychology?

Statistics, statistics, statistics—knowing data analytic techniques will open A LOT of doors in this field and beyond!

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