Just Go In Looking Good

The Resistance, Resilience, and Kinship-Building of Trans* College Students

Dr. Dan Tillapaugh coordinated the hosting of Dr. Z Nicolazzo, assistant professor of higher education and student affairs at Northern Illinois University, and discussed the experiences of transgender college students, and what they can teach everyone about envisioning more equitable and just educational spaces.

Nicolazzo said the best way to learn about and accept the transgender community is to “continue to unlearn how gender has been normalized as a restrictive, binary construct.”

Nicolazzo teaches courses on college student development, postsecondary access, and diversity, equity and culture. Hir research centers on trans* collegians, with a particular emphasis on trans* student resilience and kinship-building. Nicolazzo has published in a variety of scholarly and practitioner-focused publications, including the Journal of LGBT Youth, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, About Campus, Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education and Student Affairs, and TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly. 

Nicolazzo holds a Ph.D. in student affairs in higher education and a graduate certificate in women's, gender and sexuality studies from Miami University, a master's in college student personnel from Western Illinois University, and a bachelor's in philosophy from Roger Williams University.