GOHWP recently approved a new group of members, bringing the total number of active members to over 200, coming from dozens of countries across the world! Dr. Katina Sawyer, one of those new members, is profiled below. Welcome Katina, and all our new members!


Dr. Katina Sawyer, Villanova University

I am an Assistant Professor of Psychology within the Graduate Programs in Human Resource Development, at Villanova University. I have a dual-Ph.D. in Industrial-Organizational Psychology and Women’s Studies from Penn State University. My research interests primarily lie in diversity, work-family conflict, and leadership within organizations.

Q:  In what ways is HWP relevant to your work?

HWP is relevant to my work because I focus a lot of attention on the role of stigmatized identities in the workplace. Specifically, I study LGBT populations, individuals with criminal backgrounds, female and racially diverse executives, and the impact of the intersections of identity on determining workplace outcomes (age, disability, sexuality, gender identity, race/ethnicity). I think that it is really important to truly understand the nuances of each population’s challenges in being accepted and fully integrated into the workforce, so that we might realize a more fair and equitable world.

 Q: In which areas would you be interested in forming new collaborations?

I am interested in forming new collaborations which examine the ways in which organizations might change their frameworks to become more inclusive of stigmatized individuals, so that the burden does not always lie with the employee/job candidate. I would love to work on a project which provides a set of best practices for organizations to better incorporate employees from vulnerable populations into their workforce, so that meaningful employment opportunities might become available for previously undervalued individuals.

Q: Do you have a favorite paper or idea you want to share with the group?

I am currently working with victims of human trafficking to better understand the experiences that they have had being sold as a commodity (as part of one of the most lucrative industries, globally) and then attempting to reincorporate themselves back into the workforce. With an estimated 2.4 million individuals being trafficked at any given time globally, I am interested in learning how organizations might leverage some of their power to create a more stable solution for those who wish to re-enter the workforce after this experience.

Q: What burning questions do you think need to be answered in future research by GOHWP members?

I think that GOHWP members can have a real impact on society by providing organizations with the information that they need to better understand the ways in which all employees and potential employees can be incorporated into organizations, regardless of background. I think that, for the most part, organizations don’t have a great awareness of issues that plague society at large. For this reason, I think that there are lots of future research questions which could help improve society overall by improving the working lives of individuals.  Creating a network of like-minded individuals who are actively interested in positively impacting the “world of work”, in all its diversity, is a really powerful thing.