Are military programs inclusive? Are racial equity and diversity efforts effective? A new Blue Star Family survey explores the experiences of military families of color and how they compare to those of their white peers. Researchers dig into the data, as well as personal anecdotes shared in the study.
Episode 2: Blue Star Families Racial Equity Study
Host: Jennifer Barnhill, Partners in PROMISE
Jennifer Akin, Blue Star Families Rosalinda Vasquez Maury, Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University
A new survey explores the experiences of military families of color and how they compare to those of their white peers. Researchers dig into the data, as well as personal anecdotes shared in the study.
“What’s a little bit unique here in this study is that we were really focusing on the military families of color. And when we looked at their earning differences, we found that black military spouses earn about 54 percent less than the total, and Hispanic/Latino military spouses earn about 66 percent less than the total. I mean – those are really almost double digits and significantly greater impacts for sure, compared to their relative peers.”
Jenny Akin is the co-director of applied research at Blue Star Families, responsible for overseeing the organization’s policy, social impact and member research, and program evaluation efforts. In this role, Jenny translates data into understanding to improve military family policies, organizational programming, and employees’ sense of purpose. She is a thought leader on developing attainable social impact goals for Blue Star Families and has developed an interdisciplinary framework to maximize this impact at the chapter level. Jenny holds nearly a decade of experience in the private sector and academia, supporting national security-related programs at Duke University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, as well as serving as a military policy fellow for the University of North Carolina system, and working in business development for a small defense contractor. She earned a bachelor’s degree in peace, war, and defense (and history) from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and a master’s degree in public administration from North Carolina State University. She and her active-duty husband currently reside near Fort Bragg, North Carolina, with their son and two dogs.
Rosalinda Vasquez Maury serves as the director of applied research and analytics at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. She works on a diverse research portfolio that reflects the range of social, economic and wellness challenges that may affect transitioning service members, veterans or their families. She has worked on numerous research efforts, including workforce readiness as it relates to transitioning service members and veterans in the civilian labor force, career preferences, financial readiness, job matching and employer perspectives on retention and workplace performance, factors impacting veteran and military families business owners, and service members experiences in higher education. Maury’s research has received external funding from multiple federal awards and foundations, including the National Science Foundation and a Google Impact Award. Her work is featured in numerous publications and has been presented at various professional conferences. Maury holds master’s and bachelor’s degrees in psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio.