Dr. Cortny Stark, Individual, Family & Community Education


Dr. Cortny Stark



Assistant Professor



Individual, Family, & Community Education


Describe your research in about 200 words.

Research really is “me-search”! All of my areas of interest are close to home in some way, and I consistently utilize qualitative methods to allow the voices of participants to describe the phenomena under study. During my Masters, I utilized focus groups and semi structured interviews to explore the lived experience of caregivers of disabled veterans. In my doctoral program, I employed the case study approach to understand efforts to advocate for transgender and gender-expansive children. As a professor, I’ve published on a variety of topics, to include Lesbian, Gay, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex, Asexual, and others (LGBTQQIA+) issues in counseling, military leader development, integrative approaches to trauma reprocessing and integration, trauma-informed care, and substance use and recovery.


What’s the most interesting thing you have learned from a student?

I had the privilege of working with an exceptional student whom I ended up collaborating with on a number of presentations, and a large grant proposal; I’ll call them “Mac”. Every class session, and meeting I had with Mac – they blew me away – I learned so much! They described themselves as neurodiverent, gender-expansive, and disabled. Mac had the ability to identify patterns in the functioning of systems, and connect them to individual variables, historical considerations, and psychological concepts. They taught me how to use Zotero, and Canva, then shared massive concept maps and literature reviews. Interacting with Mac was like tapping into a world of new knowledge, and their love of learning was contagious. This way of thinking, and love of learning is the most interesting thing(s) I’ve learned from a student!