Curriculum VitaeView CV
Dr. Whitney Polk is an assistant professor in the College of Education and Human Development’s Department of Human Development and Family Sciences at the University of Delaware, where she investigates the educational and social inequities that influence youth development.
Her research areas include the impact of school-based marginalization on adolescent academic and psychosocial adjustment, racial disparities in school discipline, school-based mental health, racial stress and trauma and racial literacy development.
In collaboration with school and community partnerships, Dr. Polk develops school-based interventions to support youth wellbeing and resilience and empower educators and institutions to confront and rectify inequitable policies and practices. Her work merges research and practice by connecting with schools, educators, and youth committed to school racial equity.
Through funding support from the National Science Foundation, Dr. Polk initiated and led the Transforming Discipline Project, a racial literacy intervention designed to address discriminatory school discipline policies and practices affecting Black and Brown youth. Dr. Polk continues this work on transforming discipline by exploring relations between racial stress and disproportionate discipline, as well as novel areas of intervention for youth, educators and mental health professionals.
Dr. Polk is also a National Certified Counselor (NCC), as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) and Certified School Counselor in Pennsylvania. She previously worked as a mental health counselor with K–12 students and their families in Philadelphia, providing therapy and advocating for improved mental health, educational, and social supports. Dr. Polk continues to provide mental health and wellness consultation, professional development, and workshops to students, educators, and providers locally and nationally.
- Ph.D. Education, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 2020
- M.Phil.Ed., Professional Counseling, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 2012
- M.S.Ed., Counseling and Mental Health Services, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, 2011
- B.A., Psychology and English, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, 2009
- Assistant Professor, Department of Human Development and Family Sciences, University of Delaware, 2023-present
- Lecturer, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennslyvania, 2022-2023
- Postdoctoral Fellow, Graduate School of Education, University of Pennslyvania, 2020-2022