Every Friday, we choose an alum who has been making headlines—for better or for worse.
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12/10/10: Kathryn Himmelstein ’09

Kathryn Himmelstein ’09 majored in ethics, politics, and economics. All three come together in a study published this week in the journal Pediatrics. The study, Himmelstein told the New York Times, shows that “gay, lesbian, and bisexual kids are being punished by police, courts, and by school officials, and it’s not because they’re misbehaving more.”

Now a teaching fellow in New York City, Himmelstein drew on data from a national longitudunal study of 15,000 teenagers for her research, which formed the basis of her prize-winning senior essay. She got the idea while taking time off from Yale and working in the juvenile justice system, where she noticed a disproportionate number of non-hetero teens. Sociology professor Hannah Brückner co-authored the Pediatrics article.

One Pediatrics letter-writer argues that Himmelstein and Brückner overstate their statistical conclusions. Nonetheless, the authors write: “Our results suggest an urgent need for all child-serving professionals to reflect on strategies to reduce the criminalization of nonheterosexual youth as they navigate adolescence in an often hostile society.”

Filed under parenting, crime, alumnae, education, research, lgbtq
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