Author: Katheryn Paynter

Dr. Katheryn Paynter, the 2023 recipient of ACUI’s Daniel M. Maxwell Dissertation of the Year Award, is assistant director of Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi’s University Center. She received her Doctor of Education in educational leadership from Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi’s College of Education and Human Development, a master’s degree in educational leadership and policy studies from the University of Texas–San Antonio, and a Bachelor of Science in environmental science from Texas A&M University–Corpus Christi. Paynter attended I-LEAD® as a student, served on the Annual Conference grad staff in 2015, has served on several Region II Conference Planning Teams, and is currently the Region II student involvement coordinator. In 2022, she received Region II's William H. Smith Outstanding Professional Award. This article is based on her award-winning dissertation, “An Exploration of Belonging Through Student Union Employment.”