Robert Marx, PhD

Robert Marx

Assistant Professor, Child & Adolescent Development

Robert Marx’s community-engaged research and practice focus on reframing dominant visions of queer young people, so that they are no longer viewed as damaged or at-risk, but rather as the gifted, complex people they are. He deploys a variety of research methods, including critical youth participatory action research and meta-analysis, to better understand and promote marginalized youth’s development. As a former high school English teacher, he approaches this work from the intersection of educational studies, developmental psychology, and critical pedagogy, and his work encourages young people to see themselves as producers of knowledge and change agents.


  • Ph.D., Community Research and Action, Peabody College of Education at Vanderbilt University
  • M.A.T., Secondary English Education, Boston University
  • B.A., English, Spanish, and Linguistic Anthropology, Brandeis University

Recent Publications

  • Kettrey, H. H, & Marx, R. A. (forthcoming). Does the gendered approach of bystander programs matter in the prevention of sexual assault among adolescents and college students? A systematic review and meta-analysis. Archives of Sexual Behavior.
  • Hatchel, T., & Marx, R. A. (2018). Understanding intersectionality and resiliency among transgender adolescents: Exploring pathways among peer victimization, school belonging, and drug use. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15(6), doi:10.3390/ijerph15061289
  • Roberts, L. M., & Marx, R. A. (2018). The persistence of policies of protection in LGBTQ research & advocacy. Journal of LGBT Youth, DOI: 10.1080/19361653.2018.1479325

Recent Presentations

  • Marx, R. A. Understanding the Importance of Social Networks and Organizations in LGBTQ+ Lives. Symposium chair, Society for Prevention Research.
  • Marx, R. A., Temkin, D., & Cadill, R. The Relative Importance of Individual- and School-Level Factors in Predicting LGBTQ+ Students’ Sense of School Belonging. Society for Prevention Research.
  • Marx, R. A. Fostering Developmentally Appropriate Discussions of Racism in Queer youth Organizations: Lessons from Participants and Advisors. Society for Research on Child Development.
  • Marx, R. A. “Cliqued up White Groups”: An Analysis of Discussions of Racism in Queer Youth Spaces. American Educational Research Association.
  • Marx, R. A. A Poem is Never Finished: Exploring Critical Methods with Spoken Word Poetry. American Educational Research Association.
  • Kettrey, H. H., & Marx, R. A. Effects of bystander programs on the prevention of sexual assault among adolescents and college students: A systematic review. Stockholm Criminology Symposium.
  • Marx, R. A. Poetry as prevention: Spoken word poetry supports academic and emotional growth for middle school students. Society for Prevention Research.

Noteworthy Grants and Awards

  • Bonsal Dissertation Enhancement Grant for Applied Educational Research ($10,000; 2018)
  • Outstanding Instructor, Department of Human and Organizational Development (2018)
  • Dean’s Grant for Curriculum Development, Applied Human Development at Peabody College ($3,500; 2018)
  • Community Scholar, Vanderbilt-Meharry Community Engaged Research Core ($5,000; 2017)
  • Research Grant, Department of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion at Vanderbilt University ($3,550; 2017)
  • Research Grant, Curb Center for Art, Enterprise, and Public Policy ($1,000; 2017)
  • Honorable Mention, National Science Foundation, Graduate Research Fellowship (2016)
  • Research Grant, National Council of Teachers of English ($3,000; 2015)

Online Resources

Areas of Research Interest

  • After-school activities
  • High schools
  • Multilevel modeling
  • Queer youth
  • School belonging
  • Well-being
  • Youth development

Recommended Reading

Personality Playlist

Listen to Robert's playlist below and access all of the personality playlists on our Lurie College of Education Spotify account