Dr. Z Nicolazzo is an associate professor of Trans* Studies in Education at the Center for the Study of Higher Education and a member of the Trans* Studies Initiative at the University of Arizona. She earned her Ph.D. in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Miami University (OH), and formerly worked in various functional areas in student affairs, including residence life, sexual violence prevention programming, and student activities. She is also the organizer of the Trans Studies in Education Speaker Series at the University of Arizona, as well as a co-organizer for the Trans Freedom Summer School initiative, along with Texas Trans Futures and Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Inclusive Education at the University of British Columbia (SOGI UBC).
Dr. Nicolazzo’s research foci include: (1) tracing discourses of gender across postsecondary educational contexts, especially as they influence the livability of trans students, faculty, and staff; (2) transmisogyny as a mode of institutional capture, and; (3) affect theory, with an emphasis on grief and loss. Dr. Nicolazzo’s work seeks to expose how educational environments continue to invest in trans oppression. In this manner, Dr. Nicolazzo’s work calls for imagining liberatory, trans- led and centered, freedom-oriented futures that work in solidarity with various marginalized communities. In other words, Dr. Nicolazzo’s scholarship encourages readers to imagine worlds trans people want, need, and desire, and that imagine freedom for various marginalized populations.
Dr. Nicolazzo’s first book is titled Trans* In College: Transgender Students’ Strategies for Navigating Campus Life and the Institutional Politics of Inclusion (2017; Stylus Publishing), and her second, co-authored, text is titled Digital Me: Trans Students Exploring Future Possible Selves Online (2023, Rutgers University Press). She is also an editor of one text, and co-editor of three, with her most recent being Weaving an Otherwise: In-Relations Methodological Practice (2022, Stylus Publishing). She has published in a wide range of journals, including Review of Higher Education, Journal of College Student Development, TSQ: Transgender Studies Quarterly, Critical Studies in Education, About Campus, Journal of LGBT Youth, Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education and Student Affairs, among others. She also serves on multiple journal editorial boards and is also a member of the International Advisory Board for the book series, Queer Studies in Education, with Palgrave/Macmillian. Dr. Nicolazzo’s work has received awards from ACPA—College Student Educators International, the Association of College and University Student Housing Officers—International (ACUHO-I), and the American Educational Research Association’s Division J (Higher Education).
Additionally, Dr. Nicolazzo has translated her scholarship for wider, general audiences, writing public scholarship, including OpEds for various media outlets, podcast interviews, a trans studies in education syllabus, blogposts, and policy briefs, and a public letter to the Biden administration regarding actions to support trans youth. She also has provided interview commentary on trans people for media outlets such as the Chronicle of Higher Education, USA Today, Refinery 29, and NPR, among others.
Dr. Nicolazzo teaches classes on gender in education, qualitative methodologies, research design, activism in education, and college student cultures.
Office hours by appointment.