Graziella Pagliarulo McCarron

Graziella Pagliarulo McCarron

Graziella Pagliarulo McCarron

Assistant Professor

Dr. McCarron (she/her) is an Assistant Professor of Leadership Studies in the School of Integrative Studies at George Mason University in Fairfax, VA. She develops and teaches undergraduate and graduate courses focused on leadership theory, ethics and leadership, social change, and leadership and organizational problem-solving. As a former student/academic affairs practitioner and as a current leadership studies faculty member, Dr. McCarron has over 20 years of experience centered around holistic student development, increasing access to higher education, mattering, community-building, and creating learning climates that transcend time and place. Situated in her own experiences as a first-generation college student of immigrant origin, a significant focus of Dr. McCarron’s research and practice includes improving access and experience for first-generation learners, reframing leadership education pedagogy to meet students’ changing needs, and exploring the intersections of inclusive and equitable pedagogy and student development. Dr. McCarron is proud to serve as the inaugural Faculty Fellow for the George Mason University First-Gen+ Center as well as a co-founder of Mason's Human Rights and Global Justice Initiative,  a Senior Scholar for the University's Center for the Advancement of Well-Being, and an Affiliate Faculty member for the Mason Higher Education Program

First-Generation College Graduate

Selected Publications

Books in Preparation

Silver, B. R., & McCarron, G. P. (Eds.)Supporting college students of immigrant origin: New insights from research, policy, and practice. Cambridge University Press.

Zhou, S., & McCarron, G. P. Where we got started: Narratives of the journey to first jobs and career (from lived experiences to practical implications). Cambridge University Press.

Peer-Reviewed Publications (select)

McCarron, G. P., Chen, C. W., Blanton, S., Guerrieri, G., Lucioni, R. G., Gurung, E., Sreevals, A., & Enciu, J. (In press). College student activists’ perceptions of mattering to campus educators. Journal of College Student Affairs Research and Practice.

McCarron, G. P., Chen, C. W., April, J., & LaMagdeleine, I. (In Press). An exploratory study of the relationship between college student activists’ labor and their subjective well-being: Perspectives from a U.S. institution. Journal of American College Health.

McCarron, G. P., McKenzie, B., & Yamanaka, A. (In Press). Leadership identity development. New Directions in Student Leadership (No. 178). Wiley.

McCarron, G. P., & Yamanaka, A. (2022). Reflecting back and going forward: Promising pedagogical practices for culturally relevant/sustaining and equitable online leadership education. Journal of Leadership Studies.

McCarron, G. P., Yamanaka, A., Schierbeek, E., & Fojtik, G. (2022). Socially just and culturally relevant experiential leadership learning: Centering equity and inclusion in learners’ praxis. Journal of Leadership Studies. Online first.

Owen, E., McCarron, G. P., & Chen, C. W. (2022). “Never ‘because of’, always ‘in spite of’”: Implications of the CRLL for student social justice activists’ leadership learning. Journal of Leadership Studies. Online first.

McCarron, G. P. (2022). First and flourishing?: An exploration of how first-generation college students make meaning of their well-being through purpose, relationships, and multiple identities. Journal of First-generation Student Success.

Garner, P. W., & McCarron, G. P. (2022). Perceptions of competence, autonomy, and relatedness among women of immigrant origin working as family childcare providers in the U.S. Community, Work, & Family.

McCarron, G. P., Zhou, S., Schierbeek, E., Campbell, A., & Muscente, K. K. (2022). We’re not working with a blank slate: Students’ pre-college leadership activities and perceived parenting behavior as predictors of college-based leader emergence and leader self-efficacy. Journal of Leadership Education, 21(1), 33-47.

McCarron, G. P., Olesova, L., Calkins, B. (2021). An exploratory examination of student-led, asynchronous collaborative online discussions in fostering higher-order cognitive skills and ethical leadership learning. Online Learning, 25(4), 198-219.

Frye, S., & McCarron, G. P. (2021). Leveraging high-impact, collaborative learning in an undergraduate nonprofit studies course toward bolstering career readiness. Journal of Nonprofit Education and Leadership, 11(2), 65-85. 

Maskell, S., McCarron, G. P., Zhou, S., Cannon, J., Goldstein, T., & Zaccaro, S. J. (2021). The leadership stories our children are told: An examination of the characterizations of leadership behaviors and orientations in popular youth TV shows. Journal of Youth and Adolescence.

Owen, J. E., Rigaud, S., & McCarron, G. P. (2021). Hidden costs and commitments: Leadership, social class, and experiential learning. New Directions in Student Leadership, 2021(169), 103-110.

Garner, P., McCarron, G. P. (2020). Developing leadership in early childhood education and care through the integration of theory, policy engagement, and advocacy. Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, 1-18.

McCarron, G. P., Jackson, G., McNaughtan, J., Olesova, L., Schmidt, G. B., & Adams, T. T. (2020). Centering dialogic and digital approaches in leadership education pedagogy: Priority 6 of the national leadership education research agenda 2020–2025. Journal of Leadership Studies, 14(3), 72-77.

Owen, J. E., Krell, M., & McCarron, G. P. (2019). An exploration of civic identity in first-generation college students: From charity to solidarity. Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 56(5), 535-549.

McCarron, G. P., & Inkelas, K. K. (2006). The gap between educational aspirations and attainment for first-generation college students and the role of parental involvement. The Journal of College Student Development, 47(5), 534-549.

Case Study or Instructional Scenario Chapters

McCarron, G. P. (2021). Module 5.2: The effects of stereotypes, prejudice, and discrimination on women’s leadership. In J. M. Pigza, J. E. Owen, & Associates (Eds.), Women and leadership development in college: A facilitation resource (pp. TBD). Stylus.

McCarron, G. P., & Pigza, J. M. (2021). Module 6.3: On-ramps and off-ramps: Narratives of professional journey. In J. M. Pigza, J. E. Owen, & Associates (Eds.), Women and leadership development in college: A facilitation resource (pp. TBD). Stylus.

Courses Taught

INTS204 Leadership Theory and Practice

INTS391 Introduction to Integrative Studies

INTS404/575 Ethics and Leadership

INTS435/535 Leadership in a Changing Environment

INTS451/575 Leadership and Organizational Problem-Solving

INTS498/595 Leadership in Social Change in Italy

INTS498/585 Ethical Leadership: The Italian Perspective



Harvard Logo

Certificate in Media and Technology in Education,

Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Professional Ed

UMD Logo

Ph.D., Counseling & Personnel Services,

University of Maryland, College Park, MD

UMD Logo

M.A., Counseling & Personnel Services,

University of Maryland, College Park, MD

AU Logo

B.S.B.A., International Business,

American University, Washington, DC




Recent Presentations

Peer-Reviewed Presentations/Posters (Select)

McCarron, G. P., & Zhou, S. (2022, October 14). The seeds of wisdom: An examination of the major pre-college influences on college students’ leadership. International Leadership Association Global Conference. Washington, DC.

Ardoin, S., Guthrie, K., Svoboda, T., Kidd Brown, S., Sasso, P., & McCarron, G. P. (2022, March 21). Leadership learning through a social class lens: Examining how the conceptualization and practice of student leadership in higher education is classed. [Conference presentation]. Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) Annual Meeting, Baltimore, MD.

McCarron, G. P., Montiel, S., Hassell-Goodman, S., Byrd, X., Kim, N. (2021, June 30). Honoring the intersections: Supporting first-generation immigrant-origin college students [Virtual conference presentation]. Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) - Student Success in Higher Education Conference.

McCarron, G. P., Yamanaka, A., & Lennon, N. (2021, June 30). Supporting ethical decision-making across culture: Leadership education on-campus and abroad [Virtual conference poster]. Association of Leadership Educators (ALE) Annual Meeting.

Schierbeek, E., McCarron, G. P., & Gilmore, M. (2021, June 21-July 2).Community position statements as tools for social change: Collective action and community engagement in the Peruvian Amazon. [Virtual conference poster]. Society for the Anthropology of Lowland South America – Biennial Meeting.

McCarron, G. P., & Olesova, L. (2021, April 8-12). Students’ cognitive learning and leadership development via virtual collaboration in online leadership education coursework [Virtual conference poster]. American Educational Research Association (AERA) Annual Meeting.

Chen, C. W., & McCarron, G. P. (2021, April 7). Resilience and resistance: Social justice and human rights college student activists int the Washington Metropolitan Area during Covid-19. [Virtual conference presentation]. International Studies Association (ISA) Annual Convention.

Yamanaka, A., & McCarron, G. P. (2021, March 24). Fostering social justice awareness through face-to-face and online experiential learning. [Virtual conference presentation]. Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) Annual Meeting.

McCarron, G. P., & Yamanaka, A. (2021, March 23). High-touch and high-tech: Fostering student mattering and success in online learning communities [Virtual conference presentation]. Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA) Annual Meeting.

McCarron, G. P., Kodama Muscente, K., Zhou, S., Campbell, A., Schierbeek, E. (2020, December 16). College students’ leadership development: Spotlighting parental influence and pre-college engagement [Virtual conference presentation]. NASPA - Leadership Educators Institute (LEI) Annual Conference.

Barnes, A., Haber-Curran, P., Hassell-Goodman, S., McCarron, G. P., Owen, J. E., Rocco, M., Yamanaka, A., Youngblood, RJ. (2020, December 15). Critical perspectives of women leadership development in college: Tools for facilitating student learning development [Virtual conference presentation]. NASPA - Leadership Educators Institute (LEI) Annual Conference.

Andenoro, T., Skendall, K. C., Middlebrooks, A., Satterwhite, R. J., Chunoo, V. S., Smith, D. N., & McCarron, G. P., (2020, November 5-8). The National leadership education research agenda 2020-2024: Advancing  collaboration & inclusion [Virtual conference presentation]. International Leadership Association Annual Conference.