Mollie McQuillan

Assistant Professor

(608) 263-2737

270C Education Building

McQuillan, Mollie

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Mollie McQuillan is an Assistant Professor in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. Dr. McQuillan uses a mixed-methods approach to examine the intersection of educational policy, social relationships, and health of gender-expansive students and educators. Dr. McQuillan’s research describes local districts’ policy and procedural responses to state legislative mandates, the processes involved in shaping educators’ understanding of policies concerning gender-expansive students, the experiences of transgender K12 workers, and the physical health consequences of poor school climates.

Dr. McQuillan received a PhD in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University. While at Northwestern, she was a Northwestern University Presidential Fellow, a 2017-2018 National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellow, and 2016-2017 Sexualities Project at Northwestern Dissertation Fellow. She has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago in Political Science and Psychology and two master’s degrees, one in Teaching from the University of Saint Thomas (Social Studies licensure for grades 5-12) and another in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University. She has earned the Management for Scientists and Engineers Certificate from Kellogg Business School and the Interdisciplinary Society, Biology, and Health Certificate from Northwestern University. Dr. McQuillan also spent 12 years working with adolescents, including seven as a public school teacher.


  • PhD Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University, 2019
  • MA Human Development and Social Policy, Northwestern University, 2014
  • MAT Teaching, University of Saint Thomas, 2005
  • AB Political Science, University of Chicago, 2000

Select Publications

  • McQuillan, M. T., & Leininger, J. (2020) Supporting gender-inclusive schools: educators’ beliefs about gender diversity training and implementation plans Professional Development in Education
  • McQuillan, M. T., Miller, A., McDade, T., Kuhns, L., & Garofalo, R. Gender Minority Stress and Inflammation in Transgender and Gender-Diverse Youth Transgender Health Online Publication/Abstract.
  • McQuillan, M. T. (2018) Educational Attainment and Sexual Orientation in Adolescent and Young Adult Males Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, 23(83), 25-41. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing.
  • Adam, E. K., Quinn, M. E., Tavernier, R., McQuillan, M. T., Dahlke, K., & Gilbert, K. (2017) Diurnal Cortisol Slopes and Mental and Physical Health Outcomes: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis Psychoneuroendocrinology, 83, 25-41. Online Publication/Abstract.
  • Hostinar, C. E., McQuillan, M. T., Mirous, H. J., Grant, K. E., & Adam, E. K. (2014) Cortisol responses to a group public speaking task for adolescents: Variations by age, gender, and race Psychoneuroendocrinology, 50, 155-166. Online Publication/Abstract.

Select Presentations

  • McQuillan, M. T., American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, "People Are Still Working It Out in Their Minds": A Mixed-Methods Description of the Policy Landscape for Gender-Expansive Students and Administrative Framing" (2019), Toronto, ON
  • McQuillan, M. T., Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Meeting, "Beyond Bathrooms: School District Policies and Administrative Guidance Related to Gender-Expansive Youth" (2018), Washington, D.C.
  • McQuillan, M. T., International Conference on Education and Social Justice, "Institutional Responses to Calls for Inclusivity and Protections for Gender-Expansive Students" (2018), Honolulu, HI
  • McQuillan, M. T., American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting, "Exploring the State of Education Policies and Experiences for Transgender and Gender-Creative Youth" (2018), New York City, NY
  • McQuillan, M. T., Society for Research on Adolescence Meeting, "An In-Depth Look at Early Career Funding Success" (2018), Minneapolis, MN
  • McQuillan, M. T., Davies, A., Gomez, H., & Powers, E., Society for Research on Adolescence Meeting, "State Leadership in District LGBTQ-Inclusive Bullying Policies: An Evaluation of Changes in Bullying Polices" (2018), Minneapolis, MN
  • McQuillan, M. T., & Leininger, J., Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Meeting, "Educators in Training: An evaluation of a gender inclusivity training program for educators" (2017), Chicago, IL
  • McQuillan, M. T., Hostinar, C., Mirous, H., Grant, K., & Adam, E., International Society of Psychoneuroendocrinology Meeting, "Validation of the Trier Social Stress Test for Groups in a Diverse Sample of Adolescents: Variations by Age, Gender, and Race" (2014), Montreal, Canada
  • McQuillan, M. T., Adam, E., & Schanzenbach, D., Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management Meeting, "Educational Attainment in Sexual Minority Males" (2014), Albuquerque, NM
  • McQuillan, M. T., Aranda, F., & Matthews, A., LGBTQ Health and Wellness Conference, "Mental Health of Sexual Minority Women of Color" (2014), Chicago, IL

Select Awards and Honors

  • Advancing Health Equity and Diversity Pilot Award, Institute for Clinical and Translational Research, 2020
  • Div A Outstanding Dissertation Award Honorable Mention, American Educational Research Association (AERA), 2020
  • Leadership for School Improvement Dissertation of the Year Award Finalist, American Educational Research Association (AERA), 2020
  • Invited Scholar to Trans Studies in Education: Building a Field of Research Pilot Learning Community, Spencer Foundation, 2019
  • Invited Scholar to Transforming Public Education: Mapping a Research Agenda conference, Spencer Foundation, 2019
  • Madison Education Partnership Research Award, UW Madison Education Partnership, 2019
  • Robert J. Menges Memorial Award for Graduate Student Professional Development, Northwestern University School of Education and Social Policy, 2019
  • Dissertation Fellowship, National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation, 2017
  • Dissertation Fellowship, Sexualities Project at Northwestern University (SPAN), 2017
  • Presidential Fellowship, Northwestern University, 2017