Ardith Clayton-Wright

Degree: Ed.D. in Adult Education and Human Resource Development

College/School: School of Education and Human Development, College of Arts, Sciences & Education

Ardith Clayton-Wright wants to help people with traumatic brain injuries. A dietitian, Ardith struggled to find the resources for her daughter, Alysia, who was seriously injured in a car wreck at 18 years old. Ardith quit her job with Florida’s Department of Health and sought a degree that could facilitate her new life’s work.

Ardith vowed that no other family would experience the same hardship. Not even her own brush with death could stop her.

At FIU, Ardith focused her doctoral research on determining the likelihood of people with traumatic brain injury staying in college. Her work ground to a halt after a doctor gave Ardith the wrong medication during an emergency room visit. For a moment, she flatlined but was resuscitated. As her body recovered, she struggled to understand what was being said to her for a period of time.

Under the guidance of Professor Thomas G. Reio, Jr., Ardith continued her research. Her findings were sobering. Using data from longitudinal studies, Ardith realized that only 35 percent of emerging adults with traumatic brain injuries earn a bachelor’s degree.

She also found that the combination of traumatic brain injury and being an emerging adult created a perfect storm that significantly affects persistence along with hours worked, hours spent studying, annual earnings and familial and social support network.

Ardith plans to focus her future work on creating a traumatic brain injury institute.

By Chrystian Tejedor
Account Manager
College of Arts, Sciences & Education