NCFR Recognizes Mia Brantley and Caroline Sanner for Outstanding Contributions to Feminist Scholarship

The National Council on Family Relations (NCFR) proudly recognizes Mia Brantley, Ph.D., and Caroline Sanner, Ph.D., as recipients of the 2023 Jessie Bernard Paper Award. This award commends the work of Family Scientists engaging in rigorous feminist family scholarship that queries and problematizes the numerous biases and systems of privilege and oppression within Family Science and society.

Mia Brantley square

Dr. Brantley (she/her) is an assistant professor of sociology at North Carolina State University. She received her doctorate in sociology and a certificate of graduate study in women’s and gender studies from the University of South Carolina.

Dr. Brantley’s scholarship lies at the intersection of race, gender, and family within the context of health to understand how the consequences of race and racism shape Black families’ health and well-being, into the multiple pathways through which racism and race-related stress impact the well-being and lived experiences of Black families. In addition to her academic service, publications, and garnered awards, Dr. Brantley has been an invited speaker for several organizations around the U.S., where she guides conversations, encourages critical thinking, and nurtures meaningful engagement with people of diverse identities and backgrounds. Her paper is titled, “Burdens of the What-If; Vicarious Anti-Black Racism and Stress for Black Mothers!” 


Caroline Sanner

Dr. Sanner (she/her) is an assistant professor of family science at Virginia Tech. She graduated from the University of Missouri, obtaining both undergraduate and graduate degrees in human development and Family Science.

Dr. Sanner’s research focuses on family complexity, including the emotional and relational complexities involved in navigating family structure transitions, such as divorce and stepfamily formation. She is proud to serve as a deputy editor for NCFR Journal of Family Theory & Review. She also serves as the Student and New Professional Representative of NCFR Research & Theory Section and as the founder and current co-chair of NCFR Diverse Family Structures Focus Group. Dr. Sanner received the NCFR Student Award in 2018, given annually to an emerging scholar who shows high potential for contribution to the field of family science. Her paper is titled, “Studying Stepfamilies, Surfacing Secrets: A Reflection on the Private Motivations Behind Efforts to Humanize Family Complexity!”

NCFR is proud to present this award to Dr. Brantley and Dr. Sanner in acknowledging their work in challenging biases and furthering Family Science.

This award is presented in memory of Jessie Bernard, former NCFR Board Member and pioneer in the field of feminist family studies. Jessie Bernard declared herself a feminist in 1970 and is known for her celebrated description of "his" and "her" marriages. She was a board member of the American Sociological Association, the Groves Conference on Marriage and Family, and NCFR.

Dr. Brantley and Dr. Sanner will be recognized for their achievements during a plenary at the 2023 NCFR Annual Conference.


The National Council on Family Relations is the premier professional association for the multidisciplinary understanding of families. NCFR has a membership of nearly 3,000 family researchers, practitioners and educators. For more information on the National Council on Family Relations or its scholarly publications, visit the NCFR website at