Audrey A. Trainor, PhD, studies equity and diversity in special education, focusing on postsecondary transitions for adolescents identified with learning and behavioral/emotional disabilities, including multilingual young people. A central purpose of her work is to improve inclusive transition education and post-school outcomes for people who are made vulnerable by limited access to educational opportunities and encouragement. Using capital theory, her projects examine how economic, cultural, and social capital coalesce and function as levers for power and agency in special education processes.
From 2017-2022, Audrey served as principal investigator for the IES-funded project, Factors Associated with Postsecondary Success for English Language Learners with Disabilities: A Mixed Methods Exploration. This study included secondary analyses of the NLTS studies' data on transition experiences and post-school outcome data of multilingual learners with disabilities and qualitative explorations of these experiences and outcomes for high school and postsecondary students in New York City. Her books and articles focus on qualitative research methodology and ethics, in addition to special education transitions from high school to adulthood. Trainor is a past president (2012-13) of the Council for Exceptional Children's Division on Career Development and Transition.
In 2023, the journal Multiple Voices awarded Audrey and her colleagues the journal's Publication Award for their paper, Secondary students receiving special education and English learner services: Identity informed transitions. Audrey's other awards include the 2015 DCDT Sitlington Research Award and named the 2014 Gershman/Ahler Distinguished Lecturer in Qualitative Research. Prior to her career in postsecondary education, she was a special education high school teacher working with students with disabilities for nearly a decade.