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College scholars awarded seed grants for new research projects

Kim Lightle
February 21, 2019

Grants to help launch research focused on underserved and under-represented populations

Five faculty from the College of Education and Human Ecology were awarded funding for their research from the Dean’s Emerging Scholars Seed Grant Program.

The annual seed grant-mentoring program partners early-stage faculty with faculty mentors inside and outside of the college to obtain pilot research data for future grant applications.

Sponsored by the college’s Office of Research, Innovation and Collaboration, the program invites studies representing varied research interests. Special consideration is given to projects focused on underserved and under-represented groups including low-and moderate-income populations, recent immigrants, rural groups, communities of color, at-risk youth, the elderly, LGBTQ, and other populations that are traditionally underserved and underrepresented.

The following faculty awardee began their two-year projects January 1, 2019.

Lauren Jones

Assistant Professor, Consumer Sciences

Internal Mentor: Tansel Yilmazer, Associate Professor of Consumer Sciences

External Mentor: David Neumark, Distinguished Professor of Economics; Director, Economic Self-Sufficiency Policy Research Institute, University of California, Irvine

Project: The long-term effects of the earned income tax credit on health outcomes

Jones will study the long-term effects of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), one of the largest anti-poverty programs in the United States benefiting underserved and under-represented populations such as disabled individuals and low-income, working parents. The EITC provides significant income support to low- and medium-income working families with eligible children. Since its inception in 1975, the credit has been expanded significantly, especially for larger families and families living in certain states. A long line of literature has demonstrated positive effects of the policy on short-term outcomes; however, no studies have as yet demonstrated the long-term effects of the policy. If year-to-year behavior changes persist, then long-term effects may be very different than short-term effects.

Minjung Kim

Assistant Professor, Quantitative Research, Evaluation and Measurement

Internal Mentor: Ann O’Connell, Professor, Quantitative Research, Evaluation and Measurement

External Mentor: Oi-man Kwok, Professor, Research, Measurement and Statistics, Texas A&M University

Project: Assessing causal mechanisms in complex educational data: A new approach of multilevel mediation

Kim seeks to improve the accuracy of the current approach of multilevel mediation analysis when there is a change in group membership over time. Specifically, this project aims to utilize the developed mediation analysis to understand the causal mechanisms between socioeconomic backgrounds and academic achievement outcomes. According to a recent report by the Center for Education Policy Analysis, the achievement gap between students from high- and low-socioeconomic status (SES) backgrounds has increased globally during the last 50 years. Given this circumstance, it is increasingly important to understand the causal mechanisms between SES backgrounds and academic achievement outcomes. Although mediation analysis has been popularly used to investigate causal relationships, it has a limited utility when there is a change in membership since clustering has not been appropriately accounted for when analyzing the mediation effect.

Charis Price

Assistant Professor, Early Childhood Special Education

Internal Mentor: Laura Justice, EHE Distinguished Professor, Educational Psychology; Executive Director, Schoenbaum Family Center and Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy

External Mentor: Tim Lewis, Professor, Special Education, University of Missouri

Project: Implementation of a multicomponent intervention to teach behavioral expectations

With the rising incidence in young children who are suspended and expelled from preschool settings, ongoing examination of evidence-based social/emotional/behavioral interventions is essential. The purpose of this study, called Project HEAR+T, is to examine the impact of a class-wide intervention to teach behavioral expectations to young children across targeted routines and transitions. Project HEAR+T will also examine the usability, acceptability and feasibility of the intervention for early childhood teachers who work in inclusive and urban early childhood settings.

Kelly Purtell

Assistant Professor, Human Development and Family Science

Internal Mentor: Laura Justice, EHE Distinguished Professor, Educational Psychology; Executive Director, Schoenbaum Family Center and Crane Center for Early Childhood Research and Policy

External Mentor: Dorthe Bleses, Professor, Communication and Culture, Aarhaus University

Project: Understanding parental mindsets: Origins and Implications for early childhood development

Purtell’s work is focused on understanding U.S. parental mindsets in a cross-cultural perspective. This cross-cultural work seeks to understand how societal inequality and the availability of social benefits shapes mindsets. Establishing measures and initial information about the predictors and child outcomes of parental mindsets is an important first step in this larger program of research. Ultimately, this work will contribute to our understanding of how parents view their role in their children’s lives and inform future interventions designed to improve the developmental contexts of young children.

Winston Thompson

Assistant Professor, Philosophy and History of Education

Internal Mentor: Samuel Hodge, Professor, Kinesiology

External Mentor: Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, Associate Professor, Social Work and Carole Anderson Faculty Fellow, The Ohio State University

Project: With abiding morality and an enduring sense of justice: An investigation of the meanings health and physical education professionals ascribe to their involvement in the restoration of school programs

Thompson’s project explores the meaning health and physical education professionals ascribe to their resilience and involvement in the restoration of school programs following the devastating in Puerto Rico caused by Hurricane María in 2017. In this inquiry, the research team aims to employ philosophical methods of conceptual analysis alongside standard social scientific methods in order to analyze the resources, challenges, stressors and sustaining moral values within the experiences of the target community. The philosophical arm of the project will draw upon collected data in order to interrogate the sense of moral obligation to one’s vocational duties as expressed under conditions of resource scarcity and the degree to which a conception of restorative justice animates these professionals in their response to the socio-political context and aftermath of a natural disaster.

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