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Supporting populations at risk

EHE Office of Research
May 23, 2017

Our faculty and research staff study, create and implement innovative strategies that improve educational and healthy living opportunities for all children, adults and families in Central Ohio and beyond. Below are just some of our featured projects.



Matthew Brock (Educational Studies), funded through the U.S. Department of Education, Institute of Education Sciences, is conducting research focused on improving the instructional strategies of paraprofessionals working with students with severe disabilities. Brock will develop and test the promise of a multi-tier system of training to improve paraprofessional implementation of systematic instructional strategies (i.e., simultaneous prompting, least-to-most prompting, and data collection and graphing) as well as outcomes for students with severe disabilities, preschool through high school.

Carolyn Gunther (Human Sciences) was funded through Purdue University (flow-through funds from the USDA) to investigate the factors that protect disadvantaged children from unhealthy summer weight gain. The results can be used by stakeholders at the local, state and federal levels to reform current policy to increase child participation in health-promoting programming during the summer window of risk.

Karen Irving, Patricia Brosnan, Lin Ding, Valerie Kinloch (all Teaching and Learning) and Lawrence Krissek (Arts and Sciences) were funded through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, National Science Foundation to produce leaders in STEM teaching for high-needs students in grades 7-12, especially those in urban areas, as well as recruit underrepresented populations into STEM teaching.

Helen Malone (Educational Studies) was funded through the Franklin County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities to capitalize on current resources and target vocational and community skills training for students served by the Franklin County Board of Developmental Disabilities (FCBDD). The work focuses on identifying evidence-based practices that will allow youth served through FCBDD to be successful in community employment.

Natasha Slesnick (Human Sciences) was funded through multiple sponsors to support the STAR House and the homeless youth it supports. These youth are extremely vulnerable to poor health outcomes related particularly to substance use and risky sexual behaviors; thus, we need to develop and test interventions that help them live productive and satisfying lives. Without such interventions, they represent a great threat to the public health for costly health problems such as substance abuse, alcoholism, HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted infections.


Ralph Gardner III, Gwen Cartledge (both Educational Studies) and Eric Fosler-Lussier (Computer Science and Engineering) were funded through the Battelle Endowment (BETHA) to investigate a newly developed voice recognition software to deliver oral reading intervention and culturally relevant reading materials to improve the reading fluency and comprehension of first- and second-grade urban learners at risk for reading failure.

Karen Irving, Brian Edmiston, Kathy Malone (all Teaching and Learning), Andrew Heckler (Arts and Sciences and Rachel Kajfez (Engineering Education) were funded through the Ohio Department of Higher Education to bring STEM -integrated engineering units to high-needs elementary schools, including those in Columbus City and Whitehall school districts. The EiE-Ohio 3: Leadership for 21st- Century STEAM Learners project has been funded for three years.

Laura Justice (Educational Studies) and Jacqueline Goodway (Human Sciences) were funded through the city of Columbus and Ohio State to address the challenge of improving kindergarten readiness for children entering school within our local community. The program is designed to systematically and explicitly develop critical skills and interests that help children enter kindergarten ready to learn, including core academic competencies in language, literacy and math, while also supporting children’s social-emotional development, their physical and motor development and their interest in the arts.

Emily Rodgers (Teaching & Learning) and Jerome D’Agostino (Educational Studies) were funded through the U.S. Department of Education to support the development and initial evaluation of an instructional model to improve literacy outcomes for young students whose disabilities require reading instruction in restrictive settings. The goal of these instructional strategies is to improve students’ achievement to such a level that they can transition from restrictive settings for their literacy learning to the classroom.

Deanna Wilkinson (Human Sciences) was funded through USDA, National Institute of Food and Agriculture, to develop activities that enrich the science, health, personal and career development curricula at two community schools serving youth and families placed at high risk. The project is a multifaceted, 21st-century positive youth development initiative designed to cross multiple skills domains through the introduction of nutrition, health and wellness, entrepreneurial business principles; and community efficacy.

Jane Wiechel (Schoenbaum Family Center) was funded through the Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to ensure that children between six weeks and three years old in Columbus, Ohio, have a happy and healthy start in life. A particularly unique aspect of this project is the broad geographic distribution of the early care and education providers and the intentional linkage between community-based programs already serving very low-income families.


Barbara Boone and Robert Mahlman (both CETE) were funded through the Ohio Department of Education to integrate family engagement, particularly for the families of students with disabilities, into systems such as the Ohio Improvement Process, Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports and the State Personnel Development Grant. CETE will work with the state support teams and Office for Exceptional Children to develop resources for families and to improve regional networks.

Mileidis Gort (Teaching and Learning) was funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education to investigate how best to improve the writing performance of English language learners (ELLs). By exploring two key malleable factors that have the potential to improve ELLs’ writing outcomes: the quality of sheltered instruction that is designed to provide additional support for ELLs and the quality of writing instruction.

Laura Justice (Educational Studies) and Jessica Logan (CCEC) were funded through the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), National Institute of Health (NIH), to examine the impacts of planned variations of theory-informed behavioral supports provided to caregivers when implementing an empirically validated, 15-week early-literacy intervention, Sit Together and Read, with children with language impairment.

Tiffany Wild (Teaching and Learning) was funded through the National Federation of the Blind to examine the self-efficacy of children with visual impairments regarding STEM. Research has not examined student-driven inquiry, informal science settings, experiences of blind youth’s parents in STEM settings, or the ability of blind youth to conduct advanced investigations in STEM. This project generated the first data to examine these many aspects of STEM education.


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