William T. Grant Foundation Announces 2014 Scholars

The William T. Grant Foundation has announced the recipients of their 2014 Scholars Program. The Scholars Program was established in 1982 and supports early career researchers in the social, behavioral, and health sciences.

Each applicant is nominated by their supporting institution and receives $350,000 over five years to expand their research. Scholars will also be mentored and collaborate with fellow scholars, foundation staff, and other senior researchers.

The 2014 Scholars are:

Noelle M. Hurd is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Virginia. Through three interconnected research projects, Dr. Hurd’s grant, entitled “Critical Contexts for the Formation of Natural Mentoring Relationships among Economically Disadvantaged African-American Adolescents,” will examine how family and neighborhood settings support the development of mentoring relationships between economically disadvantaged African-American adolescents and the adults in their everyday lives. This project will develop her skills in the design and implementation of multilevel and mixed-methods studies to assess family- and neighborhood-level influences on natural mentoring relationships. Patrick Tolan, professor at the University of Virginia Curry School of Education, will mentor Hurd in multilevel study design and measurement. Jean Rhodes, professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts-Boston, and Mary Waters, professor and chair of sociology at Harvard University, will co-mentor Hurd in qualitative and mixed-methods research.

Michael J. MacKenzie is an Associate Professor at the School of Social Work, Columbia University. His grant, “Children in Limbo: A Transactional Model of Foster Care Placement Instability,” will examine why some children in the child welfare system experience placement disruptions that increase in frequency and speed over their time in care. MacKenzie will expand his expertise to become better skilled at assessing adolescent development and transitions as well as developing novel longitudinal designs that allow for a more nuanced look at children’s experiences of life disruptions. The former will be supported through the efforts of mentor Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, the Virginia & Leo Marx Professor of Child Development at Teachers College, Columbia University. The latter methodological portion will be supported by Professor John Schulenberg at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research and the Center for Human Growth and Development.

Rebecca M. B. White is an Assistant Professor at the T. Denny Sanford School of Social and Family Dynamics, Arizona State University. Her grant, “A New Look at Neighborhood Ethnic Concentration: Implications for Mexican-Origin Adolescents’ Cultural Adaptation and Adjustment,” will examine how ethnically concentrated neighborhood settings influence Latino adolescents’ development, with a special emphasis on a set of developmental competencies that are salient to ethnic minority youth. White will expand upon her expertise in family, developmental, and public health sciences to gain knowledge in mixed-methods field work and sociological theory. Sandra Simpkins, a developmental psychologist at Arizona State University, will mentor White on qualitative and mixed methods. Christopher Browning, professor of sociology at The Ohio State University, will provide guidance on exposure-based field methods and mainstream neighborhood theory.

Joanna Lee Williams is an Assistant Professor at the Curry School of Education, University of Virginia. Her grant, “Benefits and Challenges of Ethnic Diversity in Middle Schools: The Mediating Role of Peer Groups,” will examine how ethnically diverse peer groups provide psychosocial and academic benefits to early adolescents. Williams, a developmental psychologist, will gain expertise in social network analysis, ethnographic methods, mixed-methods research, and sociological perspectives on peer groups. Sandra Graham at the University of California, Los Angeles will provide expertise in ethnicity and school-level diversity as contexts of development. Jill Hamm at University of North Carolina will provide guidance in social network analysis and middle school peer groups. In the later years of the award, Prudence Carter, an educational sociologist at Stanford University, will provide expertise on mixed-methods data collection in diverse schools.

David Scott Yeager is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology, University of Texas at Austin. His Grant, “Toward a Sociological, Contextual Perspective on Psychological Interventions,” will examine how and to what extent the effects of social-psychological interventions vary across different settings. Yeager, who has a strong background in adolescent development research and in evaluating psychological interventions in education seeks a better integration of theory and data on social settings in order to strengthen understanding of the scalability of these types of interventions. Robert Crosnoe and Chandra Muller at the University of Texas will provide guidance on the measurement and analysis of settings. Uri Treisman, a public policy expert, will share his expertise about carrying out policy-relevant analyses as well as on communicating the findings to the general public. In addition, Tony Bryk at the Carnegie Foundation will serve as an informal mentor and provide statistical guidance.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Judith Fenlon
About Judith Fenlon 165 Articles
Money & Business Editor for The Chronicle of Social Change