News about Current and Former Trainees, Postdocs & REU Fellows
Eve Pattison, PRC Graduate Student Trainee, Receives Philathropic Educational Organization (P.E.O.) Award
Posted: April 23, 2014
Evangeleen Pattison is one of 85 doctoral students nationwide selected to receive a $15,000 Scholar Award from the P.E.O. Sisterhood. She was sponsored by Chapter CR of Austin, TX.
The P.E.O. Scholar Awards (PSA) was established in 1991 to provide substantial merit-based awards for women of the United States and Canada who are pursuing a doctoral level degree at an accredited college or university.
The P.E.O. Sisterhood, founded January 21, 1869, at Iowa Wesleyan College, Mount Pleasant, Iowa, is a philanthropic educational organization interested in bringing increased opportunities for higher education to women. There are approximately 6,000 local chapters in the United States and Canada with nearly a quarter of a million active members.
Arya Ansari, PRC Graduate Student Trainee, Receives Summer Fellowship and Best Student Presentation Award
Posted: April 23, 2014
PRC trainee, Arya Ansari, has received a summer fellowship at the National Research Center on Hispanic Children & Families. This fellowship will allow him to collaborate with national experts in Hispanic issues in advancing the understanding of poverty, economic self-sufficiency, and the early care and education usage among Hispanic families. As part of this award, Arya will conduct policy relevant research and connect with other emerging scholars, researchers, and organizations in the area to generate knowledge that informs programming and policy decisions targeting Hispanic populations.
Arya also received an award for the Best Graduate Student Presentation Award at the Society for Research in Human Development 19th Biennial Conference. The award was for a project he has been doing under the mentorship of Dr. Robert Crosnoe examining the reciprocal relations among parents’ support for early learning, children’s academic skills, and preschool enrollment.
Amber Villalobos, former REU student, Awarded Prestigious NSF Fellowship
Posted: April 2, 2014
Amber Villalobos, who received her BA from UT Austin and who participated in the 2010 Research Experience for Undergraduates program hosted by PRC, has been selected to receive a 2014 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship. Her selection was based on her outstanding abilities and accomplishments, as well as her potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the US science and engineering enterprise. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $32,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.
Chelsa Smith, PRC Graduate Student Trainee, awarded Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being
Posted: March 26, 2014
Chelsea Smith, PRC graduate student trainee, was selected to receive a Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being—seeking innovations to prevent child abuse and neglect. The fellowship is designed to develop a new generation of leaders capable of creating practice and policy initiatives that will enhance child development and improve the nation's ability to prevent all forms of child maltreatment. Fifteen fellows were selected nationally to receive an annual stipend of $25,000 for up to two years to support the completion of their dissertation and related research. They were selected by a panel of experts convened by Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago.
The fellowships are funded through the support of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation.
Abigail Aiken, PRC Graduate Student Trainee, awarded NICHD Individual Predoctoral Fellowship
Posted: Jan 15, 2014
Evangeleen Pattison, PRC Graduate Student Trainee, featured in Boston Globe and Inside Higher Ed
Posted: Nov 9, 2013
PRC trainee Evangeleen Pattison, along with Eric Grodsky, and Chandra Muller were recently featured in the Boston Globe and Inside Higher Ed for an article they published in Educational Researcher, which challenges the data and ideas behind grade inflation.The authors call in to question the ‘increases in grade point average’ definition of grade inflation, arguing that a focus solely on upward drift in the mean is inadequate for understanding the existence and pervasiveness of grade inflation in secondary and postsecondary education. Pattison and her colleagues argue that increasing average grades are irrelevant if they are not accompanied by declines in the signaling power of grades. As such, the authors consider not just the mean, but also the variance among grade point averages and their relationships with important antecedents and outcomes. Analyzing data from four nationally representative samples, they find that in the decades following 1972: (a) grades have risen at high schools and dropped at four-year colleges, in general, and selective four-year institutions, in particular; and (b) the signaling power of grades has attenuated little, if at all.
PRC Graduate Student Trainees in the News Discussing Abortion Restrictions in Texas
Posted: July 25, 2013
Amanda Stevenson testified on five different occasions before the state legislature, and was interviewed for the CBS 11 television news feature and online article entitled, Abortion Debate Leads to Women's Health Funding Questions. She was also quoted in an article published in the Monitor Newspaper that was later featured in The Rachel Maddow Show on NBC.
Aprile Benner Selected for Prestigious Scholars Program
Posted: May 14, 2013
Aprile Benner, former PRC postdoctoral fellow and currently assistant professor in the Department of Human Development and Family Sciences has been named to the 2013 class of William T. Grant Scholars, which supports promising early career researchers, who have demonstrated success in conducting high quality research and are seeking to further develop and broaden their expertise. The grant is for 5 years for a total of $350,000.
Dr. Benner's grant, entitled “Adolescents and the Social Contexts of American Schools,” will examine how the social and academic climates of schools come together to affect adolescents’ development and well being. This research plan will allow her to expand her facility with qualitative and historical methods and integrate developmental psychopathology perspectives into her work. Toward these aims, she will be mentored by John Schulenberg and Tom Weisner. Schulenberg, professor at the University of Michigan, will advise Benner on developmental psychopathology and historical analyses; Weisner, a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, will counsel Benner on her mixed-methods research.
Congratulations to Dr. Benner for this prestigious award!
Kaeley Bobbitt Publishes Op-Ed in Austin-American Statesman
Posted: May 5, 2013
PRC Trainee Kaely Bobbitt, along with Frances Deviney of the Center for Public Policy Priories, published an op-ed in the April 28 edition of the Austin-American Statesmen entitled, "Lawmakers have opportunity to do more for Texas children."
Bobbitt and Deviney argue that the Texas Legislature should invest heavily in both education and children's health. Their research at the Center for Public Policy Priorities in Texas' investment in childhood health and education found that "the greater our investments in our children, the better our children fared." Indeed, "when Texas increased investments in education, not only did our kids’ education outcomes improve — including how many kids passed the state’s math and reading tests and how many dropped out — but their health outcomes improved as well. In addition, when we wisely invested more in health care, not only did we see improvements in health outcomes — such as the percentage of kids considered in excellent or very good health — but we also saw improvements in education."
Carmen Gutierrez & Elizabeth Keneski Awarded Prestigious NSF Fellowship
Posted: April 4, 2013
PRC Graduate Student Trainees, Carmen Gutierrez and Elizabeth Keneski, have been selected to receive 2013 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowships. Their selection was based on their outstanding abilities and accomplishments, as well as their potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the US science and engineering enterprise.
Carmen Gutierrez is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Sociology. Elizabeth Keneski is pursuing her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Sciences. Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $30,000 along with a $10,500 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.
Vadricka Etienne, former REU student, Awarded Prestigious NSF Fellowship
Posted: April 2, 2013
Vadricka Etienne, who participated in the 2010 Research Experience for Undergraduates program hosted by PRC, has been selected to receive a 2013 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship Program (GRFP) Fellowship. Her selection was based on her outstanding abilities and accomplishments, as well as her potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the US science and engineering enterprise. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Sociology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York. Fellows benefit from a three-year annual stipend of $30,000 along with a $10,500 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees, opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research at any accredited U.S. institution of graduate education they choose.
April Sutton Interviewed for Sage SOE podcasts about Recent Sociology of Education Paper
Posted: March 27, 2013
April Sutton is interviewed about her recent Sociology of Education paper about high school transfer students on the Sage SOE podcasts.
"High School Transfer Students and the Transition to College: Timing and the Structure of the School Year"
by April Sutton, Chandra Muller, and Amy G. Langenkamp
Abstract: The timing of a high school transfer may shape students’ transitions to college through its (mis)alignment with the structure of the school year. A transfer that occurs during the summer interrupts the four-year high school career, whereas a transfer that occurs midyear disrupts both the four-year high school career and the structure of the school year. Using the Education Longitudinal Study of 2002 (ELS), the investigators find that the penalty suffered after the transfer depends on the degree to which students’ high school pathways synchronize with the curricular and extracurricular structure of the school year. Midyear transfer students appear to suffer the greatest postsecondary matriculation penalty. Students who transfer midyear are less likely to attend a four-year college compared with nontransfer and summer transfer students, whereas summer transfer students are less likely to attend a highly selective four-year college compared with their nontransfer counterparts. Curricular and extracurricular disruptions that transfer students experience after their school move explain some, but not all, of the negative associations observed between transferring and the transition to college. Directions for future research and the theoretical and policy implications of the results are discussed.
Joshua Wassink, REU student, awarded Best Undergraduate Paper at 2012 Southern Demographic Association meeting
Posted: March 27, 2013
REU student Joshua Wassink was awarded Best Undergraduate Paper for his 2012 paper, "Uninsured Migrants: Identifying the health insurance gap between recently returned Mexicans and the rest of the country." Through the REU program under the mentorship of PRC faculty research associates, Nestor Rodriguez and Rebecca Torres, and PRC Graduate Trainee, Connor Sheehan, Joshua worked to develop a research project and to produce a scholarly paper. His participation in the REU program was primarily funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation (Grant No. SMA-1004809).
Joshua's paper explored the following:
While a great deal of research has been devoted to the economic and social implications of Mexican return migration, researchers are only beginning to consider the impact that transnational movements have on Mexican migrants’ ability to reintegrate into public and private health institutions upon return. Using logistic regression to analyze data from the 2010 Mexican Census, this study identifies a robust negative association between return migration and health coverage, indicating a high degree of vulnerability among recent returnees. Multinomial regression indicates that migrants face the most difficulty entering Mexico’s Social Security program upon return. However, they are also covered at a lower percentage than non-migrants by the recently created Seguro Popular (People’s Insurance) program, which is intended “to protect the patrimony of the population who lack social security against expenditure on health.” This study augments existing literature by identifying the impact of Mexican return migration from the U.S. on access to health insurance.
Aprile Benner Receives Early Career Award
Posted: February 27, 2013
Aprile Benner, Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Sciences and PRC Faculty Research Associate, has received the 2013 Early Career Research Contribution Award from Society for Research in Child Development. The award is given to individuals who have distinguished themselves as emerging scientists and scholars as evidenced through research, publications, and other scholarly activity. The award includes these three contributions:
* For elucidating the complex ways in which schools serve as developmental ecologies;
* For integrating psychological, sociological, and educational perspectives and methods in policy-oriented research on adolescent development;
* For demonstrating innovation in the conceptualization and operationalization of the dynamic and contextualized nature of children’s and adolescents’ developmental pathways.
Isaac Sasson Won a Best Paper Award from the Southern Demographic Association
Posted: February 26, 2013
PRC Graduate Student Trainee Isaac Sasson won the Everett S. Lee best graduate student paper award for his 2012 paper, “Gender Differences in Depression Following Late Widowhood: A Population Perspective.”
Isaac's paper explored the following:
Depression following widowhood is hypothesized to vary by gender, with most cross-sectional studies finding a greater adverse effect for men. By contrast, longitudinal studies tend to find no gender difference or a greater effect for women. Using eight waves of prospective data from the Health and Retirement Study, this paper aims to examine whether trajectories of depressive symptoms following widowhood vary by gender or anticipatory spousal loss. Results show no gender difference, net of widowhood duration, in the change in depressive symptoms in either the short or long term (24 months and up to 12 years, respectively). However, women tend to become widowed at an earlier age and remain widowed for a longer period of time. This suggests that previously found gender differences were largely driven by sample selection. The study also finds that psychological adjustment to widowhood is delayed when spousal death is unanticipated, and that early widowhood is especially associated with long-term adverse consequences. In conclusion, although men and women do not react differently to late widowhood given similar circumstances, from a population perspective, women are more likely to become widowed under less favorable conditions.