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					                 EXAMPLES OF CURRENT GRANTS
                          William T. Grant Scholars
“Economic and Social Determinants of the Educational Choices of Young
Adults”
Elizabeth Oltmans Ananat, Ph.D.
Duke University
$350,000
2010–2015

Five-Year Research Plan

How do local economic and social changes affect school disengagement
and dropout? After rising for most of the 20th century, the high school
graduation rate has been stagnant or on the decline since 1970. Dropout
rates are particularly pronounced among disadvantaged groups such as
African Americans. In addition, wages have been falling for those
without a high school diploma. These trends imply that disadvantaged
groups that merely maintain the same educational outcomes over time
will actually face declining economic outcomes, compounding
disadvantage for the next generation. Ananat will use her Scholar award
to develop theory around why youth make the decision to leave school
early. First she will examine how youth perceive local employment and
educational opportunities, focusing on whether or not young people base
their employment and educational expectations on local or national
economic climates, and the levels of employment and education of their
immediate family members and older peers. She will then study how
school desegregation affects school attendance, grades, test scores,
disciplinary problems, educational tracks, and dropout. Ananat will use
the North Carolina Education Research Data Center, which contains data
representing all individuals who have attended North Carolina public
schools since 1996, in 117 public school districts. She will also use
Linked Employer-Household Data (LEHD) from the Census and collect her
own legal data on school desegregation orders. Data on attendance,
grades, test scores, educational tracks, friendship networks, family
context, and enrollment will be included.

Five-Year Mentoring Plan

Ananat’s research to date has relied on an economics framework that
uses natural experiments to determine causal relationships between
neighborhood and family structure, and the intergenerational
transmission of poverty and inequality. With this award, she seeks to
incorporate developmental insights into this causal modeling. Larry
Steinberg will serve as her mentor on the development of adolescent
decision-making ability. Steinberg is at Temple University, so they
will consult via phone and email, and meet about five times a year when
Steinberg travels to Duke. Ken Dodge, at Duke, will serve as a mentor
on other aspects of youth development, such as disciplinary problems
and the impact of family background, and will connect Ananat to the
broader research community in developmental psychology. Jake Vigdor,
also at Duke, will assist Ananat in ensuring that, as her research
program progresses, she is able to fully translate her findings to both
an economics audience and an interdisciplinary audience.


“Broken Windows, Broken Youth: The Effect of Law Enforcement Activity
on non-White Adolescent Male Development”
Phillip Atiba Goff, Ph.D.
University of California, Los Angeles
$350,000
2010–2015

Five-Year Research Plan

How do intensive policing practices affect adolescent boys’ anti-social
behaviors? Do these policies differ across racial lines? An increasing
number of municipal law enforcement agencies have adopted a ―Broken
Windows‖ model of policing in which patrol officers are instructed to
aggressively police minor infractions (e.g., littering, jaywalking,
vandalism) in the hopes of preventing future violent crimes. Young men
of color are frequently the targets of these programs, as they are
disproportionately responsible for minor offenses. Goff will examine
the effects of ―Broken Windows‖ policing on black, white, and Latino
high-school aged males in similar (economically and demographically)
neighborhoods within the same school districts in San Jose, Denver,
Houston, and Virginia Beach. He intends to study adolescent behavioral
outcomes such as aggression, violence, and criminality both in school
and on the streets, particularly focusing on the quality and quantity
of police contacts a young man has experienced and their expectations
and goals for the future. Data from youth will be collected using
surveys, computer tasks, and interviews. Data will also be collected
from parents, schools, and police agencies. Measures of adolescent
autonomy, legal socialization, defiance, masculine self-concept, and
racial identity will also be used. Goff will track the racial attitudes
and behaviors of patrol officers, using official records of individual
officer contacts, stops, complaint, and use of force history, as well
as surveys, computer tasks, interviews, and psychological tests.

Five-Year Mentoring Plan

Goff’s previous research has utilized experimental lab and field
methodologies to decipher the psychological mechanisms responsible for
racial inequality. This award will permit him to learn new methods of
data collection (i.e., longitudinal and panel designs) and data
analysis (i.e. multi-level modeling and growth-curve analysis). Goff
will meet bi-weekly with one of his three mentors at UCLA: Jennifer
Krull, who specializes in multi-level modeling, and M. Belinda Tucker
and Andrew Fuligni, who co-direct UCLA’s Consortium for Family Research
IV and have done research on race and adolescence. Goff also intends to
develop expertise in adolescent development, urban sociology, and
juvenile criminology, and will meet with Cheryl Harris at UCLA law
school and Dr. Delores Jones-Brown at John Jay College of Criminal
Justice on a monthly basis either in person or via phone.
“Rethinking College Choice in America”
Sara Goldrick-Rab, Ph.D.
University of Wisconsin-Madison
$350,000
2010–2015

Five-Year Research Plan

How does financial aid affect the lives of low-income college students?
The United States spends nearly $100 billion per year providing
financial aid in an effort to induce more students to attain a college
degree. Yet, low-income students continue to complete college at very
low rates. It is unclear whether students are simply unresponsive to
financial incentives, or whether other factors (e.g., psychological,
social, psycho-biological) diminish the effectiveness of financial aid.
Goldrick-Rab will use her Scholars award to: estimate the causal impact
of financial aid on the living conditions and relationships of low-
income college students; examine how living conditions and
relationships affect students’ daily decisions, emotional experiences,
and sleep patterns; and estimate how those decisions, emotions, and
sleep patterns relate to college completion. Participants will include
first-time college freshmen from low-income families at 42 public two-
and four-year colleges and universities across the state of Wisconsin.
The Fund for Wisconsin Scholars—a private, need-based scholarship of
$3,500 per year for four-year students and $1,8000 per year for two-
year students—will be randomly assigned to an eligible pool of 3600
incoming students (1,600 will receive the scholarship as part of the
experimental condition and 2,000 will be in the control group).
Goldrick-Rab will collect data using Blackberries and the ―experience
sampling method‖ on how students spend their time, with whom, and how
they feel during their activities; data on daily physical activity and
sleep quality (collected via actigraphy); and she will conduct biannual
in-depth surveys on living conditions, social networks, budgets, and
spending.

Five-Year Mentoring Plan

Goldrick-Rab’s research to date has applied a sociological lens to
understanding students’ college choices. With this award she seeks to
learn more about economic and developmental psychology approaches.
While already working as a mixed-methods researcher, she also plans to
develop expertise in new methods, including the experience sampling
method and actigraphy. Lindsay Chase-Lansdale, at Northwestern
University, will provide mentoring on theories of developmental
psychology and guide Goldrick-Rab’s investigation into psycho-
biological processes. David Figlio, also at Northwestern, will serve as
her mentor on economic theory and provide guidance on the quasi-
experimental analyses. Rebecca Maynard will help guide the integration
of additional methods and data collection into Goldrick-Rab’s ongoing
randomized trial and advise her on thinking through policy
implications. She will also serve as a mentor and important connection
for Goldrick-Rab’s interactions with the Washington, D.C. policy and
evaluation communities. Goldrick-Rab plans monthly phone calls with
each mentor and in-person interactions several times a year through
visits and meetings at professional conferences.




“The Impact of Acute Violence and Other Environmental Stressors on
Cognitive Functioning and School Performance”
Patrick Sharkey, Ph.D.
New York University
$350,000
2010–2015

Five-Year Research Plan

How do incidents of extreme violence or other stressors in adolescents’
neighborhoods affect their cognitive functioning and school
performance? Researchers examining the impact of neighborhoods on
adolescents’ cognitive and academic trajectories have struggled to
identify what dimensions of community disadvantage are particularly
salient for adolescents. Also, persistent methodological problems have
confused any policy-relevant conclusions that can be drawn from the
literature. Sharkey’s study aims to identify the effect of extreme acts
of violence—in the form of local homicides—in adolescents’
neighborhoods on short-term cognitive functioning, school attendance,
and performance on standardized assessments. He will merge data from
the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods (PHDCN),
which includes scores on two assessments of verbal and reading ability
given to youth from age 6 through age 17, with data on the location and
date of every homicide reported by the Chicago Police Department from
1994 to 2002. He will also analyze homicide data alongside
administrative records on school attendance and standardized test
performance. Sharkey also proposes to develop a new method of data
collection that combines this cognitive/academic data with newspaper
archives that have been coded based on a wide array of environmental
stressors that might impact adolescents’ daily functioning, including
health scares, upsurges in violence, transit or teachers’ strikes,
severe weather, economic shocks, or even major cultural or sports
events.

Five-Year Mentoring Plan

Sharkey’s previous work has used traditional sociological theory and
methods to understand the effects of neighborhoods on youth. With this
award he intends to learn more about developmental psychology and
neuroscience. J. Lawrence Aber will serve as the primary mentor. He
will provide guidance on the components of the research focusing on how
violence relates to students’ experiences in classrooms and on how to
translate research findings into policy interventions. The components
of the research program examining cognitive outcomes will be carried
out under the mentorship of Martha Farah, a renowned cognitive
neuroscientist at the University of Pennsylvania. By attending her
two-week ―neuroscience boot camp‖ and visiting her lab at Penn every
semester, Sharkey will develop a foundation of knowledge on brain
development, brain function, and how the brain responds to stress in
the environment. He will also meet regularly with Peter Bearman at
Columbia University, who will provide guidance on how environmental
stress is related to the emergence of major cognitive developmental
disorders such as mental retardation and autism. Bearman will also
provide mentorship on the data collection process and on the use of
large-scale administrative data sets.

				
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