Five New Scholars Announced

May 2nd, 2013

We are pleased to announce the 2013 class of William T. Grant Scholars. Launched in 1982, the Scholars Program supports the professional development of promising early-career researchers in the social, behavioral, and health sciences. To date, the program has sponsored more than 150 up-and-coming researchers.

Each Scholar will receive $350,000 to execute rigorous five-year research plans that stretch their skills and knowledge into new disciplines, content areas, or methods. As they commence their projects, they will build mentoring relationships with experts in areas pertinent to their development. Their professional development will also be furthered through annual meetings with fellow Scholars, Foundation staff, and other senior researchers.

“We are very pleased with the strength and disciplinary diversity of this new cohort of Scholars,” said Vivian Tseng, vice president for program. “They bring an array of expertise—pediatric dentistry, economics of education, neuroscience, and human development—along with ambitious plans to expand their expertise in order to tackle the important challenges facing young people.”

Each year, the Foundation selects four to six new William T. Grant Scholars from a highly competitive pool of applicants, who are nominated by their supporting institutions. The applications are reviewed by a Selection Committee comprised of prominent senior academics. A small group of finalists are invited to New York for interviews. Applications for 2014 awards are due on July 8, 2013. The Scholars Application Guide includes the funding criteria, eligibility, required documents, and application instructions.

This year’s class of William T. Grant Scholars and their research projects are:

Aprile Benner is an assistant professor of human development and family sciences at the University of Texas at Austin. Her 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.

Donald Chi is an assistant professor of oral health sciences at the University of Washington; he is also a practicing board-certified pediatric dentist. His grant, “Neighborhood Social Capital and Oral Health for Publicly Insured Adolescents,” will examine place-based oral health risks for youth of lower socioeconomic background. Chi will expand his expertise as a public health researcher to include the study of how neighborhoods affect oral health. His mentors will be David Takeuchi and Kyle Crowder, both of whom are also at the University of Washington. Crowder has expertise in residential segregation and neighborhoods’ influence on adolescent development; Takeuchi is an expert in the social determinants of health disparities. Toward the end of his award, Chi will work with Oregon State House Representative Mitch Greenlick to translate research into policy.

David Deming is an assistant professor at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. With “The Long-Term Influence of School Accountability: Impacts, Mechanisms, and Policy Implications” he will examine the effects of test-based accountability on students’ postsecondary attainment and earnings. Deming will expand his capacity with mixed methods and policy implementation. One of his mentors is Susanna Loeb, the Barnett Family Professor of Education at Stanford University; she will share her expertise on test-based accountability. His other mentor, Jim Spillane, professor of learning and organizational change at Northwestern University, will mentor him on qualitative field research methods, with a focus on policy implementation.

Adriana Galván is an assistant professor of psychology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Her grant, “Predictors and Outcomes of Insufficient Sleep in Disadvantaged Youth: A Study of Family Settings and Neurobiological Development,” will examine how family and household influences affect adolescents’ sleep patterns, brain functioning, and cognitive performance. Galván will build her expertise in family settings, especially those of economically disadvantaged youth, and sleep patterns. Andrew Fuligni, professor of psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences at the University of California, Los Angeles, will mentor her on how family influences affect adolescent development and ways to measure sleep patterns. Kalil, a professor at the University of Chicago’s Harris School of Public Policy, will advise Galván regarding how poverty affects youth and the process of disseminating research to policy audiences.

Phillip Hammack is an associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz. His grant, “Subverting the Impact of Stigma and Subordination: Toward Empowering Settings for Sexual Minority Youth,” will examine how lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth respond to stress and stigma in their communities and how community-based organizations work with youth to create more positive climates. Through this work, Hammack will learn about community climate assessment, community survey design and implementation, and analysis of organizational settings. One of his mentors, Stephen Russell, a sociologist at the University of Arizona, is a leading researcher of LGBT youth with extensive knowledge of California communities. His other mentor, Ilan Meyer, a public health scientist and social policy scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, is the originator of the minority stress theory and an expert in sampling and surveying LGBT populations.

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