Brooks-Gunn Honored with 2002 McKeen Cattell Fellow Award
Published in Inside - Volume VIII, No. 3
The American Psychological Society (APS) awarded the 2002 James McKeen Catell Fellow Award, which recognizes APS Members for their outstanding contributions to the area of applied psychological research, to Jeanne Brooks-Gunn, the Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Child and Parent Development and Education at Teachers College.
Recipients must be APS members whose research addresses a critical problem in society at large. Catell's (1860-1944) major contribution to psychology was the realization of the importance, and subsequent implementation, of quantitative methodologies and techniques.
Brooks-Gunn has said that the foundation for a successful education begins at home. If a child is beset by poverty, emotional negligence or negative surroundings, that child will not succeed in the classroom.
Improving education means "focusing on the early childhood years, and the connections between preschool and elementary school, to help parents and their families help their kids," said Brooks-Gunn, who is also the director of TC's Center for Young Children and Families.
A leading scholar on the effects of poverty on families, Brooks-Gunn has participated in dozens of influential research projects on a variety of topics including the effects of growing up poor, the ramifications of certain public educational policies, methods of curbing drug use by inner-city youth, and growing up female.
She has done research on the test score gap between African Americans and Caucasians. Brooks-Gunn attributes this gap to the fact that, when compared to Caucasian children, African-American children are growing up in poorer families, living in poorer neighborhoods and receiving inferior educations.
"The issue comes back to poverty and everything that goes with it, which includes school quality, low literacy, violent neighborhoods, and less access to health and child care," Brooks-Gunn said.
Brooks-Gunn's specialty is policy-oriented research focusing on family and community influences on the development of children and youth. Her research centers around designing and evaluating interventions aimed at enhancing the well being of children living in poverty and associated conditions.
She has conducted the national evaluation of the Early Head Start program, and the middle childhood and adolescent follow-up of the Infant Health and Development Program. Both are early childhood and family support intervention programs. She is a Scientific Director of the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods. She has contributed to the design of several national longitudinal studies for children and families-the National Longitudinal Study of Youth (Child Supplement); the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (Child and Youth Supplement); and the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study. She is conducting two long-term (30 year) longitudinal follow-up studies of children, youth and families in the Baltimore area.
Visit www.psychologicalscience.org/members/awards/cattell.html for more information on the award.