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Office of Policy and Research Announces 24 New Fellowships

Twenty-four Teachers College students have been awarded $6,000 each in this year's round of Policy and Research Fellowships, marking a significant expansion from last year's total of nine.  The Fellowship program, sponsored by TC's Office of Policy and Research (OPR), was launched in 2005 under the direction of Sharon Lynn Kagan, Associate Dean for Policy Research.

"We are thrilled to award fellowships to a greater number of students this year, all of whom deserve support for their unique research and policy work," said Kagan.  "The OPR intends to keep building momentum for research and policy studies at TC, and to offer students an opportunity to contribute to their field of study."

In addition to the expanded number of awards available for 2006, students were able to pursue fellowships in either research or policy, depending on the nature of his or her studies (the 2005 fellowships were in a single category of "policy/research").  Students applying for policy fellowships had to show that their research held "promise of hastening the improvement of educational policy at the local, state, federal, or international levels," according to the OPR, while applicants for research fellowships, similarly, should be engaged in studies that held the promise of "advancing the research domain."  The selection process was highly competitive, with the number of applications far exceeding the number of available fellowships. 

Faculty panels from TC's Policy Advisory Committee or the Research Advisory Committee judged each application.  "Faculty who reviewed the applications for research fellowships were impressed with the high quality and breadth of interests among applicants.  The research topics underline the value TC students are adding to the fields of education, psychology, and health all around the world," said Victoria Marsick, co-director of the J.M. Huber Institute for Learning in Organizations at TC and member of the Research Advisory Committee.

Among the 24 Fellows, 16 are current TC students, and eight are incoming, scheduled to begin their studies at TC in September.  The following are the 2006 - 2007 Policy and Research Fellows, and their areas of study:

Policy Fellows

Chad d'Entremont is a Ph.D. candidate in Politics and Education, in the Department of Organization and Leadership; his primary focus of study looks at how ideology shapes education policy, with specific attention paid to school choice and privatization in public education.  In addition, d'Entremont is Assistant Director, Dissemination, at the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education (NCSPE) at Teachers College.

Maria Hantzopoulos is an Ed.D. candidate working towards a degree in International Educational Studies in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies.  Her proposed dissertation is titled, "The Promise of Small Schools: The Rose of Small Schools in the Lives of Youth in New York City."  Hantzopoulos is currently a public high school humanities teacher at Humanities Prep, an alternative school in Manhattan; she is the former Youth Leadership Development Coordinator at ASPIRA of New York.

Radhika Iyengar, an incoming student, is pursuing a doctorate in Comparative and International Studies in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies.  Her research interests involve integrating educational policy and practice using program evaluation techniques and economics.  Prior to her acceptance at TC, Iyengar worked for a non-profit organization in India dedicated to universalizing elementary education for marginalized children. 

Kristie Kauerz is an Ed.D candidate in early childhood education policy, in the Department of Curriculum and Teaching.  Her research interests include re-forming public education for children from birth though third grade, and the role of kindergarten as a link between early learning and elementary school.  Kauerz recently defended her dissertation proposal, "From Birth to Third Grade: Constructing a Theory of P-3 for State-Level Policy Reform."  Kauerz is the former program director of early learning at the Education Commission of the States (ECS), based in Denver, CO.

Leah Mason is in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies pursuing a Doctor of Education degree.  A former Rotary Ambassadorial Scholar at the Ruprecht Karls Universitaet Heidelberg and Fulbright Teaching Assistant in Austria, Ms. Mason recently received her Master of Education in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University.  In the doctoral program she intends to look more closely at language education policy in the United States and the European Union.

Dongshu Ou is a Ph.D. candidate in Economics and Education in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies.  Her research focuses on using economics and quantitative methods to assess how educational policies affect disadvantaged populations, including ethnic and language minority students.  During her year of her fellowship, she will conduct a study on the consequences of high school exit exams on graduation, college entrance and achievement across different racial groups.

Heather Schwartz is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Organization and Leadership at TC.  She will draw on her work experience in urban planning and mixed-income housing development to study the relationships between neighborhood revitalization and public school reform.

Megan Silander, an incoming student, will enter a Ph.D. program in the Department of Organization and Leadership.  Her research interests focus on education and policy.  Prior to joining the doctoral program TC, Silander served as a policy analyst for the Los Angeles School Board, and more recently as a member of a school design team supporting the start-up of a charter school in New York City.

Rachel Taylor is an incoming doctoral student in Human Development, in the Department of Sociology and Education.

Tama Wilder is a Ph.D. candidate in Politics and Education, in the Department of Organization and Leadership at TC.  Her research investigates the importance of parental and community involvement in public schools, and why parents decide to involve themselves in changing/improving their children's schools, or decide to leave a particular school.

Po Yang is a Ph.D. candidate in the Economics and Education Program in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies.  Her dissertation is titled, "Essays on Four-Year College Transfer Students."  Her research focuses on economic attainment of two- and four-year college transfer students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

Zeena Zakharia is an Ed.D. candidate in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies, where her research focuses on educational development policy in the Middle East.  Her dissertation research examines language policy in education, and looks at the interaction among various discourses on language, schooling, and community affiliation among different religious and socio-economic groups in postwar Lebanon.

Research Fellows

Juan Carlos Calcagno is a Ph.D. candidate in Economics and Education, in the Department of International and Transcultural Studies.  His research interests include the economics of higher education and in evaluation of programs and policies.  Calcagno is Senior Research Assistant at the Community College Research Center at TC.

Karin G. Coifman is a Ph.D. candidate in Clinical Psychology, in the Department of Clinical and Counseling Psychology at TC.  Coifman's dissertation is titled, "From Negative to Positive: Does Flexibility in Emotion Responding Predict Adjustment During the Course of Bereavement?"  In addition, Coifman will be spending the year of her fellowship pursuing additional research on coping and emotion processes in the context of chronic illness, undertaking a project entitled: "Managing Thalassemia" at New York Presbyterian Hospital -Weill/Cornell Medical Center.

Danna Ethan is a Ph.D. candidate in Health Education, in the Department of Health and Behavioral Studies.  Ethan's dissertation project involves developing and evaluating a program to reduce visual impairment of children in New York City by facilitating their receipt and use of eyeglasses.  She is hoping to use her study's findings to assess potential effects of improving children's vision on their academic achievement. 

Jennifer S. Goldman is a Ph.D. student in Social-Organizational Psychology in the Department of Organization and Leadership.  Goldman's dissertation focuses on the role that humiliation plays in exacerbating violent social conflict.  Prior to entering TC, Ms. Goldman directed the negotiation and conflict management training practice at Mediation Works Incorporated, a non-profit dispute resolution organization based in Boston.

Mia Ihm, is an incoming doctoral student in the Department of Clinical and Counseling Psychology.  Ihm's current research involves studying trajectories and adjustment outcomes of adolescents.  She recently completed a year-long externship at New York University Child Study Center's ParentCorps early childhood intervention program.

Givanni Ildefonso, an incoming student, is pursing a doctorate in Philosophy and Education, in the Department of Arts and Humanities.

Eric Johnson is a Ph.D. student in the department of International and Transcultural studies.  His research investigates the political economy of educational change in the former Soviet Union, with a particular focus on teacher corruption in the former Soviet republics of Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan.  Johnson will utilize his Research Fellowship, Fulbright monies and other funding to spend a year in Central Asia doing dissertation fieldwork on this topic.

Shana Lassiter, an incoming student, is pursing her Ed.D. in Health Education, in the Department of Health and Behavior Studies.  During the tenure of her fellowship, Lassiter anticipates investigating approaches to eliminating oral health disparities affecting ethnic minorities and economically disadvantaged populations.

Lizabeth M. Malone is a Ph.D. candidate in Developmental Psychology in the Department of Human Development.  During the 2006 -- 2007 term, she will be developing her dissertation plan, which will examine the potential of extracurricular activities (arts, sports, clubs) during the early childhood years to influence academic achievement from kindergarten through fifth grade.

Priska Gysin Peier is a Ph.D. student in Kinesiology, in the Department of Biobehavioral Sciences.  Her research focuses on the neural mechanisms underlying tasks involving the concurrent use of the hand and lower limbs.  Prior to studying at TC, Peier worked in various clinical, teaching, and management positions at the University Hospital in Bern, Switzerland.

Mathangi Subramanian, an incoming student, is beginning an Ed.D. program in Communications and Education in the Department of Mathematics, Science & Technology. Subramanian will study how multimodal narratives can be used as educational tools for social change.

Nitika Tolani is a Ph.D. candidate in Developmental Psychology, in the Department of Human Development.  Ms. Tolani's dissertation, "Social Contexts and Adolescent Achievement: The Interrelated Effects of Families, Peers, and Schools on Disadvantaged Youth in OECD Countries," draws upon the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA), an innovative, cross-national study implemented by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).  Ms. Tolani will examine the unique and combined effects of financial, human, and social capital available to disadvantaged students both at home and at school on adolescent literacy and mathematics achievement.

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