Seniors Emily Kellner, Emily Roskey Awarded Undergraduate Research Grants

Seniors Emily Kellner, Emily Roskey Awarded Undergraduate Research Grants

Two School of Education and Social Policy seniors, Emily Kellner and Emily Roskey, were awarded $1,000 Undergraduate Research Grants from the Northwestern University Office of the Provost. Their research topics relate to the effects of ethnicity on parent-teacher communication and of self-identity on concern about climate change.

Emily Kellner
Emily Kellner, a senior in social policy, is pursuing a research project entitled “Speaking the Same Language?: An Exploratory Study of the Role of Ethnicity in Parent-Teacher Relationships in Two-Way Immersion Classrooms.” Her faculty adviser for this senior honors thesis research is SESP assistant professor Eva Lam.

Kellner will conduct qualitative interviews with elementary school teachers and Latino parents to examine the role of biculturalism in parent-teacher communication. She will determine if, in the two-way immersion setting, a common ethnicity facilitates more effective and extensive communication between Latino parents and their children’s teachers. Two-way immersion is a model of bilingual education in which all of the teachers are proficient in two languages although some are Latino and some are not. Among the latter group, there is a wide range of level of involvement in Latino communities outside the classroom, according to Kellner.

Latino students consistently underperform on various measure of academic achievement, and research has shown that parent involvement, especially at the elementary school level, can help to improve student outcomes, Kellner points out. “However, Latino parents' values and expectations regarding their children's education are often misinterpreted by schools. My research will seek to examine the ways in which a deeper level of cultural understanding beyond mere language fluency can allow teachers and parents to reconcile these miscommunications in order to improve educational experiences for students,” she explains. 

“Throughout my coursework in the School of Education and Social Policy, I have learned about the staggering achievement gap in the American education system as well as various reform efforts to close this gap, some effective and some not,” Kellner says. “I have been inspired to work toward doing my part to improve educational opportunities for underprivileged students. My research will give me the opportunity to further explore issues in educational inequality and better understand my role in education reform in the future.”

Emily Roskey

Emily Roskey, a senior in human development and psychological services, will research the connection between self-identity and global concern about the issue of global climate change. For her research project, entitled “Self-Identification and Global Concern in Students: An International Comparison, ” she will compare this connection across two international college student populations: Northwestern University and Universita di Bologna in Bologna, Italy. Her faculty adviser is professor Wendi Gardner.

“The idea is that we can learn from other cultures by studying differences in self-identity and the impacts on global concerns. I will be building upon the research of a master’s student in the psychology department who found that a greater breadth of self-identity in college students (i.e., identifying as a global citizen) is correlated with greater concern for the environment. I think if we can better understand how individuals think about themselves in a broader context, we can implement changes in education or policy that foster this way of thinking,” says Roskey.

“The world is becoming more globalized, climate change is a growing concern, and as college students we are going to be dealing with the effects of climate change as we grow and develop our adult lives. I think it is important to cultivate an identity as global citizens in my generation and to grow and think about the impact we have — not just locally but also globally.”

Roskey’s interest in identity and global concern in young people comes from her studies in development and psychology. As a global health minor, she is interested in the growing global community and the international differences in identity and concern about climate change.

The Undergraduate Research Grants program offers academic year grants of up to $1,000 and summer grants of $3,000 in support of independent undergraduate projects. The next deadline for academic year Undergraduate Research Grant submissions is December 6.

For more information about Undergraduate Research Grants, see

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 11/23/11