SESP Undergraduates Win Research Grants

SESP Undergraduates Win Research Grants

grant winners(L-R) Jordyn Ricard, Joshua Inwald, Imani Wilson

Ten School of Education and Social Policy students received 2017-18 grants from the Northwestern University Office of Undergraduate Research to launch or expand their own research projects, partner with faculty, or help pay for conference travel expenses.

Four budding researchers won Academic Year Undergraduate Research Grants (AYURG), including sophomore Jordyn Ricard, who won her third research grant in two years, senior Imani Wilson, a two-time winner; Sumaia Masoom; and Joshua Inwald.

Considered the crown jewel of the program, AYURGs provide up to $1,000 to pay for research-related expenses, including lab materials, travel to archives or field sites, payments for study participants, and more, for original research projects.

Five students received Undergraduate Research Assistant Program (URAP) grants, which connect students with faculty who need help with their own projects. Winners included Isabel Hoffman and Carson Rogge, who received grants for the second year in a row; freshman Elizabeth Curtis; Helena Kalman; and Caroline Morris.

Amy Lieberman received a Conference Travel Grant to fund 50 percent (up to $500) of the expenses she incurred while presenting her work at a conference.

“After years of excelling classrooms, students can transition to how the rest of the world actually works with the help of undergraduate research,” said Peter Civetta, director of the office of undergraduate research. “Instead of finding fixed answers, students learn how to find the right questions.”

Learn more about SESP’s 2017-18 winners:

Academic Year Research Grants (AYURG)

Jordyn Ricard, sophomore, human development and psychological services, global health

Ricard’s third grant will allow her to code for emotions such as sadness, anger, interest, and joy by introducing the Specific Affect Coding System into her research, which looks at emotions and marital satisfaction. 

Past research in this area of human emotion has focused on predominantly white, middle-class couples. Ricard is exploring whether the relationship is particularly strong for couples from lower socioeconomic backgrounds due to the extra financial stresses.

Ricard became the first member of Claudia Haase’s Lifespan Development Lab to become a certified facial coder. She’ll be mentored by graduate students Emily Hittner, Ryan Svoboda, and Jacquelyn Stephens.

Imani Wilson, senior, social policy

Wilson, who previously won a summer research grant, is interviewing black teachers about their experiences, attitudes, and beliefs to better understand the relationship between professional and personal identity.

“Attrition rates for black teachers across the nation are extremely high, which is concerning due to the positive effects that black teachers have on their students and schools,” said Wilson, who was motivated by her third-grade teacher, one of the few black teachers in the school district.

Joshua Inwald, senior, learning and organizational change

Inwald is studying discrimination and perceived objectivity by looking at self-objectivity, or fair and honest self-evaluations, which help determine shortfalls and strengths in an effort to improve.

He suspects those who are able to think more self-subjectively are less likely to discriminate or act on stereotypes and prejudices.  He’ll test his theory by asking study participants to assume the role as a hiring managing and select candidates for a hypothetical job opening. In addition to learning and organizational change, Inwald is majoring in statistics and psychology and pursuing a certificate in managerial analytics through the Kellogg Certificate Program for Undergraduates.

Sumaia Masoom, senior, social policy

Masoom is studying Islamophobic rhetoric in the last election cycle and its effects on college students in America. She is focusing on the psychosocial effects of hearing rhetoric about “banning” one’s religious identity and constant conflation with discussions about terrorism. “Understanding these effects is particularly important on college campuses, which have historically been the bastion for ideas deemed too “offensive” for the general public, leaving students on the frontlines of the debate over what qualifies as discriminatory speech,” Masoom said.

Undergraduate Research Assistant Program

Isabel Hoffman, junior, social policy

Hoffman, a two-time URAP winner, will be working on the BIO study with psychobiologist Emma Adam and her team. The study measures the stress hormone cortisol and sleep in adolescents to learn how stress affects learning and health. They are currently testing whether two interventions related to a students’ academic and ethnical racial identity can promote wellness and help students cope with stress.

Carson Rogge, junior, learning sciences

Rogge, another two-time grant winner who has a second major in neuroscience, will continue to work with Hillary Swanson on the Computational Thinking in STEM (CT-STEM) Project at the Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling. She’ll help create and implement curricula for science classrooms that integrate elements of computer science and computational thinking. Rogge also will analyze data to learn more about how students learn and understand computational concepts. 

Caroline Morris, sophomore, human development and psychological services

Morris will be learning how to code facial expressions and analyze the physiological data collected at Claudia Haase’s Life-Span Development Lab. As a research assistant in the lab, which is focused on finding happy, healthy, and productive development pathways over the life-span, she will help examine participants’ motivation and emotion throughout the experiments.

Elizabeth Curtis, freshman, social policy

Curtis will be working on the Processing Fake News project with SESP’s David Rapp, Charles Deering McCormick Professor of Teaching Excellence and professor of learning sciences. The project centers around the idea of how humans process “fake” news media, including false, or misleading information presented by a news source.

Helena Kalman

Kalman will team up with student researcher Natalie Talbert Jou and Professor Cynthia Coburn at the National Center for Research in Policy and Practice to study alignment and continuity in mathematics. They’ll examine types of information school leaders and districts rely on as well as how they make decisions about instruction. Early on, the researchers will process and analyze interview transcripts and code for key themes related to their research questions.

Conference Travel Grant

Amy Lieberman, senior, human development and psychological services and psychology

Lieberman's travel grant helped support her trip to the Society for Research in Psychopathology’s annual meeting in Denver, Colo. Her research examines those who may be at high risk of developing schizophrenia by investigating the role that hearing one’s own voice plays when speaking. Specifically, she’s looking at whether those who are at risk for psychosis show abnormal communication between the sensory and motor systems, and whether there exists a pattern between those at risk and those with diagnosed cases of schizophrenia. She received an AYURG in 2016-17.



By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 2/5/18