Grad Students, Alums Win NAEd/Spencer Fellowships

Grad Students, Alums Win NAEd/Spencer Fellowships

Combo photo of three NAEd/Spencer winnersJosiah Rosario (left), Alexis Gable, and Heather McCambly received fellowships to support their research.  Five Northwestern University students and alumni, who are studying everything from alternative pathways to college to the design Indigenous-led public schools, received 2023 National Academy of Education/Spencer Fellowships to support their scholarship.

Winners include doctoral candidates Claire Mackevicius and R. Josiah Rosario and alumna Alexis Gable (BS15) of Harvard University who won dissertation fellowships. Assistant professors Heather McCambly (PhD20) of the University of Pittsburgh, and Meixi (BS11) of the University of Minnesota were named 2023 NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellows.

Learn more about our winners:

Alexis Gable

gable400.jpgGable, who studied economics and social policy at the School of Education and Social Policy, is a doctoral candidate in education policy and program evaluation at Harvard University. She researches non-4-year pathways to and through college, particularly at the community college and career and technical education levels. Gable works closely with the Ohio Department of Education on projects related to success after high school. She also works with Harvard's Project on Workforce on issues surrounding the future of work and workforce development. She is a Partnering in Education Research Fellow at the Center for Education Policy Research and a data lead at Harvard Kennedy School’s Project on Workforce.

Her dissertation explores how career-technical training in the US prepares students for work. “As CTE course-taking becomes more common, it is increasingly important that we understand how it is offered, who it is offered to, and the effects of encouraging students to pursue it,” she wrote. Gable worked as a researcher at Northwestern’s Institute for Policy Research before pursuing her doctorate.

Claire Mackevicius

claire.jpgClaire Mackevicius is a doctoral candidate in the Human Development and Social Policy program. She broadly considers: what are the promises of public education, and what are the realities? She focuses on how organizations and individuals use their power to make consequential resource distribution decisions that often reify–and in some cases combat–deeply entrenched racial and economic inequities. In her dissertation projects, she studies private money at public K-12 schools from fundraising PTAs (including Parent Teacher Associations, Organizations, and “Friends Of” groups). Her ongoing collaborations include projects ranging from how school boards allocate public resources to where large foundations grant private dollars to how Evanston, Illinois’s Guaranteed Income pilot program may develop into a permanently resourced policy. In our research worlds and broader communities, Claire is committed to cultivating critical and productive coalitions, reorienting norms, and pushing toward transformation. She is proud to be one of the six-person organizing team of the Quant for What? collective planting and nourishing seeds to dream and build quantitative paradigms for antiracist transformation, bringing power awareness and a humanizing approach to the burgeoning critical quantitative education subfield.

R. Josiah Rosario

rosario_400.jpgR. Josiah Rosario, a doctoral candidate in social psychology at the Weinberg College of Arts and Scieces, studies how the environment shapes identity and attitudes. His dissertation looks at the impact of hostile and racist social and political forces on young people, and how educators and caregivers can offer support in these environments. He uses a mix of critical qualitative and experimental methods to answer questions about how students from diverse racial backgrounds respond to and negotiate racial hostility and how it might impact their school environments. Rosario works with local elementary schools in Chicago, where he was born, addressing the challenges of creating racially equitable school environments. Rosario has coauthored research with SESP professors Mesmin Destin and Shirin Vossoughi, and his work has been published in Nature Human Behaviour, Development Psychology, and Personality and Social Psychology Review among others.

Heather McCambly, University of Pittsburgh

mccambly-400.jpgAlumna Heather McCambly is assistant professor of critical higher education policy in the School of Education at the University of Pittsburgh. She studies how organizations reproduce systemic, racial inequalities in higher education practice and policy. Her current research explores the role of private philanthropy and public grantmaking in creating racially just policy change in U.S. postsecondary education. She’s also looking at whether equity agendas really work or whether they are simply new labels for old practices. In 2023, McCambly and Lorenzo Baber co-edited Critiques for Transformation: Reimagining Colleges and Communities for Social Justice. Her work has been recognized by the Spencer Foundation’s Conference Grant to build the Quant4What Collective, the University of Pittsburgh School of Education Dean’s Faculty Research Grant and Distinguished Award for Research, the AERA Division-J Outstanding Dissertation Award, the American Political Science Association’s David Brian Robertson 2022 Politics and History Best Paper Award, Northwestern University’s highly prestigious Presidential Fellowship, and the Association for Education Finance and Policy’s New Scholar Award.

Meixi, University of Minnesota

meixi_400.jpgAlumna Meixi (BS11) is a Hokchiu daughter-sister-scholar, learning scientist, former middle school math teacher from Singapore who also grew up with Lahu community in northern Thailand. Meixi studies the ways Indigenous-led public schools are critical sites for experimenting and enacting educational sovereignty across generations amidst rapidly changing socioecologicalsystems. For the past decade, Meixi has worked with teachers, families, and young people to support designing schools in the Mekong subregion, México and most recently MniSota. Together they ask: How can schools contribute to the collective livelihoods and future wellbeing of Indigenous young people, families, and the lands and waters where we live? Meixi foregrounds communities' origin theories of learning in this work by interweaving the learning sciences, comparative education, and trans-Indigenous futures with lands and waters. She and a team of co-authors recently won the 2022 George Bereday Best Paper Award in Comparative Education Review.An assistant professor of comparative and international education development at the University of Minnesota, Meixi earned her doctorate in learning sciences and human development from the University of Washington after getting her bachelor’s degree at the School of Education and Social Policy, crediting the "enduring support from professors Carol Lee, Megan Bang, and Jim Spillane."

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 6/21/23