Congratulations to Ellen Malven and Abigail Todhunter-Reid winners of the David K. Sengstack Fellowship for 2016-17

Ellen Malven’s research which is tentatively titled “Adolescents, Media, and the Consumer-Environmental Connection”—has three primary goals:  1) to identify potential relationships between adolescents’ consumer and environmental attitudes and behaviors, 2) to explore adolescents’ perceptions of framing and persuasive tactics in media and advertisements focused on consumerism and environmentalism, and 3) to identify potential relationships between pro-self or pro-social tendencies and perceptions of both framing tactics and environmental issues.

Abigail Toddhunter-Reid’s research addresses a perennial debate in education policy: whether in-school arts education contributes to student achievement in reading and mathematics.  Engaging with the arts is undoubtedly valuable in its own right (Eisner, 1998).  However, scores of scholars argue that arts education cultivates literacy and critical thinking skills just as other subjects do (Brown, 2001).  Indeed, findings from cross-sectional studies indicate that arts involvement is positively related to achievement in reading (Wandell et al, 2008; Southgate & Roscigno, 2009), mathematics (Smithrim, 2005, Melnick et al, 2011), and high school GPA (Catterall et al, 2012).  However, very few studies have been designed to control for the systematic differences between those who participate in the arts and those who do not.  Moreover, the mechanisms that bind arts involvement with academic achievement are underexplored empirically.  Abigail’s research examines the longitudinal associations of in-school arts involvement, student motivation, and academic achievement in children and adolescents.  She draws data from two nationally representative longitudinal data sets, the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study (ECLS-K) and the National Education Longitudinal Study (NELS:88).  In this work, Abigail utilizes time-varying measures and fixed effects modeling techniques which provide some of the strongest statistical controls for selection effects.