Two dooctoral students at Stanford Graduate School of Education – ERIC TAYLOR and ILANA UMANSKY – have been awarded National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowships for 2014-2015.
About 600 students applied for the highly competitive dissertation grants, which went this year to 31 candidates, according to the NAEd, which administers the awards in partnership with the Spencer Foundation. The program “aims to identify the most talented researchers conducting dissertation research related to education,” the group says. The fellowships provide $25,000 in support for such work on the history, theory or practice of formal or informal education.
Taylor and Umansky are in the interdisciplinary education research program offered through Stanford’s Center for Education Policy Analysis.
Taylor studies the economics of education, and conducts research on personnel in the education sector. Working with co-authors, he had two papers recently in the American Economic Review: “The effect of evaluation on teacher performance” and “Information and employee evaluation: Evidence from a randomized intervention in public schools.” Prior to Stanford, he worked at Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research, and at the Los Angeles Education Partnership. He received a masters in public policy from from UCLA.
Umansky’s research combines policy analysis, sociological theory and quantitative methods to shed light on the educational opportunities, experiences and outcomes of immigrant and English learner (EL) students. She has examined such subjects as course access, language of instruction, reclassification, and the impact of the EL label. She works in close partnership with school districts, grounding her research in questions and responses that support greater educational equity and excellence for immigrant and EL-classified students. She recently co-authored a paper with GSE professor Sean Reardon: “Reclassification patterns among Latino English Learner students in bilingual, dual immersion and English immersion classrooms.”
Umansky has worked with the World Bank, the Organization of American States, Research Triangle Institute, and Sesame Workshop and has conducted educational equity and quality research in Nicaragua, Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador and other countries in Latin America. She has a master’s degree from Harvard Graduate School of Education and a master’s in sociology from Stanford.
Umansky’s grant proposal is titled “Peeling back the label: Studies of educational opportunity among students learning English.”
To learn more about the winners’ dissertation projects, visit the full story on the Graduate School of Education’s website.