Foundation Announces 2013 Cooke Dissertation Fellows

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation announced the five recipients of its 2013 Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Dissertation Fellowship Award, a one-time award of $25,000 to complete dissertations that further the understanding of the educational pathways and experiences of high-achieving, low-income students.

Cooke Dissertation Fellowship

The fellowship is intended to focus more scholarly attention on the population of students that the Foundation serves in order to assist the practitioners, parents, schools, and communities helping such students to achieve their full potential.

“The Foundation’s 2007 study, The Achievement Trap, showed, and recent research by others continues to confirm, that there is a knowledge gap when it comes to identifying, understanding, and encouraging the success of high-achieving, low-income students,” said Dr. Barbara Schmertz, program manager of the Cooke Dissertation Fellowship. “As well as our direct work through scholarships and grants, the Foundation is committed to supporting research that may help students with financial need overcome personal adversity, limited educational opportunities, and challenging socioeconomic circumstances to excel academically.”

In the 2013 cycle, the Foundation received applications from 94 doctoral candidates at 61 universities in 25 states and one from the District of Columbia. These institutions include top ranked graduate schools in the fields of education, sociology, psychology, and economics.

A panel of five national experts selected the Fellows based on a review of the quality of their proposals with regard to methodology, scope, theoretical framework, and grounding in relevant scholarly literature. They assessed the applicants’ superior academic abilities and achievements, the feasibility of their projects, and the likelihood that the applicants will execute the work within the proposed timeframe as well as their dissertations’ potential to contribute to the field of study.

The next application cycle will open in mid-October and close in February 2014. Fellowship recipients will be notified in May. Competitive dissertations explicitly focus on advancing the education of exceptionally-promising, high-achieving students with financial need by examining conditions that promote or hinder higher achievement and the roles of intervention in student experiences such as summer programs, advising, and scholarships.

The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation congratulates the following award recipients:

Benjamin Castleman
Institution: Harvard University Graduate School of Education
Dissertation Proposal Title: Assistance in the 11th Hour: Experimental Interventions to Mitigate Summer Attrition Among College-Intending, Low-Income High School Graduates

Antonie Dvorakova
Institution: Stanford University (Exchange Scholar)/University of Chicago
Dissertation Proposal Title: From Invisibility and Poverty to Academic Excellence: Successful Educational Trajectories of Gifted Low-Income Marginalized Students

Nahoko Kawakyu-O’Connor
Institution: University of Rochester’s Warner School of Education
Dissertation Proposal Title: Making It Work: A Mixed Methods Study of First-Generation and Low-Income College Students’ Student Employment Experience in High College Tuition Cost Environments

Christine Nelson
Institution: University of Arizona Graduate School of Education
Dissertation Proposal Title: American Indian College Students as Native Nation Builders: Tribal Financial Aid as a Lens for Understanding College-Going at the Intersection of Universities and Tribal Nations

Savannah Shange
Graduate Institution: University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
Dissertation Proposal Title: Speaking Up: Class Talk, Race Talk, and College Pathways for Low-Income Youth