June 19, 2017

Two Penn GSE professors receive prestigious NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowships

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With the recent announcement that assistant professors Amy Stornaiuolo and Nelson Flores received 2017 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowships, Penn GSE’s streak of success with this prestigious award continues. Counting Stornaiuolo and Flores, five Penn GSE assistant professors have received the fellowship in the past four years.

NAEd/Spencer postdoctoral fellowships are among the most competitive awards early-career education researchers can receive. Thirty scholars are selected each year from an applicant pool of around 300. Winners receive a $70,000 stipend to pursue research projects that, according to the program, make “significant scholarly contributions to the field of education."

Dr. Amy Stornaiuolo
 During her Spencer Fellowship year, Stornaiuolo, who teaches in Penn GSE’s Reading/Writing/Literacy programs, plans to study data literacy among adolescents. The study will be one of the first attempts in educational research to focus on how to prepare young people to understand the principles and challenges of data as they use it for their own purposes.

Dr. Nelson Flores
 Flores, a member of the Educational Linguistics Division, will conduct a two-part study of the institutionalization of bilingual education in the School District of Philadelphia. His project will begin in the 1970s, drawing on archival records and interviews to examine competing radical and neoliberal visions of the purpose of bilingual education. In the second part of his study, he will trace how these same competing visions have influenced the recent charterization of bilingual education in the district.

Penn GSE’s NAEd/Spencer streak started in 2014 with Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (Literacy, Culture, and International Education Division), continuing in 2015 with Abby Reisman (Teaching, Learning, and Leadership Division), and in 2016 with Matthew Steinberg (Education Policy Division).

“The fact that our early-career faculty are consistently receiving these awards highlights the caliber of research under way at Penn GSE,” says Dean Pam Grossman. “And the sheer diversity of Spencer-funded projects drives home what I learned when I became dean of the school in 2015: Rather than boasting a single, stand-out program or division, Penn GSE is a place where high-quality research is part of the culture. Not only do our faculty do outstanding work across disciplines and methods, but they think big in terms of impact.”

That culture extends to graduate students as well. T. Philip Nichols, a Reading/Writing/Literacy doctoral student advised by Stornaiuolo, was awarded a highly competitive NAEd/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship for 2017. Two Penn GSE doctoral students received the award in 2016.