We’re pleased to announce the newest class of William T. Grant Scholars. Launched in 1982, the Scholars Program supports the professional development of promising researchers in the social, behavioral, and health sciences who have received their terminal degrees within the past seven years. To date, the program has sponsored more than 200 talented researchers.
Scholars receive $350,000 to execute rigorous five-year research plans that stretch their skills and knowledge into new disciplines, content areas, or methods. As they commence their projects, they build mentoring relationships with experts in areas pertinent to their development, and further their research and professional development through annual retreats and workshops with fellow Scholars, Foundation staff, and other senior researchers.
Melissa Wooten, the Program Officer who manages the program, remarked, “We are delighted to have this highly diverse cadre of scholars join our community this year. Their range of disciplines and interests has resulted in important research to improve our understanding of issues that impact youth across the nation.”
2023 William T. Grant Scholars
Thomas Billard is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Northwestern University. With the Scholars award, Billard aims to understand whether exposure to misinformation gives rise to state-level anti-transgender policies targeting youth. To do so, Billard will test an intervention to mitigate the effect of misinformation on attitudes toward transgender youth. Billard will develop new methodological skills in computational social science that enable them to translate research findings into more effective policy work. Billard will be supported by mentors Pablo Barberá, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Southern California, and a Research Scientist at Meta; and Joan Donovan, Research Director of the Shorenstein Center of Media, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University.
NaLette Brodnax is an Assistant Professor in the McCourt School of Public Policy at Georgetown University. Brodnax will examine the extent to which carceral ideology—i.e., an orientation toward punitive practices—act a structural barrier to reducing persistent educational inequalities for Black students. Brodnax, a political science and public policy scholar, will expand her skills in qualitative methods and youth development by working with her mentor Carla Shedd, Associate Professor of Sociology at Georgetown University. Pamela Herd, Professor of Public Policy at Georgetown University, will provide mentorship on policy informed sociological frameworks.
Siwei Cheng is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at New York University. Cheng will explore whether community characteristics buffer low-income youth from the isolating effects of economic polarization. Cheng, a sociology and public policy scholar, will expand her expertise working with mentor Patrick Sharkey, Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs at Princeton University, who will provide mentorship in the analysis of large-scale data and advanced causal inference methods. In addition, Elise Cappella, Vice Dean for Research and Applied Psychology at New York University, will provide mentorship on community practices related to youth, schools, and local organizations.
Adam Haber, an artifical intelligence researcher, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Environmental Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Haber will study whether predictive modeling identifies dangerous housing that puts low-income children at greater risk for asthma disparities. In his study, Haber will evaluate whether and how accurately geospatial analysis of emergency department visits for childhood asthma in New Haven can identify specific buildings contributing to disease burden, and will and assess the sensitivity of this approach for detecting dangerous housing. Elizabeth Matsui, Professor of Population Health and Pediatrics at the University of Texas at Austin, will provide mentorship on pediatric asthma and how emergency department visit data are generated. S. V. Subramanian, Professor of Population Health and Geography at Harvard, will provide mentorship on statistical frameworks to model the causes of childhood asthma disparities.
Mariah Kornbluh is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of Oregon. In this study, Kornbluh asks how political context contribute to the use and promotion of evidence within civics education. In this two-part study, Kornbluh aims to understand the role of research evidence in the selection of civics curricula, with attention to political ecology; and document the strategies leveraged in the promotion of research evidence by intermediary actors with attention to political ecology. Kornbluh is an ecological community psychologist who will expand her expertise in educational policy and as well as in analyzing large-scale web data. Kornbluh’s mentors are Elizabeth DeBray, Professor of Education at the University of Georgia, and Matthew Weber, Associate Professor of Communication at Rutgers University.