Grants, Awards and Achievements: September 2023

The Meadows Center for Preventing Educational Risk

Elizabeth Swanson • Research Professor
Sharon Vaughn • Executive Director
Greg Roberts • Senior Associate Director
Phil Capin • Research Assistant Professor

Researchers from The Meadows Center for Preventing Education Risk were recently awarded a $2.5 million grant by the Office of Special Education Programs for their project “Computer Assisted Collaborative Strategic Reading: Accessing Scientifically Based Reading Practices for English Learners With, and At Risk For, Disabilities.” The research team will work with 16 elementary schools in Texas targeting third, fourth and fifth graders and will develop a stepping-up technology program based on the science of reading and evidence-based practices for English learners to address how to integrate the science of reading for students with disabilities within evidence-based practices for students who are English learners. Elizabeth Swanson will serve as principal investigator and Sharon Vaughn, Greg Roberts and Phil Capin will serve as co-PIs.

Curriculum and Instruction

Tia Madkins • Assistant Professor

Tia Madkins was selected by the U.S. Department of State and Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board to receive a Fulbright U.S. Scholar Program award to pursue research and/or teaching activities abroad in 2023-2024. Dr. Madkins, whose research emphasizes equity-focused PK-16 STEM teaching and learning across urban contexts, received a Fulbright Flex Grant to work with the REM-NE network at Universidade Estadual de Santa Cruz in Brazil. Dr. Madkins will help with the development and implementation of equity-focused math teaching practices while working with elementary and middle school mathematics teachers in Northeast Brazil. The Fulbright Program, supported by the people of the United States and partner countries around the world, is the U.S. government’s flagship international educational exchange program.

Educational Leadership and Policy

Kelsey Samsel • Graduate Program Coordinator II

Kelsey Samsel was recently presented with the Rookie of the Year award by the UT Graduate Coordinator Network (GCN). The award is a campus-wide recognition and was earned for her outstanding work after only six months on the job. The Graduate Coordinator Network is a nonprofit, voluntary, professional association of graduate coordinators representing around 12,818 graduate students in approximately 103 departments and programs across The University of Texas at Austin. In addition to monthly meetings, the GCN provides a variety of training workshops, professional development, events and networking opportunities throughout the year.

Special Education

Sarah Powell • Associate Professor

Sarah Powell will serve as co-Principal Investigator on a nearly $2 million grant recently announced by the Institute of Education Sciences to develop Math Words, an intervention that provides robust vocabulary instruction and supports deep math word knowledge and understanding for third and fourth grade students with or at risk for disability in math. The project will take place in elementary schools in Georgia and Texas over a four year period. Audrey Leroux, associate professor of research, measurement and statistics in the Department of Educational Policy Studies at Georgia State University will serve as co-PI.

Natasha Strassfeld • Assistant Professor

Natasha Strassfeld was invited to serve as a member of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Committee on Promoting Learning and Development in K-12 Out of School Time Settings for Low Income and Marginalized Youth. As part of the committee of nationally known experts, Dr. Strassfeld will be tasked with conducting a consensus study on learning and development of low-income youth in out-of-school time (OST) settings across the K-12 age span. Her appointment to the committee will continue through 2024.

Jessica Toste • Associate Professor

Jessica Toste will serve as principal investigator on a newly awarded R01 grant from the National Institutes of Health, Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development. The project, An Integrated Data Approach to Exploring Racial Differences in Reading Intervention Effectiveness, will explore racial differences in the effectiveness of supplemental reading interventions that provide intensive, targeted support to students with or at-risk for reading disability (RD). The award for the project will total almost $3 million across five years (2023-28).