Dr. Shana E. Rochester Awarded U. Michigan Dissertation Award & Named AERA-SRCD Fellow

Dr. Shana E. Rochester, an AACTE/Holmes Postdoctoral Associate at BU Wheelock, has been awarded the 2019 Dimond Best Dissertation Award from University of Michigan School of Education for her dissertation, Learning Together in Context: Attending to Culture in Early Childhood Family Engagement Initiatives. That work includes “two stand-alone manuscripts, both related to the design, implementation, and evaluation of culturally responsive family engagement initiatives targeting families from racially/ethnically minoritized backgrounds.”  

The Dimond Award recognizes the premiere doctoral dissertation completed by a University of Michigan School of Education student in the prior year. The award recipient is selected by the school’s Graduate Affairs Committee from a pool of doctoral dissertations chosen as best-in-program by faculty in each of the school’s program units.

In addition to receiving the Dimond Dissertation Award, Dr. Rochester has recently been selected for the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Early Career Fellowship in Middle Childhood Education and Development. This award places her among a cohort of 22 of the strongest early career scholars in the field, as recognized by the AERA and SRCD.

AERA and SRCD designed this cohort’s fellowship experience to foster communication, collaboration, and exchange over the next two years. At the AERA Annual Meeting in April, the fellows attended a unique joint symposium (“Middle School Student Learning and Middle Childhood Development—Connecting the Two”) hosted by AERA and SRCD, and participated in the 2019 SRCD Biennial Meeting and attended a research presentation session that focused on challenges and opportunities students encounter in their middle childhood years. They’ll have further opportunities for fellow-mentor collaboration at the 2020 AERA Annual Meeting, and may present common projects or outcomes made possible through the fellowship experience at the 2020 AERA and SRCD meetings.

Speaking about the fellowship, AERA executive director and AERA-SRCD Advisory Committee member Felice J. Levine said: “We are pleased that AERA and SRCD can enter this next phase of their collaborative professional development around the intersection of child development and education research. The early career scholars studying these issues will add to the knowledge base and methods used to study middle childhood.”

As a postdoctoral associate at BU Wheelock, Dr. Rochester engaged in scholarship focused on how schools and family-based educational programs can support the academic and social development of prekindergarten through third-grade learners. She is particularly interested in supporting children from historically minoritized backgrounds and children from under-resourced communities. Her work investigates the multiple contexts in which development takes place (e.g., home, school, community) and explores how children’s cultural knowledge and out-of-school experiences can be leveraged in ways that improve their learning.

We extend our most sincere congratulations to Dr. Rochester and we’re very proud to have her as a member of our BU Wheelock community.

Grace Hagerty