ILA Awards Dr. Elena Forzani with Outstanding Dissertation Award at Annual Conference

Wheelock’s Dr. Elena Forzani, Assistant Professor in Literacy Education, was awarded the Timothy and Cynthia Shanahan Outstanding Dissertation Award during this year’s International Literacy Association (ILA) Conference in Austin, Texas from July 20th to the 23rd. The distinction is awarded annually for a dissertation related to topics of reading or literacy.

Dr. Forzani’s dissertation, “How Well Can Students Evaluate Online Science Information? Contributions of Prior Knowledge, Gender, Socioeconomic Status, and Offline Reading Ability,” explored how seventh-grade students assessed the trustworthiness of science information found online.

After receiving the award, Dr. Forzani spoke on the significance of her research as well as acknowledging those who added to the success of her dissertation:

“I would like to thank the award committee as well as Drs. Timothy and Cynthia Shanahan, who sponsored the award. I would also like to recognize the contributions of the many people who helped with the dissertation. This includes Drs. Don Leu (my advisor), Mary Anne Doyle, Michael Coyne, Christopher Rhoads, P. David Pearson, Peter Afflerbach, Gina Cervetti, and Jason Braasch, and Julie Coiro. Each made valuable contributions to the development of my dissertation and to my thinking about credibility evaluation in an online science context.

Throughout the process, each person taught me important methodological concepts, talked through ideas with me, and posed questions that I still consider in my research and writing. Having the opportunity to work with each of these individuals was a true honor and pleasure. One important lesson I learned from my work with Don and Julie on the ORCA Project, the project from which my dissertation stems, was the value of collaboration. For this project, Don assembled a group of people who each contributed different expertise, ideas, and perspectives that made the project possible. In my work moving forward, I hope to continue to engage in collaborative work such as this.”

For the ILA’s official press release regarding Conference awards, please visit this page.