Kristabel Stark Awarded American Educational Research Association COVID-19 Grant

Kristabel Stark,  BU Wheelock Glenn Research Fellow and Doctoral Student in Special Education has received a grant from the American Educational Research Association (AERA) to study the effects of COVID-19 on pre-serve teachers at the community college level.

The grant, which is part of AERA’s Education Research Service Project Special Call focusing on the COVID-19 and systemic racism pandemics, will allow Stark to collect survey and interview data from undergraduate students at Urban College of Boston. “The goal of this project is to support the retention of early childhood pre-service teachers of color and bilingual teachers,” Stark explains. Following data collection and a series of focus groups to identify barriers caused by both public health crises, Stark will “pilot a responsive, multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS) to address these barriers via a centralized, virtual referral system.” The AERA grant will also fund three student research assistant positions for bilingual students of color pursuing a career in early childhood education.

Stark, who says she is “honored to have the opportunity to collaborate with the students and faculty at Urban College of Boston,” is interested in unpacking the strategies that students are using to overcome the extensive educational barriers that COVID-19 has unearthed – many of which already existed due to systemic inequalities.

Kristabel Stark is a PhD student in special education at Wheelock. Her research explores teachers’ affective experiences and working conditions. She is an adjunct instructor at Urban College of Boston and previously worked as a special education teacher in Chicago Public Schools.

“Kristabel has remained deeply committed to working directly in the community,” Dr. Nate Jones, Stark’s advisor, emphasizes. “This project is a perfect example of her commitment” and  “the special education faculty couldn’t be more proud of her.”

The America Educational Research Association is a national research society, striving to advance educational knowledge, encourage scholarly inquiry related to education, and promote the use of research to improve education and serve the public good. As part of AERA’s efforts to respond to the impact of COVID-19 and systemic racism, they invited researchers to submit proposals on research topics that directly impact issues prevalent in their communities. Applications were accepted until August 31, 2020, and were extremely competitive.