Princeton Researchers Awarded Funding for Cross-Disciplinary Education Research Projects

Mar 16 2021
By Kelly Lorraine Andrews and B. Rose Huber
Source Princeton School of Public and International Affairs

Researchers based at Princeton University will receive funding from the Overdeck Innovation Fund to work on innovative, cross-disciplinary education research projects over the next two years.

A total of $240,000 was awarded to Adele Goldberg, Chelsey Clark, Nathan Cheek, Elizabeth Levy Paluck, Claire Willeck, and Tali Mendelberg by the Overdeck Innovation Fund.

The Overdeck Innovation Fund was created by the Overdeck Family Foundation, which donated more than $1 million to the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs to support creative research projects and programs addressing important issues in education.

The funds will be used for: 

  • “Assessment and intervention to improve language and education outcomes in children on the autism spectrum.” Goldberg is the principal investigator of the project, which is a continuation proposal from a small grant that was funded through the Overdeck Education Innovation Fund last year. The work is inherently interdisciplinary, combining psychology and linguistics. The proposal offers an innovative integration of ideas and methods from the fields of psychology, linguistics, language science, and communication sciences that aims to understand and impact communication-related impairments in Autism Spectrum Disorder while engaging in outreach efforts aimed at undergraduates, educators, and the public. Goldberg will receive $100,000 in funding.
  • “Evaluating the effects of a skills training program for incarcerated individuals.” Clark, Cheek, and Paluck will be the principal investigators of the project, which will test whether a vocational and emotional skills training program operating within the California state prison system can improve outcomes for currently and formerly incarcerated individuals. They will receive $100,000 in funding.
  • “Active Civics: How Civic Education Can Shape Political Engagement.” Willeck and Mendelberg will be the principal investigators. The goal of this study is to test the effectiveness of engaging, student-centered civics instructional resources by using rigorous quantitative and qualitative methods. This study will produce evidence-based practices for civic education. Active civics is a low-cost and scalable solution to support teachers in providing high-quality, student-centered civic education to nearly every secondary student in the United States. They will receive $40,000 in funding.

“The interdisciplinary research funded by Overdeck will contribute to and enhance our understanding of education outcomes in underserved communities,” said Jennifer Jennings, professor of sociology and public affairs and chair of the the committee that awarded the funds. “I offer my congratulations to all of the grantees and look forward to sharing the results of their research.” Jennings is director of the Education Research Section.

The Overdeck Family Foundation

The Overdeck Family Foundation was established in 2011 by John and Laura Overdeck, with the goal of providing all children the opportunity to unlock their potential. The Foundation focuses exclusively on enhancing education, funding efforts both inside and outside of school in the areas of early childhood, informal STEM education, and K-9 programs that include supporting educators and student-centered learning environments.

Laura (Bilodeau) Overdeck graduated from Princeton University in 1991 and currently serves on the Board of Trustees at Princeton University, and the Department of Astrophysical Sciences’ Advisory Council. She is a former member of the Princeton School of Public and International Affairs Advisory Council.