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Paul P. Fidler Research Grant


National Resource Center announces 2010-2011 Fidler Grant Recipient

2010-11 Award - Columbia, SC - The National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition named Paul J. McLoughlin II, a doctoral candidate at Boston College, the recipient of the 2010 - 2011 Paul P. Fidler Research Grant. The Center will publicly acknowledge McLoughlin during its 17th National Conference on Students in Transition to be held November 13-15, 2010 in Houston, Texas.

The grant, designed to encourage and enable scholarly research on issues related to college student transitions, includes a financial stipend and travel to two national conferences. Completed research funded by the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant is featured in the Journal of The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition. McLoughlin’s study is entitled High-Achieving Low-Income Students: How Low-Income Students on Full Financial Aid are Navigating an Elite College Environment. The abstract appears below:

High-achieving, low-income students represent more than 3.4 million students in the United States (Wyner, 2007). In the nation’s most selective institutions of higher education, students from low-income families have been persistently under-represented (Bowen, Kurzweil, & Tobin, 2005; Tinto, 2008; Wyner, 2007). Elite colleges, in particular, have only recent began admitting low-income students in large numbers, a result of full need-based financial aid packages that began in the early 2000’s as a way to attract a more diverse socioeconomic student body. There is a robust literature on the experiences of low-income college students; however, no qualitative study exists which describe the experiences of low-income students who are recipients of full need-based aid attending elite colleges. This hermeneutic phenomenological study will seek to describe the lived experience of these students, how they navigate an elite college environment, and transition from freshmen to senior year. The results of the study will help elite college environments best support these students, in environments that have historically been reserved solely for the wealthy (Karabel, 2005).

In its sixth year, the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant has become a well-respected and highly competitive grant program. The Center received more than 100 proposal from researchers and practitioners throughout the United States as well as from several international institutions. The four other outstanding research projects selected as finalists were:

  • Steven Brunwasser, Christopher Peterson, & Daniel Eisenberg of University of Michigan for their studyentitled Evaluating Depressive Symptoms during the Transition to a Large University

  • Sarah Kiersten Ferguson of The University of Texas at Austin for her study entitled Reframing the Conversation: Faculty Mentoring Underrepresented Undergraduate Students in Engineering

  • Dorian McCoy of the University of Vermont & Rachelle Winkle-Wagner of the University of Nebraska for their study entitled A Bridge to the Future: The Role of Summer Institutes in Preparing Students of Color for Graduate Programs in the Humanities

  • Brian Reed of the University of Virginia for his study entitled Factors Affecting Low-SES White Male Persistence

Ryan Padgett, Assistant Director of Research, Grants, and Assessment at the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, led the Paul P. Fidler Research Grant selection process. Padgett anticipates McLoughlin’s research will significantly contribute to the national discussion on the experiences of low-income students, specifically on low-income students who are recipients of full need-based aid attending America’s most elite colleges.

“Paul’s proposal emerged from one of our most competitive grant selection processes to date,” Padgett said. “The results of his qualitative study will advance our understanding on how to better support low-income students as they navigate the college environment and transition through higher education.”

Past grant recipients include:

  • 2009-2010 - Rachel Smith of Syracuse University, Connected in Learning: A Mixed Methods Study of First-year Students' Academic and Social Networks
  • 2008-2009 - Maryellen Mills of the University of Texas at Austin, Student Success Course Participation and Engagement among Part-time and Full-Time Community College Students

  • 2007-2008 - Dr. Eunyoung Kim of Seton Hall University, Acculturation Experiences and College Transitions of Minority Immigrant Students

  • 2006-2007 - Dr. Barbara Hofer of Middlebury College, The Electronic Tether: Parental Regulation, Self-Regulation, and the Role of Technology in College Transitions

  • 2005-2006 - Christine and Michael Kirk-Kuwaye of the University of Hawai'i at Manoa, A Study of Engagement Patterns of Lateral and Vertical Transfer Students During their First Semester at a Public Research University

 

 
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