Sarah Powell, a first-year assistant professor in the College of Education’s Department of Special Education, has been named a Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow by the National Academy of Education (NAEd). Powell was among 25 honorees chosen from a pool of more than 200 applicants.
The prestigious Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship program supports early career scholars working in critical areas of education research. Fellowships, which carry awards of $55,000, are funded by a grant to the NAEd from the Spencer Foundation, a private foundation that supports research to improve education.
Powell’s research focuses on developing and testing interventions for students with mathematics difficulties. She is particularly interested in peer tutoring, word-problem solving, and the role of symbols for understanding mathematics. Powell was selected for the fellowship based on a two-year research proposal she submitted that asks how math symbol and vocabulary understanding influence math performance.
“I am extremely honored to receive this fellowship,” said Powell. “It will allow me to delve into the area of math symbols and vocabulary. By collecting data across four grade levels, I can learn how math symbol and vocabulary knowledge change from early elementary to late middle school. I hope this knowledge can be used to improve math instruction for students.”