Assistant Professor Erica Edwards receives Ralph E. Powe Award

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Erica Edwards
Erica Edwards, Ph.D.
assistant professor
Educational Leadership
and Policy Studies

On Monday, May 13, 2019, Erica Edwards, Ph.D., assistant professor for Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the Division of Administrative and Organizational Studies and associated faculty for Education Evaluation and Research in the College of Education, received the Ralph E. Powe Junior Faculty Enhancement Award. The award is committed to enriching the research skills and professional growth of young faculty at Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU) member institutions. Of ORAU’s 125 sponsoring institutions, there were 167 applicants for this year’s competitive research award. Edwards received one of 36 Powe Awards for 2019.

To be eligible for the Powe Award, applicants must be full-time assistant professors at ORAU member institutions within two years of their initial tenure track appointment at the time of application. Only two nominations are allowed per institution. Research projects must fall within one of the disciplines below:

  • Engineering and Applied Science
  • Life Sciences
  • Mathematics/Computer Sciences
  • Physical Sciences
  • Policy, Management, or Education

Edwards will receive an award of $5,000 from ORAU, and the one-year grant will be matched by an equal amount from Wayne State University. The historic purpose of ORAU is to provide assistance to its members universities and their faculty. The Powe Award clearly showcases this tradition and represents public recognition by academic peers of the quality and promise of junior faculty’s research.

Funds from the award will be used to support Edwards’ work engaging multiply marginalized Black girls with STEM identity development. Two teachers will be trained to develop culturally responsive approaches to STEM teaching and will facilitate their learning in an after-school program for Black girls in chronic disciplinary patterns and alternative schools. The project aims to learn how STEM identity development serves as a protective factor among girls who have or may experience school push-out.