Ming-Te Wang, a professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Education and senior scientist in the Learning Research and Development Center, received the 2022 Mid-Career Award for Research Excellence from the Society for Research on Adolescence (SRA). The award was presented at SRA’s Biennial Meeting on March 4, 2022.
SRA is a community of researchers dedicated to advancing understanding of adolescence and enhancing the wellbeing of youth in a globalized world.
Already the recipient of several early-career awards—including the 2019 Distinguished Scientific Award for Early Career Contribution to Psychology from the American Psychological Association and the CAREER Award from the National Science Foundation—Wang noted the significance of an award that recognizes mid-career researchers.
“Receiving a mid-career award is a good milestone,” says Wang. “It recognizes that I’m still producing, still asking good questions, and doing creative research to help better understand children and adolescent development.”
Wang’s research aims to understand and improve youth learning and development across school, family, and community contexts with an emphasis on issues of diversity, opportunity, and equity.
“The research has direct implications for teaching practice and how to interact with kids,” says Wang. “We always try to translate our findings into actionable strategies so practitioners and educators can immediately use them in their work.”
In 2021, Wang was one of just 17 Pitt researchers named in Clarivate’s list of Highly Cited Researchers, which identifies the top 1% of science and social science researchers for producing highly cited research papers between January 2010 and December 2020.
One of his current projects is to assess the short- and long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, school closures, and remote learning. Utilizing both local and national data sets, the research has shed light on the pandemic’s impact on the psychosocial development, mental health, and academic performance of students, particularly those from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds.
“Figuring this out will help schools to not only develop a recovery plan to help kids catch up, but will also help schools to be more prepared for future crises,” says Wang.
As a former middle school teacher and school counselor in a reservation area for Indigenous people in Taiwan, Wang has a deep understanding of how to relate research to practitioners and educators.
“It helped me know how to ask the right questions that would answer the important questions school leaders and teachers have,” says Wang. “I want my research to have an impact on the real world that practitioners can use. I see that as the value of my work and my contribution to the field.”