Pitt Momentum Funds Jumpstart Research Across Education and Wellness

Faculty and Research

Aerial shot of Pitt campus showing Cathedral of Learning from above

The University of Pittsburgh School of Education has three projects that received Pitt Momentum Fund Awards in 2022-23, placing it in the top echelon of schools at the University.

Involving six faculty at the school, the Pitt Education-led projects will support early childhood development, well-being for autistic adults, and critical digital pedagogy for teachers.

Funding is awarded in three tiers: priming grants to help start projects, teaming grants to establish collaborative teams, and scaling awards to do preparation for large external funding.

Across Pitt, 29 projects received funding. Only two awards, however, were awarded within the scaling and teaming categories, and Pitt Education received one of them in each category. 

Scaling Grant Recipient - $400,000

“Linking University-Community Initiatives to Promote a Child’s Thriving Pipeline Across Early Developmental Stages”

Led by faculty member Shannon Wanless, this project aims to link together three programs that support child-thriving at the ages of 0-4, 5-8, and 9-11. The programs are part of the Pittsburgh Study, an anti-racist, community-partnered initiative. 

Learn more about the Scaling Award project >>

Team members include:

  • Shannon Wanless (team lead), School of Education

  • Daniel Shaw, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences

  • James Huguley, School of Social Work

  • Elizabeth Votruba-Drzal, Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences


Teaming Grant Recipient - $60,000

“Supporting Mental and Physical Wellbeing in Autistic Adults through Community-Based Mindful Movement”

Led by faculty member Rachel Robertson, this project seeks to create a community-based yoga or mindful movement program for autistic adults. In general, autistic adults experience greater mental and physical health challenges and are less physically active than non-autistic adults.

Learn more about the teaming award project >>

Team members include:

  • Rachel Robertson (team lead), School of Education

  • Sally Sherman, School of Education

  • Marissa Vogel, Open Up Pittsburgh (MEd ’12)

  • Caitlin Conner, School of Medicine

  • Carla Mazefsky, School of Medicine


Priming Grant Recipient - $25,000

“Imagination PLAYce: Towards Critical Liberatory and Digitally Mediated Pedagogies of Higher Education”

This project will explore how to shift teacher training to be more informed by the changing digital media and technology landscape. The goal is to help teachers see their work as designing classrooms that are rooted in social justice and dynamic ways of using technology to engage with learners. 

Learn more about the priming award project >>

Team members include: