Professor Receives Early Career Award from American Educational Research Association

Lindsay Page, an associate professor in the University of Pittsburgh School of Education and a research scientist in Pitt’s Learning Research and Development Center, recently received the 2020 Early Career Award from the American Educational Research Association (AERA).

Honoring exemplary research and service in the education research field, the AERA’s Early Career Award is given once a year to a scholar who received his or her doctoral degree within the past 10 years. The winners were announced by AERA on July 22 and will be honored in a virtual ceremony on September 12, 2020. 

“It is an overwhelming honor to be selected as the Early Career award recipient across all the different fields in education research,” says Page, who joined the Pitt School of Education faculty in 2014. “AERA is the signature research organization focused on education in the United States.”

Founded in 1916, AERA is the largest national interdisciplinary research association devoted to the scientific study of education and learning. Its 25,000-plus members include faculty, researchers, university deans, research directors, and higher education administrators.

Page specializes in using quantitative methods to investigate the impact of educational policies and practices. She is motivated to find solutions to improve college access and success, particularly among minoritized, low-income, and first-generation college students. 

Among subjects studied by Page is the phenomenon of summer melt in college admissions. Summer melt occurs when college-bound high school students, for a variety of reasons, do not successfully transition to college. Melt most often among low-income and first-generation college students.

Based on her study of the issue, Page and colleagues developed interventions for secondary schools, colleges, and community-based organizations to better support students. They include text-message-based campaigns that nudge students on important actions they should take to prepare for college. In one collaboration, Page and colleagues worked with the Houston Independent School District—the largest school district in the state of Texas—to implement a text-message campaign to improve completion rates for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The effort boosted timely FAFSA filings and subsequent college matriculation.

“The number one takeaway is that the support to students cannot be passive and reactive. If you jump up and down at the beginning of summer and say we can answer questions, nobody will ever raise their hand. But if you are proactive in reaching out to students, reminding them of tasks they need to accomplish, and offering support as needed, t, then you can see a positive effect,” says Page.

Page published her findings in the book “Summer Melt: Supporting Low-Income Students through the Transition to College,” which she co-authored with her long-time co-author Benjamin Castleman  (Harvard Education Press, 2014).

Page has also studied the impact of the Pittsburgh Promise. The program offers a college scholarship to graduates of Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS). She is leading a team of faculty and graduate students whose initial study of the program has demonstrated positive impacts of the Pittsburgh Promise on college access, early college persistence, and the types of colleges in which students enroll. The team is continuing the work to study the program’s impact on college completion and job outcomes for graduates.

In addition to her full research agenda, Page is also committed to working with graduate students at the Pitt School of Education as a research mentor and advisor. She has worked with more than 20 graduate students as either a primary doctoral advisor, committee member, and/or research collaborator.

As a faculty member within the school’s Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy academic department, Page teaches courses in the area of research methodology. Mostly geared to PhD students, her courses include introductory quantitative methods, regression analysis, and causal inference.

Page is proud to be part of the Pitt School of Education where she can pursue quantitative research that advances educational equity and justice. The AERA Early Career Award is another illustration that her work is making a difference.

“I’m grateful to be a member of the Pitt School of Education community and to represent it in receiving this award,” says Page. 

Learn More

Along with Page, the AERA will honor all winners of its 2020 Awards for Excellence in Education Research in a Virtual Awards Celebration on September 12, 2020 from 3 – 4:30 p.m. EDT.

The Educational Foundations, Organizations, and Policy academic department is home to programs now accepting applications, including: