Published May 8, 2014
Graduate School of Education faculty member Alexa Dimick has been chosen as a 2014 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow, considered the most prestigious and highly competitive fellowship for early career scholars in education.
Dimick, assistant professor in the Department of Learning and Instruction, focuses her research on issues of power, equity and social justice in science education. As a postdoctoral fellow, she will pursue a research project that explores how environmental science classroom experiences in urban schools influence young people’s environmental participation and civic engagement.
“Professor Dimick has proven to be an emerging influential scholar in this area of social justice, particularly in the areas that deal with the environment,” says Jaekyung Lee, dean and professor in the Graduate School of Education.
“She has been engaged in research with low-income, minority students and their teachers in urban communities,” Lee says. “For this NAEd/Spencer project, she will be working with youth and their environmental science teachers in four urban high schools, where many students go to a ‘failing’ school with a very low graduation rate.
“Her work has great potential to develop new knowledge and make significant contributions in the area of public education for civic engagement through her theory-driven application of rigorous research methods to social justice issues,” he says.
A UB faculty member since 2011, Dimick earned her doctorate in curriculum and instruction from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Her professional and research interests include curriculum theory and research, environmental education, social justice science education and student empowerment.
“Global environmental concerns are one of the most pressing issues of our time because of their enormity and basis in human activity,” says Dimick, who has written and presented on the connection between good citizenship and environmental education. “In response, environmental education aims to prepare students to actively participate in addressing environmental issues and concerns at both societal and personal levels. This need is especially great for the youth in poor and urban communities who often live on the margins — socially, economically and, frequently, environmentally as well.”