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Stanford doctoral candidate in education wins major dissertation grant

Cristina Lash (photo by Marc Franklin, Stanford Graduate School of Education)
Cristina Lash (photo by Marc Franklin, Stanford Graduate School of Education)

Stanford doctoral candidate in education wins major dissertation grant

Stanford graduate education student Cristina Lash studies how U.S. schools are adapting to increasing numbers of immigrant students.

The National Academy of Education and Spencer Foundation has awarded a dissertation fellowship to Cristina Lash, a doctoral candidate in the Stanford Graduate School of Education, to advance her study of schools, immigrant students and Americanization.

She is one of 35 fellows chosen from a field of 400 applicants as part of the NAEd’s ongoing effort to prepare the next generation of education researchers. Through the grants, it seeks to “encourage outstanding new scholars from many disciplines to bring their insights to bear on issues related to education.”

Lash’s project examines how rising diversity in the United States has led schools to change how they teach students American identity in the 21st century. “[L]ittle research has explored how schools — as institutions of Americanization — have adapted their curricula, structures and classroom relations to accommodate these demographic and cultural shifts,” she wrote. “My dissertation explores how schools teach what it means to be American in the current context of immigration-driven diversity.”

Lash plans to do a comparative ethnography of two middle schools in different cities and with markedly different levels of immigration.

In addition to the NAEd/Spencer honor, Lash recently received Stanford’s Diversifying Academia, Recruiting Excellence (DARE) Doctoral Fellowship. Because of this award, Lash has waived the $27,500 grant that typically accompanies the NAEd/Spencer award. She will continue to participate in the other activities — scholarly events and opportunities to present her work — that the NAEd/Spencer provides to help fellows become part of a larger education research community.

Lash received a BA in comparative literature from Stanford and an MA in social and cultural studies in education from UC-Berkeley.

Lash's dissertation advisors are Professor of Education Guadalupe Valdés and Associate Professor of Sociology Tomás Jiménez. During the first five years of her doctoral program, she was advised by Professor of Education Prudence Carter, who recently left Stanford to become dean of UC-Berkeley Graduate School of Education. Carter continues to serve on Lash’s dissertation reading committee.

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