Sparking Middle School Students? Curiosity to Explain Scientific Phenomena: The Impact of Curiosity-Driven Question Asking on Visual Information Seeking and Mental Imagery
Emily Peterson

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Research Development Award

Award Year



American University

Primary Discipline

The Rosenwald Generation uncovers the racial politics of knowledge production of the Julius Rosenwald Fund fellowship program (1928-1949), the first expansive fellowship program to support black scholars in the US. The Rosenwald Fund awarded nearly one thousand fellowships, sparking a proliferation in black PhDs and contributing to the rise of the ?golden age? of African American social science. With evidence from archival research that engages the perspectives of both the Rosenwald officials and their fellows, I found that the Rosenwald officials attempted to assert an expansive jurisdiction over black knowledge production, but my research also uncovers significant evidence of the fellows? resistance to the Fund?s ideological agenda. Weaving together these dueling perspectives, I argue that for the Rosenwald Fund, elitism and ethnocentrism were mutually constitutive projects that decisively shaped the canon of mid-century race scholarship and the place of black scholars in the American academy. There is virtually no scholarship on the Rosenwald Fund fellowship program, despite its shaping impact on black scholarship. Recovering this episode in Black education history will contribute new insights into the dynamics of inclusion and exclusion of African Americans in the academy, the lived experiences of this generation, and the significance of their academic work.
About Emily Peterson
Emily Grossnickle Peterson is an Assistant Professor in the School of Education at American University, Washington, DC and an affiliate faculty member in AU?s Behavior, Cognition, and Neuroscience program. In her research, Dr. Peterson applies methods from educational psychology and cognitive neuroscience to deepen our understanding of how students engage with science with the aim of providing insights into cognitive and motivational processes that may drive educational disparities. She is especially interested in how students develop their capacity for curiosity and spatial thinking. In current and future work she is examining how motivation and motor processes impact student cognition in science, including questions such as: can students? hand gestures during problem solving reduce cognitive load, and does feeling curious during learning change how students form mental images? Her work has been published in journals including Educational Psychology Review and Learning and Instruction, and has been supported by Division 15 (Educational Psychology) of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Peterson competed a Ph.D. in Human Development and Quantitative Methodology from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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