Harper awarded National Academy of Education fellowship for race identification work
Columbia, Mo., Aug. 1, 2012 — An MU College of Education assistant professor has received a prestigious fellowship to continue her work on the racial identification choices of college students.
Casandra Harper, assistant professor of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, received the National Academy of Education (NAEd) Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship award of $55,000. The award will provide Harper time over the next two years to work on a project entitled, “Examining the Validity and Reliability of College Students’ Racial Identification Choices.”
“My research focuses on how college students identify themselves and how that changes throughout their college career,” says Harper. “I think most school officials think of race in static terms, but for some students, that’s a moving target, and how do educators account for that change? I’m also interested in how all students racially identify themselves because some students will mark ‘other’ for many different reasons.”
This extends work from Harper’s doctoral dissertation, which she completed at UCLA, where she found 57 percent of multiracial students had inconsistent racial reporting from their freshman year to their senior year. According to NAEd, more than 700 current and former fellows, including many of today’s strongest educational researchers, have been awarded the prestigious Spencer fellowship. Harper was one of 20 postdoctoral fellows in the country to receive the award this year, and she’s one of only two MU College of Education faculty members to receive the honor since 1984.
“Even though I’m just starting my career, I know this will be something I’ll always look back on as being one of the great accomplishments. It’s a big honor,” says Harper.