Former MDRCer Awilda Rodriguez Selected as William T. Grant Foundation Scholar


Awilda Rodriguez, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the University of Michigan and a former predoctoral intern at MDRC, was recently named one of three members of the 2017 class of William T. Grant Scholars.

Launched in 1982 by the William T. Grant Foundation, the Scholars Program supports the professional development of promising researchers in the social, behavioral, and health sciences who have received their degree within the past seven years. Scholars receive support to execute rigorous five-year research plans that stretch their skills and knowledge into new disciplines, content areas, or methods. As part of the program, they identify a mentor to provide advice and support on the work, and Fred Doolittle, Ph.D., of MDRC is pleased to serve in this capacity.

“This is an exciting opportunity for Awilda to advance her work, and we are pleased to maintain our connection with her,” said Doolittle, a vice president at MDRC. “Her planned work will tackle an important topic, and the results can help increase educational opportunities for students.”

Rodriguez’s study — “Can an Informational Intervention Increase Black, Latino, and Low-Income Student Participation in Advanced Placement Courses?” —  examines what criteria, if any, high schools use to determine eligibility for AP coursework, and how that information is communicated. She will also explore whether students who attend high schools that provide information about the accessibility and benefits of AP have higher participation rates in AP relative to students who attend high schools that do not provide such information. Rodriquez will expand her expertise in designing and executing experimental studies to strengthen her ability to test policy solutions that directly shape college-going for marginalized populations. Mentoring activities will focus on recruitment into experimental trials, intervention design, and surveys.