DeLeon Gray ’07, Interdisciplinary Studies, Receives Spencer Dissertation Fellowship

DeLeon Gray ’07 has received the prestigious 2011-2012 Spencer Dissertation Fellowship from the Spencer Foundation.

Gray, a doctoral student of educational psychology in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University, was among the three percent of the 500 applicants who were awarded fellowships this year.

Gray will use the $25,000 fellowship grant as his primary funding source while writing his dissertation, A New Framework for Conceptualizing School Belonging: The Importance of “Fitting In” and “Standing Out.”

“Social processes contribute immensely to the way students undertake academic tasks,” Gray said. He is studying how a student’s balance between fitting in and standing out contributes to their positive self-perceptions, emotions and outlook on academics.

“I am humbled,” Gray said. “After learning that I received the fellowship, I thought about how amazing it is that people sometimes see things in you before you are able to see these things in yourself. In addition, the educational psychology and philosophy doctoral program at Ohio State has provided me with stellar academic training. For this, I am truly blessed.”

Gray augments his research with high-quality experiences, such as his summer as a program analyst at the Office of Science Education, National Institutes of Health. In 2009, a CIC (Council on Institutional Cooperation) Traveling Scholar award allowed him to conduct research with both his advisor Eric Anderman, professor of educational policy and leadership, and faculty of the highly ranked education and psychology program at University of Michigan.

Originally from Temple Hills, Maryland, Gray received a bachelor’s degree in 2007 from UMBC in interdisciplinary studies, with a concentration in psychological foundations of education. He received a master’s degree in 2009 from Ohio State in quantitative research, evaluation and measurement.

The Spencer Foundation investigates ways in which education, broadly conceived, can be improved around the world and has awarded grants totaling approximately $250 million. The Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Program seeks to encourage a new generation of scholars from a wide range of disciplines and professional fields to undertake research relevant to the improvement of education.


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