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2020-2021 IHDSC Seed Award Recipients

IHDSC seed awards enable faculty to engage with interdisciplinary perspectives, partner with organizations and agencies, and conduct pilot research to increase social impact.

This year, we partnered with NYU’s Cross-Cutting Initiative on Inequality and NYU's Research Development Office to support research that seeks to Unravel Inequality and Expand Opportunity across sectors. We are proud to sponsor research that supports schools, families, and communities in the wake of the pandemic and continued social and economic injustice.

Cultural Effects on Parenting Behaviors, COVID-19 Stress, and Mental Health among Chinese American Parents and Children

The social stigma associated with COVID-19 has placed Asian Americans at higher risk for experiencing discrimination and racism-related incidents within the U.S. This multi-informant longitudinal survey study seeks to understand the experiences of Asian American parents and youth during the COVID-19 pandemic, and the impact these experiences are having on their mental health over time.

PI: Dr. William Tsai, Assistant Professor of Applied Psychology, NYU Steinhardt

Co-PI: Dr. Cindy Huang, Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology, Teachers College 

Co-I: Dr. Keng-yen Huang, NYU School of Medicine, Department of Population Health

Partner: Chinese American Family Alliance for Mental Health

The Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Education Engagement in Pakistan

This project seeks to investigate how the closure of public schools to combat the spread of SARS-CoV-2 in Pakistan (Punjab) affects the human capital accumulation process of children in low-income households. The focus is on how the short-term negative impacts on education due to limited resources for home-schooling and an increased requirement for work activity from children affect the long-term school participation and labor supply of disadvantaged children. 

PI: Dr. Antje von Suchodoletz, Assistant Professor of Psychology, NYU Abu Dhabi and Steinhardt

Co-PI:  Dr. Samreen Malik, Associate Professor of Economics, NYU Abu Dhabi

Co-Is: Dr. Benedikt Mihm, Post-doctoral Associate and Dr. J. Lawrence Aber, Willner Family Professor of Psychology and Public Policy and University Professor, NYU Steinhardt

Partner: Institute of Development and Economic Alternatives (IDEAs)

Technology and Administrative Burden: Assessing the Role of Chatbot Innovation on WIC Enrollment Outcomes in New York State

In New York state, and nationwide, enrollment in the Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infant and Children (WIC) is relatively low and has seen a steady decline over time. This is concerning because WIC has the potential to significantly reduce income disparities in health. There are at least three potential reasons for these disappointing enrollment trends related to administrative burden: 1) for potential enrollees compliance costs (i.e., tasks required to obtain and maintain benefits) may be high relative to the level of  benefits, 2) learning costs are relatively high, as information on benefits and eligibility can be difficult to locate, and 3) there may be psychological costs if low-income mothers and caregivers fear they will be stigmatized for asking for food assistance. To address some of these challenges, NYS WIC is implementing a new chat bot on their program website. The aim of this mixed methods study is to understand to what extent new technology can reduce administrative burden and improve outcomes in means-tested programs, and in what ways the introduction of new technology exacerbates or creates new burdens. 

PI: Dr. Linsey Edwards, Assistant Professor of Sociology, NYU Arts & Science

Collaborator: Dr. Niyati Parekh, Associate Professor of Public Health Nutrition, NYU School of Global Public Health

Partner: New York State Department of Health

Teacher Stress Amidst a Global Pandemic and Persistent Racial Injustice: Examining Challenges and Opportunities in Context

Our proposed study is a multiphase, descriptive, mixed-methods study that will use surveys and interviews with a multiracial, nationwide sample of 300 teachers to develop a rich understanding of how elementary school teachers are experiencing and managing racism-related stressors in the context of increased national attention to racial injustices, and the consequences of these experiences for their intentions to leave the teaching profession.

PI: Dr. Diane Hughes, Professor of Applied Psychology, NYU Steinhardt

Co-PI: Dr. Rachel Abenavoli, Research Assistant Professor, NYU Steinhardt

Co-PI: Olga Pagán, Doctoral Candidate in Applied Psychology, NYU Steinhardt

Doctoral Students: Blair Cox, Doctoral Student in Applied Psychology, NYU Steinhardt

Partner: NYC Department of Education - Division of Early Childhood Education

Building Resilience for Pregnant and Parenting Adolescent Mothers and their Young Children through Participatory Program Design and Evaluation in Chhattisgarh, India

Adolescent pregnancy and motherhood are of global concern; some 12 million 15-19 year old girls, and 777,000 girls under the age of 15 give birth every year, the majority of whom live in low- and middle-income countries. In India, approximately 25% of girls have their first birth before the age of 19. These numbers have only worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic. There have been few programs specifically targeting adolescent mothers and mothers-to-be; for a variety of reasons they often fall through the cracks. Using an interdisciplinary and mixed-methods approach, this project will explore and develop an in-depth understanding of the sociocultural context of adolescent motherhood in Chhattisgarh, India, in order to better understand sources of risk and resilience affecting the development of adolescent mothers and their young children, and how interventions should be designed to provide appropriate support.

PI: Dr. Alice Wuermli, Deputy Director, Early Childhood Development in Emergencies & Conflict, NYU Global TIES for Children

Co-PI:  Anaga Ramachandran, Doctoral Student in Applied Psychology, NYU Steinhardt

Local PI: Harini Raval, Director for Program and Research at the Centre for Learning Resources

Partner: Centre for Learning Resources (CLR)

What Motivational Messages are Children Receiving from Children’s Books about Famous Scientists? Implications for Diversifying STEM

In this project, we will conduct a content analysis of the 1,000 best-selling children's science biographies on to investigate how prominent motivation dimensions (e.g., fixed vs. growth mindsets about ability and interest) are reflected in this popular category of children's books. We will also examine the extent to which these biographies feature a diverse group of scientists and whether the motivational messages they send differ based on the gender and race/ethnicity of the scientist featured, which could influence how these messages shape children's motivation.

PI: Dr. Andrei Cimpian, Professor of Psychology, NYU Arts & Science

Co-PI: Dr. Jessica Gladstone, Postdoctoral Fellow

Seed Award Stories

Seed Award Spotlight: Dr. Susannah Levi

In 2019, Drs. Susannah Levi and Daphna Harel received a seed award for their project, "High Variability Phonetic Training as a Mechanism for Improving Underlying Reading Skills in School-Age Children." Read about what came from the project, how COVID-19 impacted research, and what else might grow out of their seed award.

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Reexamining the Link Between Pregnancy Intentions and Maternal, Newborn & Early Life Outcomes

Dr. Sarah Cowan received an IHDSC Seed Award in 2019-2020 for a project that reexamines and extends previous research on the links between pregnancy intentions and early life outcomes by analyzing data from the Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) and 2-year follow-up data from six states.

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Seed Award Spotlight: Drs. Maaike Bouwmeester and Shilpa Sahay

Drs. Maaike Bouwmeester and Camilla Matuk received seed funding for their project, "Designing Frameworks for Multimedia Use in Informal STEM Programs for Young Learners." Dr. Bouwmeester and collaborator Dr. Shilpa Sahay discussed their nonprofit partnership and how their seed award served as a springboard for future research.

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The State of Black Suburbs

"For many folks, when I start to talk about the Black suburban experience, they think that it's this moment of meeting of white and Black, of distance coming together. But there's a far more nuanced and complicated reality." Drs. L'Heureux Lewis-McCoy and Kimberley Johnson received seed award funding for "The Black Suburban Governance Project" in 2020. Along with PhD candidate Kiara Douds, they discussed their research approach and early findings.

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IHDSC Seed Award Program

IHDSC is committed to funding new projects that bridge multiple domains of expertise and further the mission of the Institute.

IHDSC Initiatives

IHDSC hosts a range of initiatives aimed at catalyzing new programs of multidisciplinary research, linking people across divides to solve social problems, building intellectual community, and disseminating research evidence to policymakers, practitioners, and general audiences