K-State doctoral student honored for research

By The Mercury

Stephanie Pearson’s research is breaking boundaries, and now she’s got the award to prove it.

Pearson, a doctoral student in curriculum and instruction, New York City, is the first recipient of the newly established University Distinguished Professors Graduate Student Award. The $10,000 award recognizes doctoral students who have made exceptional achievements in scholarship.

Pearson will receive the award Tuesday, Sept. 17.

“It’s a prestigious honor to be chosen for the university distinguished professors award, and I feel very grateful to be the first from the College of Education to receive it,” Pearson said. “The College of Education has supported my research endeavors from the first day I began my program. The award will allow me to continue my research in South Sudan and promote the findings on an international level to government entities and international investors. I am extremely grateful to the contributors of this award and hope they will see the effect the award will have to a country in dire need.”

For her research, Pearson is working with the United Nations and the U.S. State Department on literacy and education in the Republic of South Sudan. She is investigating the various internal and external characteristics and factors that affect literacy education among students, teachers and citizens in South Sudan. Her findings will be used to develop a model that helps promote literacy in that nation and establishes a literacy curriculum for its citizens.

An interdisciplinary committee of university distinguished professors selected Pearson for the award following an application review.

Richard Marston, university distinguished professor of geography and president of the university distinguished professor group, was part of the selection committee that reviewed Pearson’s application.

“Stephanie prepared an exceptional application in all respects,” Marston said. “She offers an admirable record of publications and public service in the course of conducting her research. Her award statement was very explicit in how the award funds would be spent. This is a doctoral student who is already having a national and international impact with her doctoral research, but whose research will be helped in a significant way by this award.”

The University Distinguished Professors Graduate Student Award is supported by the office of the vice president for research and contributions from individual university distinguished professors. These are professors who have received one of the university’s highest honors for their contributions to teaching, research and service, and who have made major contributions to their professions and communities.

Pearson’s major professor is Lotta Larson, associate professor of curriculum and instruction. She expects to complete her doctorate in May 2014.

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