What's Happening

Check out what our people and partners are researching, thinking, reading, writing, watching and doing! (Note: The opinions expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of ETR as an agency.)


Women Are Teaching Themselves Coding--And What Does the Research Say About That?
March 22, 2016

Women Are Teaching Themselves Coding--And What Does the Research Say About That?

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD | March 22, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

My research here at ETR looks at how women are learning computer science skills. I’ve written previously about some of the challenges facing women studying computer science in colleges or pursuing learning through coding boot camps. I find it exciting and intriguing that women in the workforce are now teaching themselves to write computer code. They’re creating their own female-only groups to help themselves learn.

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD
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Tags: Technology education, STEM, Diversity in technology
Wonder Woman Says: Fight for Justice on National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
March 10, 2016

Wonder Woman Says: Fight for Justice on National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

By Vignetta Charles, PhD | March 10, 2016
Chief Science Officer, ETR

My Facebook feed was filled with wonderful images on International Women’s Day (March 8). I’m a huge fan of Wonder Woman, so I was especially thrilled with the many images of this iconic figure who fights for justice for all. And today, only two days later, we celebrate National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

I believe Wonder Woman would be proud of the strides we’ve made to reduce the number of new HIV infections in women, especially for African-American women. This should be celebrated. And I do celebrate that. I’m especially proud of some of the amazing HIV prevention efforts that ETR has developed and/or implemented over the past three decades to contribute to this success.

But I also see that Wonder Woman still has a lot of fighting to do. 

By Vignetta Charles, PhD
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, HIV, NWGHAAD, Violence prevention, Intersectionality, Community Impact Solutions Project
Understanding the Latest Research Findings: How to Be a Critical Interpreter of Health Information
March 7, 2016

Understanding the Latest Research Findings: How to Be a Critical Interpreter of Health Information

By Elizabeth McDade-Montez, PhD | March 7, 2015
Senior Research Associate, ETR

We come across lots of health-related research findings reported in the news these days. Frankly, some of it is perplexing.

You may have heard the CDC’s recent recommendations that any young woman not on birth control should refrain from consuming alcohol. Perhaps you also saw some of the outraged reactions from social commentators.

Maybe you read about the classic psychology studies that weren’t replicated in recent research. Or the range of rumors flying around about Zika virus. And are you still hearing rumors online or from peers suggesting childhood vaccinations aren’t safe?

How does an informed reader sift through this constant stream of health information? When we are puzzled ourselves, how can health providers and educators support patients and clients trying to make sense of conflicting or suspect reports? What references can we trust when we endeavor to inform ourselves or support and guide others? 

By Elizabeth McDade-Montez
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Tags: Research, Patient education, Health education
Embracing 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work to Transform Schools & Communities
February 16, 2016

Embracing 12 Grand Challenges for Social Work to Transform Schools & Communities

By John Shields, PhD, MSW | February 16, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

Last month, I attended the annual conference of the Society for Social Work & Research (SSWR) in Washington, DC. I saw some dear old friends and colleagues, attended a few lavish university receptions (free crab cakes, anyone?), and heard some great presentations on new science in the field of social work. But one session stands out—the launch of the Grand Challenges for Social Work Initiative.

By John Shields, PhD, MSW
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Tags: Research, Evaluation, Big data, K-12, Technology
Women & STEM: College Vs. Coding Boot Camps
January 28, 2016

Women & STEM: College Vs. Coding Boot Camps

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD | January 28, 2016
Senior Research Associate, ETR

All my family, friends and colleagues know I’m a researcher interested in diversifying STEM. This means that I’m constantly receiving articles from them about all kinds of efforts being made to entice more girls/women and minorities to study or work in STEM fields—computer science in particular, as that has been my focus.

By Louise Ann Lyon, PhD
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Tags: STEM, Diversity in technology
Off to the White House: The MBK STEM+ Meeting
January 19, 2016

Off to the White House: The MBK STEM+ Meeting

By Jill Denner, PhD | January 19, 2016
Senior Research Scientist, ETR

On December 14, 2015, I had the privilege of attending a meeting on the grounds of the White House called MBK STEM+. The meeting was part of President Obama’s initiative called My Brother’s Keeper, which aims to mobilize education and career training resources for disadvantaged young people.

The focus of this particular meeting was to add STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) to the MBK initiative, specifically creating opportunities for young people of color to pursue innovation and entrepreneurship in STEM fields. The goal was to build connections across organizations and individuals working in this space by identifying needs and resources.

The room was filled with about 80 people, many working at organizations actively involved in providing STEM preparation and training for young people across the country.

By Jill Denner, PhD
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Tags: Diversity in technology, STEM
5 Tips for Building Successful Community Partnerships in Rural Settings
January 11, 2016

5 Tips for Building Successful Community Partnerships in Rural Settings

By Amie Ashcraft, PhD, MPH | January 6, 2015
Research Manager, West Virginia University

I grew up in Bridgeport, West Virginia. We had what passed for a Mexican and a Chinese restaurant. We had a convenience store with a drive-thru where you could buy smokes, beverages and live bait—everything needed for a fishing trip.

By local standards, my town was not at all rural. There was even a shopping mall in Bridgeport. The town was not quite so small that everyone knew everyone else, but it was small enough that if you were getting into trouble, you could be sure that word would eventually get back to your parents.

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Tags: Community partnerships, Rural, Teens, Sexual and reproductive health
Teachers! Your Next Big Role! "Research Collaborator"
November 19, 2015

Teachers! Your Next Big Role! "Research Collaborator"

By Shannon Campe | November 19, 2015
Research Associate, ETR

Are you a K–12 teacher? Or a school or district administrator? A teacher’s union rep? A classroom aide? An active member of your PTA? Do you have any say about what teachers do in their classrooms? If so, I’m hoping you’ll take a few minutes to read about the next big role you (or your teachers) can take to make a difference.

I’m an educational researcher and a teacher. I recruit and work with teachers for classroom-based and after-school programs that are part of research projects. If you are a teacher, I have something I really want you to do, at least once—collaborate in school-based research when the opportunity arises.

I know, yet another thing to do on top of everything else. Why should you take it on? 

By Shannon Campe
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Tags: Teachers, Research, Collaboration
Tap Into Your Inner Scientist
November 11, 2015

Tap Into Your Inner Scientist

By Vignetta Charles, PhD | November 10, 2015
Chief Science Officer, ETR

I’m not only a scientist! People also play me on TV!

Well, actually, that’s Mr. Spock, Chief Science Officer from Star Trek and the starship Enterprise. I’m Vignetta Charles, the new Chief Science Officer at ETR. Which, by the way, has its headquarters on Enterprise Way. Coincidence? I think not.

I embrace the challenge to live up to the esteemed reputation of my job title. Indeed, we all can tap into our inner scientists. And, taking to heart the advice of my Vulcan mentor—“Insufficient facts always invite danger”—I’d like to suggest we all make the effort to be scientists in our work, no matter what our role. 

By Vignetta Charles, PhD
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Tags: Science, Research, Evaluation, Evidence
Evaluating Computer Science Education: Why and for Whom?
November 5, 2015

Evaluating Computer Science Education: Why and for Whom?

By Jill Denner, PhD | November 5, 2015
Senior Research Scientist, ETR

Note: ETR’s Jill Denner recently contributed a post to the American Evaluation Association’s blog AEA365 | A Tip-a-Day by and for Evaluators. This was part of their STEM Education and Training Topical Interest Group Week. With AEA’s permission, we are reposting Dr. Denner’s article. You can find the original here. If you’ll be attending AEA’s “Evaluation 2015” conference in Chicago next week, be sure to look for ETR’s team of researchers. Attending members include Pam Drake, Lisa Unti, BA Laris, Liz McDade-Montez and Jill Glassman.

Computer Science Education in K-12 is a relatively new space. It is a young discipline that is trying to distinguish itself from other Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields. And rightfully so. The “T” is different in many ways: There is less diversity in “T” classes and programs. Most programs do not have clear goals or a logic model to describe how their activities will lead to identified goals. There are many different learning outcomes, but few validated measures, established theories or clear stakeholders who can drive key decisions about evaluation design, sampling, and measurement.

By Jill Denner, PhD
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Tags: Research, Evaluation, Computer science education, STEM, Diversity in technology
Best Practices: Keeping Latina Mothers Involved in Longitudinal Research
August 24, 2015

Best Practices: Keeping Latina Mothers Involved in Longitudinal Research

By Eloy Ortiz, MURP, & Yethzéll Díaz  | August 25, 2015
Research Associate & Research Assistant, ETR

Math Pathways is a longitudinal study that aims to understand how relationships influence Latino students’ mathematics beliefs and achievement during the critical transition from elementary to middle school. Our goal was to recruit and survey 300 mother-child pairs from a rural, predominantly Latino farming community at four different time points over 18 months. Over the process of designing, implementing and refining our recruitment and retention efforts, we have established best-practice standards that have contributed substantially to our retention success.

Gathering the data for this research study has involved three major efforts: recruitment, scheduling and data collection. Here, we highlight a few of the practices that have stood out during the implementation of the project. 

By Eloy Ortiz, MURP, & Yethzéll Díaz
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Tags: Research, Retention, Math Pathways, STEM, Elementary school, Math
Why I'm an Advocate--and Why You Should Be One Too
August 17, 2015

Why I'm an Advocate--and Why You Should Be One Too

By Vignetta Charles, PhD | August 17, 2015
Chief Science Officer, ETR

At a recent meeting with others working in the nonprofit world, I was telling colleagues about an Action Alert I’d just received. It was sent out by one of the many advocacy listservs to which I subscribe. The people at my lunchtime table all reeled in horror.

“You can’t do that!” they exclaimed. “That’s lobbying. You’re federally funded.”

By Vignetta Charles, PhD
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Tags: Advocacy, Nonprofits
Improving Sleep Disturbance in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Report on Our Research
July 6, 2015

Improving Sleep Disturbance in Older Adults with Mild Cognitive Impairment: Report on Our Research

By Erin Cassidy-Eagle, PhD | July 6, 2015
Director, Research, ETR

It’s almost time for bed and you get that sinking feeling in your stomach. Will it be like last night? And the night before? And the three weeks before that?

Sound familiar? If it does, you are not alone. An estimated 50-70 million US adults have sleep disorders. Older adults are much more likely to complain about trouble sleeping. Poor sleep in older individuals is also a risk factor for a range of other concerns, including declining cognition, depression and greater functional impairment.

By Erin Cassidy-Eagle, PhD
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Tags: Research, Sleep, Older adults, Mild cognitive impairment
Making a Difference: Science, Research & Public Health
June 16, 2015

Making a Difference: Science, Research & Public Health

By Monica Sun | June 16, 2015
MPH Student, Tulane University | 2015 Kirby Summer Intern, ETR

This summer, I have the fortunate opportunity to work at ETR with a group of intelligent, intriguing and passionate people. Just within this first week or so, I’ve met many inspiring minds who’ve come together in this organization with a common goal: making a difference in the fields of science, research and public health.

The atmosphere here inspires me! I’m even more determined to go after my goals of reaching out to the underserved and making significant contributions to these fields. 

By Monica Sun
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Tags: HIV-AIDS, Kirby internship, Research, Public health, HIV treatment
OMG Who's Texting Me Now? New Research on Electronic Dating Violence
May 4, 2015

OMG Who's Texting Me Now? New Research on Electronic Dating Violence

By Pamela Anderson, PhD | May 4, 2015
Senior Research Associate, ETR

I think most of us can remember the first time we had a crush on someone. I do. It was Axl Rose, lead singer for the band Guns N’ Roses. Much to my family’s chagrin, I had his pictures splashed across my bedroom walls. I played his music virtually nonstop for months, while imagining what it would be like to be his girlfriend.

By Pamela Anderson, PhD
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Tags: Electronic dating violence, Health education, Sexual and reproductive health, Technology
Optimizing Skill Instruction in Sexual and Reproductive Health Education
March 3, 2015

Optimizing Skill Instruction in Sexual and Reproductive Health Education

By Karin Coyle, PhD | March 3, 2015
Senior Research Scientist, ETR

Most evidence-based sexual health programs include skill development as a core element. This underscores the value of optimizing instruction for skills. Education literature provides guidance on the optimal instructional sequence for teaching behavioral skills. There are a number of other important considerations for skill instruction that compliment this type of instructional sequence, and some common pitfalls to avoid.

By Karin Coyle, PhD
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Tags: Pregnancy prevention, STD prevention, Evidence-based interventions, Health education, Sexual and reproductive health
Stealth Recruitment: A New Way to Bring Diversity to the Tech Field
February 27, 2015

Stealth Recruitment: A New Way to Bring Diversity to the Tech Field

By Eloy Ortiz, MURP | February 27, 2015
Research Associate, ETR

Much of the funding that ETR’s Youth & IT Team has received over the past 10 years has focused on creating diversity in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education and the STEM workforce. These grants have often focused on middle school. This is a critical time in a student’s education where we see that underrepresented students, such as girls and Latino/a youth, often lose interest in math and computer science classes.

By Eloy Ortiz, MURP
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Tags: Research, Technology education, Underrepresented youth
Research Matters: A New Perspective on Old Stereotypes
February 12, 2015

Research Matters: A New Perspective on Old Stereotypes

By Julie Adams | February 12, 2015
Research Assistant, ETR

I’m a digital native—from the generation born after digital technologies became common—but also old enough to have seen just how much these technologies have changed. I’m also someone who is beginning a career in research on technology education. This intersection has given me a natural interest in understanding how people’s perception of technology changes over time. 

The majority of my work at ETR has been with the students in our Watsonville TEC Program. The students have given me insight into how their young generation feels about technology and computer science stereotypes. What I’ve learned from these young people doesn’t always match what I’ve found in published research, and I’m very intrigued by this discrepancy.

By Julie Adams
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Tags: Research, Teens, Technology education, Girls
My Take: Sexualization in Children’s Media
February 2, 2015

My Take: Sexualization in Children’s Media

By Elizabeth McDade-Montez, PhD | February 3, 2015
Senior Research Associate, ETR

TV is not what it used to be. There are new methods of content delivery (Netflix, YouTube, Hulu), new ways of watching (bingeing on Downton Abbey, catching short segments on YouTube), and new ways of calculating ratings.

Unfortunately, although television platforms have clearly modernized over time, television themes and stereotypes around gender and sexuality have not. I recently conducted an analysis of popular children’s television shows to quantify the amount of sexualizing content within these shows. My findings were disturbing.

By Elizabeth McDade-Montez, PhD
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Tags: Research, Children
Finding the Answers: A Look at Research Synthesis
December 3, 2014

Finding the Answers: A Look at Research Synthesis

By Erica Marsh | December 3, 2014

In my family, libraries were more than buildings that housed and loaned books. They were places with unrestricted access to incredible tools. They nurtured our passion for finding, organizing and sharing information. 

Knowledge is serious stuff in my family. My grandmother, mother and sister were librarians. My father was an American Literature professor and author. My younger brother currently works at a library.

When I was growing up, whenever a question came up that my parents didn’t know the answer to, my mom would say, “Let’s find out!” She would call the reference desk at the local public library. We called this number so often it was posted by the phone.

By Erica Marsh
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Tags: Research, Technology, Evidence-based interventions, STEM, Gender

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