Psychology's Rawson Recognized by President for Research Skill

Return to Issue of July 20, 2009

Dr. Katherine Rawson

President Barack Obama recently named 100 beginning researchers as recipients of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor bestowed by the United States government on young professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers.

Dr. Katherine Rawson, an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology, was included in this prestigious recognition. Rawson has been with Kent State since fall 2004.

The Presidential Early Career Awards embody the high priority the administration places on producing outstanding scientists and engineers to advance the nation’s goals and contribute to all sectors of the economy. Nine federal departments and agencies join together annually to nominate the most meritorious young scientists and engineers—researchers whose early accomplishments show the greatest promise for strengthening America’s leadership in science and technology and contributing to the awarding agencies' missions.

Rawson’s research was recognized through nomination on behalf of the Department of Education.

"These extraordinarily gifted young scientists and engineers represent the best in our country," President Obama says. "With their talent, creativity and dedication, I am confident that they will lead their fields in new breakthroughs and discoveries and help us use science and technology to lift up our nation and our world."

The awards, established by President Clinton in February 1996, are coordinated by the Office of Science and Technology Policy within the Executive Office of the President. Awardees are selected on the basis of two criteria: Pursuit of innovative research at the frontiers of science and technology and a commitment to community service as demonstrated through scientific leadership, public education or community outreach. Winning scientists and engineers receive up to a five-year research grant to further their study in support of critical government missions.

Rawson says the nomination process was rigorous and began last summer. Her grant-funded research, undertaken with colleague John Dunlosky, seeks to identify effective study strategies and study schedules for students to learn classroom material in a durable and efficient manner.

“Usually,” Rawson says, “these two concepts of durability and efficiency tend to work against each other.

“We need to learn, as researchers and as educators, to be sensitive to the amount of time it takes students of all ages to learn the overwhelming amount of material they’re expected to master over the course of a semester,” Rawson says.

She expects that the research will apply to a wide range of content domains, and she and her colleagues have begun to work with students as young as middle school age.

The recipient scientists and engineers will receive their awards in the fall at a White House ceremony.


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