Jack Kent Cooke Dissertation Fellowship Award









The Jack Kent Cooke Dissertation Fellowship Award supports advanced doctoral students who are completing dissertations that further the understanding of the educational pathways and experiences of high-achieving, low-income students.







The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, through its scholarship and grantmaking programs, helps exceptionally promising, low-income students, from middle school to graduate school, reach their full potential through education. Our work allows us to see first-hand how high-achieving, low-income students overcome obstacles and excel academically. Our research, however, has shown that many high-potential, low-income students are unable to successfully navigate these obstacles. In The Achievement Trap (2007), we found that there is a significant drop off in the number of low-income students who are identified as high-achieving throughout the primary and secondary education system. These student experiences raise important questions about the factors and contexts that help some low-income students overcome personal adversity, limited educational opportunties, and challenging socioeconomic circumstances to excel academically, and how a deeper understanding of such matters can be used to design programs and interventions that will help more low-income students identified as high achieving early in their primary and secondary school years to sustain their academic achievement levels through college and beyond.

In response to this gap in knowledge, the Foundation has created the Cooke Dissertation Fellowship for advanced doctoral students who are completing dissertations that further the understanding of the educational pathways and experiences of high-achieving, low-income students. The fellowship is intended to focus more scholarly attention on the population of students the Foundation serves in order to enable parents, policymakers, and practitioners to better support such students in achieving their full potential.

Dissertation fellowships are intended to support the doctoral student for work done after the student’s dissertation proposal has been successfully defended. Applications are encouraged from a variety of disciplines such as, but not limited to, education, sociology, economics, psychology, statistics, and psychometrics.

The fellowship is a one-time award of up to $25,000, which may be used for a period of not less than nine months and up to 18 months, beginning in May 2012 when the award decisions are announced1. We are offering four this year, with plans to increase the number in the coming years.


In 2011, the Foundation awarded fellowships to four individuals.

Brian Galla University of California, Los Angeles, Ph.D. Psychological Studies in Education

Dissertation Proposal Title: Clarity in the eye of the storm: The role of inhibitory control in low-income adolescents' daily emotion regulation and its consequences for academic achievement

Rose Honey Harvard Graduate School of Education, Ed.D. Educational Policy, Leadership, and Instructional Practice

Dissertation Proposal Title:  The moose and the moon: Culturally integrated science education with American Indian students

Rachel Lambert Graduate Center of City University of New York, Ph.D. Urban Education

Dissertation Proposal Title: Authoring a mathematical self: Processes of identification with mathematics for young people in an urban school 

Ricardo Ortega University of California, Santa Barbara, Ph.D. Chicana/o Studies

Dissertation Proposal TitleLatina/o undergraduates navigating the undocumented university 


Selected Fellows agree to comply with Foundation requirements and requests for the duration of the fellowship. Some key requirements and terms are:

  • Fellows must be enrolled in a graduate degree program, and provide documentation of academic progress each term.
  • Fellows must participate in Fellowship activities, including the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Scholars Weekend August 2-5, 2012. The Foundation will provide travel expenses, lodging, and meals.
  • Fellows must be willing to present their research to Foundation staff and/or Scholars


The Cooke Dissertation Fellowship must be used to support a graduate student while writing his or her dissertation.  How the funds are expended depends on each recipient’s individual need.  This fellowship does not provide funding for distance learning programs or for degrees heavily dependent on distance learning components. The fellowship does not cover overhead.


Please visit the FAQs page and the Guidelines to learn more about the Fellowship.

If after reviewing the FAQs and Guidelines, you still have questions, please contact the Foundation at 703-723-8000 or through the email address fellows@jkcf.org.


February 3, 2012 (11:59 EST)

1.  In other words, an eligible applicant's timeline must reflect a dissertation defense date of no earlier than February 2013. Click here to view an eligibility timeline.


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