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IES Grant

Title: Virginia Education Science Training (VEST) program
Center: NCER Year: 2014
Principal Investigator: Pianta, Robert C. Awardee: University of Virginia
Program: Predoctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training Programs in the Education Sciences      [Program Details]
Award Period: 5 years (9/1/2014-8/31/2019) Award Amount: $3,931,552
Type: Training Award Number: R305B140026

The University of Virginia established its predoctoral training program in 2004 through the IES grant Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Program in Education Sciences (R305B040049) followed by a second training grant in 2009. Through the 2014 grant, the trainers recruited and trained fellows through the Virginia Education Science Training (VEST) program. VEST provided doctoral students with advanced training in conducting scientifically rigorous and policy-relevant education research to improve outcomes for PreK–12 students and in using state-of the art quantitative methods.

During this grant, VEST recruited and trained students from the School of Education PhD programs in applied developmental science and education policy and from the university's economics, psychology, and sociology departments.

VEST provided doctoral students with theory and content in three topic areas: the effectiveness of teachers and teaching in K–12 settings, early childhood education, and the social and behavioral contexts for academic learning.

VEST fellows participated in an interdisciplinary core curriculum consisting of graduate coursework in these topics, theories of human behavior, and research design and statistics, as well as seminars in education. Each semester, fellows participated in research apprenticeships where the students engaged with mentors and a research team on projects and applied subject matter and research skills. The goal of these activities was to prepare fellows to work on important, applied research questions in the education sciences. All fellows engaged in 2- to 3-month long practice-based research experience in various sites including the Virginia Department of Education, Louisiana State Department of Education, Maryland State Department of Education, among others.

Upon graduations, more than 85 percent of the VEST fellows continued engaging in education research upon graduation. Some fellows took postdoctoral positions at universities (e.g., Brown, University of Virginia, University of Washington), others conduct educational research in tenure-track faculty positions in at universities (e.g., Ball State University, SUNY-Buffalo, West Point). Still others are conducting research in research organizations including McREL International, Common App and others.

In addition to providing training to doctoral students, all IES-funded predoctoral programs are encouraged to help broaden participation in the education sciences as part of their leadership activities. The VEST Summer Undergraduate Research Program (SURP) provided opportunities for 25 undergraduate students between 2015 and 2019 to participate in research and mentoring activities. The most recent evaluation of SURP, conducted in May 2018, showed that 77 percent of the students who attended SURP enrolled in graduate school. Among those students attending graduate school, 65 percent pursued topics in education.

List of Completed Fellows: Below is a list of the 21 fellows who received funding support from this award and completed the training program.

Anglin (LeBlanc), Kylie (ORCID) Mauer, Victoria
Corbin, Cathy Meyer, Katharine
Dickerson, Kimalee (ORCID) Mims, Lauren (ORCID)
Doromal, Justin (ORCID) Mulcahy, Christina (ORCID)
Eisen, Sierra (ORCID) Nagel, Alison
Hill, Tatiana (ORCID) Partee, Ann
Hunt, Ashley Phipps, Aaron (ORCID)
Husain, Aliza Seward, Miray (ORCID)
James, Jessalynn Wiseman, Emily
Kim, Brian Wittrup, Audrey
Magouirk, Preston (ORCID)

Project Website:

Related IES Projects: Interdisciplinary Doctoral Training Program in Education Sciences (R305B040049), University of Virginia Predoctoral Training Program in Education Sciences (R305B090002), The Virginia Education Sciences Predoctoral Training Program (R305B200005)


ERIC Citations: Find available citations in ERIC for this award here.

Select Publications by Trainers About the Program:

Inside IES Research Blog
Rimm-Kaufman, S., Wyckoff, J., Inlow, J., & Stapleton, K. R., (2022). Lessons Learned as the Virginia Education Science Training (VEST) Program Creates Pathways for Diverse Students into Education Science

Select Publications From Completed Fellows:

IES is in the process of updating citations for training grants. In the meantime, you can find publications associated with this grant in ERIC and by using Google Scholar.

Updated November 2022