Emerging Scholars Activate Translational Research at Forum


Students join center associates in projects that address societal problems

By Marcie Kamb, February 28, 2023




Research presenters posing with their poster at forum
Jingyang (Max) Zhang and Barbara Boone, Ph.D. discuss students’ and parents’ perceptions of parental involvement in education at a poster session.

The College of Education and Human Ecology (EHE) hosted the annual Research Forum on Thursday, February 16, 2023, at the Ohio Union. This event creates new collaboration opportunities among faculty, postdocs, research scientists and graduate and undergraduate students. It also provides emerging scholars the opportunity to showcase their research projects and areas of expertise.

Translational research from the Center on Education and Training for Employment‘s (CETE) emerging scholars were well represented at this year’s forum through poster and oral presentations. Following is a table of CETE’s presenters and their corresponding research topics for EHE’s 2023 Research Forum.

Topics ranged from “Factor Structure of Educational Test Data to School-Family Partnerships to Support Student Mental Health” to “Evaluation Data for the Ohio Youth Resiliency Collaboration.” The theme of translational research was consistent across all.

Ivory and green modern neutral problem and solution table graph
The work of emerging scholars represents the future of research to inform policy and practice

The emerging scholars who presented at the forum designed their studies based on science, with a goal of providing policymakers, practitioners, and other researchers with foundational research and key insights into ways to solve societal problems.

Sangeun Lee, a Ph.D. student in counselor education, presented on structural barriers to family engagement for students with disabilities.

“By using a statewide sample, my research identified characteristics of families who were less engaged in special education services,” Lee said. “It provides concrete evidence for specific areas where current family engagement practices need to be improved.”

Patrick Cunningham presenting at a podium
Patrick Cunningham presents a collaborative approach to school-family partnerships to support mental health.

Patrick Cunningham, a graduate research associate, and Yesenia Alvarez Padilla a family engagement researcher and Ph.D. candidate in the College of Social Work, both work in CETE’s Family Engagement program area. They presented topics to promote family communication and enhance school-family partnerships.

Cunningham’s presentation on “School-Family Partnerships to Support Student Mental Health: Collaborative Translational Research” details the collaboration involved in a translational research project designed to build school-family partnerships around students’ mental health.

He showcased products developed for educators and families and the methodology used to incorporate the input of Ohio families into the development of resources, all of which are available for free on the Ohio Statewide Family Engagement Center website.

“The work is focused on taking the research on protective factors—factors that mitigate the impact of trauma—and sharing valuable tools and resources directly with educators and family members so that they can engage in more effective partnerships with one another around these factors, in support of student mental health and well-being,” Cunningham said. “By taking the valuable research that has been done in this area and generating tools that educators and families can use, we hope to maximize the benefit for all students.”

Yesenia Alvarez Padilla’s presentation on “Financial Conversations in Middle School Families: Examining Online Financial Literacy Modules” discusses the research project Money Talks, a free, five-module family-friendly online series about talking to your middle school child about money. She worked on this project with Barbara Boone, Ph.D. and Caezilia Loibl, Ph.D.

Padilla’s study explored the notion that financial conversations between parents and children can influence financial well-being in adulthood. She also examined the challenges parents and caregivers encounter when having financial conversations with their middle school children as well as online financial literacy modules designed to address those challenges.

“The research on the Money Talks online modules provides important insights on ways to promote financial conversations in families as well as the promising potential of online modules to support families.” Padilla said.

Yesenia Alvarez Padilla
Yesenia Alvarez-Padilla’s study explored the notion that financial conversations between parents and children can influence financial well-being in adulthood.

Supporting the work of the college

The college focuses its work on five foundational pillars (i.e., early childhood, health and economic vitality, global and local engagement, urban and rural education, and STEAM education) to enrich the education of students and accelerate the efforts of faculty and staff.

Researchers across the college focus efforts on the pillars as they generate unique partnerships and experiences for students. The annual research forum provides countless opportunities to engage in dialogue with partners/potential partners to consider how the students, associates, and faculty at CETE and the college at large can apply translational research findings and offerings in support of future goals and interests, and ideas for industry partnerships.

Abena Anyidoho, a doctoral student in the Quantitative Research Evaluation and Measurement program in the Department of Educational Studies, represented CETE’s assessment program at the research forum.

The program collaborates with state government organizations, secondary and post-secondary instructors and industry professionals to create assessments used by the state’s career-technical education programs and other workforce development programs.

Anyidoho presented “Investigating the Factor Structure of Educational Test Data: A Practical Example Using End-of-Course Tests for a Career Preparation Program.”

Mehrunnisa Khanzada and Dave Julian posing with a research presentation
Mehrunnisa Khanzada and Dave Julian, Ph.D. presented a Review of Preliminary Evaluation Data for the Ohio Youth Resiliency Collaboration: Evidence for Effectiveness

“This research provides information to trainers and instructors about the structure of assessments in workforce development programs,” Anyidoho said. “The findings provide evidence to support ongoing activities aimed at developing equitable and fair assessments.”

The forum’s inspiring keynote was led by Brian A. Burt, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis, School of Education at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He is also the director and chief research scientist in Wisconsin’s Equity and Inclusion Laboratory (Wei LAB).

The focus of his presentation was on his journey through academia, during which he often felt like an imposter. He encourages all emerging scholars to take themselves and their work seriously and to call others in along with them on their journey no matter how doubtful they may feel about their worthiness.

Mehrunnisa Khanzada, an equity, engagement and evaluation translational researcher in CETE’s Equity, Engagement and Evaluation program, presents a “Review of Preliminary Evaluation Data for the Ohio Youth Resiliency Collaboration: Evidence for Effectiveness.”

The review shares preliminary evaluation data to determine the efficacy of the initiatives put in place to prevent an opioid crisis by promoting resilience and empowering youth, families and communities.

“This research is based on evidence-based practices to inform programs and interventions to reduce the harm caused by the substance use epidemic in rural and urban cities of Ohio by improving resiliency, protective factors and reducing stigma around substance use conversations,” Khanzada said.

These presentations offer a brief glimpse into the translational research in action across the College of Education and Human Ecology and CETE. Contact cete@osu.edu if you are interested in collaborating on a research project or creating a new collaboration.