The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded a $2.5 million grant to New York University to create a research center to study the role of culture on children’s education and development across different stages of their lives.

The NYU Center for Research on Culture, Development and Education will study more than 600 New York City families from diverse cultural and ethnic backgrounds to understand how home life, peer interactions, media and technology influence school performance and social development. Over five years, the research team will examine two longitudinal groups from the city’s population—a group of young children followed from birth through 4 years old, and a group of adolescents followed from sixth through eighth grades.

A collaborative team of faculty members from The Steinhardt School of Education, the Faculty of Arts and Science (FAS), and the Wagner Graduate School of Public Service will conduct the research work. Catherine Tamis-LeMonda, associate professor of Applied Psychology in the School of Education, will lead the center as the project director and serve as a principal investigator along with four other faculty members from the schools.

“This multidisciplinary approach will allow us to examine the disparities in educational achievements of children from different cultural backgrounds,” said Professor Tamis-LeMonda. “This project will advance an understanding of how cultural factors such as family life, classroom and school environment, peer interaction, and media shape how children perform academically and how strongly they are engaged in studies.”

The other four principal investigators are: Diane Hughes and Hiro Yoshikawa, professors in the Psychology Department at FAS; and Joshua Aronson and Niobe Way, professors in the Steinhardt School’s Department of Applied Psychology. Amy Schwartz, a professor of Public Policy in the Wagner School, is also a core faculty member of the center. The NYU Center joins a recently launched network of four NSF Centers across the nation examining education issues and child development in various populations and academic levels.

NSF is an independent federal agency that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering, with an annual budget of nearly $5 billion. NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives about 30,000 competitive requests for funding, and makes about 10,000 new funding awards.

New York University, which was established in 1831, is one of the largest and most prestigious private research universities in the U.S. It has more international students than any other U.S. college or university. Through its 13 schools and colleges, NYU conducts research and provides education in the arts and sciences, law, medicine, dentistry, education, nursing, business, social work, the cinematic and performing arts, public administration and policy, and continuing studies, among other areas.

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