Sixth MLFTC faculty member awarded NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship


Meghan Ensell

Carrie Sampson, assistant professor at ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, was selected as a 2021 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow

Sampson is the sixth MLFTC faculty member in the last six years to be awarded this prestigious fellowship. She joins Juan Carrillo (2015), Claudia Cervantes-Soon (2017), Amanda Tachine (2017), Bryan Henderson (2018) and Keon McGuire (2019).

The award — $70,000 — is intended to assist with salary replacement and research expenses for the fellowship period. This year, 25 fellows were selected from a competitive pool of 249 applicants. The fellowship program has over 800 alumni and includes many of the strongest education researchers in the field today.

Sampson, who works in MLFTC’s Division of Educational Leadership and Innovation, examines educational equity related to leadership and policymaking via school boards, district structures and community advocacy.  

Her research proposal, “The Politics of District Governance and Equity among BIPOC School Board Members,” is a study that aims to explore the experiences, perspectives and strategies of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color) school board members in their efforts to advance contemporary policies and practices pertaining to educational equity. During the fellowship period, Sampson plans to collect and analyze data that includes interviews, observations and archival records.

As a Black and Chicana scholar, and mother of two school-age children, Sampson draws from her interdisciplinary training — along with her personal and professional experiences — to develop a rigorous and critically conscious research agenda that aims to expand educational and liberatory opportunities for minority students and their families.

“This award could not have come at a better time. This year has been tough with COVID, having two little ones at home in online learning and my mother passed away from cancer. I am grateful to be awarded the time and resources to revisit my research agenda in a meaningful way, and to highlight the work of BIPOC school board members,” says Sampson.

Sampson is also the recipient of the 2021 Ford Foundation Fellowship which is administered by the Fellowships Office of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. She is deferring the award until next year as she focuses on the NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship this year. Additionally, Sampson was recognized for the 2020 AERA Division A Early Career Award, which highlights achievement in administration, organization and leadership. Her research has been published in several journals, including Race Ethnicity and Education; Critical Studies in Education; and Urban Education. She also received the 2020 UCEA Williams J. Davis Award for her article, “(Im)Possibilities of Latinx School Board Members’ Educational Leadership Toward Equity,” which was published in Education Administration Quarterly.

Previous MLFTC faculty NAEd/Spencer Fellowship recipients: 

Juan Carrillo, associate professor: Research examines the role of agency in historically marginalized communities, with a particular focus on Latinx students. One of his focus areas is on the schooling trajectories of academically successful Latino males who come from working-class origins.  

Claudia Cervantes-Soon, associate professor: Research interests center on critical ethnographic approaches to the study of identities, intersectionalities and pedagogical practices, with a particular focus on the fostering of agency, critical literacy and biliteracy, and empowered identities among children, youth and families from marginalized communities.

Amanda Tachine, assistant professor: Researches college and transition, sense of belonging and qualitative methodology, through an Indigenous lens. 

Bryan Henderson, associate professor: Research focuses on oral argumentation and learning environments that allow students to feel more comfortable and motivated to talk and interact with one another. 

Keon McGuire, associate professor: Research focuses on Black male feminism and gender privilege. 

Read more about the award.