Courtesy of Cornell University

Prof Haskins teaches sociology at Cornell.

June 16, 2019

Sociology Prof. Anna Haskins Awarded $350,000 to Research Educational Inequality

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Does where you are from affect how you learn? Does the social environment changes parents’ role in their children’s education? Cornell Prof. Anna Haskins, sociology, hopes to answer this question with her research.

Armed with a $350,000 research grant from the William T. Grant Foundation Scholars Program, Haskins and her team plan to observe how increased law enforcement and surveillance — in immigration enforcement, for example — affects how involved parents are in their child’s education.

The grant aims to support emerging research that “improve[s] the lives of young people ages 5-25 in the United States,” according to its website. Applicants can choose one of two focuses to center their proposal on: reducing inequality or improving the use of research evidence.

“[The grant] really pushes you to continue your research in a significant way using either a new method or a new area of expertise, so you’re broadening your research agenda,” Haskins told The Sun.

Prior to joining Cornell in 2014, Haskins assisted with postdoctoral research at Columbia University. Before that, though, her classroom looked quite different: She was an elementary school teacher. Despite the big leap, Haskins said she has always been interested in educational inequality.

“Much of my research has focused on trying to address or investigate the ways in which in the United States education opportunities are unequal,” Haskins said.

To conduct her study, Haskins and her team will conduct interviews with parents, teachers, principals, social workers and resource officers at three anonymous field sites in New York. They will also walk through school environments to help bolster their qualitative data.

In addition to research, Haskins also teaches a number of classes within the sociology department, including SOC 1101: Introduction to Sociology, SOC 2220: Controversies about Inequality, SOC 3850: Mass Incarceration and Family Life and SOC 7620: Sociology of Race and Institutions.

She also works with the Cornell Prison Education Program, a group that teaches incarcerated individuals in upstate New York a college-level curriculum, and the Cornell Population Center, which works with demographic-based research. She is also involved with the Center for the Study of Inequality, where she teaches the capstone course.