Campus: CSU Long Beach -- June 21, 2004

CSULB Professor Part of $500,000 Grant Project Studying

Kristin Powers, an assistant professor in the Educational Psychology, Administration and Counseling Department at Cal State Long Beach, is participating in a project with Oregon Health Science University to examine how gender impacts transition planning for students with disabilities.

As co-primary investigator of an overall $500,000 project, Powers explains that the research, now in its second year, is meant to determine if being female and disabled translates into double jeopardy in post-secondary outcomes.

“We want to explore the planning process to discover if there are gender and equity issues in the preparation of girls with disabilities as they move from high school to the working world and college,” she explained. “There is a requirement in the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act that says schools must engage in transition planning. Students and their families ought to have a big part in that planning. My research examines that planning process.”

In its first year, the project examined 400 transition plans from two large urban West Coast school districts. “We found the planning process itself to be so poor that any gender disparities were small,” she said. “It wasn’t just terrible for girls; it was terrible for everybody.”

The second stage of the research switched from document review to focus groups, which included teachers, parents and young women with disabilities. One of the most enlightening and inspiring focus groups was held with CSULB students at the Disabled Student Services. During the summer of 2004, surveys will be administered to join focus groups and document searches to triangulate the data on gender and equity in transition planning.

Powers served as a school psychologist and assistant to the Assistant Superintendents of Special Education and Research in the Long Beach Unified School District for three years before joining CSULB in 2000. She received her doctorate in educational psychology from the University of Minnesota in 1997.

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