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Clarkson University's Jennifer deCoste to Receive Dissertation of Year Award

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The American Educational Research Association (AERA) will award its 2012 Dissertation of the Year Award to Clarkson University Associate Vice President for Institutional Diversity Initiatives Jennifer M. deCoste.

Clarkson University Associate Vice President for Institutional Diversity Initiatives Jennifer M. deCostedeCoste wrote her dissertation, “Queering Sex Education: Rural Sex Educators' Perceptions of Queer Issues,” while she was pursuing her degree in the dual-title Ph.D. program in curriculum and instruction and women's studies at Penn State University and working full-time at Clarkson.

Her dissertation was nominated for the award by J. Daniel Marshall, professor emeritus of education at Penn State University.
The award selection committee was impressed with deCoste’s commitment to continue work on this topic “to better understand queer student and teacher experiences” with sex education in rural communities, and to explore the policies, curricula and political pressures that influence their “ability to challenge the normativity of sex education in rural settings.”

The award, which includes a cash prize, is sponsored by AERA’s Queer Special Interest Group and will be presented at the AERA annual meeting in Vancouver this April.

The award committee was co-chaired by Barbara Garii, associate dean of the School of Education at SUNY Oswego, and Christina Tschida, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction at East Carolina University.

A former public school teacher and professional musician, deCoste joined Clarkson University in January 2008 as associate vice president for institutional diversity initiatives. Before joining Clarkson, deCoste served as the director of institutional diversity and equity at Penn State University, as well as a faculty member in women's studies and education.

She earned her bachelor's degree in music in 1994 from the Hartt School of Music, a master's degree in counseling in 1997 from the University of Hartford, and a dual Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction and women's studies from Penn State in 2011. She resides in Potsdam, N.Y., with her partner of 13 years.

The American Educational Research Association, founded in 1916, is concerned with improving the educational process by encouraging scholarly inquiry related to education and evaluation and by promoting the dissemination and practical application of research results.

Clarkson University launches leaders into the global economy. One in five alumni already leads as a CEO, VP or equivalent senior executive of a company. Located just outside the Adirondack Park in Potsdam, N.Y., Clarkson is a nationally recognized research university for undergraduates with select graduate programs in signature areas of academic excellence directed toward the world’s pressing issues. Through 50 rigorous programs of study in engineering, business, arts, sciences and health sciences, the entire learning-living community spans boundaries across disciplines, nations and cultures to build powers of observation, challenge the status quo, and connect discovery and engineering innovation with enterprise.

[News directors and editors: For more information, contact Annie Harrison, Director of Media Relations, at 315-268-6764 or]

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