Student News

MaryFaith Mount-Cors receives funding for dissertation study in Kenya

MaryFaith Mount-Cors, a fourth-year Ph.D. in Education student specializing in Culture, Curriculum and Change, recently received an Off-Campus Dissertation Research Fellowship from the UNC Graduate School for the spring 2009 semester. The award of $7,350 will allow Mount-Cors to travel to Malindi, Kenya to conduct research for her dissertation, which involves the study of health effects on educational achievement.

The study will unfold in two stages. Part one consists of secondary data analysis of reading achievement data collected in November 2008 by a previous study carried out by RTI, a Research Triangle Park-based research organization.

In the second part of the study, Mount-Cors will use qualitative methods to explore health themes as they influence reading achievement. She will interview mothers whose children attend three primary schools in Malindi, where the previous reading assessment took place.

This mixed-methods design will allow for both quantitative and qualitative research methods to be combined in a comprehensive research strategy. Mount-Cors will depart for Kenya in late February and return to Chapel Hill in April.

No stranger to Africa, Mount-Cors has been involved with the region since 1993 when she served in the U.S. Peace Corps in Benin, West Africa.  Later, while working for Creative Associates in Washington, D.C., she managed an education project in Somaliland funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development.

In spring 2007, Mount-Cors was the recipient of a 2007-2008 Foreign Language and Area Studies fellowship, which allowed her to study the Kiswahili language and to take courses in public health, women’s studies and African studies with a focus on East African area studies. She will teach in the M.A.T. Foreign Language program in 2009-2010 while continuing to work on her dissertation.