Congratulations to Cara McClellan and Anna Jo Bodurtha Smith, this year’s winners of theMildred Priest Frank Prize. The Mildred Priest Frank Memorial Prize was established by Adam R. Rose, ’81, in honor of his maternal grandmother. It is awarded each year to the graduating senior whose work in the Department of Sociology reflects the standards of excellence and love of people that characterize Mildred Priest Frank.
Anna Jo’s senior essay “Politics, Proximity, and the Adoption of Public Preschool from 1965-2005” uses sophisticated quantitative methods, in combination with qualitative material from archival sources, to show that conventional explanations that see adoption of preschool grounded in economic or governance interests fall short of accounting for the timing and pace of the process. Rather, these interests are strongly mediated by politics and social connections between political actors. Her research was supported by the Adam Rose ‘81 Fund for Undergraduate Research and by a Yale College Dean’s Research Fellowship in Humanities and Social Sciences. Anna Jo has served as co-coordinator of the Dwight Hall Executive Committee, and works at All Our Kin, a non-profit devoted to improving access to and the quality of childcare in New Haven.
Cara McClellan’s senior essay “Teacher/Police: How Inner-City Students Perceive the Connection between the Education System and the Criminal Justice System,” based on extensive ethnographic fieldwork with disadvantaged youth in New Haven, argues that schools that deploy zero tolerance policies to enforce discipline create a school-to-prison pipeline. The code of the street that enables youth to survive in neighborhoods with concentrated poverty that are abandoned by the police leads schools and teacher to writing them off. Cara argues that rather than writing them off, schools should work to activate capacity for social control by fostering community among disadvantaged students. During her time at Yale, Cara taught poetry workshops and helped forge connections between New Haven high schools students and the Yale community. She is the Editor-in-chief of Sphere Magazine, a Peer Liaison and coordinates the campaign for Teach for America on campus. Cara also received support for her research from the Adam Rose ’81 Fund for Undergraduate Research.