Jackie Eunjung Relyea, Ph.D., assistant professor of literacy education in the NC State College of Education, has been selected to join the first-ever cohort of NC State Impact Scholars as part of the Strengthening the Impact of Research (STIR) program.
The STIR program aims to enhance NC State’s capacity to design and conduct research with broad impacts through the support of the selected Impact Scholars, who were chosen based on their commitment to the societal impacts of their research and expressed desire for capacity development.
“I am excited about the launch of the STIR program at NC State and being part of the program’s first cohort,” Relyea said. “The STIR program will serve as a meaningful opportunity for all participants across campus to enhance the infrastructure for interdisciplinary collaboration in research and teaching. I will benefit from this networking and collaborative opportunity to build and strengthen local partnership capacity to fulfill the NC State University mission.”
The group of 12 selected Impact Scholars will attend a series of five, 90-minute workshops during the spring of 2021 in order to strengthen their capacity to create innovative research impacts on society and write more competitive grant proposals.
Each Impact Scholar will also receive $1,000 to support expenses as they design and implement a project of their own and conduct an impact workshop in their department.
Relyea’s research focuses on literacy development and instruction for K-6 students from culturally diverse backgrounds with an emphasis on intervention models that integrate literacy instruction into content areas to help English learners and emergent bilinguals develop academic vocabulary, content knowledge and higher-order thinking skills.
She is currently the co-principal investigator on a $1.4 million grant funded by the Institute of Education Sciences (IES) that will use a Building Knowledge and Language through Inquiry Framework (PI: Dennis Davis, Ph.D.) to help bilingual readers strengthen language and literacy skills while building knowledge about interesting topics in various academic disciplines. She is also using grant funding to further develop the iWolfpack Readers program, an online after school tutoring program for elementary-aged students with reading difficulties, to improve struggling readers’ comprehension with informational text and reading engagement while transitioning the program in a virtual environment.
She is also using grant funding to develop an online professional development program, Cultivating Literacy, Inquiry and Content Knowledge (CLICK), to support elementary school teachers’ effective implementation of inquiry-based literacy intervention programs for English language learners.
Through her work as an Impact Scholar, Relyea said she hopes to continue working on her current literacy intervention programs in collaboration with teachers, students and parents in Charlotte-Mecklenburg, Wake and Johnston county schools. She plans to focus on building knowledge through iterative design and evaluation of the interventions and refinement of the implementations.
She also looks forward to learning more about developing concrete plans and strategies to help ensure her research findings and outcomes can make broader contributions to the community and have the greatest possible impact.
“I would like to explore how to scale up the intervention program to larger populations, how to use the research results to inform education policy makers and how to translate research knowledge into practice for teachers of multilingual students,” Relyea said.