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Professor named William T. Grant Scholar

July 03, 2007

After-school programs can be a foreign concept for a significant number of Mexican-origin children.

According to several national studies, Latino children are less likely to engage in after-school activities than any other racial or ethnic group. To date, there is insufficient information to explain why low enrollment is taking place.

The William T. Grant Foundation has awarded ASU professor Sandra Simpkins a $350,000 grant for a five-year study to investigate the factors influencing Mexican-origin children’s participation in these programs.

Simpkins is one of five William T. Grant scholars named nationally. The highly competitive program supports “exceptional” early career scholars whose work focuses on youth development.

“Children who participate in organized after school activities are more likely to graduate from high school and exhibit positive social adjustment, as well as physical health,” says Simpkins, a professor in ASU’s School of Social and Family Dynamics. “Given these potential benefits, it is important to determine the reason why Mexican-origin children are less likely to participate. For example, is it because they lack transportation, have responsibilities at home or because the activities available at school are not appealing to them?”

The five-year research project will take place in different schools of the Phoenix area.