MACIE Student Ann Schmitt Publishes Article

Educational Challenges of Migrant Children
Ann Schmitt headshot

March 2019

By Sarah Mehler

A 2017 graduate from the Master of Arts in Cross-Cultural and International Education (MACIE) program, Ann Schmitt is a native Ohioan. She was raised in Lima, Ohio and earned her undergraduate degree in Spanish Education at Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in 2013. After her undergraduate degree, she says that she was drawn to the MACIE program, because of her passion for language acquisition and educational research. While getting her MA, she also earned a graduate certificate in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) at BGSU. Ann currently lives in Durham, North Carolina, where she works at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as a student services manager, which involves coordinating all of the graduate programs in the Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

While in Bowling Green, Schmitt enjoyed volunteering as an English teacher at La Conexion, a  local non-profit organization that strives to connect and represent the growing Latinx community (“Latinx” is a gender neutral descriptor for a person from Latin American descent) in the area, as well as provide valuable resources, such as English classes and other capacity building and enrichment opportunities. Ann hopes to start teaching community English courses again soon. Eventually, she would also like to continue her studies and keep doing research.

At BGSU, Schmitt’s connection to the local Latinx community and Ohio Migrant Education Center (OMEC). During her time in the MACIE program, she worked with OMEC data under the guidance of two professors, Dr. Sherri L. Horner and Dr. Matthew Lavery, to write her thesis as a culminating capstone.

In November 2019, Schmitt, Horner and Lavery published an article, which drew from Schmitt’s MACIE thesis, in the journal Literacy Research and Instruction called “The Impact of Summer Programs on the English Language Scores of Migrant Children" which is available on Taylor & Francis Online. The article deals with the educational challenges around Latinx migrant children of farmworkers, who participated in OMEC's data collection with regards to the impact of summer education programs on English learning.

From the article’s abstract:

"Children of Migrant and Seasonal Farmworkers (MSFWs) in the United States face educational challenges from language barriers and disjointed schooling due to migration and other factors. This quasi-experimental pretest/posttest study investigated whether summer Migrant Education Programs (MEP) could help prevent summer learning loss in English proficiency. Kindergarten through fourth-grade Latinx migrant students who attended MEP summer programs in Northwest Ohio were assessed with the IDEA Proficiency Test (n = 246) and the i-Ready Diagnostic (n = 92). Paired samples t-tests analyzed pre/post differences, and ANOVA and ANCOVA analyzed differences in gains between school locations and grade levels. On average, migrant students attending the MEP experienced significant gains in their English speaking and language art scores over the summer. These gains did not differ significantly by grade; however, they did differ by school. Results suggest that these programs may prevent learning loss, even resulting in summer learning gains for some children of MSFWs" (Schmitt, Horner & Lavery, 2019, p. 1).

We wanted to celebrate her hard work and accomplishment, so we reached out to Ann Schmitt and asked her to share a bit about her process of inspiration, writing and publication.

How did MACIE impact you and your work?

“I learned so many amazing skills from the MACIE program. A few exceptionally relevant things I learned were how to be a good consumer of research and how to be a strong writer. Also, I learned how to look at issues in a conceptual way and apply theoretical frames to real-life issues. Learning about the social and cultural foundations of education changed the way I think about the world.”

What drew you to the topic "The Impact of Summer Programs on the English Language Scores of Migrant Children," and how did you find the data set you used?

“Throughout the MACIE program I focused on English education and bilingual education in the United States, especially social and political issues around language education. Through connections in the College of Education, I was introduced to Jose Salinas, the director of OMEC. He was extremely supportive and encouraging during the whole process, and he gave me permission to use the data. He also provided his expertise about the program in general. I was drawn to the topic because I knew there was a lack of current research on the population, and the students were particularly at-risk. I hoped that even my small work of research could help spark more studies in this area.”

How was the process of publishing?

“Thankfully, Dr. Sherri Horner and Dr. Matthew Lavery have experience with publishing academic articles! They were invaluable throughout the submission and revising process. I definitely learned a lot, and it was really interesting to see the work improve upon multiple revisions. It can be difficult to receive comments that are negative or hard to address, but overall I enjoyed the process.”

Do you have any advice for current or future MACIE students?

“This might sound cliché, but definitely take time for yourself during graduate school. There are a lot of pressures and you could easily work 12 hours a day, seven days a week. It is important to have fun outside of the academy! Don't be afraid to ask for help or to admit when you don't know something. Everyone is always learning!”

Reference:

Schmitt, A. M., Horner, S. L., & Lavery, M. R. (2019). The Impact of Summer Programs on the English Language Scores of Migrant Children. Literacy Research and Instruction, 1-16.