UVA EHD Faculty Awarded 2020-21 Jefferson Trust Grants

Three new grants will fund workforce development in data science for young adults with autism, anti-racist teacher education, and a children’s book collection designed for COVID-19 education and support.

Since 2006, the Jefferson Trust, an initiative of the UVA Alumni Association, has awarded grants to innovative projects across the University of Virginia that enrich UVA and the student experience. The 2020-21 annual grant cycle awarded a total of $984,854 to 15 projects, chosen from 57 total proposals. This spring, the Jefferson Trust also awarded $109,800 to 14 flash grants.

UVA EHD faculty are leading three of the grants awarded this year.


  • Workforce Development in Data Science for Autistic Young Adults

    A multidisciplinary team of faculty from UVA’s School of Data Science, Brain Institute (within the School of Medicine) and Supporting Transformative Autism Research (STAR) initiative (in the School of Education and Human Development) is creating a workforce-development program that will prepare a new generation of adults on the autism spectrum to be data scientists. Participants will complete project-based training in introductory data science skills, social skills training designed to build soft skills necessary for the workplace, and a job shadowing experience. Simultaneously, the project will serve as an opportunity for UVA graduate students in psychology and data science to gain hands-on clinical and research experience with supporting individuals with autism in the transition to adulthood.

    EHD Project Lead: Erica Rouch
    Data Science Project Lead: Catherine Anderson
    Brain Institute Project Lead: Kevin Pelphrey
  • “Knowing Better To Do Better” Preparing and Sustaining Equitable and Anti-Racist Educators

    As the population of students in Pre-K - 12th grade becomes more diverse, it is vital to prepare teachers to teach through an anti-racist lens and to build equitable classrooms. This one-year pilot program will provide professional development for preservice teachers at the UVA School of Education and Human Development, as well as their mentors and coaches. Through monthly engagements and ongoing coaching, participants will learn strategies to implement social justice education, implement asset-based pedagogy, actively address and supplant racism and stereotypes, build family and community partnerships through an asset-based lens, and dismantle stereotype threat. Other UVA EHD project team members include Jillian McGraw, Robert Q. Berry, Brian Kayser, and Mary Margaret Hughes.

    Project Lead: Abigail Amoako Kayser
  • COVID-19 Pandemic Education and Support: Children’s Book Collection

    Children’s books can be a great vehicle for understanding and processing challenging times. This project builds and catalogs a children’s book collection of 119 titles that can be used in the classroom, in counseling settings, and at home to address issues of loss, trauma, and anxiety due to the pandemic. The collection will be centered on public health education, pro-vaccination education, adjusting to new social norms, returning to school with social distancing, and social emotional learning. It will serve educators and counselors in the School of Education and Human Development, as well as the greater UVA population. In addition, the project will develop community partnerships with local school districts to host drive-thru book fairs open and free to all in targeted communities with low vaccination rates.

    Project Lead: Ashley Hosbach