We are pleased to announce that two of our MAPSS alumni are recipients of the 2020-2021 W. Allison Davis Research Awards. The awards, through support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, were made to eight doctoral students who are conducting research on issues related to those Professor Davis, PhD’42, studied throughout his life. 

Darnell Leatherwood, School of Social Service Administration

Project: A National Assessment of School District Variation in Black Student Academic Achievement


Ilana Ventura, Department of Sociology

Project: Building an Uncertain Future: Understanding Immigrant Financial Behaviors and Investment


These awards are part of an initiative that honors the life and work of Professor Davis, a faculty member at the University of Chicago from 1942 to 1983. Davis studied systems of stratification and segregation between and within racial and ethnic groups in the United States. He was committed to documenting the effects of social stratification and segregation on family life, language use, educational attainment, and the development of personality and character of children and adolescents in American minority groups. He aimed at discovering social policies and practices that promised to promote the healthy development of all children and youth. 

This inaugural cohort will carry forward the important themes found in Professor Davis’s lifelong work on the causes and consequences of racial and social inequality. Our vision is to not only to honor Professor Davis’s legacy, but also to foster projects that focus attention on the work that still lies ahead. 

We thank the members of the W. Allison Davis Research Awards Faculty Committee for their work in reviewing applications and selecting the recipients: Cathy Cohen, David and Mary Winton Green Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science; Waldo E. Johnson, Jr., Associate Professor, School of Social Service Administration; Stephen Raudenbush, Lewis-Sebring Distinguished Service Professor, Department of Sociology, and Chair, Committee on Education; Shantá Robinson, Assistant Professor, School of Social Service Administration; and Richard A. Shweder, Harold Higgins Swift Distinguished Service Professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development.