Research News

UW-Madison's Prasad to receive Distinguished Dissertation Award from AERA group

March 01, 2016

UW-Madison’s Gail Lori Prasad will be receiving the 2016 Distinguished Dissertation Award from the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) Second Language Research special interest group (SIG).

Prasad is an assistant professor with the School of Education’s No. 1-ranked Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

Her dissertation was titled, “The Prism of Children’s Plurilingualism: A multi-site inquiry with children as co-researchers across English and French schools.” This work examined children’s representations of plurilingualism across English and French schools in Toronto and Montpellier by engaging elementary students as co-researchers of their plurilingual language and literacy practices.

Gail Prasad
In addition to her dissertation, Prasad created a website that showcases a diverse range of creative artifacts generated by more than 100 children who collaborated with her in this inquiry. Her dissertation and research website are accessible at

Prasad completed her Ph.D. work in 2015 at the University of Toronto’s Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.

This award honors dissertation research that best demonstrates the following criteria: solid theoretical base, sound methodology and data collection, originality, and promising contribution to the field of second language research.

In her award letter, Prasad was told that the reviewers were particularly impressed with the high originality and timeliness of her study and her integration of sound theories within a multilingual context in multiple sites. The findings and interpretations of the findings are particularly significant to the field.

Prasad will be recognized during the Second Language Research SIG’s annual business meeting at the annual AERA conference in Washington, D.C., in April.