June Ahn, UCI associate professor of education, has received a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to determine factors that lead youngsters to pursue occupational careers in technology, media and related industries. UCI School of Education

June Ahn, UCI associate professor of education, has been awarded a two-year, $397,000 grant from the Institute of Education Sciences under its researcher-practitioner partnerships program. His project will explore how to scale mentorship via a text messaging application that incorporates social and emotional supports to help stem “summer melt,” in which motivated and academically prepared students – particularly minority and low-income – who have been accepted to college decide not to enroll. “We will be designing crowdsourced text messaging platforms to transmit college knowledge and support for the development of a college-bound identity and coordinate personal interactions between students and a large team, or ‘crowd,’ of mentors,” Ahn said. “We will be studying whether this interaction helps reduce summer melt patterns for college-accepted students in New York City, and our findings will generate preliminary evidence of the efficacy of this digital tool.” New York University, the New York University College Advising Corps and the City University of New York will also be involved in the project.