University of Pittsburgh
April 3, 2002

Pitt Education Professor Wins Distinguished Early Career Award

Contact:  412-624-4147

April 4, 2002

PITTSBURGH—Rollanda E. O'Connor, associate professor in the University of Pittsburgh's School of Education, has won the fourth annual Distinguished Early Career Research Award from the Division for Research of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC-DR). O'Connor will receive the $1000 award

April 5 at the 2002 CEC annual convention in New York City.

CEC-DR created the award in recognition of the critical role of research in current and future practice in special education. The award, cosponsored by the Donald D. Hammill Foundation, is given to an individual who has made outstanding scientific contributions in basic and/or applied research within the first 10 years following completion of the doctoral degree.

O'Connor taught special and general education for more than 15 years prior to earning the Ph.D. degree in special education and reading at the University of Washington in 1992. A leading scholar in reading disabilities with a focus on prevention and intervention, O'Connor has pursued research that has had a strong impact locally, nationally, and internationally.

Before the 1990s, there was little empirical evidence available on the effectiveness of phonological-based interventions in children with reading disabilities or poor preparatory skills. O'Connor was among the first researchers to deal with this topic; she found that intervention in phonological awareness and letter-sound skills significantly and meaningfully improved these children's performance.

A recipient of more than a million dollars in funding from the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Special Education Programs, O'Connor is investigating additional intervention in kindergarten and first grade; she also is exploring applications of her work to reading comprehension instruction in grades 3

through 6.

O'Connor has published two books for teachers and more than 20 articles in leading journals, including the Journal of Special Education, Journal of Educational Psychology, Scientific Studies of Reading, Exceptional Children, and others. She serves as an associate editor for the American Educational Research Journal and is on the editorial boards of several journals, including the Journal of Special Education and Journal of Educational Psychology.