Lisa M. Dorner

Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology, Research and Evaluation
University of Missouri, St. Louis

2009 Youth Purpose Research Award Winner


Lisa Dorner has a Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Policy from Northwestern University, and she is currently an Assistant Professor in the College of Education at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Broadly speaking, her research examines immigrant childhoods, language development, and educational policy implementation. In current projects, she is examining various notions of “citizenship,” from how immigrant family members perceive it to how school policies encourage families’ civic engagement and political advocacy. As a prior English-as-a-second-language teacher, she strives to consider how research findings can improve educational opportunities and the integration of new immigrants into U.S. society. Web

Project: 
Purposeful Work: Civic Development from the Perspective of Adolescent Language Brokers

Many children of immigrants act as “language brokers,” helping parents translate and interpret information. Throughout adolescence, brokers may extend this help into their communities. This project examines this process, especially how brokers perceive the development of “civic purpose” (helping actions that have consequences for oneself and one’s community). Data includes 2 interviews each with 12 adolescent children of Latino/a immigrants in Chicago, and a year-long project with 4-6 participants, who will analyze their experiences in blogs and video.