Ilana Horwitz, PhD
Fellow, Stanford Center on Longevity
If you ask a young person in the U.S. about what matters to them in life, they are likely to mention religion. One of two teens sees faith as central to his life. One of three teens prays by herself at least once a day.
Religion has been one of the most powerful forces throughout U.S. history and it remains so today. Unfortunately, those who study education generally don't take religion into account. This is a problem. We can't fully understand how and why young people have different educational outcomes without accounting for their religious commitments.
I am a sociologist of education with a mission to answer this question: how do young people's religious commitments shape their educational journeys? To address this question, I use quantitative and qualitative research methods. I look comparatively across multiple religious traditions, and I have a particular interest in Christians and Jews.
Here are some of my specific questions:
-Why do public school students with the strongest religious commitments tend to have the highest GPAs?
-Why do these same students-- those who have strong religious commitments and high GPAs-- not attend selective colleges like we might expect?
-When do people's religious and educational commitments coalesce, and when do they collide?
-How do people's racial, ethnic, religious, and class identities shape their social interactions in college?
One of my studies was recently featured in the media. Read more here.