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Liann Tucker wins the 2017 Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Research.

Sociology major and graduating senior, Liann Tucker received this award for her research paper, “Suspension, Substance Use, and School Attachment.” Working with professor Robert Faris, Liann examined the consequences of school suspension for substance use and explored if school attachment was a possible mediator of the relationship. Over most of the 20th century, school administrators suspended or expelled very few students. This began to change in the late 1980s, and in every year since 1992 more than one-quarter of all 12th graders were suspended for one or more days of school. The literature on school suspension for the last two decades has indicated that it has been ineffective in reducing adolescent misbehavior, and instead harms students. Using 20 years of aggregated data from a nationally representative high school survey, Liann found that being suspended is associated with an increase in alcohol and marijuana consumption, and school bond has a partial mediation effect. Additionally, results show evidence of the effect of suspension on adolescent alcohol consumption decreasing over time. This research can help understand how the change in our schools to punitive forms of discipline are negatively affecting our students.

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