UW–Madison alum awarded $500,000 Spencer Foundation grant

UW–Madison alumnus Brett Nachman was recently awarded a prestigious Spencer Foundation Large Research Grant as the co-principal investigator of a nationwide study of autistic college student success. The grant is for nearly $500,000 over the next three years.


Nachman, an assistant professor of adult and lifelong learning at the University of Arkansas, earned his PhD from the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis in 2021.

“This new grant allows Nachman and Bradley E. Cox, leaders of ‘Project PEACES (Postsecondary Education: Autistic College Students’ Experiences of Success)’ to scale up their efforts as they and their colleagues work to uncover how autistic undergraduate students across the United States define success across various domains of their lives,” according to an article announcing the grant award from the University of Arkansas.

The article continues: “Project PEACES promises to be the largest-scale study of its kind to specifically focus on autistic college students and, importantly, honor the various dimensions of their lives, including mental health, employment, academics, identity development, and social experiences.”

“With this Spencer Foundation grant, Cox, Nachman, and team are providing the foundation to widen study participation, infrastructure, personnel, and methodological approaches. Ultimately, they seek to build a broadly accessible database that would enable additional researchers to conduct their own inquiries related to autistic college students.”

Learn more about this project.

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