This past summer, few of us could escape the media’s relentless coverage of the controversy surrounding the nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. Perhaps not surprisingly, the controversy centered on her racial background rather than on her long and impeccable record as a judge, or on her peers’ opinions of her abilities.

Michelle Porche, Ed.D., a senior research scientist at Wellesley Centers for Women (WCW), studies academic achievement in literacy and science among young children and adolescents. She is especially interested in the influence of gender and socioemotional factors on the academic achievement of children from low-income families. More recently she has expanded her work to study the impact of trauma on learning and achievement. In addition to work at WCW, Porche spent ten years as a researcher on the longitudinal Home-School Study of Language and Literacy Development at the Harvard University Graduate School of Education, where she received her doctorate. She is co-author of Is Literacy Enough? Pathways to Academic Achievement for Adolescents, which describes findings from the Home-School Study. In 2002 she was a corecipient of the International Reading Association’s Albert J. Harris Award for contributions in literacy research.

Starting a blog is a little like trying to find a seat at your favorite coffee shop during primetime. It is where people are at, but if you drape your sweater over a chair, will anyone notice that you’ve claimed this ground? If you post, will anyone read (besides the friends you’ve begged)? Will anyone care?