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Student Profiles

Cocoa Tucker Dixon

  • Preferred Name: Cocoa Tucker Dixon

  • Degree Program: PhD in Educational Leadership, Policy, and Human Development (ELPHD)

  • Primary Research Interests:

    • College student development

    • College student success

    • First-generation

    • Low-income

    • Underrepresented

    • Students of color

I am interested in student development and success, academically and professionally, and what that looks like for the institution, faculty, and student. More specifically, I’m interested in helping students develop or enhance their cognitive, interpersonal, and interpersonal skills in pursuit of increasing their economic mobility so that life after college is healthier than before. The student that I am most interested in falls in the categories of first-generation, low-income, and underrepresented. The period of time that I have spent reading about higher education in America has made me aware that the state of higher education in the United States is under scrutiny. With the decline in federal and state funding college is becoming less and less affordable for a significant proportion of the population, specifically for the students that I previously described.

  • Preferred Name: Beth Gulewich

  • Degree Program: Master’s of School Administration,                       NC Principal Fellows

  • Primary Research Interests:

    • Administrative Leadership for grades 6-12

    • Principals' support of teacher teams for instructional improvements specifically training to incorporate emerging technologies

    • Collaborative learning tools

Beth Gulewich

With experience as a German teacher of 15 years, I hope to gain general comparative international perspectives on how school leaders support teachers in improving classroom instruction to meet the needs of individual students and how the incorporation of emerging technologies can foster collaborative learning.

  • Preferred Name: Casey Holmes

  • Degree Program: Teacher Education & Learning Sciences with program area of study in Social Studies Education

  • Primary Research Interests:

    • Citizenship education

    • Global citizenship

    • Education and identity development of immigrant students

    • Interdisciplinary instruction

    • Cultural competence

Casey Holmes

Much of my research interest stems from civic and citizenship education, which is required for graduation from public high school in North Carolina. I am interested in the narrative of citizenship and civic duty that is conveyed in public schools, and in particular the way in which the development of immigrant students' identity is affected by the particular version of citizenship that is portrayed. I am interested in how teachers and students might strive to teach and learn for global citizenship and the skills, knowledge, and dispositions that are required for global and cultural competence. I seek to investigate how social studies instruction can be transformed through an interdisciplinary lens, particularly through the integration of young adult non-fiction and fiction literature into the social studies classroom for purposes of developing global citizenship.  

  • Preferred Name: Pam Huff

  • Degree Program: Science Education

  • Primary Research Interests:

    • Systems Thinking

    • Biological contexts- Body Systems

Pamela Huff

In order to effectively work in society and be productive you need to understand basic systems that operate within your environment (Chinn, 2017). For example, understanding the fragments of bodily systems does not allow for appropriate decisions to optimize health. Studies have shown that students do not generate crosscutting concepts for most of the systems studied. Using a “systems thinking” approach, the goal would be to overcome the fragmented thinking that currently predominates a student’s understanding of the systems in the body.

  • Preferred Name: Kim Lane Marion

  • Degree Program: Ed.E., Ed Leadership, Policy & Human Development (ELPHD)

  • Primary Research Interests:

    • Gifted & Talented: Talent Development K-5          underrepresented populations

    • Racial/Ethnic minority student experiences Gifted and talented programs abound in the United States. Research tells us that serving the needs of high ability students is crucial to continued innovation and progress. Equally important, however, is cultivating the untapped (and often overlooked) potential of our young children, birth to upper elementary. From the Finnish educational system, I want to learn strategies for universal talent development specifically in our preschool through upper elementary (PK-5th grade) students regardless of family background, income, or geographic location (zip codes) of the children.

    • I fundamentally believe that the US educational system can have both excellence and equity knitted together.  Educators in the US can both raise the ceiling on achievement as we lift the floor by cultivating this often unrecognized potential, or by facilitating learning that transfers the focus of our students being the best (less on standardized test scores), toward a lens that encourages students toward the best version of themselves (more on critical thinking and problem solving, inquiry and creativity).

Kimberly Lane Marion

Could there be a matrix for how the disciplines, beyond core curriculum, are embedded into a well-rounded education that addresses the intellect as well as the affective and social needs of children and thus develops the multiple intelligences that Howard Gardner describes?

Teresa Leavens

  • Preferred Name: Teresa Leavens

  • Degree Program: PhD Teacher Education and Learning Sciences in Science Elementary Education

  • Primary Research Interests:

    • Elementary education

    • Racial/Ethnic minorities

    • Socioeconomic status

    • Science identity

    • Science language

    • Culturally relevant pedagogy

    • Science Achievement

    • Teacher training

My research interests are on ways that creation and implementation of curriculum and instructional strategies to support the development of science identities in traditionally marginalized students (racial and ethnic minorities and low socioeconomic status) may help their academic achievement in elementary school.  I am interested particularly in the role that language plays in elementary students’ sense of belonging inside and outside the classroom and students’ engagement in science discourse and meaning-making of science texts, which are distinct from other texts used in the classroom. Other areas of interest include understanding and identifying factors that were influential in the science education trajectories of African American professionals, and for preservice elementary teachers how to support not only training in the best practices in science instruction, but also how to improve their confidence and efficacy in teaching science.  I like the question posed by Dr. Leona Schauble, “What do elementary-age children need to learn about science and how do they learn it?”

  • Preferred Name: Carrie Leigh Mitran

  • Degree Program: MEd Clinical Mental Health Counseling  

Carrie Leigh Mitran

  • ACT - Acceptance & Commitment Theory: built on upon relational framing theory it mixes both cognitive and behavioral therapy. Combines multiple factors to help the healing process.  Acceptance and mindfulness are used to promote change in a person's behavior that helps promote psychological healing and flexibility. Acceptance is used to relieve the suffering of traumatic events.
  • Bio-psychosocial model- This model seeks to understand how the cause of an illness stems from the functioning of the individual's body.  It attributes disease outcomes to intricate biological factors, biological, psychological, and social factors.

  • Working with Autism Syndrome in corporations specifically the software space- Asperger's syndrome Affects children and adults that have difficulty with social interactions and show a restricted range of interests. Obstacles for interacting with others would be a lack of understanding another person's intent, lack the ability to see things from others perspectives, social interactions can be overwhelming and confusing, lack of empathy with peers, speak overly loud, difficulty controlling their emotions and awkwardness. Often times goes undiagnosed and can cause major issues in school, workplaces and personal lives.

  • Health, Wellbeing, and Mindfulness- Physical, mental and social well-being that extend beyond common health.  

  • Transformational Presence Approach, Inner Voices: Three intelligence: head, heart, and gut

Claudia Rodriguez

  • Preferred Name: Claudia Rodriguez

  • Degree Program: Masters Program:Higher Education Administration

  • Primary Research Interests:​
    • International Education

    • Study Abroad

    • International Students

    • Bilingualism

    • College knowledge

    • College access

    • Mentorship

My research interests are in the experiences and sense of belonging of underrepresented students particularly racial/ethnic minority students as well as international students. I am particularly interested in researching how language plays a role in student experiences and sense of belonging in college as well as how mentors play a role in underrepresented students experiences. I am also interested in researching cultural experiences in study abroad and international experiences. Finally I am interesting in looking at college access and knowledge for underrepresented and minority high school students.

Nina Schoonover

  • Preferred Name: Nina Schoonover

  • Degree Program: Teacher Education and Learning Sciences; Program area: Literacy & English Language Arts

  • Primary Research Interests:

    • Arts-based literacy practices

    • Multimodality

    • Multicultural young adult literature

    • Reader identities

    • Dialogic classrooms

    • Feminist theory and pedagogy

    • Critical literacy

    • Biliteracy education.

My research interests are centered around the theories developed by Mikhail Bakhtin, Maxine Greene, Elliot Eisner, Walter Iser, Peggy Albers, and other scholars who have written about the need to reflect and change how literacy and language are viewed in the classroom. Language is a live, creative process that elicits responses from students. Students should be encouraged to express themselves in different ways, and I am particularly interested in their artistic responses. Schools need to move from viewing literacy as a practice that aims to accomplish a result and towards developing the interdisciplinary, collaborative, and communicative aspects of literacy. My research is interested in the ways teachers encourage students to create multimodal texts and artistic representations during and after reading to help foster engagement with reading. I am also interested in how dialoguing facilitates shared and created meanings within classrooms. I believe that by bringing art, image, and dialogue into the classroom and away from the margins will create a culturally responsive pedagogy that is open to the differences in multicultural classroom. Multimodal creations also extend into biliteracy education by promoting various ​venues of expression to EL students.  

Nada Wafa

  • Preferred Name: Nada Wafa

  • Degree Program: Curriculum & Instruction: New Literacies and Global Learning (Master of Science)

  • Primary Research Interests:

    • Global Learning

    • Technology Integration

    • Inquiry-Based Learning

    • School Structure

    • Curriculum Development

    • Instruction

    • Creative School

    • Professional Developments.

My research interest is in global education in the 21st Century, mainly in regards to inquiry-based learning and technology integration. By learning more about various education systems, and how they can apply to our current structure, I would be able to navigate the global awareness aspect into our curriculums. I am currently in the process of collaborating with a Global Education teacher to better enhance the curriculum for their elementary and middle grade levels. One of the goals is to spread the curriculum to acquire teachers and students with this valuable knowledge. I believe that by establishing a solid Global Education curriculum, we are a step closer to improving our education system. The knowledge for our future generation should be authentic, valuable, precise, and factual. Through teaching Global Education, teachers would need to acquire skills that would help students become global learners. In my research, I anticipate to learn more skills that teachers and learners need to become global citizens. Our goal is to enable students to understand the links between their own personal lives with people’s lives throughout the world. This form of education also includes building an understanding of the economic, cultural, social, environmental, and political influences that shape our lives and those around us. Since global issues are usually highlighted in our education, we want students to find solutions. Global education is about educating through hopefulness, therefore, it is necessary to create more awareness of issues and solutions, and formulate an effective education for teachers and learners.

Marina Wagemaker

  • Preferred Name: Marina Wagemaker

  • Degree Program: TTELS- Educational Psychology

  • Primary Research Interests:

    • Second Language Acquisition

    • Bilingualism

    • Bi-Culturalism

    • Executive Function

    • Ages Preschool- Elementary aged (if there is not a match for ages that is okay I could do adults as well, just more interested in children).

I am interested in researching the relationship second language acquisition has with cognitive development.  This could be through the process of learning a second language or through the bi-cultural experiences multilingual participants go through.  I am not stuck on any particular measure of cognitive development, but I've had experience measuring executive functioning.

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