CEPS Student, Faculty, and Staff Virtual Awards Ceremony
Posted on May 13, 2020 by Amber Day
The University of South Alabama College of Education and Professional Studies faculty, staff, and students were recently honored at the Spring Virtual Awards Ceremony hosted via Zoom.
We continue to celebrate the hard work of our college and students virtually during
Click the tabs below to read about this year's awardees.
Shelitha McKissick was named the spring 2020 Department of Counseling and Instructional Sciences Dr. Chandru Hiremath Memorial Award Instructional Design and Development Ph.D. Student of the Year.
McKissick recently earned a Ph.D. in instructional design and development from the University of South Alabama. During her time at South, McKissick has served as vice president and president of the Instructional Design & Development Graduate Association, member of Psi Chi: The International Honor Society in Psychology, and member of the Omicron Zeta Chapter of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education.
In addition to being a full-time graduate student, she's a mom of two boys and has worked at the University's Innovation in Learning Center as a graduate assistant and then eventually became a staff member at the ILC in 2008. Since, she was hired as a designer for Valencia College in Orlando. And due to the pandemic, she and other staff members are working hard from home to continue to assist Valencia's faculty across eight campuses to create online courses for over 70,000 students.
I had several wonderful. caring, and insightful professors at South. It is for this reason that I am passionate about my field of study. These same professors immersed themselves in research on teaching and learning. This was important for me in my undergraduate studies, and I wanted to do the same to improve future student learning.
Brandy Rhodes was named the 2020 Department of Counseling and Instructional Sciences Dr. John E. Morrow, Sr. Memorial Award Instructional Design and Development Master’s Student of the Year. Rhodes recently earned a master's in instructional design and development at the University of South Alabama. During her time at South, Rhodes served as a member of Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society and Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Rhodes came to the master's program in the fall of 2017. Prior to that, she had worked for many years as a nurse, as well as an educator at the USA Simulation Center. Rhodes is now continuing her studies in the Ph.D. program in instructional design and development.
I absolutely love instructional design. I love learning how people learn and figuring how to use that knowledge to create great learning experiences for others. South makes you feel like you belong. It’s an extremely supportive community of students and instructors.
Laura Anderson was named the 2020 Department of Counseling and Instructional Sciences Outstanding Clinical Mental Health Counseling (M.S.) Graduate Student. Anderson recently earned a master’s in clinical mental health counseling. During her time at South, Anderson served as president of Chi Sigma Iota Honor Society and a member of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society. Anderson completed an internship at the Child Advocacy Center, where she will now be working after graduation.
I had a wonderful undergraduate experience at South from 2000-2005. My husband and I moved back to the area in 2010 for him to finish his engineering degree. I have felt called to be a counselor since my senior year of high school, however my road to get here has been a winding one. I have always been passionate about mental health, and I'm so grateful for the opportunity to continue to work in this community post-graduation. When I started researching programs, I was really interested in South's program, as it is CCREP accredited with a clear path to LPC licensure. I've been really pleased overall with my experience. Go Jags!
Melissa Haddix was named the 2020 Department of Counseling and Instructional Sciences Outstanding School Counseling (M.Ed.) Graduate Student. Haddix recently earned her master's degree in school counseling from the University of South Alabama. During her time at South, Haddix served as a member of Chi Sigma Iota, an international honor society that includes counseling students, counselor educators and professional counselors.
I chose South because it was close to home. Since I was a first generation college student, I wanted to remain close to my support systems. I am passionate about school counseling because I want to encourage, empower, and advocate for students. I believe every student deserves an equitable education, and I want to help each one of them succeed.
Aletha Schultze was named the 2020 Department of Counseling and Instructional Sciences Outstanding Educational Media - Library (M.Ed.) Graduate Student. Schultze recently earned her master’s in education media (library media) from the University of South Alabama. She currently serves as the events trainer and technology specialist for Baldwin County Schools and is pursuing her Manager Board Certification in Library Media, which she hopes to complete this year.
“I wanted to expand my professional scope and always had a love of reading and libraries. Many instructional strategies and objectives coincide with my current position.”
Sherrelle Martin was named the 2020 Department of Counseling and Instructional Sciences Outstanding Educational Media and Technology (M.S.) Graduate Student. Martin recently earned her master's in educational technology from the University of South Alabama. During her time at South, Martin served as a member of the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society. Martin most recently served as a first grade teacher at Leinkauf Elementary. She hopes to obtain a doctorate degree in the future.
I decided to attend South because of the university's excellence in education and dedicated instructors. I am passionate about educational media and technology, because I am dedicated to assisting learners to be problems solvers in the most creative, effective and engaging way so that they will be successful.
Nicholas Borgogna was named the 2020 Department of Counseling and Instructional Sciences Counseling and Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Student of the Year: Student Research Award. Borgogna recently earned a Ph.D. in counseling and clinical psychology. During his time in the program at South, Borgogna has published more than 20 journal articles. He is moving on to serve as a doctoral intern at William and Mary University's Counseling Center, and his research has contributed nationally in the area of men's mental health. After the internship, Borgogna hopes to pursue a post-doctoral research position followed by an academic appointment at a university. During his time at South, Borgogna also served as a member of Psi Chi.
I attended South because of the Combined-Integrated Clinical & Counseling Psychology Ph.D. program. I enjoy psychology of it's complexity and practical applications. Dr. McDermott has been my doctoral mentor while at South. He has been pivotal in teaching me quantitative statistics beyond what is typically learned in a classroom. He has also been very helpful in teaching me how to write scientifically.
Nicholas Fadoir was named the 2020 Department of Counseling and Instructional Sciences Counseling and Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Student of the Year: Elise Labbe Coldsmith Clinical Services Award. Fadoir's Ph.D. in Clinical-Counseling Psychology will be conferred December 2022. His area of interest is in PTSD suicide and veterans, and Fadoir has spent the last year working in a local nonprofit veterans recovery resources as a therapist and advocate.
I decided to attend South for my Ph.D. to study suicide with Dr. Phillip Smith. I am passionate about helping people reclaim a life of meaning and purpose.
Dawn Greathouse was named the 2020 Department of Counseling and Instructional Sciences Counseling and Clinical Psychology Ph.D. Student of the Year: Jennifer Langhinrichsen-Rohling Clinical Services Award. Greathouse has spent the last four years serving children with autism in the mobile community while in her doctoral program. She'll be going on to Children's Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri next year as an intern.
Alyssa Zeidker was named the 2020 Department of Health, Kinesiology and Sport Outstanding Exercise Science Graduate Student. Zediker recently earned a master's in exercise science from the University of South Alabama. During her time at South, Zediker was a member of Phi Kappa Phi and served as a graduate assistant in the department. She plans to take her education further by one day becoming a physician's assistant.
My passion is exercise science and the impact that exercise and health behaviors have on quality of life. I believe in empowering individuals through education and guidance to enable them to treat their bodies respectfully and rehabilitate to their full potential. I am continuously fascinated in the healing and medicinal properties that exercise has on the human body. My education and passion have driven me to help others realize this basic truth – personal health and wellness is to be protected and fostered through encouragement, daily life, and informed choices.
Andrew Theodore was named a 2020 Department of Health, Kinesiology and Sport Outstanding Exercise Science Science Undergraduate Student. Theodore recently earned a bachelor's in exercise science from the University of South Alabama. During his time at South, Theodore was a student in the Honors College, a member of the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, and worked with the Department of Campus Recreation. He will be attending UAB for physical therapy school in January 2021. After graduation, he would like to work in a variety of physical therapy settings before opening his own outpatient clinic.
I decided to study exercise science at South because I am interested in sports injuries and kinesiology. I want to pursue a career in physical therapy, and the exercise science curriculum has prepared me for that. Dr. Schwarz has been a very helpful professor and research mentor. I have worked on a few research projects with him, and I am grateful that he took the time to help me learn how to conduct research.
Caroline Griffith was named a 2020 Department of Health, Kinesiology and Sport Outstanding Exercise Science Undergraduate Student. Griffith earned a bachelor's in exercise science from the University of South Alabama. During her time at South, Griffith served as a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow, Reformed University Fellow, member of the Quiz Bowl Team and member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. She plans to attend the University of Tennessee to pursue a master's degree in sport and exercise psychology with an ultimate goal of one day becoming a sports psychology consultant.
The USA College of Education and Professional Studies is unique because the professors are equally gifted in both research and teaching. While the professors are always working on projects and moving forward with their research, they are constantly helping and encouraging their students through the coursework. The professors in the college truly strive to see everyone succeed.
Dayla Gulledge was named the 2020 Department of Health, Kinesiology and Sport Outstanding Health and Physical Education/Teacher Certification Undergraduate Student. Gulledge earned a Bachelor of Science in Physical Education P-12 Teacher Certification from the University of South Alabama. During her time at South, Gulledge was a South Alabama Softball student athlete. She is currently working at the Enterprise Early Education Center.
The thing that makes the College of Education and Professional Studies so unique are the people that helped me through my career. No matter what, I was able to go to any of the professors and ask them for help. They were always willing to answer any question I had whether it was big or small. Dr. Holden was the staff member that stood out as a positive contributor. There really isn't just one time that I can remember. Throughout my career, Dr. Holden was the one that I could go to the most if I had no clue what I was doing. Seeing Dr. Holden teach each of her classes helped me see that I wanted to teach, but not only teach, but to inspire and impact future generations.
Jason Felts was named the 2020 Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Sport Outstanding Sport and Recreation Management Undergraduate Student. Felts earned a bachelor's in sport management from the University of South Alabama. During his time at South, Felts was on the USA President's List. He plans to pursue a master's in secondary education and hopes to become a high school teacher and basketball coach to work towards his goal of becoming a division one college basketball coach.
I am passionate about sports management to be able to coach the next generation. I want to be able to mold the young men and women of the future to be their best selves through sports. Dr. Keshock stands out as the most positive contribution to my time at South. His most impactful moment was when he presented me with an opportunity for an internship. He gave me an opportunity to work beside Steve Kittrell at Spring Hill College. This moment changed my life in so many positive ways.
Liliana Klinger was named the 2020 Department of Health Kinesiology, and Sport Outstanding Therapeutic Recreation Undergraduate Student. Klinger earned a bachelor's in therapeutic recreation from the University of South Alabama. During her time at South, Klinger was on the dean's list and the president's list. She also worked with the PASSAGE USA program. Klinger hopes to find a job in Utah as a certified therapeutic recreational specialist.
Ashlee James was named the 2020 Department of Health, Kinesiology, and Sport Outstanding Sports Management Graduate Student. James earned a master's in sport management from the University of South Alabama. During her time at South, James served as a full-time distance learning student. The flexibility of taking courses online allowed James to teach full time in Bluffton, South Carolina. She is a member of the high school’s hospitality committee and advisor of the student news broadcast program. She hopes to one day become a high school athletic administrator.
As a first generation college graduate, my family inspires me to work hard to reach my goals. They have been my biggest supporters and I strive to make them proud. South was an excellent fit to reach my educational goals. The online master's program for sport management allowed me to work full time all while continuing my higher education. As an athlete, I learned important life lessons through sports, all of which I credit for my success in school, at work and in life. I would like to take a moment to thank Dr. Keshock and Dr. Forrester. For the past year and a half, they have been instrumental in my overall positive experience at USA. Communication is key for distance learning and they seamlessly organized and facilitated our courses throughout the program.
Destin Sims was named the 2020 Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management Outstanding Undergraduate Student. Sims recently earned a bachelor's in hospitality and tourism management from the University of South Alabama. During his time at South, Sims was a member of the USA HTM Club, HTM Ambassador Program, National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Golden Key International Honor Society, all while maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Sims is a recipient of the prestigious Alabama Travel Council Scholarship, which is awarded at the Governor's conference on tourism each summer. Sims plans to continue working at Wind Creek Casino in Atmore, and was offered a job in the human resources department after graduation.
I decided to study at South because not only is it close to home, but it felt like home. It’s been an honor to have the ability to graduate from USA. Apart from classwork, Professor Donaldson pushed me past my limits in my work ethic and has always been able to give me advice through her experiences that have made a remarkable change in my life. She also inspired me through my class work as she is working towards her Ph.D. while still teaching."
Harrison Santini was named the 2020 Department of Hospitality and Tourism Management Outstanding Intern of the Year. Santini earned a bachelor's degree from the University of South Alabama this May. During his time at South, Santini was involved in UKirk South Alabama, the National Residence Hall Honorary, Alabama United Residence Halls Conference Committee, and served as a Resident Assistant. He received the Herald Bickle Scholarship and the prestigious Alabama Travel Council Scholarship, which is awarded at the Governor's conference on tourism each summer. Santini also worked at the Hampton Inn and Suites at Downtown Mobile for his program internship. He was recently accepted into Marriott International's Elite Voyage Program and will be moving to Houston, Texas, to work at the Marriott Marquis property.
I decided to attend South due to its versatile degree programs, close proximity to home, but also far enough away to where I was still getting out of the house, and for the value of education I knew I would be receiving. I plan to finish my academic journey with a Master of Science in Hospitality Management from the Hilton University of Houston, while gaining valuable career development through the Marriott Voyager Professional Development Program with the Marriott Marquis Houston. Then, eventually, further along I plan to open up my very own resort in Orlando, Fla.
Judy Lynn Getty was named the 2020 Department of Integrative Studies Outstanding Interdisciplinary Studies Student. Lynn earned a bachelor's in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in applied sciences. Lynn recently retired from the USA College of Medicine, where she worked for 25 years. Lynn now lives in the state of Washington and works as a subcontractor at the Hanford Nuclear Site. Her overall work goal is to be in administrative aspects of writing guidelines, reviewing licenses and evaluating safety protocols. She wants to focus on making sure the government is disposing of nuclear waste with the proper oversight, ensuring safe and effective cleanup of nuclear waste.
Victoria Reese was named the was named the 2020 Department of Integrative Studies Outstanding Educational Studies Student. Reese is pursuing a bachelor's in educational studies with a concentration in teaching and learning and a minor in psychology. Reese hopes to become a doula, which is a professional who provides emotional, physical and educational support to a mother who is expecting, experiencing labor or recently given birth. She is also very interested in juvenile justice organizations. During her time at South, Reese has served as a member of USA Spectrum.
Studying at South allowed me to be close to family during college. I am passionate about educational studies because I believe children are our largest investment. Educating them to be well-rounded people gives them the best chance to live up to the greatest potential.
Dynae Orso was named the 2020 Department of Leadership and Teacher Education Outstanding K-6 Teacher Education Student Teacher. Orso earned a bachelor’s in elementary education with certifications in P-3 special education and K-6 special education from the University of South Alabama. Orso is from Mount Vernon, Ala., and decided to attend the South to be close to home.
Kayla Cooper was named the 2020 Department of Leadership and Teacher Education Outstanding Graduate Student in Elementary Education. Cooper earned a master’s in elementary education from the University of South Alabama. She is a first generation graduate student with an undergrad degree and now a master’s degree. Cooper plans to continue her education and pursue a doctorate degree.
I love teaching. I am passionate about continuing to learn and better my field for my students. I believe in being a life-long learner. I was fortunate enough to have Dr. Lauren Brannan for my undergrad degree and graduate school. She has always been so helpful and continues to reach out to me during my first couple of years teaching. She also has been extremely helpful during my graduate school experience and has helped guide me in taking the correct classes. I strive to be as passionate and inspiring as Dr. Kelly Byrd when it comes to math. I love teaching math, and I truly believe it is because of her.
Laura Taylor was named the 2020 Department of Leadership and Teacher Education Outstanding Graduate Student in Special Education (M.Ed.). Taylor earned her master’s in K-6 special education from the University of South Alabama. During her time at South, Taylor served as a member of Future Educators of America, Kappa Delta Pi, National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Golden Key International Honor Society. Taylor loves being an elementary resource teacher and eventually sees herself in a self-contained classroom or leadership position.
I chose to study at South because I wanted to be far enough from home to develop some independence, but close enough to visit often. I was also fortunate enough to earn a scholarship from South. I am passionate about Special Education because during my time student teaching I realized it was exactly where I was supposed to be. I enjoy forming relationships with my students and teaching them academically and just as people; it is also a welcome challenge to push myself to find new ways to meet their individual needs.
Jonathan "Todd" Cross was named the 2020 Department of Leadership and Teacher Education Outstanding Graduate Student in Special Education (Alt M.Ed.). Cross earned a master’s in 6-12 special education from the University of South Alabama. During his time at South, Cross served as a member of the Kappa Delta Pi Honor Society. He plans to pursue an administration certification in the future.
After moving to the area and wanting to start my master’s degree, I noticed there were other options. But, with the reputation South has and many people that I respected professionally are USA alumni, choosing South was a very easy decision. I am passionate about working with individuals with disabilities because I understand what it feels like to struggle academically. I love being able to help students have the same opportunities as their non disabled peers.
Molly Hare was named the 2020 Department of Leadership and Teacher Education Outstanding PASSAGE USA Student. Hare earned a certificate as a graduate of PASSAGE USA (Preparing All Students Socially and Academically for Gainful Employment), a two-year non-degree, certificate program. This program is designed for students who need extra support to be successful in our community. During her time at South, Hare served as a member of Civitan Club. She hopes to soon find a job working with kids or animals.
The PASSAGE USA program was created to make people like me with special needs become as independent as possible, to hopefully live independently, to find a job I love, or if not, then look for another, because I am capable.
Lydia Edmonds was named the 2020 Department of Leadership and Teacher Education Outstanding K-12 Leadership Master’s Student. Edmonds will earn a master’s in education from the University of South Alabama in July 2020. She is a math instructor and the IB coordinator for Davidson High School. Edmonds chose to study at South because there was a mixture of both face-to-face instruction and online options.
Heath Marker was named the 2020 Department of Leadership and Teacher Education Outstanding Higher Education Leadership Master’s Student. Marker earned a master’s in higher education leadership from the University of South Alabama. He works as an admissions officer at the University of West Florida.
Raven McShan was named the 2020 Department of Leadership and Teacher Education Outstanding Secondary Education Student Teacher. McShan earned a master’s in education from the University of South Alabama. During her time at South, McShan was a member of the Honors College, Abeneefoo Kuo, and National Society for Collegiate Scholars. She served as the 2018-2019 poetry editor for the Oracle Fine Arts Review, a participant of 2017-2019 V-Day and a presenter in the 2019 Honors College Senior Showcase.
I heard great things about the education program and had positive experiences with student teachers and educators from South. My mother is an educator, so I was able to witness how educators go above and beyond their duties in the classroom to make a change. I wanted to be a changemaker, too. USA has strong ties to Mobile's education community and provides resources and networking opportunities that set their students up for success. In my experience, I felt much more prepared on an academic and pragmatic level because of my courses and internship through South.
Cindy Faith was named the 2020 Department of Leadership and Teacher Education Outstanding Student in Secondary Education. Faith earned an alternative master’s in secondary mathematics education from the University of South Alabama. During her time at South, Faith served as a member of Kappa Delta Pi and Phi Kappa Phi. Faith currently teaches AP Calculus and Precalculus at Satsuma High School. She would like to pursue an education specialist degree, an educational doctorate degree or become National Board Certified.
I had heard so many great things about South, so when I decided to pursue my master’s in education, it was at the top of my list of schools to consider. When I found out about the Pathway to Mathematics Noyce program, the decision was made! Many students doubt their mathematical abilities or even believe they “can’t do math.” I believe all students can learn math if we teachers find a means of instruction that makes it relatable, approachable and clear to them. I am passionate about teaching math because math opens doors of opportunity for students, and I want every one of my students to realize their full potential so they are able to pursue those opportunities if they so choose. There is no better way I could live out my love for learning, teaching, math, and kids, than to be a math teacher. I am now who I was called to be!
Gillianne Sharp was named the 2020 Department of Leadership and Teacher Education Outstanding Undergraduate Student K-6 in Teacher Education. Sharp earned a bachelor’s K-6 teacher education from the University of South Alabama. During her time at South, Sharp was a member of the USA Cross Country and Track Team, FCA and Campus Outreach. Next, she plans to pursue her master’s in early childhood education.
I originally came to South to run Cross Country and Track. I discovered that I wished to change my major to education, and was completely drawn into the program. I have always loved working with kids and working with students is even better. Being able to connect to students through academics is one of the most amazing things I have ever experienced. Ms. Joan Holland was one of my first professors in the USA College of Education and Professional Studies. She has high standards for her students and expects us to try our very best. She allowed me to be a part of a Reading Camp at Fonde Elementary School with some of my fellow classmates. Although this was early on in my experience with the program, it was one to remember. It meant so much to me to be trusted, encouraged, and loved by her before, during, and after the experience.
Shawn Schlumpf was named the 2020 Department of Leadership and Teacher Education Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Special Education 6-12. Schlumpf earned a bachelor’s in special education from the University of South Alabama. During his time at South, Schlumpf worked with students in PASSAGE USA.
I decided to attend South because it’s in my hometown and a majority of the people I grew up learning from were alumni.
Vicky Burtt received the USA College of Education and Professional Studies 2020 Gerry Jean Clark Exemplary Staff Award. Burtt has served at USA for 19 years, and in the college for the last 13 years. She is dedicated and committed, always having a smile on her face. Jennifer Simpson, Mrs. Burtt's supervisor, states:
Vicky offers valuable input and has exceptional interpersonal skills with students, faculty and staff. She is always willing to assist faculty and staff beyond her own duties. She maintains the utmost professional standards in the Office of Field Services and has helped our office run efficiently and smoothly as we process between 350 and 450 placements each semester. Vicky is, without a doubt, one of the most capable assistants with whom I’ve worked.
Dr. Abbie Baxter received the USA College of Education and Professional Studies 2020 Faculty of Excellence Award. Dr. Baxter joined the college in 1998. She is a professor of special education in the Department Leadership and Teacher Education. Along with serving as program coordinator, and engaging in on-going teaching, research and service, Dr. Baxter made yet another significant contribution to the college and University as creator and administrator of PASSAGE USA. The more than $2 million grant was the first of its kind in Alabama to offer an opportunity for students with intellectual disabilities to attend college. Her nominator, Dr. Linda Reeves, states:
Dr. Baxter works tirelessly to promote and oversee the grant and program logistics... The PASSAGE program has made a positive impact, not only in the lives of the students who have completed the two-year certificate program, but also in the peer mentors...parents of passage students, and members of the community.
Dr. Caitlyn Hauff received the USA College of Education and Professional Studies 2020 Faculty of Excellence Award. Dr. Hauff joined the college in the Department of Health, Kinesiology and Sport in 2017. As an assistant professor, her career has gotten off to a strong beginning. In addition to her teaching, she has been intensely involved in curriculum development and has been very productive in her research activity on body imagery, resulting in numerous publications; research presentations locally and around the globe; and in external funding. She is collaborative, working with colleagues, both in her department and across the University. She is engaged on a national level with scholars in her field as she serves as the editor of the Journal of Sport Behavior and associate editor for the Performance Enhancement Health Journal. In addition, she is a leader in the University's wellness initiatives, including Jag Fit. Her department chair states:
The diversity and content of Dr. Hauff's academic and research record are amply meritorious for this award.
Dr. Peggy Delmas received the USA College of Education and Professional Studies 2020 Lisa Mitchell Buckstein Faculty Development Award. The purpose of this award is to foster the development of innovative projects or research of interdisciplinary character that demonstrate a positive impact on the academic community with a notable contribution to their field.
Dr. Delmas serves as an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership and Teacher Education. Her research that received recognition is titled "The Impact of Gender and Religion on the Experiences of Catholic Sister Scholars in U.S. Public Higher Education." The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological study is to understand how gender and religion are experienced by Catholic sister scholars in U.S. public higher education. Dr. Delmas explains:
This research documents the experiences of Catholic sisters who teach or administer in public universities and colleges, a perspective that is currently missing from the literature of lived experiences of women faculty in the U.S. Using in-depth interviews and archival data, this study seeks to explore the role that gender and religious identity have in the academic careers of 30 Catholic sisters employed in institutions of public higher education. Findings suggest that religious identity negatively affected the experiences of Catholic sisters who were employed in public higher education from the 1960s to the 1980s. These findings have implications for the campus climate of today’s public universities and colleges with regard to religious diversity.
Dr. Kelly Byrd and Dr. Susan Ferguson received the USA College of Education and Professional Studies 2020 Lisa Mitchell Buckstein Faculty Development Award for their project titled "Mending Math and Science Potholes to Pave the Road to Middle School STEM Success through a Culturally Relevant Teacher Development Framework."
Dr. Byrd is an assistant professor of Elementary Math Education in the Department of Leadership and Teacher Education. Dr. Ferguson is an associate professor of ESOL and English Education in the Department to Leadership and Teacher Education and serves as the director of the Robert Noyce Pathway to Science and Pathway to Mathematics programs.
Their project intends to support teachers in academic areas within the STEM disciplines in elementary education at a local, Title I school, where there is a deficit of content knowledge, through an informal, extracurricular approach to learning that can be replicated with students in the context of the typical classroom setting. They explain:
We are working in the coming months with the partner teachers at Prichard Prep to establish the best professional development timeline to meet their needs based on the current COVID crisis. We are ecstatic about working with them because of our passion for mathematics and science and identified need to expand STEM education at the elementary level. The outcome will be evident in the foundational readiness and STEM mindedness of elementary grades students as they advance to middle school, with a longitudinal goal for those involved educators to promote STEM through both classroom and community-based activities for the advancement of STEM learning throughout the region.