Neag School Accolades, July-August 2016

Congratulations to our Neag School alumni, faculty, staff, and students on their continued accomplishments inside and outside the classroom. If you have an accolade to share, we want to hear from you! Please send any news items (and story ideas) to

In addition to the Dean’s Office and Department achievements, explore this edition’s list of Accolades for the following: Faculty/StaffAlumniStudents, as well as In Memoriam.


Dean’s Office and Departments

UConn’s Office of the Provost announced funding for fiscal year 2017 for several Academic Plan proposals, including those of Neag School faculty members. Glenn Mitoma is part of the Business and Human Rights Engaged Research Project through the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center; and Sandra Chafouleas is co-leading the Collaboratory on School and Child Health, designed to facilitate innovative connections across research, policy, and practice arenas relevant to school and child health.


Department of Curriculum and Instruction (EDCI)

The Bridging Math Practices project, supported by a Math-Science Partnership grant from the Connecticut State Department of Education, brought together 30 educators from across the state for a five-day intensive workshop on using mathematical argumentation in the classroom to support student engagement and learning. Participants considered the mathematics and structure of arguments, effective tasks, routines, and classroom discourse, among other topics. The grant ends this September, and professional development materials from this project, as well as other project resources, are available here to further support teachers across the state.

Neag School partner school Kennelly School in Hartford has won the National Network for Educational Renewal (NNER) Richard Clark Exemplary Partnership Award for 2016.

Luis Organista; TCPCG; Teacher Certification program; STEM camp; Norwich Free Academy
Luis Organista, a student in the Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates, works with students in the STEM camp held at Norwich Free Academy in July. (Photo Credit: Shawn Kornegay/Neag School)

Students currently earning state certification to become science teachers as part of the Teacher Certification Program for College Graduates (TCPCG) at UConn’s Neag School of Education had their first school-based practice teaching experience, thanks to a partnership with Norwich Free Academy. Head of NFA’s science department Stephani Jones and NFA science teacher Sara Leisten worked with John Settlage, professor of science teacher education at the UConn Avery Point campus, to offer a free summer STEM enrichment program at NFA. Neag School Dean Kersaint also visited for a day to interact with schoolchildren and TCPCG students. Read more here.


Department of Educational Leadership (EDLR)

Several Region 14 (Bethlehem and Woodbury, Conn.) teachers and staff have continued to expand their skill sets by taking part in a seven-day learning project put on by UConn and Region 14. Region 14 partnered with UConn’s Neag School of Education to create the seven-day intensive, hands-on-learning project called the Region 14 Teacher Leadership Academy, during which educators learned new techniques for engaging students in gaining math-problem-solving skills. The Neag School also recently partnered with Windham Public Schools to launch a similar project, designed to develop a common language and understanding of quality instruction within the context of an urban setting. Both projects launched during the summer and will continue through the 2016-17 academic year.

The Neag School, led by Sarah Woulfin, Jennie Weiner, and Rachael Gabriel also hosted a separate Teacher Leadership Academy, a weeklong, intensive program held at the UConn Storrs campus, designed to develop teachers’ leadership skills. Presentations from CT Mirror‘s Jacqueline Rabe Thomas, U.S. Military Academy – West Point’s Lissa Young, and ImprovBoston were part of the program. Check out photos from the academy here.

Executive Leadership Program cohort
Congratulations to the Neag School’s Executive Leadership Program Class of 2016 cohort.

Congratulations to the Neag School’s Executive Leadership Program (ELP) Class of 2016 cohort on completing the program this past spring.


Department of Educational Psychology (EPSY)

Seventy-three educators from elementary and middle schools in South Korea visited the Neag School this summer to learn about gifted education and the research taking place at the National Center for Research on Gifted Education. Del Siegle provided an overview of the Center’s current work to the visitors, while Neag School postdoc Rachel Mun provided information on the Center’s work on gifted students. Joseph Renzulli also attended and answered questions about his work.

National Center for Research on Gifted Education; South Korea
Educators from schools in South Korea visited the Neag School this summer to learn about gifted education and the research taking place at the National Center for Research on Gifted Education. (Photo courtesy of Del Siegle)


The National Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development and the Neag School of Education welcomed more than 650 educators from across the U.S. and numerous countries to Confratute in July. For nearly four decades, Confratute has attracted more than 26,000 educators worldwide for a highly acclaimed, enrichment-based program. The weeklong program is geared toward providing educators with research-based, practical strategies for engagement and enrichment learning for all students, as well as meeting the needs of gifted and talented students. Confratute provides an opportunity for a blending of educators interested in gifted education, differentiation of instruction and curriculum, and creativity and innovation in education. View Confratute 2016’s photo album here.



Michele Back was recognized with a Scholarship Facilitation Fund Award from UConn’s Office of the Vice President for Research for her work “Translation and Editing of a Multi-authored Volume on Race and Racialized Discourse in Peru.” The Award is designed to assist faculty in the initiation, completion, or advancement of research projects, scholarly activities, creative works, or interdisciplinary initiatives that are critical to advancing the faculty member’s scholarship and/or creative projects.

Beghettos book 51G-Cr5FWfL._SX402_BO1,204,203,200_Ron Beghetto recently published Big Wins, Small Steps: How to Lead for and with Creativity (Corwin Press, 2016), which he discussed in July in an interview with Principal Center Radio. Listen to the interview here. He also served as a keynote speaker at the 2016 Ignite Innovation Education Summit in Huntsville, Ala., in July.

Eric Bernstein co-wrote a chapter titled “Authentic Online Branching Simulations: Promoting Discourse around Problems of Practice” in the publication Increasing Productivity and Efficiency in Online Teaching (IGI Global, 2016).

Brays BookMelissa Bray co-authored Picture Perfect, a book published by Pacific Northwest Publishing (2016).

Scott Brown co-published with Neag School alum Kimberly Lawless Ph.D. and another colleague “Listening to the Teachers: Using Weekly Online Teacher Logs for ROPD to Identify Teachers’ Persistent Challenges When Implementing a Blended Learning Curriculum” in the Journal of Online Learning Research.

Todd Campbell co-published with Neag School doctoral student TJ McKenna and another colleague the “Connecticut Science Center Teen Innovation Program: A Research Practice Partnership in an Informal STEM Leaning Environment for Supporting Teen Identity” for the Connecticut Science Center.” Campbell also co-published “The Theoretical and Empirical Basis of Teacher Leadership” for the Review of Educational Research.

Milagros Castillo-Montoya published “Preparing for Interview Research: The Interview Protocol Refinement Framework” in The Qualitative Report.

Sandra Chafouleas and Steve Kilgus
Alum Steve Kilgus and Professor Sandra Chafouleas received awards from Division 16 of the American Psychological Association. (Photo courtesy of Sandra Chafouleas)

Sandy Chafouleas won the American Psychological Association’s Division 16 Tom Oakland Mid-Career Scholarship Award. This is the inaugural year for the award, which honors Tom Oakland, a champion of Division 16.

Casey Cobb served as a featured guest during a Twitter chat about integrated education hosted by the Capitol Region Education Council (CREC) this past June.

Michael Coyne served as a panel member for “What Works Clearinghouse Practice Guide,” released in July by the Institute of Education Sciences. The guide offers strategies for teaching foundational reading skills in the early grades. He also co-published “Replication Research and Special Education” in the journal Remedial and Special Education; read more here.

Morgaen Donaldson was awarded a three-year, $1.4 million grant with co-PI Shaun Dougherty from the Institute for Education Sciences for “District Policies Related to Principal Evaluation, Learning-Centered Leadership, and Student Achievement.”

Shaun Dougherty was awarded a four-year, $695,000 grant from the Institute for Education Services for “The Causal Impact of Attending a Career-Technical High School on Student Achievement, High School Graduation, and College Enrollment.” Catch a IES blog post about the grant announcement here. Dougherty also recently served as a guest on WBUR’s “On Point” to discuss career and technical education; listen in here. Dougherty is also co-founder of the Education Policy Collaborative, an endeavor to o bring together energetic education policy faculty from schools of education across the U.S. in order to create an open, academic space; the group held its first annual meeting this past August.

Michele Femc-Bagwell gave a keynote presentation on the CommPACT project at the Waterbury Parent Conference in Waterbury, Conn., in May.

Jennifer Freeman, Allison Lombardi, Brandi Simonsen, and Michel Coyne co-published with other colleagues “Replication of Special Education Research: Necessary But Far Too Rare” in a the journal Remedial and Special Education.

Professor E. Jean Gubbins of the Neag School and a group of Neag School alumni have received the 2016 Curriculum Network Curriculum Award from the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) in recognition of a math unit titled “Geometry & Measurement for All Shapes & Sizes,” developed for the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented. The unit was developed by Gubbins as well as alumni Shelbi Cole’10 Ph.D.Nancy Heilbronner ’09 Ph.D.Jeffrey Corbishley ’07 (ED)Jennifer Savino ’12 Ph.D., and Rachel McAnallen ’11 Ph.D. The awards competition seeks to identify different curriculum units, for heterogeneous classrooms and gifted education programs, that can be shared with other educators as models of exemplary curriculum. The award will be presented at the 2016 NAGC Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla., in November.

Mia Hines, Dominique Battle-Lawson, Ann Traynor, Mark Kohan, René Roselle, and Dorothea Anagnostopoulos co-wrote a blog post this July for the AACTE’s EdPrep Matters blog, outlining the success of the networked improvement community in attracting greater numbers of students of color to the Neag School’s teacher preparation program.

James Kaufman co-published “Problem Clarity as a Moderator between Trait Affect and Self-Perceived Creativity” in The Journal of Creative Behavior. He also recently received a Presidential citation recognizing his work as the Chair of Media Watch Committee for Division 46, the Society for Media Psychology and Technology, of the American Psychological Association.

Devin Kearns presented at the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading’s preconference Porto, Portugal, in July.

Marijke Kehrhahn
Marijke Kehrhahn has been appointed head of the Independent Day School in Middlefield, Conn.

After 21 years at the Neag School, Marijke Kehrhahn has been appointed head of the Independent Day School in Middlefield, Conn.

Allison Lombardi contributed a chapter on disability and diversity in higher education for Transforming Understanding of Diversity in Higher Education, published by Stylus Publishing in July. She also is involved with the Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities (LEND) program grant, awarded to UConn this July by the Association of University Centers in Disabilities (AUCD). The program prepares trainees from a wide variety of professional disciplines to assume leadership roles in the delivery of services to children with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities in clinical practice, research, and public policy.

Two Neag School faculty members, Jennifer McGarry and Jaci VanHeest, received seed grants of $15,000 each from UConn’s Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, Prevention, and Policy (InCHIP). McGarry’s grant will focus on “Effectiveness of Brain Breaks to Improve Physical Literacy.” VanHeest’s grant will focus on “Examining the Effects of a Novel Exergaming Experience in Middle-School Youth.”

Upstander Academy; Thomas J. Dodd Research Center
A group of middle and high school teachers discuss the question of what causes genocide during the Upstander Academy at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center this summer. (Photo Credit: Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

The Upstander Academy, led by Glenn Mitoma, director of the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center and a Neag School assistant professor, recently provided middle and high school teachers an opportunity to learn how to use human rights education to address complex historical and current issues. Read the full story on Upstander Academy here. In addition, Mitoma is leading a UConn Early College Experience course in human rights for high school students in several schools across the state. In light of the course’s growing success over the past pilot year, the course will now expand this fall to two additional partner high schools.

Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead will give an invited talk this month on the future of evaluation, specifically as it relates to building the capacity to do and use evaluation, at the European Evaluation Society conference, sponsored and chaired by the European Evaluation Society President.

Joseph Renzulli was recognized with a surprise celebration for his 80th birthday. During the celebration, it was announced that the Neag Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development is being renamed the Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development. Renzulli was also recently recognized by his alma mater, Rowan University, with the Lifetime Service Award, which was given to him at the University’s 2016 Golden Years Reunion in June.

Blanca Rincón was one of 27 faculty members University-wide to receive a Scholarship Facilitation Fund Award from UConn’s Office of the Vice President for Research, for her project titled “The STEM Race Transfer Gap? Examining STEM Transfer Rates for Connecticut Community College (CCC) Students.” The award is designed to assist faculty in the initiation, completion, or advancement of research projects, scholarly activities, creative works, or interdisciplinary initiatives that are critical to advancing the faculty member’s scholarship and/or creative projects.

Richard Schwab, longtime commissioner for the National Commission on Teaching & America’s Future (NCTAF) helped shape a newly released national report titled “What Matters Now: A New Compact for Teaching and Learning,” aimed at helping educators reorganize the nation’s education system. Read additional coverage here, or access the full report here.

Jaci VanHeest; UConn Science Salon; Elite Athletes and Exercise Panel
Associate Professor serves on a panel this June at Spotlight Theater in Hartford, Conn., during the UConn Science Salon focused on elite athletes and exercise. (Photo Credit: Peter Morenus/UConn)

Jaci VanHeest served as a panelist for UConn’s latest Science Salon, focused on elite athletes and exercise, in Hartford this past June.

Sarah Woulfin published “Fusing Organizational Theory, Policy, and Leadership: A Depiction of Policy Learning Activities in a Principal Preparation Program” in  the Journal of Research on Leadership Education.

Mike Young co-published with Neag School alumni Stephen Slota ’07 (CLAS), ’08 MA, ’14 Ph.D. and Ian O’Byrne ’12 Ph.D., along with a UConn grad Kevin Ballestrini ’04 (CLAS), “A New Hope: Negotiating the Integration of Transmedia Storytelling and Literacy Instruction” in the Journal of Adolescent & Adult Literacy.




Ph.D. student Jennifer Dolan co-wrote a chapter titled “Literacy Instruction as a Tool for Vibrant Civic Voice” in in Teaching for Democracy in an Age of Economic Disparity (Routledge, 2016) with Douglas Kaufman.

Kristen Juskiewicz, a third-year Ph.D. student in the Neag School’s Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment program, recently completed an 11-week internship as a Summer Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) Fellow at the Army Public Health Center at Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. There, she worked in the Health Promotion and Wellness Division, specifically for the Public Health Assessment Directorate, which focuses specifically on conducting evaluations of public health initiatives, programs, and policies within the realm of the Army.

Laura Kern, now in her final year of the Ph.D. program in educational psychology, with a focus on special education, has received a grant from the Wing Institute, to be used this academic year for her dissertation study. Kern’s dissertation will focus on professional development for supervisors of school recess, a self-management intervention that uses a checklist and direct behavior ratings to increase active adult supervision.

Doctoral student TJ McKenna hosted a webinar titled “Spark: NGSS-Using Phenomena to Engage Students” this June, which resulted in more than 500 registrations from 36 countries.

Allison Shefcyk, master’s student in educational psychology program with a concentration in special education, recently completed an internship at the Department of State’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, where she worked under Judy Heumann, Special Advisor for International Disability Rights. As part of her internship work, Shefcyk conducted research regarding such issues as refugees with disabilities and ending gender-based violence against women and girls with disabilities, and met with international groups to offer insights into U.S. practices on education and employment of persons with disabilities.

Incoming Neag School special education student Samantha Swistak received the 2016 Walter S. Barr Scholarship from the Horace Smith Fund.



Sport management; Korean alumni
The Neag School hosted a UConn sport management Korean alumni homecoming event this past July. (Photo credit: Shawn Kornegay/Neag School)

The Neag School hosted a UConn sport management Korean alumni homecoming event this past July. The alumni toured ESPN, attended a Boston Red Sox game, went golfing at Lyman Orchards Golf Club, and visited MLB headquarters. The group gathers at least once a year to participate in academic conferences in the U.S. and have met several times in Korea. The group includes Ph.D. and MS alumni, along with a former Neag School professor and colleagues from other institutions.

Karen Adamson ’79 (ED), ’87 MA, ’04 6th Year has been named the new executive director for Bloomfield, Conn.-based Operation Fuel. Adamson comes to Operation Fuel from the Access Community Action Agency in Willimantic, Conn., where she was vice president of community engagement and performance.

CAPSS Superintendents Addley (Photo credit: Granby Public Schools)
Alan Addley ’14 Ph.D. was named president of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents. (Photo credit: Granby Public Schools)

Alan Addley ’14 Ph.D., currently superintendent of Granby Public Schools, was named president of the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS), a statewide nonprofit educational administration organization, which represents public school superintendents, assistant superintendents, and other educational leaders across the state. Addley’s term will run from July 1, 2016, to June 30, 2017.

Navy Cmdr. Anthony R. Artino ’08 Ph.D., a professor and deputy directory for graduate programs in health professions education in the department of medicine at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences (USU), received a $1.6 million grant to study new methods for measuring clinical reasoning through a project titled “Developing Assessment Tools to Better Understand the Mechanisms of Clinical Reasoning in Military Medical Simulation.” He is an alum of the Neag School’s Cognition, Instruction, and Learning Technology (CILT) program. A fellow alum of the Neag School’s CILT program, Katherine Picho ’11 Ph.D., is part of the research team, serving as a senior research associate at USU.

Rebecca (Sanford) Borbas ’94 (SFA), ’94 (ED) was recently selected as the 2016-17 Teacher of the Year award in Watertown, Conn. Borbas is the band and music teacher at Swift Middle School in Watertown.

Cynthia Callahan ’15 6th Year was named principal in East Hartford’s Langford Elementary School. Callahan comes to East Hartford from the Asian Studies Academy at Dwight Belizzi School in Hartford, Conn., where she served as the dean of students.

Ryan Colwell ’04 (ED), ’05 MA, ’14 Ph.D. published a chapter titled “Empowering Praxis in Our Youngest Citizens” in Teaching for Democracy in an Age of Economic Disparity (Routledge, 2016). 

Christina Conetta ’06 (CLAS), ’07 MA, ’15 MA, a social studies teacher at Weston High School, in Weston, Conn., was named 2017 Weston Teacher of the Year.

Kevin Demille ’13 (ED) served as support staff for the women’s basketball team at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

(Photo credit: Scott Mullin /Hearst Connecticut Media)
Frank “Chip” Gawle ’81 (ED) recently retired after 35 years of service as a music teacher at Wilton High School, in Wilton, Conn. (Photo credit: Scott Mullin /Hearst Connecticut Media)

Frank “Chip” Gawle ’81 (ED) recently retired after 35 years of service as a music teacher at Wilton High School, in Wilton, Conn.

Tony Girasoli ’94 (CLAS), ’06 MA, ’09 6th Year, ’16 Ph.D. received the National Education Research Association’s (NERA) Best Paper by a Graduate Student Award for his paper “Using Digital Stories to Increase High School Students’ Writing Self-Efficacy.” His paper will be featured in the NERA Researcher and the entire paper is typically featured on the NERA website.

Melissa Gonzalez ’11 (ED) competed in the Olympics for the second time, this time as a Team USA captain for field hockey. Read the full story here.

David J. Guertin ’05 (CLAS), ’06 MA was named 2016-17 Teacher of the Year by Enfield Public Schools.  Guertin, a science teacher at John F. Kennedy Middle School in Enfield, Conn., will represent Enfield at the state level in the Connecticut Teacher of the Year process.

Thomas C. Healy ’11 6th Year was appointed interim principal for Central Middle School in Greenwich.

Sarah Hodge ’15 (ED), ’16 MA served as Bulkeley High School’s 2016 commencement speaker. Hodge is a graduate of Bulkeley’s Teacher Preparation Program in Hartford, Conn. Check out our profile story on Hodge, who is headed into her first year teaching this fall in Windham, Conn.

Melissa Gonzalez; Field Hockey; Olympics
Sport management alum Melissa Gonzalez ’11 (ED) took part in the 2016 Olympics in Rio. (Photo Credit: Mark Palczewski)

Aaron W. Isaacs ’07 (CLAS), ’09 MA, assistant dean of students at Goodwin College, was named one of Hartford Business Journal’s 40 under 40.

Steve Kilgus ’06 (CLAS), ’07 MA, ’11 Ph.D., ’11 6th Year received the Lightner Witmer (early career) award from Division 16 of the American Psychological Association, which is presented to young professional and academic school psychologists who have demonstrated scholarship that merits special recognition.

Kate Lund ’06 (ED), ’07 MA, ’12 6th Year was promoted to the position of supervisor of secondary English in Glastonbury Schools. She was previously the assistant principal of Smith Middle School in Glastonbury, Conn.

Sport management alum Stephanie Mazerolle’05 Ph.D., assistant professor of kinesiology at UConn, received the first-ever Emerging Educator Award from the National Athletic Trainers’ Association. She was honored at the 67th NATA Clinical Symposia and AT Expo in Baltimore this past June.

Laura Norbut ’16 6th Year was appointed assistant principal of Smith Middle School in Glastonbury, Conn. She has taught history/social studies at Westbrook Middle School, Glastonbury High School, and Smith Middle School.

Pier Quintana ’11 MA won a Fulbright Scholarship.

Robert Stevenson ’93 (CLAS), ’95 MA served the keynote graduation speaker for New Canaan High School’s Class of 2016 this past June. He has been a teacher of history, social studies, and computers at NCHS for the past 11 years.

Christine A. Sullivan ’15 Ph.D. recently joined Berchem, Moses & Devlin, P.C. in Milford, Conn., as senior counsel in the firm’s education law department. She is the former director of education and training at the UConn Health Center, A.J. Pappanikou Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Education, Research and Service.

In Memoriam

Robert Colbert; In Memoriam; UConn Neag School of Education; School Counseling
Robert Colbert, associate professor of the Neag School, passed away on Aug. 12, 2016.

Matthew H. Brady ’72
Bernyce M. Brennan ’57
Robert Colbert, faculty
Robert V. Cramer ’66
Susan L. Fredrickson ’59
Gary Gelmini ’81
Jacqueline S. Gherlone ’60
Maria Guijarro ’14
Marilyn K. Harmon ’74
Robert H. Horton ’77
William Jellema, faculty
Mary S. Keegan ’64
Maureen F. Lange ’57
Barbara S. Lasher ’78
William A. Loughlin, Jr. ’81
Deloria L. Mabry ’76
Helene B. Mochrie ’49
Penelope P. Murphy ’67
Mary L. O’Connor ’65
Howard S. Rogers ’65
Leslie M. Sabato ’74
Brian D. Sullivan ’76
Robert R. Weigold Jr. ’52
William E. White Sr. ’62
Jane M. Wiggin ’89
William J. Wilson ’65