Neag School Accolades: Fall 2021

Throughout the academic year, the Neag School is proud to share the latest achievements of its faculty, staff, students, and alumni.

Explore their most recent promotions, research grant announcements, publications, and more:

Dean’s Office 

Screen shot of virtual panel including three individuals.
Dean Jason G. Irizarry, center, answers questions from the community, with Carl Johnson, left, and Julie Wood, right, moderating, during the virtual Meet the Dean event.

This past month, UConn alumni, staff, and students as well as members of the public gathered virtually for “#ThisIsAmerica: Critical Race Theory in Schools.” The panel featured four education professionals, including faculty and alumni from the Neag School of Education: Alexandra Freidus, Saran Stewart, and superintendent of Guilford (Conn.) Public Schools and Neag School adjunct professor Paul Freeman ’07 ELP, ’09 Ed.D. Read more about the event. On the same topic, Stewart and Freeman were part of a WNPR panel.

In September, the Neag School’s Leadership in Diversity (L.I.D.) organization hosted “Back to School Kickoff 2021” at UConn Storrs. The event featured Dr. Donovan Livingston, an award-winning educator, spoken word poet, and public speaker.

Dean Jason Irizarry was featured in a virtual UConn Alumni event, “Meet Neag School of Education Dean Jason G. Irizarry.” Held in October, the discussion was moderated by Neag School Alumni Board President Carl Johnson ’03 (ED), ’04 (MA), ’15 6th Year, and Dean’s Board of Advocates Chair Dr. Julie Wood ’71 (ED), ’72 (MA). View the recording.

Dean Jason Irizarry visited with school leaders across the state this semester, including Norwich Free Academy Head of School Brian Kelly and Vernon Public Schools Superintendent and alum Joe Macary ’94 (ED), ’08 ELP, ’16 Ed.D., to tour classrooms, visit with staff and students, and learn about new programs and initiatives.

Brian Kelly and Jason Irizarry walk across NFA's campus.
(Tim Cook/Norwich Free Academy)

The University of Connecticut recognized several faculty, staff, and students with the annual Provost’s Awards for Excellence in Community Engaged Scholarship. One of the honorees for the faculty team category was Environment Corps (E-Corps). This program combines classroom instruction, service learning, and extension outreach with hands-on practica in the community. Neag School team members include Rebecca A. Campbell-Montalvo, Todd Campbell, Gladis Kersaint, doctoral student Hannah Cooke, and alum Byung-Yeol Park’21 Ph.D.

In October, the Neag School of Education sponsored the Connecticut Education Association’s teacher tailgate during the UConn Football Homecoming game and co-sponsored the UConn book discussion Red Pedagogy: Native American Social and Political Thought featuring Sandy Grande, held at UConn Storrs earlier this month.

Neag School alumnus Michael Conner ’14 ELP; Terrell Hill, a Neag School Board of Advocates member; and Donald D. McAulay, a doctoral student in educational leadership, were selected as “100 Most Influential Blacks” by the NAACP in Connecticut. They were recognized at an awards event at Foxwoods Resort Casino in Mashantucket, Connecticut, in October.

Department of Curriculum and Instruction (EDCI)

Members of the Connecticut Education Association celebrate outside.
The Connecticut Education Association held a tailgate for teachers at the UConn Homecoming game earlier this month, where two individuals, where two individuals received Neag School swag through a raffle. (Courtesy of the Connecticut Education Association)

The Neag School of Education received a $400,000 gift from the Neag Foundation to establish the Neag Foundation Scholarship for the Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s (IB/M) Program. The scholarship will support fifth-year IB/M students with demonstrated financial need. Read more about the scholarship.

Todd Campbell has received grants from the National Science Foundation and Google to make next-generation science education more justice-oriented and accessible. Read more about the grants.

The Connecticut Noyce Math Teacher Leaders (MTL) received $1.5 million in federal funding from the National Science Foundation, in addition to another $250,000 in private support, to support researchers at the Neag School and College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, as well as the Connecticut State Department of Education. MTL, led by Megan Staples, aims to support the development and retention of exceptional math educators in Connecticut’s highest-needs school districts — while also building these districts’ future leadership capacity in math education.

In October, the Neag School hosted the annual Celebration of Diversity in Education event at UConn Storrs. Check out photos from the Celebration of Diversity event.

Two women wearing masks stand talking with each other among a crowd.
The Neag School of Education held its annual Celebration of Diversity last month, where education professionals connected with Neag School students of color who aspire to careers in education. (Carson Fitzner/Neag School)

This fall, secondary English students, led by Danielle Filipiak, hosted a speaker series on the UConn Storrs campus titled, “(Re)Imagining a More Just English Education.” The speaker topics included “Supporting Critical Language Awareness,” “Navigating Tough Topics,” “Queering ELA,” “Nourishing Youth Activism,” and “Reading the Word and the World.”

Neag School faculty, students, and alumni, led by Alan Marcus, developed a website to assist Connecticut high school teachers with the instruction of courses on Black and Latinx history.

Department of Educational Leadership (EDLR)

Two long-running educational programs at UConn for Supplemental Nutrition Assistant Program (SNAP) recipients are combining under a new $4.2 million USDA grant. This grant will combine Husky Sport and Husky Nutrition. Jennifer McGarry is the PI. Husky Sport is a collaborative effort between the Neag School and the Department of Kinesiology in the College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources. Read more about the grants.

The Wallace Foundation has announced its newest funded project, the Equity-Centered Pipeline Initiative. UCAPP will serve as a mentor/partner provider to other universities participating in building equity-centered principal pipeline. Casey Cobb and Erin (Walsh) Murray ’17 ELP will co-lead this work.

The Sport Management Program participated as a virtual mentorship site in the annual Global Sport Mentorship Program (GSMP). Laura Burton and Danielle DeRosa acted as the hosting mentors. As part of the GSMP, they hosted Fatma Ahmed from Zanzibar. Ahmed spent time with sport management faculty to learn more about the context of sport in the U.S., nonprofit development and social entrepreneurship, and gender and leadership development in sport. She will visit UConn next year in person. In October, Burton and DeRosa were introduced as mentors during the espnW Women + Sports Summit in San Diego.

Screen shot of virtual panel.
Moderated by Eli Wolff, “Olympics, Paralympics, Human Rights” brought panelists virtually together in October. (Courtesy of Stefanie Dion Jones)

In October, the Sport Management Program hosted a “Beyond the Field” virtual event titled “Olympics, Paralympics, Human Rights,” featuring Charley Nordin, U.S. Paralympian; Moushaumi Robinson, U.S. Olympian; Yannick Kluch, Center for Sport Leadership at Virginia Commonwealth University; and Eli Wolff, who served as the moderator. View the event recording.

Department of Educational Psychology (EPSY)

David Card was a co-recipient of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences. Card, a faculty member at UC Berkeley, is a co-PI at the UConn National Center for Research on Gifted Education. Recently, he studied the impacts of gifted programs that increase the access of high-achieving minority and low-income students to advanced academic programs.

The Neag School of Education’s Transition Program has been accepted for accreditation for the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition (DCDT).

Group of UConn faculty and students at conference wearing masks.
UConn faculty and students gather at the Connecticut Festival of Indie Games in Hartford, Connecticut. (Photo credit: Stephen Slota)

In September, two faculty members from the Neag School of Education, Michael Young and Stephen Slota, were instrumental in planning UConn’s participation with the Connecticut Festival of Indie Games in Hartford, Connecticut. A dozen games were showcased, one of which included a Ph.D. doctoral student, Colter Moos.

Aditya Birla Education Academy (ABEA), India’s leading professional development institute for teachers, has partnered with the Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development. The purpose of the collaboration is to introduce a six-week-long Schoolwide Enrichment Program for teachers.


Joseph Abramo published “Where Culture and Epistemology? Dialectical Materialism and Music Education” for the fall issue of Philosophy of Music Education Review.

Michele Back co-wrote with alumni Karli Golembeski ’20 (ED), ’21 MA; Alexander Gutierrez ’20 (CLAS), ’21 MA; Tyler Macko ’20 (CLAS), ’21 MA; Sean Miller ’20 (CLAS), ’21 MA; and D’Lanie Pelletier ’20 (CLAS), ’21 MA an article titled “‘We Were Told That the Content We Delivered Was Not as Important:’ Disconnect and Disparities in World Language Student Teaching During COVID-19” for the December issue of System.

Laura Burton co-published with alumna Ajhanai Newton ’21 Ph.D. a chapter titled “Organisation-Level Practices to Support Women in Coaches” in Improving Gender Equity in Sports Coaching (Routledge, 2021).

Todd Campbell co-published “Instructional Materials Designed for A Framework for K-12 Science Education and the Next Generation Science Standards: An Introduction to the Special Issue” for the September issue of Journal of Science Teacher Education. Campbell was also invited to serve on a National Academies of Science panel as part of the Teacher Education Preparation Panel, held virtually in October.

Rebecca Campbell-Montalvo co-published with Todd Campbell and Byung Yeol-Park ’21 Ph.D., along with UConn faculty members Chester Arnold, John C. Volin, Maria Chrysochoou, and Peter Diplock, an article titled “E-Corps’ Implementation of Environmental Sustainability-Focused Service-Learning: Conditions Supporting the Establishment of an Epistemic Community” for the November issue of Journal of STEM Outreach.

Children playing sports jumping in the air with sun shining.
“As a psychologist and a parent of children participating in youth sports, it has been exciting for me to witness the increasing media attention on mental health and athletics,” writes Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor Sandra Chafouleas.

Milagros Castillo-Montoya co-authored with Ajhanai Netwon ’21 Ph.D. and Garret Zastoupil ’17 MADeveloping Critical Consciousness: The Gains and Missed Opportunities for Latinx College Students in a Sport-Based Critical Service-Learning Course” for the winter issue of Michigan Journal of Community Service Learning. Castillo-Montoya and Jillian Ives ’12 MA, a doctoral student in educational leadership, co-authored “Transformative Practices to Support First-Generation Students as Academic Learners: Findings From a Systematic Literature Review” for the April issue of Journal of First-Generation Student Success. Castillo-Montoya and Omar Romandia, a doctoral student in educational leadership, released new episodes for season two of The Higher Education Anti-Racist Teaching (H.E.A.R.T) Podcast, focusing on the arts.

Sandy Chafouleas published “Why Mental Well-Being Promotion Must Extend to Youth Sports” for her blog in Psychology Today. She was also a keynote speaker at the 11th Annual Maine PBIS Conference, held virtually in November.

Chen Chen was part of the core planning team that organized the inaugural Junior Scholars of Color Mentoring Program for the North American Society for the Sociology of Sport (NASSS) virtually in November.

Casey Cobb co-published Public and Private Education in America: Examining the Facts (ABC-CLIO Publishers, 2021). Read an excerpt from the book. He also secured a $149,000 grant with the Connecticut State Department of Education to evaluate the AccelerateCT Summer Enrichment Program. The grant supports Kiah DeVona, a doctoral student in educational leadership. Cobb also co-published a chapter titled “Social Justice Leadership Design” for the Handbook of Social Justice Interventions in Education (Springer Link, 2021).

Book Cover of Public and Private Education in America: Examining the Facts | Casey D. Cobb and Gene V Glass.
In his new book, Casey Cobb addresses controversial questions facing education in America.

Michael Coyne co-published “Making Personal Connections to Words to Increase Early Childhood Vocabulary Learning” for the September issue of The Reading Teacher.

Ido Davidesco co-published “Students Learning About Science by Investigating an Unfolding Pandemic” for the January-December 2021 issue of AERA Open.

Hannah Dostal was co-featured in an Inside IES Research article titled “Literacy and Deafness: Helping Students Who are D/HH Improve Language and Writing Skills.”

Alex Freidus was awarded the Concha Delgado Gaitán Presidential Fellowship by the Council on Anthropology & Education. In addition, she published “Looking Smart: Race and Academic Ability in Diversifying Middle School” for the October issue of Anthropology and Education.

Rachael Gabriel was a featured speaker on “The Impact of Reading Laws on Educators” for the Connecticut Association for Reading Research. She was also a featured speaker on “How Research, Interpretation, and Science Fuel the Craft of Teaching” for Heinemann Publishing. Both events were held virtually in October.

Nicholas Gelbar and Joe Madaus co-published an article titled “Factors Related to Extended Time Use by College Students With Disabilities” for the December issue of Remedial and Special Education.

Collage showing Doug Glanville as a faculty member, baseball player, sports anchor, and activist.
(Clockwise from top: Phil Ellsworth/ESPN Images; Bryan R. Smith/Getty Images; Brian O’Connor /House Democrats; Jonathan Kirn/Getty Images; Joe Condren)

Doug Glanville was featured in UConn Magazine about his MLB experience and his current work as a faculty member and ESPN contributor.

Richard Gonzales and alumna Tricia Lee ’20 6th Year were invited by the Wallace Foundation, along with superintendents and a state commissioner of education, to meet with the U.S. Department of Education to discuss educational leadership policy and advocate for systemic support of school leaders. The virtual event occurred in October. Gonzales was also a speaker for the Council of Chief State School Officer’s Fall Virtual Collaborative, held in October. In addition, he began his service as a member of the University of Texas advisory council for the University of Texas leadership preparation programs.

Preston Green co-wrote “How Reparations Can Be Paid Through School Finance Reform” for The Conversation. He was also an invited speaker for the Education Commission of the States Virtual Forum on Education Policy, held virtually in October.

Robin Grenier published “Cabin Fear Learning: Escaping the Pandemic When There’s No Place to Go” for the May issue of New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development.

E. Jean Gubbins was recognized with the 2021 NAGC Distinguished Scholar award from the National Association for Gifted Education. NAGC honors an individual who has made significant contributions to the field of gifted education and the organization’s development for more than 10 years and has a record of ongoing scholarly productivity.

Emily Iovino ’15 (ED), ’16 MA, ’20 Ph.D. and Jessica B. Kosoulski, postdoctoral students, and Sandra Chafouleas co-published “Teaching Simple Strategies to Foster Emotional Well-Being” for the November issue of Frontiers in Psychology.

Hansika Kapoor, a research affiliate, co-authored “Does Conspiratorial Blame Mediate the Relationship Between Political Ideology and Risk Perception? Evidence From India and the US” in Ideology, Conspiracies, and Risk Perception and co-published with James Kaufman Unbound: The Relationship Among Creativity, Moral Foundations, and Dark Personality” for the October issue of Journal of Creative Behavior.

Children painting on wall.
Nurturing children’s creativity has numerous positive effects, both in childhood and adulthood, says James Kaufman. (Adobe Stock)

James Kaufman co-published “Building off Creativity to Move From Gifted to Gifting” for the October issue of Gifted Education International; co-published with Hansika Kapoor and others “Explaining Standardized Educational Test Scores: The Role of Creativity Above and Beyond GPA and Personality” in the 2021 issue of APA PsychNet; co-published The Cambridge Handbook of Animal Cognition (Cambridge University Press, 2021); and co-published “Creativity Myths: Prevalence and Correlated of Misconceptions on Creativity” for the November issue of Personality and Individual Differences. Kaufman also participated in an Apple podcast episode, “James Kaufman, Creativity Researcher,” in October and published an essay “How to Nurture Creativity in Your Kids” for The Conversation.

Devin Kearns co-published “Implementation of Data-Based Decision-Making: Linking Research From the Special Series to Practice” for the August issue of Journal of Learning Disabilities.

Allison Lombardi’s research grants on career readiness and employment outcomes for students with disabilities were featured by IES Research.

Joseph Madaus co-published with Nicholas Gelbar, former Neag School faculty member Michael Fagella-Luby, and Lyman Dukes an article titled “Experiences of Students With Disabilities During the COVID-19 Interruption of In-Person Instruction” for the spring issue of Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability. Madaus also co-published with Gelbar, Dukes, Fagella-Luby, and Ashley Taconet, a doctoral student in educational psychology, an article titled “Are There Predictors of Success for Students With Disabilities Pursuing Postsecondary Education?” for the November issue of Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals.

Alan Marcus and Thomas Levine co-wrote “Mapping the Pandemic: Teaching Critical Map Literacy with Interactive COVID-19 Maps” for the October issue of Social Studies Research and Practice. In addition, Marcus, along with colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Virginia Tech, received a grant of $164,000 from the Holocaust Educational Trust to study the educational uses of virtual reality with Holocaust survivors at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center.

Adam McCready presented “Masculinities, Problematic Outcomes, and the Return to the In-Person Experience” for the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Region I in July and co-presented “Validation and Development of Racial/Ethnic Mistrust Online Scale” for the 46th Annual Conference of the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) in San Juan, Puerto Rico. McCready also co-published an article titled “Does Experiencing Racialized Aggressions on Social Media Influence Perceptions About the Campus Racial Climate” for the 2021 Research in Higher Education issue and was named the incoming editor of Oracle: The Research Journal of the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors. His two-year term will begin in January 2022.

Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead co-published “Integrated Big Data Into Evaluation: R Code for Topic Identification and Modeling” for the October issue of the American Journal of Evaluation. In addition, she co-presented “The Role of Youth and Young and Emerging Evaluators in Advancing Evaluation Practice” earlier this month at the American Evaluation Association’s 2021 virtual conference, Eval21 Reimagined.

David Moss was an invited symposium speaker and Jon Simmons, a doctoral student in curriculum and instruction, for a “Developing Intercultural and Global Competencies for Teachers through Global Education” at the Northeastern Educational Research Association (NERA) virtual conference in October. Also presenting at the conference doctoral student Sandra Silva-Enos; Joseph Abramo, with alumni Marcia Delcourt and Rex Sturdevant; and Eric Loken.

Kenny Nienhusser co-authored with Milagros Castillo-Montoya and Shaun Dougherty, a former Neag School faculty member, and others, “If You Fund Them, Will They Come? Implications From a Ph.D. Fellowship Program on Racial/Ethnic Student Diversity” for the September issue of AERA Open.

Byung-Yeol Park ’21 Ph.D., a postdoctoral research associate, co-published with Todd Campbell and David Moss, UConn faculty members Chester Arnold, Laura Cisneros, Cary Chadwick, David Dickson, John C. Volin, and Neag School alumna Laura Rodriguez ’20 Ph.D. an article titled “Improving NGSS Focused Model-Based Learning Curriculum Through the Examination of Students’ Experiences and Iterated Models” for the September issue of Research in Science and Technological Education.

Diandra J. Prescod is a recipient of the UConn President’s Commitment to Community Initiative for a project entitled “Inclusive Career Conversations: Reducing Bias and Career Choice Disparagement and Bullying.” In addition, she is part of a UConn team leading a $2.5 million NSF LSAMP grant, which supports historically underrepresented students in the STEM fields and was recently renewed through 2026.

Grace Player is a co-author and the artist for Where Is the Justice? Engaged Pedagogies in Schools and Communities (Teachers College Press, 2021).

Sally Reis, Nicholas Gelbar, and Joseph Madaus co-published “Understanding the Academic Success of Academically Talented College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders” for the September issue of Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Reis also co-published with Sara Renzulli and Joseph Renzulli “Enrichment and Gifted Education Pedagogy to Develop Talents, Gifts, and Creative Productivity” for the October issue of Gifted Education, Creativity, and Leadership Development.

Joseph Renzulli gives opening remarks at Confratute 2017
Joseph Renzulli was honored by the Mensa Foundation with its 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award and by the NAGC with its 2021 President’s Award. (Photo Credit: Shawn Kornegay/Neag School)

Joseph Renzulli was recognized by the Mensa Foundation with the 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award. The Award honors his 40-plus years of research and advocacy focused on identifying and developing creativity and giftedness in young people. His organizational models and curricular strategies have resulted in numerous pedagogical breakthroughs. He also received the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)’s 2021 President’s Award. In addition, Renzulli co-published a book with Neag School alumni Jennifer Foreman ’13 Ph.D. and Laurel Brandon ’13 MA, ’19 Ph.D. titled Things My Child Likes To Do (Routledge 2021); co-published an article with Ron Beghetto, a former Neag School faculty member, Laurel Brandon ’13 MA, ’19 Ph.D., and another colleague “Development of an Instrument to Measure Opportunities for Imagination, Creativity, and Innovation (ICI) in Schools” for the September issue of Gifted Education International; and co-published an e-book with Katherine Gavin, Sally Reis, Del Siegle, and Neag School alumni Linda H. Smith ’76 Ph.D.; Alan J. White ’79 Ph.D.; Carolyn Callahan ’87 (ED), ’89 MA, ’91 Ph.D.; Karen L. Westberg ’80 MA, ’90 Ph.D.; and Rachael E. Sytsma Reed ’04 MA, ’03 Ph.D. titled Scales for Rating the Behavioral Characteristics of Superior Students (Routledge 2021).

View from back of classroom, with teacher, standing with hand lifted to face, blurred in the background.
With federal funding, Lisa Sanetti and her fellow researchers will explore interventions to help reduce schoolteacher stress and improve mental well-being, with the long-term goal of retraining teachers in classrooms. (Taylor Wilcox/Unsplash)

Lisa Sanetti is a co-PI for a new federally funded project, Total Worker Health® Center of Excellence — a collaborative program between UConn Health, UConn Storrs, and the University of Massachusetts-Lowell. 

Del Siegle will receive the 2021 National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC)’s Ann F. Isaacs Founder’s Memorial Award for distinguished service to NAGC and gifted education. He will be formally recognized at the NAGC Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado, in November. In addition, Siegle published an e-book, The Underachieving Gifted Child: Recognizing, Understanding, and Reversing Underachievement (Routledge 2021), and gave the opening keynote with Betsy McCoach, co-presenting “Rethinking Gifted Education: Where is Gifted Education Going From Here?,” for the Council for State Directors of Programs for the Gifted virtual meeting in November.

Megan Staples is featured in a Mathematics Teacher Education podcast on math education.

Saran Stewart was recognized by the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) with the 2021 Council on International Higher Education (CIHE) honorable mention award for significant research on international higher education for her book Decolonizing Qualitative Approaches For and by the Caribbean (Information Age Publishing, 2020).


Pauline Batista speaks at TEXExUConn stage.
Pauline Batista delivers a speech during the TEDxUConn Salon event in September. Batista spoke on pedagogy within institutions and its effects on Black and Brown populations. (Daily Campus/Campbell Karanian)

Pauline Batista, a doctoral student in educational leadership, was selected by UNESCO to participate in the Intergenerational Dialogue as part of the #BiennaleLuanda 2021 in October. Only two people are chosen per country. In September, she was also one of three presenters for UConn’s TEDxUConn event at UConn Storrs.

Robert Cotto, a doctoral student in educational leadership, co-published with Sarah Woulfin, a former Neag School faculty member, “Choice With(out) Equity”? Family Decisions of Child Return to Urban Schools Pandemic” for the September issue of Journal of Family Diversity in Education.

Shannon Holder, a doctoral student in educational psychology, has been named a pre-doctoral fellow in the Educational Leadership & Professional Studies department at William Paterson University.

Jillian Ives ’12 MA, a doctoral student in educational leadership, presented two online workshops at the Teachers College Reimagining Education Summer Institute: “Improving Equity in College Access Through Development a Culturally Relevant College-Going-Culture” and “Do Students Resist Equity Pedagogy?: Digging Into Students’ Sense-Making of Teaching.”

Corine Matarasso, a fellow of the PK-3 Leadership Program, was selected assistant principal of Toquam Magnet Elementary School in Stamford, Connecticut.

Ashley Robinson, a doctoral student in educational leadership, presented at the Teachers College Reimagining Education Summit Institute in July, the Southeast Association of Housing Officers in June, and the UConn Women’s Advance Conference, in May. She was also awarded the first-ever research grant from the College Student Educators International (ACPA)’s Commission for Housing and Residential Life.

Kaitlynn Styles, a junior secondary education student, was elected to Wolcott (Connecticut)’s Town Council.


Will Aloia ’12 (ED) is assistant director of athletics for UConn Compliance in Storrs, Connecticut. He previously worked at Seton Hall University in a similar role.

Amable Aristy ’21 (ED) is working for the game night staff at the Washington Wizards as he completes his master’s degree in sport industry management at Georgetown University.

Susan Austin
Alumna Susan Austin has been named superintendent of Groton (Conn.) Public Schools. (Photo courtesy of Groton Public Schools)

Susan Austin ’78 (ED) was appointed superintendent of Groton (Connecticut) Public Schools.

Manjushri Banerjee ’07 Ph.D. co-published with Adam Lalor ’15 Ph.D., Joseph Madaus, and another colleague “A Survey of Postsecondary Disability Service Website Information” for the 2021 special issue of Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal.

Harold Bentley 17 MS is working as a coordinator for Competitive (Club) Sports in Campus Recreation at UConn Storrs. Bentley previously worked as the director of championships for the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

Amy Briesch ’05 MA, ’09 6th Year, ’09 Ph.D. co-published with Sandra Chafouleas; Emily Iovino ’15 (ED), ’16 MA, ’20 Ph.D., a postdoctoral student; and other colleagues, “Exploring Directions for Professional Learning to Enhance Behavior Screening Within a Comprehensive, Integrated, Three-Tiered Model of Prevention,” for the October issue of Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions.

Joseph Briody ’86 (BUS), ’95 MA, ’96 Ph.D. was appointed assistant vice president/executive director of UConn’s Division of Student Affairs. Read more about his story.

Carissa Brizzi ’20 (ED) oversees equipment operations at Seton Hall University Athletics in South Orange, New Jersey. She previously worked as a graduate assistant at the East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania.

Virginia Cabrera ’16 MA, who currently works for Orientation Programs at Purdue University and is now a doctoral student in curriculum studies at Purdue, was awarded the NODA Innovative Program Award for her development of a Sensory Guide dedicated to building a more inclusive and accommodating program for students with neurodiverse needs.

Shaleighne “Shay” Canter ’13 6th Year, a former special education teacher, was a competitor in UConn’s Wolff New Venture Competition in October. Canter is the CEO of Engagement Solutions, a cloud-based and multilingual platform that captures and stores personal information for most enhanced-service applications.

Dan Carrick ’18 (ED) was promoted to senior member services account manager with the Philadelphia 76ers. Prior to the 76ers, he worked as a sales associate with Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment.

Michael Corral, ’18 Ph.D., associate partner for research and insights at Promise 54, recently shared the report in which he and his colleagues examine the unrealized impact of diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts in education.

Ricardo “Rico” Destinvil ’18 MA started a new position as a talent recruiter for Uncommon Schools in Brooklyn, New York. He most recently served as a college and career success counselor for Achievement First.

Taylor Kielpinski-Rogers.
Taylor Kielpinski-Rogers ’12 (ED) is vice president for communications for the Boston Celtics in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo credit: Boston Celtics)

Kolin Ebron ’21 Ph.D. serves as a postdoctoral student in support of Neag School’s Husky Sport program.

Symone James 16 (ED), ’17 MA was featured by Teachers of Connecticut. James is an elementary school teacher for Meriden (Conn.) Public Schools.

Taylor Kielpinski-Rogers 12 (ED) is vice president for communications for the Boston Celtics in Boston, Massachusetts. She previously worked as the director of communications for the National Football League.

Tracey Lafayette ’15 (ED), ’16 MA, a teacher in East Hartford (Conn.) Public Schools, was featured by the Connecticut Education Association.

Brent LeClair ’18 (ED) is the assistant director of the Dean Smith Center at UNC-Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. He previously served as the assistant director of facilities and events at James Madison University.

Josh Lockhart ’20 (ED) is the new coordinator of Olympic Sports Operations at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

Charles Macaulay ’17 MS, ’21 Ph.D. is as an assistant professor in the Mark McCormick Department of Sport Management in the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Charles Macaulay in a blue Husky Sport T-shirt.
Charles Macaulay ’17 MS, ’21 Ph.D. is as an assistant professor at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. (Photo courtesy of Charles Macaulay)

Justin Michaud 12 (BUS), ’14 MA, was hired as a math teacher for Mercy High School in Middletown, Connecticut. He most recently worked at Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury, Connecticut.

Jackie Millisits ’18 (ED) is a media strategist at Fandom in New York City, New York. She previously worked at World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

Sabina Rak Neugebauer, a former postdoctoral student, co-published with Michael Coyneand another colleague “Making Personal Connections to Words to Increase Early Childhood Vocabulary Learning” for the September issue of The Reading Teacher.

Nate Nugent ’20 (ED) is a corporate partnerships coordinator in University Advancement at the University of South Florida in Tampa, Florida.

Wura Olusekun ’16 MS was recently hired by Major League Soccer as a senior coordinator in New York City, New York. In this role, she will be involved in community engagement and outreach. Before that, she worked for the National Hockey League in social impact, growth initiatives, and legislative affairs.

Kailee Ostroski 10 (ED), ’11 MA, was recognized by Hartford Business Journal as a “2021 40 Under Forty.” Ostroski is the director of operations at Connecticut Wealth Management in Farmington, Connecticut.

Irvine Peck’s-Agaya.
Irvine Peck’s-Agaya is a program administrator at UConn Hartford. (Photo courtesy of Peck’s-Agaya)

Irvine Peck’s-Agaya 20 MA is program administrator for the Children with Incarcerated Parents Initiative in the Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy at the Department of Public Policy at UConn Hartford in Hartford, Connecticut.

Justin Paluch 12 MS is a coordinator for Competitive (Club) Sports in Campus Recreation at UConn Storrs. Before that, he worked as a customer service representative for BSN Sports, Inc.

Alfredo Ramirez 19 is assistant director for programs and marketing for the Department of Student Activities at Temple University in Philadephia, Pennsylvania. He previously served as the assistant director for student engagement at Lehigh University.

Jennifer (Puskarz) Skitromo ’07 MA, ’15 MA was featured in UConn Today about her being a breast cancer survivor.

Emily Tarconish ’21 Ph.D. co-published with Ashley Taconet, a current doctoral student, Nicholas Gelbar, Joseph Madaus, Neag School alumnus Lyman Dukes ’01 Ph.D., and Michael Fagella-Luby, a former Neag School faculty member, an article titled “The Spectrum of Disability Documentation Requirements at 12 Institutions A Thematic Analysis” for the 2021 special issue of Learning Disabilities: A Multidisciplinary Journal.

Classroom photo
Melanie Thomas ’11 MA, ’20 6th Year is New Haven (Connecticut) Public Schools’ Teacher of the Year. (Photo credit: New Haven Public Schools)

Melanie Thomas ’11 MA, ’20 6th Year, a third-grade teacher at Truman School in New Haven, Connecticut, was selected as New Haven’s 2021 Teacher of the Year.

Patricia Virella ’21 Ph.D. is a tenure track assistant professor position at Montclair State University. In July, Virella successfully defended her dissertation, “Número 85: A Critical Analysis of Ley De Reforma Educativa de Puerto Rico.”

Nancy Wong ’16 MA, a research associate for Rankin & Associates Consulting, began her doctoral studies at the University of Maryland, College Park in the Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy Program.

Kayla (Kay) Wong 19 MA is the Pride Center Coordinator at San Diego State University in San Diego, California. She most recently worked as a social worker for the Aurora Behavioral Health System.

In Memoriam 

Gail E. Beach ’59
Virginia “Ginny” McCormick Blanch
Donald A. Booth ’68
Richard “Dick” C. Bowman ’83
Patricia J. Brown ’83
Patricia Lois Cella ’66
David L. Emery ’81
Dorothea M. Isleib ’63
Lynn M. Jefson ’88
Helen Susan Kearns ’69
Claire Glennon Lonsdale ’81
Helen B. McNair ’81
Darrell J. “D.J.” Moore ’73
John Fenwick Rea ’61
Vivian Sihshu Yenika-Agbaw ’86