SOE News

Peabody Pulse

Kelly Ryoo wins NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Kelly Ryoo, assistant profession of learning sciences, has been named a 2014 National Academy of Education/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow. Ryoo was one of 20 early-career scholars chosen from around the world for the award, one of the most competitive in the field of educational research. Ryoo will receive a $55,000 stipend to support her research project entitled “Designing Effective Guidance for Visualization Technologies to Help English Language Learners Succeed in Mainstream Science Classrooms.” The NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowships are designed to promote scholarship on matters relevant to the improvement of education. Scholars from anywhere in the world who have completed their doctorates within the last five years are invited to apply for the fellowships.

Student Gratton Fisher inducted into Phi Beta Kappa

Gratton Nathaniel Fisher, a senior from Charlotte majoring in middle grades education with a coaching education minor, was among 176 Carolina students recently inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest and most honored college honorary society. Phi Beta Kappa membership is open to undergraduates in the College of Arts and Sciences and professional degree programs who meet stringent eligibility requirements. A student who has completed 75 hours of course work with a GPA of 3.85 or better is eligible for membership. Also eligible is any student who has completed 105 hours of course work in the liberal arts and sciences with a 3.75 GPA. Less than 1 percent of all college students qualify. Phi Beta Kappa has 280 chapters nationwide. UNC’s chapter, Alpha of North Carolina, was founded in 1904 and is the oldest of seven chapters in the state.

Steve Knotek traveling to Croatia as Fulbright Specialist

Steve Knotek, associate professor of school psychology, will work for three months in Croatia as a Fulbright Specialist. Knotek will work at the University of Rijeka, developing a Croatian/European version of “Response to Instruction,” an early intervention/prevention program. Knotek’s project will have a focus on developing a version of the program for elementary and pre-K schools. During his time in Croatia, Knotek will present lectures in the elementary teacher program, offer professional development opportunities and consult with program faculty on curricula.

Antoniou, Weinstein win Summer Research Fellowships

Graduate students Marios Antoniou and Allison Weinstein have won Summer Research Fellowships from Carolina’s Graduate School. The competitive, university-wide fellowships that carry a $4,000 stipend are designed to support graduate students in their research for their dissertations. Weinstein is a student in the School Psychology program, and will be using her fellowship to travel to Kenya to gather data for her dissertation. Antoniou, a native of Cyprus, is a Ph.D. candidate in the culture, curriculum and change specialty area.

Four recognized at Graduate Student Recognition event

Four School of Education graduate students were honored at the Graduate School’s annual Graduate Student Recognition Celebration on Thursday at the George Watts Hill Alumni Center. Honorees and the award they won: Keren Ester Dalyot, P.E.O. International Peace Scholarship; Amy Lerner, Ruth Landes Memorial Research Fund Grant from the Reed Foundation; James Lee Malloy, Walmart Associate Scholarship; Terrell Roderick Morton, Gates Millennium Scholarship. The event included poster sessions by the honorees.

Lynne Vernon-Feagans presents keynote at early-childhood summit

Lynne Vernon-Feagans, the William C. Friday Distinguished Professor of Early Childhood, Intervention and Literacy, presented the keynote address at the 2014 CYFS Summit on Research in Early Childhood. The event, hosted by the Nebraska Center for Research on Children, Youth, Families and Schools, presented research findings on a range of issues, from the impacts of setting and socioeconomic realities to the development of approaches aimed at improving children’s cognitive, social-emotional, behavioral and physical development. Vernon-Feagans presented on the Family Life Project, which has been documenting challenges faced by rural families by following a representative sample of 1,300 rural children from birth. Resources associated with Vernon-Feagans’ keynote address, including video of her address, a moderated discussion and her slides, are available here.

Lora Cohen-Vogel cited in Education Week article

Lora Cohen-Vogel, the Robena and Walter E. Hussman, Jr. Distinguished Associate Professor of Policy and Education Reform, was among the education policy researchers quoted in a front-page Education Week story about teacher contracts and their impact on teacher quality. The story appeared in the April 16 print edition headlined “Union Contracts Probed for Links to Quality Gaps.” The article examined research on whether language in teacher contracts regarding seniority protections play a role in determining where more effective teachers choose to work. The article cites a paper for which Cohen-Vogel was the lead author which reported an inability to find a consistent relationship between language in teacher contracts concerning seniority language and where experienced teachers worked. Cohen-Vogel told Education Week that the research raised questions about whether legislative efforts to minimize the role of seniority would have desired effects. The Education Week article is available here.

George Noblit participates in Texas Public Radio interview program

George Noblit, the Joseph R. Neikirk Distinguished Professor of Sociology of Education, took part in an interview for Texas Public Radio’s “The Source” program that explored the benefits of courses that educate students about cultural identity. The issue has drawn attention in Texas with the State Board of Education recently voting to request textbooks for a new ethnic studies course. Noblit shared during the program that students benefit greatly from learning about other cultures and the varied histories that different cultural groups have. The program is available online here.

Keith Sawyer provides keynote at ‘Innovate Carolina 2014’ conference

Keith Sawyer, the Morgan Distinguished Professor in Educational Innovations, provided the keynote address for the Innovate Carolina 2014 conference, sponsored by the Caroilinas chapter of the Product Development and Management Association. The conference, held on Friday, drew representatives from technology and service companies in a conference that offered courses in product development. The theme for this year’s conference was “Bridging the Gap Between Ideas and Execution.”

Baseball player, education major Korey Dunbar profiled by Daily Tar Heel

Korey Dunbar, a Carolina baseball player and newly admitted into the Middle Grades bachelor’s program, was the subject of a front-page profile by The Daily Tar Heel. The story describes how Dunbar has drawn the interest of National Baseball League scouts. A catcher, Dunbar was a star player in his home state of West Virginia and had the opportunity to play professional baseball. But he chose to come to Carolina, where he has recently declared education as his major. The article is available here.

Graduate students Mark Johnson, John Wachen selected for conference

Graduate students Mark Johnson and John Wachen have been invited to attend the Center for Study of Public Choice’s Outreach Conference. Both will have some of their expenses paid for the conference, which occurs in June in Arlington, Virginia. Organizers describe the conference as a "crash course" in public choice analysis for students planning careers in academia, journalism, law, or public policy. Both Johnson and Wachen are Ph.D. students in the policy, leadership and school improvement specialty area.

Suzanne Gulledge, Tony Carter project wins funding

Carolina’s Center for European Studies has awarded funding to support a project by Suzanne Gulledge, clinical professor of teacher education, and M.Ed.X. student Tony Carter. The award marks the first time the Ruth Mitchell-Pitts Memorial START (Student Travel and Research Term) Fellowship has been given. The funding will allow Carter, a social studies teacher at Smith Middle School completing his second year in the M.Ed.X. program, to travel to France this summer as part of a research project connected with a LEARN NC initiative. The project – entitled “Experiential Education Theory and Service Learning” – will have Carter accompanying service-learning students and World War II veterans as they attend the commemoration of the D-Day Normandy invasion in June. The project will include development of an electronic book on experiential learning authored by Gulledge, LEARN NC’s Andy Mink and M.Ed.X. students who have participated in experiential education research projects.

Alumna Sarah Williams wins award

Sarah B. Williams (A.B.Ed. ’98) has been named a 2014 Lara Jane Parker Award winner by the New Voices Foundation. The award honors Williams’ work in helping children with severe and multiple disabilities. The New Voices Foundation, led by former School of Education Dean Don Stedman, works to improve educational opportunities for children with severe communication and mobility disabilities. The foundation recognized Williams and other honorees at its annual awards reception in Chapel Hill. Williams is a National Board Certified early childhood-special education teacher at Holly Springs Elementary School in the Wake County Public School System. She helped her school pioneer the establishment of a pre-school classroom for 3-5 year old children with severe and multiple disabilities.

Recent Publications

Cervantes-Soon, C. G. (2014). A Critical Look at Dual Language Immersion in the New Latin@ Diaspora. Bilingual Research Journal, 37(1), 64-82. Text available here.

J.L. Meece, K.J.S. Askew, C.A. Agger, B.C. Hutchins, S. Byun. (2014) Familial and Economic Influences on the Gender-Related Educational and Occupational Aspirations of Rural Adolescents. Journal of Educational and Developmental Psychology, Vol. 4, No. 1. DOI:10.5539/jedp.v4n1p238. Text available here.

Be the first to know!

Want to be among the in-the-know SOE crowd? Click "Like" on the School's Facebook page and you'll get the latest dope straight in your news feed. Join the SOE Facebook here.

Got news?

Have you got news to share? A new paper published? Make a conference presentation? Win a grant? Do you know of an upcoming SOE event of interest to others? A shoutout, about yourself or someone you know? Send your news to Mike Hobbs at

May 10

1 p.m.
Dean Smith Center