Doctoral Program

Meet our Students

Saler Axel

Saler Axel

Pace University, Graduate
The University of Texas at Austin, Undergraduate

Research interest(s):  Setting performance standards on high stakes assessments

Current research fellowship:  Research in Mathematics Unit (RME), working on the Istation, Inc. Screener for Grades 2-8 Assessment Development project

Professional Experience:  I was teaching at the community college in the Education and Child Development program.


Patricia Baumer

Tricia Baumer

University of Notre Dame, Graduate
University of Notre Dame, Undergraduate

Research interest(s):  My research focuses on improving principal preparation programs at the university level.

Current research fellowship:  Currently, I am working on initiatives set forth by Dan Berebitsky.

Professional experience:  Prior to entering the program I enjoyed being the principal of a PK3 through 8th grade Catholic school in Jacksonville, FL.


Brett Grayson

Brett Grayson

Southern Methodist University, Graduate
Texas Christian University, Undergraduate


Research interest(s):  Teacher turnover, secondary school achievement, English Language Learner instruction.

Current Research Fellowship: From August 2012 to May 2014, I interned in Irving ISD's Department of Planning, Evaluation, and Research. Currently, I am working on my dissertation, focusing on the impact of teacher turnover on student achievement. My advisor is Dr. Ken Springer.

Professional Experience:  Before interning in Irving ISD's Department of Planning, Evaluation, and Research, I taught Government and World Geography at Nimitz High School. There, I served on the Campus Improvement Committee, supervised SAT administrations, worked to improve the social studies curriculum, and coached the lacrosse club team.



Sarah Guthery

Middlesex University - London, Graduate
Colorado State University, Undergraduate

Research interest(s): My research interests are Educational Policy and Leadership, notably economics of education; Higher Ed Funding, K-12 and post-secondary student achievement; efficiency considerations of resources; and, resource allocation to special populations within schools.


Elizabeth HowellEvelyn Howell

UT Arlington, Graduate
The University of Texas at Austin (Hook 'em horns!), Undergraduate

Research interest(s): I am interested in the transition from HS to college in mathematics for at-risk students, especially students that place into developmental mathematics coursework.

Current research fellowship: Last year I worked with Candace Walkington on her personalization research. This year I am working with Leanne Ketterlin Geller on RME projects, currently ESTAR and IStation projects for elementary school mathematics diagnostic assessments.

Professional experience: Teaching mathematics and serving as department chair at a local community college


Mu HaungMu Huang

University of Southern California, Doctor of Physical Therapy
University of California - Berkeley, Undergraduate

Research interest(s): Dynamic blood pressure control and orthostatic tolerance in individuals with multiple sclerosis at rest and during heat stress; Thermoregulation in individuals with multiple sclerosis during exercise in a warm environment.

Current research fellowship: Last year I worked with Candace Walkington on her personalization research. This year I am working with Leanne Ketterlin Geller on RME projects, currently ESTAR and IStation projects for elementary school mathematics diagnostic assessments.

Professional experience: Prior to entering this program, I completed my Orthopedic Physical Therapy Residency at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center.


Ashley Moorshead Ashley Moorshead

Cal State, Dominguez; M.A. Special Education
Pitzer College, undergraduate

Research interest(s): I am interested in working with the special population of struggling readers, with an emphasis on the impact of school-based reading interventions that target adolescent learners in the area of discipline literacy.

Current research fellowship: I am working on Project Intensity with Jill Allor and Stephanie Al Otaiba, developing reading curriculum for students with intellectual disabilities. My role with this grant is project coordinator.

Professional experience: Prior to entering this program, I acted as the Chair of Developmental Studies at the Community College of Aurora.


miriam ortizMiriam Ortiz

Florida State University, Graduate
Florida State University, Undergraduate

Research interest(s): I’m interested in special education and response to intervention for students in the secondary grades. I am also passionate about teaching teachers to use evidence-based practices and creating learning environments where ALL students can learn.

Current research fellowship: I’m working as Stephanie Al Otaiba’s graduate research assistant.

Professional experience: I taught math, science, and reading to 5th through 8th graders with emotional and behavioral disorders at an alternative school.


Ashley ParkerAshley Parker

University of Mississippi, M.Ed Elementary Education
University of Mississippi, B.A. Elementary Education

Research interest(s): I am interested in the use of instructional coaching to improve teacher efficacy and increase students' academic outcomes in literacy, as well as more broad topics such as teacher quality, vocabulary development, and adolescent literacy instruction.

Current research fellowship: I am currently working on a federally-funded Office of Special Education Programs coaching grant with Dr. Patricia Mathes through the Institute for Evidence-Based Education. I am serving as a student-focused instructional coach as well as a research assistant on this project.

Professional experience: Prior to becoming a doctoral student at SMU, I was a literacy specialist/mentor for the Center for Excellence in Literacy Instruction at the University of Mississippi (CELI). For four years, I sought to increase instructional effectiveness among reading and language arts teachers in rural, high-poverty elementary schools, largely in the Mississippi Delta, through mentoring and job-embedded professional development. Additionally, my role with CELI involved coordinating local and state-wide professional development sessions on various literacy topics, teaching undergraduate literacy courses in the University’s teacher preparation program, and working on various committees at the University and state level.


Lindsey Perry

Lindsey Perry

University of Texas at Arlington, Graduate
The University of Texas at Austin, Undergraduate

Research interest(s): Mathematics assessments and training teachers to use assessment data to inform their instruction, particularly in developing countries

Current research fellowship:  (ESTAR) Diagnostic Assessment

Professional experience: I was the Assistant Director of Mathematics in the Curriculum Division at the Texas Education Agency. Prior to working for TEA, I taught mathematics in grades 4-7.


Lauren StevensonLauren Stevenson

University of California Los Angeles, Graduate

Louisiana State University, Undergraduate

Research interest(s): My primary research interest is on methods of professional development as they pertain to impacting the retention of effective high quality teachers in urban and suburban public school systems. This research interest stems from my background in secondary education mathematics, where I witnessed the detriment of work conditions to experiencing the full benefits of positively impactful professional development and tools to increase secondary mathematics achievement.

Current research fellowship: Currently, I am working with Dr. Patricia Mathes on the OSEP grant evaluating the most effective methods of coaching teachers and their correlation with student academic growth. My role as a research assistant is three-fold: developing and presenting writing strategies materials for practitioner use, analyzing previous literature to enhance program materials, and assessing students with special literacy needs.

Professional experience: I taught high school Algebra 1 - AP Calculus (some project-based learning) for 7 years while also doing curriculum writing and development for the district and outside sources.


Thom SuhyThom Suhy

University of Notre Dame, Graduate
University of Texas at Dallas, Undergraduate

Research interest(s): The impact of parent expectations on student academic outcomes

Current research fellowship: I am working on the Zero to Five project with Dr. Ware, Dr. Diffily, and Dr. Springer, and the Essilor Vision Foundation project with Dr. Springer.

Professional experience: I was a principal at St. Mary of Carmel Catholic School in West Dallas.


Danielle TyreeDanielle Tyree

The University of Georgia, Graduate

Research interest(s): I’m interested in international university partnerships, with a focus on factors that sustain successful study abroad collaborations. My background teaching and studying in China catalyzed an interest in how sociolinguistics can play a role in fostering these types of institutional relationships.

Current research fellowship: I’m working on the 0-5 Evaluation Grant that examines the efficacy of nonprofit preschools aimed at a low-income Hispanic population with the principal investigators Dr. Ken Springer, Dr. Paige Ware, and Dr. Deborah Diffily. My work includes administering the DESSA survey amongst kindergarten teachers assessing the socio-emotional preparedness of these children upon entering kindergarten and contributing to a literature review of school readiness.

Professional experience: I was teaching English at the tertiary level in southeastern China, providing educational consulting, assisting in educational research concerning creativity, and studying Mandarin in my spare time.