Rachael Becker

University of Central Florida, M.S. Statistical Computing

University of Central Florida, B.A. History

Lance Brooks

Lance Brooks

West Chester University, M.S. Exercise Science

Southern Methodist University, B.S. Applied Physiology & Health Management

Research interest(s): Biomechanical basis of sprint acceleration performance as well as a masters thesis exploring the role of upper extremity motion in sprinting.

Current research fellowship

Professional experience: Years of experience in the performance coaching realm at the collegiate and collegiate prep levels, as well as in the private sector. Through these avenues, Lance has connected with a variety of high-level talented athletes, serving as a consultant to Olympic gold medalist English Gardner, Nigel The Freeze Talton, and others.

Bethany Edwards

Bethany Edwards

Teachers College, Columbia University, M.A. Education Policy

Texas A&M University, B.S. Political Science

Research interest(s): I am interested in the impact of early childhood education (ECE) on lifelong learning and outcomes, as well as how ECE can play a part in minimizing racial inequities in the American education system.

Current research fellowship: I serve as the Executive Director of the Early Learning Alliance of Tarrant County, a cross-sector collaboration of organizations and individuals working to understand and address the needs of local families and children from before birth through age five.

Professional experience: I previously worked as a Research and Policy Associate at the Center for the Study of Child Care Employment (CSCCE) at the University of California, Berkeley. CSCCE provides research and analysis on the preparation, working conditions, and compensation of the early care and education workforce.

Rashard Fant

Rashard FantIndiana University - Bloomington, MPA Policy Analysis

Indiana University - Bloomington, B.S. Management

Research interest(s): Organizational Change, Culture, and Leadership within intercollegiate athletics. As well as examining Intersectionality, equity, and access issues amongst Black students and student-athletes at predominately white institutions (PWIs).

Current research fellowship: Mustang Fellowship: Recognizes Ph.D. students who show great promise for academic success and potential to enhance graduate program diversity at SMU.

Professional experience: Prior to SMU, Rashard played professional football for the Chicago Bears, served as a Career Coach for working adults, and has held numerous positions within student-athlete development and support departments in the collegiate athletics field. He is currently working for SMU Athletics as the Director of Student-Athlete Success.

Paul Foster

Paul Foster

Columbia University, MBA Marketing

Columbia University, B.A. Philosophy

Research interest(s): Applying the Theory of Constraints to Education, which requires diagnostic assessment that is as accurate, timely, and efficient, as possible.

Current Fellowship: I am on the NSF-funded STEM+C project that aims to use the Minecraft video game to teach middle-schoolers Computational Thinking. The big idea is to use the student engagement generated by successful commercial video games to promote student learning.

Professional experience: During a 25-year business career, I founded or led organizations in healthcare or staffing. These included a $73 million company with 10 offices worldwide, and culminated in being the CEO of a $150 million home health and hospice company with 2,000 team members in 91 locations nationwide serving 7,000 patients.

Charlotte Gregor

Charlotte Showalter

Southern Methodist University, M.Ed. Literacy

Vanderbilt University, B.S. Elementary Education and Child Studies

Research interest(s): I am interested in foundational literacy acquisition for students both with and without disabilities. It is my goal to ensure that high quality reading instruction grounded in Structured Literacy is available for all students. I specialize in work surrounding students with and at risk for language-based learning disabilities such as dyslexia.

Current Fellowship: I work with Dr. Jill Allor and Dr. Stephanie Al Otaiba on Project Intensity, a research project aimed at assessing the efficacy of Friends on the Block (an intensive literacy intervention) for use with students diagnosed with Intellectual Disabilities and other low incidence disabilities. The mission of the project is to make literacy accessible to all children - and to have fun while learning!

Professional experience: Prior to beginning at SMU, Charlotte worked as an Academic Language Therapist in Dallas ISD teaching children with dyslexia fundamental literacy skills. She also had the opportunity to serve the Dallas community in multiple academic interventionist roles since graduating from Vanderbilt in 2016.

Cheyenne Heath-Warr

Cheyenne Heath-Warr

University of Texas - Permian Basin, M.A. Special Education

Pepperdine University, B.A. Liberal Arts

Research interest(s): Diversity, equity, and inclusion among K-12 schools, particularly private educational institutions.

Current Fellowship: Funded by the Moody Graduate Fellowship, Cheyenne works under the advisement of Dr. Meredith Richards in the department of Education Policy and Leadership.

Professional experience: Prior to SMU, Cheyenne worked as a teacher across various grade levels and subjects. She most recently served as the Resource Intervention Program Director at a private school in California where she taught and advocated for students with exceptional learning needs.

Jonathan Hunnicutt

Jonathan Hunnicutt

Fuller Theological Seminary, Master of Divinity

Texas A&M University, B.S. Sociology

Research interest(s): Bridging Learning Science and Computational Social Science via automated data collection, educator social networks, and mathematical models of complex contagion to understand how math teachers learn and spread good pedagogy.

Current research fellowship: Lead Graduate Research Assistant, supervising four undergraduates, for my co-Advisor Dr. Candace Walkington under the EXCEL grant. This embodied cognition research explores how AR/VR might help ELL students collaborate and learn geometry.

Assisted my co-Advisor, Dr. Annie Wilhelm, in adapting an inquiry-based math curriculum for the West Dallas STEM School.

Professional experience: Corps of Cadets and Fightin' Texas Aggie Band. Math Tutor for 20 years. Ordained Anglican Deacon. Failed Church Planter. Taught Math at Uplift Williams, a Title I, T-STEM High School. In my first 3 years, quadrupled AP Calculus AB passing rate. Lead HS Math team through Uplift's transition to IB-for-All.

Brooke Istas

Brooke Istas

Kansas State University, M.S. Adult, Occupational, and Continuing Education

Southwestern College, M.S. Leadership

Southwestern College, B.S. Mathematics

Research interest(s): Based on adult learners' perception of mathematics. I am interested in adults' mathematical journey and their experiences with mathematics.

Current Fellowship: Personalizing Mathematics to Maximize Relevance and Skill for Tomorrow's STEM Workforce. National Science Foundation, Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers (ITEST), Award #1759195, Fall 2018 “ Spring 2021 Role: Graduate Research Assistant to Principal Investigator, Dr. Walkington.

Professional experience: Lead Mathematics Faculty. Instruction of learners both in a face-to-face and online environment at all levels of mathematics, advise learners in educational pathways and career objectives, implement training for part-time faculty, conduct bi-weekly meetings of the mathematics faculty. Facilitate discussion for informal professional development, recruit members to list, promote discussion, identify experts to serve as guest moderators for further professional development in the field, submit quarterly reports and participate in annual face-to-face meetings.

Joanne Joo

Columbia University, M.A. Statistics

State University of New York at Stony Brook, B.S. Applied Math and Statistics

Research interest(s): My research centers on studying educators working with students experiencing difficulties. Specifically, I'm intrigued by their self-efficacy, career intentions, and how interventions and math assessments can bolster their teaching efficacy.

Current research fellowship: I am a member of the Leaders Investigating Mathematics Evidence (LIME) fellowship program, funded by the Department of Education. I have been working on the SCALE and the PAR math intervention projects helping 4th and 6th graders with math difficulties in Texas, Idaho, and Missouri.

Professional experience: I worked as an HR manager at a Korean engineering company for 4 years. I was involved in projects building the infrastructure for electricity and water supply in Africa and oil sands plants in Canada. I managed data on nearly 10,000 employees and created solutions to improve their performance.

Tryna Knox

Tryna Knox

Brenau University, MBA Finance

University of Central Florida, B.S.E. Engineering

Research interest(s): Qualitative lens to examine the infrastructure of STEM education to understand foundational practices, cultures, and ways humans embed new, rigorous ways of learning that create equitable access for all students.

Current research fellowship: I've been assigned to the West Dallas STEM School beginning in Fall 2021.

Professional experience: First career: Management engineer and business consultant in the health care industry leading transformational project work, data analytics, innovative design, clinical resource and quality management, cost reduction, productivity systems, and automation studies. Second career: education: primary librarian, taught 3rd grade, 5th & 8th grade science, assistant principal, regional director for curriculum and assessments, and compliance officer.

Maricela Leon

Maricela Leon

Southern Methodist University, M.B.E. Bilingual Education and Gifted and Talented

Instituto Tecnológico y de Estudios Superiores de Monterrey, B.S. Economics

Research interest(s): Successful implementation of Dual Language Immersion Programs, equity and social justice for multilingual/multi-dialect learners, socio-cultural competence, and critical linguistics.

Current Fellowship: I am currently working with Dr. Quentin Sedlacek in a project that analyzes Teacher's education in African American Languages and its impact on Science Teaching. I am also part of the West Dallas STEM School project designing inquiry driven curriculum and coaching educators that work with students classified as Emergent Bilinguals or speakers of other languages or dialects.

Professional experience: Bilingual/ESL Instructional Coach, Language Acquisition Specialist, Design/Coordination/Implementation of Dual Language Immersion Programs, Argument Driven Inquiry applied to Dual Language Programs, Parent Engagement Initiatives, Coppell ISD strategic design committee. Experience teaching PK, 2nd, 4th, and 5th grade learners.

Charity Lewallen

Charity Lewallen

CalPoly San Luis Obispo - MA Education Counseling and Guidance

University of California Los Angeles - BA Sociology

Research interest(s): As a higher education scholar, my research interests include institutional, state, national and accreditation policies that influence transfer student pathways and outcomes. This interest stems from a deep commitment to address systemic shortfalls in higher education in the US, particularly those policy shortfalls that contribute to significant inequities for students from underrepresented minority backgrounds. I also engage in research exploring structures, strategies and leaders (boards and presidents) of higher education institutions. I am deeply interested and committed to work that contributes to policies and systems that promote just and impartial pathways to a college degree for all students.

Current research fellowship: I am funded by the Fairess Simmons Fellowship, and I work primarily with Dr. Sondra N. Barringer, Ph.D on research that explores various organizational and policy dynamics in higher education institutions. Specifically, we are studying how R1-striving institutions change their academic organizational structure over time. We also study college presidents and boards of trustees to better understand the types of leadership profiles and reasons for leadership instability in some institutions. Lastly, we are working on a project that examines the nature of transfer partnerships between community colleges and universities across Texas.

Professional experience: A well-established career in higher education for over 20 years informs the work I do as a scholar. I have held a range of roles including administrator, instructor and academic advisor in a variety of colleges and universities. I've gathered invaluable experience from working at a breadth of institutions, including regional 4-year public, large community college system, small private religious liberal arts university, and small art and design college- each with its own niche culture and needs. And this experience spans two states with vastly different higher education systems- California and Texas. While my roles changed with each institution, my commitment to investing in systems, programs and curriculum to support student success remained constant.

Sydney Loutit 

Southern Methodist University, M.Ed. Higher Education Policy and Leadership

Texas Christian University, BS Sports Broadcasting

Research interest(s): My primary research interest is student-athlete academic success in higher education from both a first-hand qualitative perspective as well as the larger context of higher education policy as it affects these students.

Current research fellowship: My research fellowship is with the Education Policy and Leadership department, where I have assisted with research on university governance and athletic profiles of universities.

Professional experience: Following my undergraduate degree I worked for the Dallas Stars in communications and partnerships. I decided to return to school to complete my master's degree and work with student-athletes as an assistant academic counselor here at SMU. I finished my master's in 2022 and began my Ph.D. in the fall of that same year.

Emily McClelland

Bowling Green State University, Masters of Education Kinesiology

Research interest(s): Biomechanical basis of sport performance. Athletic metrics and their application to training programs. Biomechanical explanations of sex difference in sport performance.

Current research fellowship: This year in the Locomotor Performance Laboratory I have been working on projects related to vertical jumping movement and force application patterns, with Dr. Weyand and staff.

Professional experience: Prior to entering this program, I worked as a full-time strength and conditioning coach, and adjunct faculty member at BGSU in Ohio. I lead training for 7 of the 18 intercollegiate sports and assisted with intern mentorship. I also taught EXSC 2390, Applied Sport Science and supervised interns within the Exercise Science undergraduate program.

Saki Milton

Saki Milton

Southern Methodist University, MBA Marketing

University of Texas at Austin, B.A. Mathematics

Research interest(s): My research interests in STEM education is to study the design of informal learning environments situated within Black and brown girls' (grades 6-12) learning ecosystems. I am curious about the effects of various interventions that impact underrepresented and underserved girls' attitudes, confidence, interests, and choices in STEM career pathways in order to alleviate disparities associated with the intersectionality of race, gender, and socioeconomic status.

Current research fellowship: As a first year Graduate Research Assistant, I am working on the Mathfinder App project under Dr. Candace Walkington. This Innovations and Development Project will conduct research on a location-based mobile app for informal mathematics learning and is funded by the National Science Foundation AISL Advancement of Informal STEM Learning (DRL 2115393).

Professional experience: I am an experienced educator and international girls in STEM advocate with more than 20 years of mathematics education experience. I am the founder and Executive Director of The GEMS Camp (Girls interested in Engineering, Mathematics, and Science), a 501(c)3 based in Dallas, TX. My experience includes mathematics classroom teaching in diverse settings such as public, public charter, and international schools, curriculum writing, and marketing and consulting in edTech. I hold a BA in Mathematics from The University of Texas at Austin.

Murphy (Keller) Young

Keller Mogensen

Texas A&M University M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction

Texas A&M University BS Interdisciplinary Studies

Research interest(s): Teacher preparation practices in the context of writing instruction, and ways to support pre-service teachers as they bridge gaps between their coursework and field experiences.

Current Fellowship: I currently work under the advisement of Dr. Quentin Sedlacek in the department of Teaching and Learning. Broadly, our research projects focus on the writing instructional practices of classroom teachers.

Professional experience: Prior to this program, I was a middle school Language Arts and Social Studies teacher for four years. During that time, I also served as a mentor teacher and helped to develop curriculum for the district.

Robyn Pinilla

Robyn Pinilla

Southern Methodist University, M.Ed. Educational Leadership

University of Texas at Arlington, B.A. Interdisciplinary Studies

Research interest(s): Early childhood mathematics education. Specifically, I am interested in understanding how early childhood educators teach spatial reasoning through mathematics and maximize students' opportunities to learn spatial reasoning by focusing on teacher learning and situative contexts.

Current research fellowship: I work with Dr. Annie Wilhelm on the McDonnell Foundation-funded Understanding How Elementary Teachers Take Up Discussion Practices to Promote Disciplinary Learning and Equity project, which aims to support teachers' learning about and use of classroom discourse. We consider responsiveness in research-practice partnerships when developing relationships with schools to support teacher learning and practice. I have also contributed to the NSF-funded Measuring Early Mathematical Skills project with Dr. Leanne Ketterlin Geller by developing and implementing spatial reasoning cognitive interview protocols with K-2 students, and using qualitative analysis to support the empirical recovery of the underlying learning progression.

Professional experience: I served the Dallas Independent School District as a special education teacher, assistant principal, and interim principal between 2010 and 2019. I also worked in the private industry as a regional sales manager for two education technology start-ups, facilitating the implementation of assessment services and paperless document management systems.

Sunil Prajapati

Sunil Prajapati University of Texas at Austin, M.S. Mechanical Engineering

University of Texas at Austin, B.S. Mechanical Engineering





Tiffini Pruitt-Britton

Tiffini Pruitt-Britton

University of Houston, M.Ed. Curriculum and Instruction

Chadron State College, B.S. Mathematics

Research interest(s): My research interest is in culturally responsive teaching and funds of knowledge for students of color in mathematics. Tiffini's research focuses on the examination and development of tools for teachers to enact practices that attend to student backgrounds.

Current research fellowship: Currently a graduate research assistant for the Validation of the Equity and Access Rubrics for Mathematics Instruction (VEAR-MI) project with Dr. Annie Wilhelm. This NSF project's primary goal is validating the EAR-MI, a new measure created to capture a series of practices targeted to support historically marginalized students in gaining access to and equitable inclusion in rigorous mathematical activities.

Professional experience: Includes teaching College Algebra, AP Calculus, and Pre-AP Precalculus for Dallas/Fort Worth area high schools, Tarrant County College, North Central Texas College, and Texas Wesleyan University as well as being a Teaching Assistant for Southern Methodist University in Culturally Responsive Teaching.

Dayna Russell Freudenthal

Mount Saint Joseph's University, M.A. Reading Science

Wellesley College BA Psychology & American Studies

Marc Sager

Marc Sager

Missouri State University, M.S. Elementary Education

Texas A&M University, B.S. Agricultural Economics

Research interest(s): My research interests integrate three topics: a) data science education, b) informal STEM learning, and c) research practice partnerships.

Current research fellowship: I am working on the WalkSTEM project with Dr. Candace Walkington and Dr. Tony Petrosino, West Dallas STEM School science curriculum with Dr. Jeanna Wieselmann, and the UTeach and NYC DOE CS4ALL Research Practice Partnership with Dr. Petrosino and his colleagues at the University of Texas-Austin.

Professional experience: Previously worked in management within the processed food manufacturing sector and was an agricultural science teacher and FFA advisor.

Claire Trotter

Claire Trotter

University of Colorado - Colorado Springs, M.S. Biology

Southern Methodist University, B.A. Psychology and B.S. Applied Physiology and Health Management

Research interest(s): Alterations to cardiovascular control in females with multiple sclerosis at rest and during stress.

Current research fellowship: I work under advisement of Scott L. Davis, PhD in the Integrative Physiology Laboratory. I am funded by a Fairess Simmons Graduate Fellowship, a University PhD Fellowship and a graduate teaching assistantship in the Department of Applied Physiology and Wellness.

Professional experience: Prior to entering this program, I completed a Master's of Science in Biology at University of Colorado - Colorado Springs where I worked as a graduate teaching and research assistant. My thesis research investigated the effects of skin temperature on the ability to tolerate blood loss in individuals who had previously been exercising in hot environments.

Ching-Yu Tseng

Ching-Yu Tseng

University of Minnesota - Twin Cities, M.A. Educational Psychology, Learning and Cognition

National Central University, B.A. Business Administration/Finance

Research interest(s): Computational Thinking, Game-Based Learning, and Mathematic Thinking. Exploring the learning effects of fostering computational thinking (CT) within game-based learning environments and how CT skills benefit students in the STEM fields.

Current Fellowship: I am currently working on the STEM+C project with Dr. Leanne Ketterlin Geller in Research in Mathematics Education (RME) lab. We aim to combine interdisciplinary expertise from learning scientists, game designers, and computer scientists to integrate computational thinking into STEM education within a commercial game, Minecraft.

Professional experience: I had been a math teacher for over ten years in the after-school program. My expertise is in solving students' learning difficulties in math. While studying in the master's program, I developed research skills, including designing and conducting experiments in middle school classrooms, data coding, and analysis skills.

Kuo Wang

Kuo Wang

University of Electro, M.E. Software Design

Senshu University, B.A. Information Management

Research interest(s): My research interest includes online learning, automated measurement, and data analysis of assessment. My current research focuses on the automated measurement of oral reading fluency with prosodic features using deep learning.

Current research fellowship: I am a third-year Ph.D. student and research assistant. I am working on different research projects with different researchers who come from different institutions. According to the project, I am using both R language and Python language in my research. I am enjoying my research, especially cooperating with the other researchers.

Professional experience: I have worked both in Japan and China as a software design manager and a professional developer of software systems. I have nearly 20 years of career in the field of business software development and gained extensive knowledge and experience in relative areas.

Julianna Washington

Southern Methodist University, M.Ed. Education (focus in STEM Education)

The University of Texas at Austin, B.A. Economics

Research interest(s): I am interested in and research the effects of technology on how people learn STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math). My interests revolve mostly around high school students learning and pre-service and in-service teachers' experiences with technology. Specifically, I look at Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR), and iPads. My work primarily draws on embodied and distributed theories of cognition and gestures. I have also conducted research with Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Current Fellowship: I am a Graduate Research Assistant and work primarily with Dr. Candace Walkington on her Augmented Reality (AR) Grant. Our research further examines ways to connect mathematical practices with physical motions including gestures, using AR, VR, and motion capture technologies. This grant from the U.S. Department of Education examines how AR technologies can allow students to collaborate using shared holograms of geometric shapes. Additionally, I am currently working with Dr. Anthony Petrosino on one of Candace's National Science Foundation (NSF) grants that studies how STEM walks can help students see the world through the lens of math. This team is partnering with nine Dallas learning sites, including the Dallas Arboretum, to create and evaluate the effectiveness of STEM walks. Tony, myself, and some colleagues are examining the Research Practice Partnerships (RPPs) within this greater grant. Finally, I have worked on Candace's Artificial Intelligence (AI) grant that collaborated with Rice University.

Professional experience: Prior to beginning at SMU, I served through a partnership with Teach For America (TFA) at a public middle school in the Dallas Independent School District (DISD) as a math and coding teacher. I also served as a Pre-Calculus teacher for Southern Methodist University's (SMU's) summer school program, Upward Bound.

Ann Marie Wernick

Ann Marie Wernick

University of Notre Dame, M.Ed.

University of Notre Dame, B.A. in Political Science

Research interest(s): Practice-based teacher education, teacher induction, coaching models, teaching quality, teacher evaluation systems, and mixed-reality simulations.

Current research fellowship: I currently work with Dr. Paige Ware on Project CONNECT: Creating the Ongoing Network Needed to Engage Communities and Teachers (Department of Education, Office of English Language Acquisition). I engage with the project as a protocol developer, data collector, and data analyst. Additionally, I collaborate in development of online modules and pre-/post-testing measures using mixed reality simulation and reflection.

Professional experience: Prior to entering this program, I served as a classroom teacher and instructional coach for seven years. During that time, I taught middle school English Language Arts and History. I also worked as a coach for pre-service teachers and a curriculum writer.

Mai Zaru

Mai Zaru

University of Florida, M.Ed. Reading Education

Brigham Young University, B.S. Special Education

Research interest(s): Experience in teaching both elementary and secondary students with learning difficulties in Palestine led me to explore policies and interventions that revolve around home literacy practices of refugee families. Thus, my primary research interest is on using dialogic reading interventions to support students who experienced childhood trauma.

Current Fellowship: I am currently working with Dr. Al Otaiba and the team on Project GROW, a dialogic reading intervention. Alongside my colleagues, my role as a graduate research assistant entails developing scripted lesson plans with extended types of questions, in addition to synthesizing bodies of literature around literacy interventions for students who experience difficulties learning to read.

Professional experience: Prior to entering this program, I worked as a research assistant, co-taught three undergraduate classes (e.g., Multicultural Education in Special Education), and was a special education teacher for students with learning disabilities.