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SCHOLAR POST-GRADUATION PLANS

A number of the NCLII Scholars in Cohort 1 will be graduating from their programs over the next few months. Many of them have been applying and interviewing for jobs, and we are thrilled to announce their new positions below. Congratulations for a job well done, scholars!

Gina Braun has accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Special Education at Rockford University. This small liberal arts school is located about an hour outside of Chicago in a largely populated and diverse community. Mrs. Braun will be the sole Special Education faculty member at RU with a primary focus on teaching. Over the next three years, she will be redeveloping their program for both undergraduate and graduate students to submit for accreditation. Mrs. Braun also plans to align her research with teacher preparation as she works towards involving the community in the development of the programs.

Lisa Anne Didion will join the faculty at the University of Iowa as an Assistant Professor in the Fall of 2019. Currently, her research is focused on self-determination to improve academic and behavior outcomes for elementary students with high-incidence disabilities. Other research areas of interest include teacher learning, professional development, and methodology.

Sam Gesel will be moving to Charlotte, NC to begin a tenure-track faculty position at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. As Assistant Professor of Special Education, Sam’s research will target (a) reading interventions for students who have demonstrated persistent reading difficulties and (b) teacher training in data-based decision-making practices that link assessment data to reading intervention content. In her first year, Sam will teach reading assessment courses each semester, which will provide the opportunity to translate this research for UNC-Charlotte’s undergraduate pre-service teachers in both special and general education.

Skip Kumm will be a Postdoctoral Fellow in the University of Alabama’s College of Special Education and Multiple Abilities. In his position, Skip will work with Dr. Kristine Jolivette to research educational, behavioral, and mental health interventions for youth involved with the juvenile justice system. The fellowship will provide Skip with the opportunity to work with staff and youth from juvenile justice facilities around the country and to disseminate research on evidence-based interventions for court-involved youth.

Rachel Kunemund has accepted a position as the Richmond Teacher Residency Special Education Residency Coordinator and Career Coach. Rachel will provide training and support for special education residents and their clinical resident coaches in central Virginia. She will serve as the liaison between the Center for Teacher Learning at VCU and public schools for the implementation of a special education track in these public school systems, supporting and assessing special education residents and clinical residency coaches.

Katherine Ledbetter-Cho has accepted a position as a tenure-track assistant professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas State University. Beginning in the fall, Katherine will teach courses in the university’s autism/applied behavior analysis concentration and work in the Clinic for Autism Research, Evaluation, and Support (CARES). She looks forward to continuing her research which examines technology-based interventions for individuals with autism that are feasible for practitioners to implement.

Amanda Martinez-Lincoln was awarded an Academic Pathways Postdoctoral Fellowship at Vanderbilt University. She will be working under the mentorship of Dr. Laurie Cutting to bridge her imaging research background with her academic training in the field of special education. Amanda’s research will focus on the examination of underlying neural mechanisms involved in reading comprehension in students with reading difficulties.

Caitlyn Majeika will begin as a tenure track Assistant Professor in the Educational Psychology department of the University of North Texas (Go Mean Green!!). Caitlyn will teach undergraduate and graduate special education courses while continuing to develop her research lines. These lines include (a) developing and implementing function-based behavioral interventions for students with or at-risk for emotional or behavioral disorders, and (b) training teachers to use a data-based decision-making process to adapt and intensify behavioral supports.

Brittany Pennington will be working as Research Coordinator for the Disability Services Division of the Minnesota Department of Human Services in Saint Paul, MN. She will develop and oversee research related to improving outcomes for people with disabilities in Minnesota, and she will use research results to recommend changes to legislation and funding.

Beth Pokorski will begin a position as a post-doctoral researcher with the Supporting Transformative Autism Research (STAR) grant, an interdisciplinary autism research initiative at the University of Virginia (UVA). During this experience, Beth will continue her research on interventions for young children with autism, support pre-service practitioners in acquiring the skills necessary to be effective service providers, and provide diagnostic, intervention, and support services to children, families, and the surrounding community. She is excited to collaborate with UVA faculty, staff, and students to support children with autism and to continue moving the field of special education research toward positive change.

Samantha Walte will be an Assistant Professor in the Department of Special Education of the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Louisville. Her teaching and research focus will be on students with moderate and severe disabilities.