Seven outstanding graduate students at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education (GGSE) have been named Dean’s Council Scholars for 2010-11. The School’s Dean’s Council, whose members provide leadership, counsel, and financial support, recognizes that many potential students, confronted with the rising cost of graduate education, are finding it impossible to follow their dreams of becoming teachers, psychologists, special educators, or educational researchers. To help these students, the Dean’s Council members pledge money to provide fellowships that enable students to dedicate themselves to full-time study and help the Gevirtz School continue to attract the best graduate students.
“Attracting and retaining the best and brightest graduate students to be the next generation of teachers, researchers, school leaders, and psychologists becomes more difficult every year. Without the special support from the Dean’s Council we would not be competitive in offering the very special Gevirtz School experience to deserving students,” says Dean Jane Close Conoley. “These young people represent our best hope for the future of public education and community service throughout California and the nation.”
The 2010-11 GGSE Dean’s Council Scholars, each receiving a $2,000 fellowship, are Christopher Agh, Alena Avedissian, Sara Cooley, Monica Dabos, Kamaria Heru, Jennica Rebelez, and Louisa Wood.
Christopher Agh is a credential candidate in the Teacher Education Program, working on a single subject credential in mathematics. After finishing a BS in mathematics at Cal Poly SLO, he decided to continue his studies in graduate school at UCSB with hopes of becoming a college professor. (He earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from UCSB in 2003.) As a teaching assistant during graduate school, Agh saw many students in classes where they had only a vague understanding of the foundations of math that led up to that point. This gap in knowledge made him think about teaching high school and helping students develop a deeper math base in order for them to achieve more academically during their college years. After working a few years working in industry as a systems analyst in an engineering firm, Agh is now pursuing a teaching credential in hopes of closing some of the mathematical learning gap in adolescent students.
Alena Avedissian is a credential candidate in the Teacher Education Program (Preliminary Level I Education Specialist: Moderate/Severe Credential). This past June she finished the TEP program with a Masters and MST credential, then decided to extend into ESC this year due to her interest in special education. While working on her MST credential, Avedissian student taught at Washington Elementary in a Kindergarten and 4th grade class. She is now student teaching at Monroe Elementary in a 3rd-6th grade special day class under a former Gevirtz School ESC student.
Sara Cooley is pursuing a Ph.D. through the Department of Education. Her emphasis is in Cultural Perspectives and Comparative Education; Cooley is also pursuing an emphasis in Feminist Studies and Global Studies. She received a Masters in Educational Counseling from Cal Poly, SLO and a Bachelors degree in History from Mills College. In winter 2010. Cooley was one of 20 women students chosen from across the nation to participate in a practicum conducted by the Commission on the Status of Women at United Nations headquarters in New York City, which offered an opportunity to observe how the United Nations works to address issues requiring multilateral engagement and coordinated action. Cooley’s current research interests include motherhood, political representation, identity construction, and advocacy education.
Monica Dabos is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Education’s Teaching and Learning emphasis. Dabos, born in Argentina, started college at the age of 32 without even knowing English. Her first course was English as a Second Language and now, she is almost done with her doctorate degree. Dabos’ current area of research focuses on the pedagogical content knowledge necessary for teaching statistics. Her population of study is two-year college mathematics professors, particularly because only two percent of those teaching mathematics at two-year colleges have a degree in statistics, making the teaching and learning of statistics challenging. Her hope is to further understand mathematics professors’ conceptions of variation, which is the core knowledge of statistics. With a deepened understanding of instructors’ statistical conceptions, she hopes to close a gap that seems to exist in current research. Most of the research into statistics education at two-year colleges focuses on students’, rather than instructors’, conceptions and misunderstanding of statistics.
Kamaria Heru, who grew up mostly in Riverside, California, is currently a first year Counseling Psychology doctoral student as a part of the Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology Ph.D. program. Heru’s original attraction to the program was that she would be able to explore and gain exposure to multiple areas of psychology in attempt to enrich her graduate learning experience. Her previous research explored the affects of success and failure and how it interacts with an individual’s attitude and performance. Her previous work experience includes management and peer counseling with various nonprofit organizations. Heru hopes to further explore the factors that motivate success and failure as well as look at how character education with young children can positively influence one’s self-efficacy and moral participation within society.
Jennica Rebelez, originally from San Diego, California, is a first year doctoral student in School Psychology. Rebelez graduated in 2010 from UC Santa Barbara with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in education. In 2008 she became involved with some research projects assessing low income, at-risk pre-K and Kindergarten students for early identification of literacy and other school readiness skills. She worked as a pre-K TA for 4 years at the Orfalea Children’s center on campus. Her acceptance into the School Psychology Ph.D. program has allowed Rebelez to combine her love of children and passion for helping low income students to prevent academic difficulties, which can be helped with early identification and proper resources. Her research interests include school safety/violence prevention, positive school psychology and resiliency, and academic readiness within populations of low income/disadvantaged youth of diverse backgrounds.
Louisa Wood is a credential candidate in the Teacher Education Program (Preliminary Level I Education Specialist: Moderate/Severe Credential). She also is working towards Masters and Doctoral degrees in Special Education. Wood joined the UCSB community after living for four years in China, where she first served as a Peace Corps volunteer charged with teacher training in the remote province of Gansu and later worked in Beijing as Communications Director for Special Olympics East Asia (while studying with the Beijing Language and Culture University). While working overseas, Wood and her husband co-founded an organization that distributes scholarships to student and teacher writers from some of the poorest regions of western China. Prior to living in China, she worked as an aide and substitute teacher with the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District, where she strengthened her interest in and devotion to Special Education. Louisa, a cellist and member of the Screen Actors Guild, studied Theater and Music at Bates College in Maine, in conjunction with the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
Photo Caption: The 2010-11 Dean's Council Scholars (l-r): Jennica Rebelez, Alena Avedissian, Louisa Wood, Christopher Agh, and Sara Cooley. Not pictured: Monica Dabos and Kamaria Heru.
[The 2010-11 Dean’s Council Scholars are available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
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