Six outstanding graduate students at the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education have been named Dean’s Council Scholars for 2009-10. 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 2009-10 GGSE Dean’s Council Scholars, each receiving a $2,500 fellowship, are Ann Bumby, Graciela Fernandez, Bethany Formal, Lindsey O’Brennan, Cheri Scripter, and Jennifer Twyford.
Ann Bumby is a Teacher Education Program student, working on her Multiple Subject Credential (MST) and M.Ed. A southern California native, Bumby originally attended Colby College in Maine where she first mentored a student and discovered her love of teaching. She transferred to and graduated from UC Santa Cruz, where she worked with disadvantaged students in local elementary schools. Last year she worked for the Santa Barbara branch of AmeriCorps, where she taught literacy to a caseload of students who were learning English, all of whom were economically and educationally disadvantaged. She claims that “each morning in my kindergarten placement, I find new questions, curiosities, motivations, and reasons to continue on this teaching journey.”
Graciela Fernandez is a fifth year Department of Education student in the Cultural Perspectives and Comparative Education emphasis. Born in Salinas, California to immigrant parents from Michoacán, Mexico, she received a B.A. in Sociology and Chicana/o Studies and an M.A. in Education at UCSB. Her research interests are home-school-community partnerships, parent outreach programs, and underrepresented students’ access to higher education. Under the supervision of Dr. Richard P. Duran (advisor), Dr. Jason Raley, and Dr. Tara J. Yosso from the Department of Chicana/o Studies, Fernandez is currently writing her dissertation on a three-year (2005-2008) ethnographic case study of the planning, implementation, and development of Padres Adelante [Parents Moving Forward], a parent outreach program that promotes the college-going knowledge and school engagement of Latinas/os.
Bethany Formal is a Teacher Education Program student, working on her Education Specialist Credential (ESC) and M.Ed. She received her BA from UCSB where she majored in History of Public Policy with a minor in Education. While completing her undergraduate degree, Formal worked as a clinician for the Koegel Autism Center where she received training in Pivotal Response Treatment and positive behavioral practices. She completed her senior thesis on the closure of Camarillo State Hospital where she looked at the deinstitutionalization movement and how it has affected policy towards people with developmental disabilities and mental illness. Formal is currently enjoying student teaching and is thrilled to continue her professional development as an educator. As a future Special Education Teacher, she hopes to work with policy makers to stand as an advocate for individuals with special needs and she desires to expand inclusive practices that will help her students reach their full potential.
Lindsey O’Brennan is a third year Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology student, specializing in school psychology. O’Brennan graduated from Loyola College of Maryland with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She went on to Catholic University of America to receive a Master’s in General Psychology. During that time she worked at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health on a statewide randomized field control study examining Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) in schools. Over the past two years at UCSB O’Brennan has worked with Dr. Michael Furlong on a number of projects including the evaluation of the Safe Schools/Healthy Students (SS/HS) project in Carpinteria, in addition to being the editorial assistant of the Journal of School Violence. She is also the PI on a project examining the impact of PBIS on students’ behavior and social-emotional functioning at a local alternative high school.
Cheri Scripter is a third year Department of Education student in the Educational Leadership and Organizations emphasis. She describes herself as “a band director and a literacy teacher from the Midwest with an incurable case of wanderlust.” Scripter has spent the last twenty years teaching in places like Congo-Brazzaville, Wuhan, China, inner-city Chicago, Oakland, Madison, Maui, and Oregon. She is currently an elementary school music teacher for the Santa Barbara School District. Hoping to work globally with organizations like UNESCO and UNICEF, she knew that she needed an advanced degree, and was attracted by UCSB’s commitment to excellence and the Gevirtz School’s willingness to allow for individualized programs. Upon finishing her degree, she intends to move to sub-Saharan Africa to help empower local education leaders and support indigenous development projects.
Jennifer Twyford is a second year Department of Counseling, Clinical, and School Psychology student, specializing in school psychology. Twyford was attracted to this program at UCSB because of its emphasis on the scientist-practitioner model of applied school psychology, specifically, Dr. Erin Dowdy’s research projects on screening students at-risk for mental health problems in the schools. Her current research projects include validating a screening tool aiding in the early identification of students at-risk for developing behavioral and emotional problems and the influence of protective factors in determining levels of risk for recidivism in the adjudicated youth population. Twyford aspires to pursue research as a university faculty member as well as become a trainer of school psychologists.
[The 2009-10 Dean’s Council Scholars are available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]
Image Caption: The 2009 Dean's Council Scholars (from l to r): Ann Bumby, Graciela Fernandez, Bethany Formal, Lindsey O'Brennan, and Jennifer Twyford. (not pictured: Cheri Scripter). Photo by Nell Campbell.
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