MAY 2021
urtubey_gayle king_jill biden on cbs this morning
We are wrapping up the year, but first...
Last night, we said goodbye to our 2021 graduates as we celebrated with their families via a safe, in-person commencement ceremony in Arizona Stadium.

A hearty congratulations to all our graduates for this accomplishment in an academic year like no other.

While last year’s commencement ceremony was completely virtual, we had a welcome change last night since students were allowed up to four guests to attend the ceremony. All students were required to take a COVID-19 test through the university’s testing system within 72 hours of the ceremony.

More on our stellar award-winning graduates below but, first, we want to tell you that one of our previous impressive graduates, Juliana Urtubey, was just named the 2021 National Teacher of the Year!

The honor was announced on CBS This Morning and included a surprise visit to Uturbey’s school by fellow educator and First Lady Jill Biden.

A special education teacher and learning strategist at Kermit R Booker Elementary School in Nevada, Urtubey graduated from our college in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in bilingual elementary education and in 2011 with a master’s degree in special education. She also was an Erasmus Circle Scholar in the college.

Urtubey is one of only a few special education teachers ever to be recognized as the National Teacher of the Year. As a part of Urtubey’s College of Education program, she studied abroad in Puerto Rico and participated in our Verano en México summer study abroad program. She and other students in the program were instrumental in the founding of Resplandor International in Guanajuato which serves vulnerable children in rural areas.

“Juliana is an exceptional teacher-leader, and we are so proud to have her represent educators from Nevada and across the nation,” said Nevada Superintendent of Public Instruction Jhone Ebert. “It is fitting that Juliana is Nevada’s first-ever National Teacher of the Year, as she exemplifies the values of equity and inclusivity that drive our collective work to support students and families.”

Urtubey's honor was recognized in media across the United States, including this story in Ed Week.

This is just more evidence that we really do graduate the best teachers!
Speaking of stellar graduates

Third-generation Wildcat Brennen Feder, one of our literacy, learning, and leadership students who graduated last night, is the recipient of the University of Arizona’s prestigious Robie Gold Medal. Feder also is an Honors College student who not only received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Education, but also received a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the Eller College of Management.

Feder hopes to become a university president one day and is a member of more than five University of Arizona committees. He served as a member of the college’s Strategic Plan Recruitment Committee. In addition, Feder founded the College of Education Dean's Undergraduate Advisory Board and the Eller LGBTQ+ Advisory Board.

Other leadership roles at the university are too many to mention yet he somehow also managed to volunteer with Saving Animals from Euthanasia animal rescue.

Additionally, Feder conducted research in Educational Psychology Assistant Professor Jonathan Tullis' Cognition and Memory in Education and Learning Lab in the college.

Feder received the 2021 National Collegian of the Year award from the Delta Sigma Pi Professional Business Fraternity, selected out of the 13,000-plus members. He also received the Outstanding Student Organization President Award, earned the Highest Academic Distinction Award, and was one of Eller's 2020 Outstanding Scholars of the Year.

Following graduation, Feder will join Procter & Gamble as a growth analyst. Is it any wonder he already has a job lined up and that he was featured in this news story on Tucson’s ABC affiliate, KGUN-9?
image of generic award
Amazing award recipients

Outstanding Graduate Student
Amanda Cheromiah
Higher Education, Ph.D.

Outstanding Senior
Megan McDevitt
Deaf Studies Program

Department of Disability & Psychoeducational Studies
Outstanding Senior
Deaf Studies
Lori Switzer

Outstanding Senior
Rehabilitation Studies & Services
Lauren Fisher

Outstanding Student Teacher
Mild to Moderate Disabilities
Dylan Balber

Department of Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies
Outstanding Senior
Literacy, Learning & Leadership
Sujey Benavides

Outstanding Student Teacher
Elementary Education
Jessica Roberts

Outstanding Student Teacher
Elementary Education
Diana Teran

Outstanding Student Teacher
Elementary Education Co-Teaching Team
Jessica Borum

Outstanding Student Teacher
Elementary Education Co-Teaching Team
Vanessa Holmes

Outstanding Student Teacher
Early Childhood Education
Shawnee Dixon

Outstanding Student Teacher
Teach Arizona
Rae Richards

Dylan Balber
Jessica Borum
Shawnee Dixon
Vanessa Holmes,
Rae Richards
Jessica Roberts
Diana Teran

Award for Excellence for Student Workers
Victoria Frank

Maria Urquides Laureate
Assistant Professor Karina Salazar
Center for the Study of Higher Education

Outstanding Faculty, Service & Outreach
Assistant Professor Jeremy Garcia
Assistant Professor Valerie Shirley
Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies
UA students celebrating at graduation
Dear Graduates: Welcome!
Message from your Alumni Council

Congratulations to our 2021 graduates! It is our pleasure to welcome you to the College of Education alumni family.

As College of Education alumni, we share a common thread in our professional lives, and we are all actively engaged in serving the public interest.

We invite you to join your fellow alumni in remaining active in our college by becoming a member of the College of Education Alumni Council. You don’t need to live in Tucson to be a member. As a matter of fact, we are looking for representation across the country.

Joining the Alumni Council provides you with the opportunity to stay involved in the college, meet fellow alumni, and support current students. Even if you aren’t able to commit to joining the council at this time, please let us know how to get in touch with you so that we can add you to our Alumni database.

Congratulations again and welcome as a Wildcat for Life!

The 2020-21 Alumni Council
Celebrating our Paul Lindsey interns

Paul Lindsey interns are education students who build leadership and management skills through real-world experiences in their funded work with community outreach programs, museums, and a variety of local agencies. The Paul Lindsey (right) program offers opportunities to undergraduate and graduate students in education who want to explore career options outside the traditional classroom setting. We recognize this year's interns, all of whom had unique and impactful experiences.

Lakyn Kearns: The American Association of University Women
Ricardo Dominguez: SARSEF
Mandy Becker: Bisbee Science Lab
Ess Page: Cooper Center for Environmental Learning
Jinseok Park: Boys & Girls Club Holmes Tuttle Clubhouse
Quinton Tran: CommunityShare
Ruby Valencia: Ironwood Tree Experience

Sujey Benavides: American Heart Association
Nick Noon: Integrative Touch for Kids

Jesus Villarreal: Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson, Steve Daru Clubhouse
Nick Noon: Sahuarita Parks and Recreation
illustration of the words thank you written in the sky
In honor of Teacher Appreciation Week

The college's Tucson Regional Educator Collaborative, along with Ben’s Bells and the Southern Arizona Association for the Education of Young Children, created a virtual Gratitude Wall for Southern Arizona teachers to celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, May 3–7. Messages on the virtual wall honor and show gratitude for educators, staff, or colleagues so the community appreciates their vital work. There’s still time to share a message, so check it out!
the links presenting donation
Linking up with The Links, Incorporated

The college's much-needed Talk It Out program received a generous donation from The Links, Incorporated, Tucson chapter. The contribution provided funds and materials for about 25 play therapy kits for the students and families who use the Talk It Out counseling services. The donation was presented to Talk It Out Director Lia Falco at the Catalina High School Family Resource Center.

The Links, Incorporated, is an international professional organization for women of color. They are committed to service through civic engagement and philanthropic activities to support African Americans and other persons of African ancestry.

A huge THANK YOU to The Links for helping out our program that impacts so many!
colorful letters spelling the word people
Disability & Psychoeducational Studies

Applied Behavioral Analysis Program Director and Assistant Professor of Practice Rebecca Hartzell recently spoke with Tucson’s ABC affiliate, KGUN-9, for this story about the social and emotional effects the pandemic has had on children.

Hartzell also spoke with AZPM’s Arizona 360 about how the transition from extended at-home learning back to in-person instruction has led to anxiety in some children and the role counselors and social workers play in addressing these issues.
Educational Policy
Studies & Practice

Assistant Professor Jameson D. Lopez is the recipient of the University of Arizona Early Career Scholars Award, established to acknowledge outstanding early career faculty who are at the forefront of their disciplines and make highly valued contributions to the teaching, creative activity, and service priorities in the university's Strategic Plan.
Associate Professor Z Nicolazzo was featured in Teen Vogue about an open letter signed by more than 17,300 educators and educational scholars, sent to President Biden in response to the record-breaking, anti-trans legislation being introduced across the country.

Assistant Professor Karina Salazar, whose research on the recruiting practices of colleges and universities is often featured in national media, is the recipient of the 2021 Maria Urquides Laureate Award, which honors outstanding contributions by faculty and academic professionals in bilingual education on behalf of children. The award is named for the Tucson woman who became a leader in spearheading a bilingual-bicultural approach to teaching language and was known as “the mother of bilingual education.”
Dean Marx
Educational Psychology

Dean Emeritus and Professor Ron Marx was featured in this news story in MSN Money about one of the flagship measures (two years of free community college) of President Biden's American Families Plan.
Luis Moll headshot
Teaching, Learning & Sociocultural Studies

Professor Emeritus Luis Moll is one of just eight education researchers across the U.S. elected to the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Valerie Shirley
Assistant Professors Valerie Shirley and Jeremy Garcia, co-directors of the college's Indigenous Teacher Education Program, were honored with our Outstanding Faculty, Service & Outreach Award.
Associate Teacher in Residence Trina Zimmermann is the College of Education's Educator of the Year, which is presented by the Dean's Undergraduate Advisory Board, a group of diverse undergraduate students who represent the voices, concerns, and interests of the student body. The award is selected solely by students, some of whom noted Zimmermann’s ability to make everyone feel welcomed and valued while pushing students to think about challenging topics.
Student Spotlight

College of Education Class of 2021 Outstanding Senior: Megan McDevitt
Major: Deaf Studies
Hometown: Tucson

As the Outstanding Senior of the Class of 2021, what motivated you to excel as a student?
What motivated me most was finally finding the degree program that I loved. The interpreting emphasis inspired me to give my all and motivated me to work as hard as I could to be the best interpreter I can be.

What led you to the college?
The number one reason I chose the College of Education was that the Deaf Studies Interpreting Program is the only four-year ASL interpreting program in the state and one of a handful in the country. I started my undergrad at Northern Arizona University as a pre-nursing major and quickly figured out healthcare wasn’t for me, so I spent countless hours trying to figure out what it was that I had a passion for. What I ultimately found out was that the perfect program for me was back home in Tucson. It was a long meandering road to the College of Education, but I am so grateful for the experiences that brought me to this incredible program.
What have you learned in the College of Education that has made a difference to you?
Something that I learned in the College of Education may seem a little silly, but it made a huge difference for me, was the superman stance. Whenever my classmates and I were having a rough day or feeling down on ourselves about an interpretation, our professor would make us do the Superman stance. She made us stand up, legs strong and apart, hands on hips with chest and head up, and say together, “Stand like a superhero, feel like a superhero, act like a superhero. I CAN DO THIS!” That always made me feel better and helped me learn how to be confident with myself.

What are your post-graduation plans?
My post-graduation plans are to work as an educational interpreter in a public school district. I hope to stay in Tucson, but I’m open to moving if the opportunity arises.

What advice do you have for students just getting started in the College of Education?
Showing up is 90 percent of success. It starts a snowball effect by dragging yourself to that class or those office hours. Once you’ve done that, all the other stuff becomes more manageable and worthwhile. My other piece of advice is, get your education to gain knowledge and understanding, not to gain a GPA. As soon as I let go of always worrying about the grades, I actually started learning and enjoying my classes. Before I knew it, my grades followed suit, too!
Enjoy your summer — one with rain this time, I hope!

Bruce Johnson
College of Education
1430 E. Second Street | P.O. Box 210069 | Tucson, Arizona 85721 | 520-621-1461