March 2020
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Lourdes Heslep headshot
Lourdes Heslep joins the College of Education as a senior office specialist after working at the College of Public Health for four years. She holds a Bachelor of Communications and Media Arts and is a mother of quadruplets – two boys and two girls - who are 19 years old and freshmen in college. A devoted Wildcat, she and her family have men’s basketball season tickets and they try to make it to every game. She is thrilled to be a part of the Department of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies Department and is enjoying working with the Early Childhood Education, Elementary Education, Literacy, Learning, and Leadership, and Teach Arizona programs.
Meg Cota headshot
Meg Cota is an assistant professor of practice who joined the Department of Educational Policy Studies and Practice in January. She will be leading the coordination and management of the M.Ed. program and administrative certifications. Cota is a Tucson native and proud Wildcat, who comes to us with over 20 years of experience working in the education field. She has served the Tucson community as both a teacher and principal in K-12 public school settings and has served schools across the state in her previous role as an education program specialist with the Arizona Department of Education . Meg has expertise in working with varied school contexts, diverse student populations, and working with schools in improvement status. She is excited to share her knowledge and experience with students as they prepare for future leadership roles.
Kevin Henry and Demarcus Jenkins honored with JV Educational Leadership Awards
Congratulations to Assistant Professors Kevin Henry and Demarcus Jenkins on being honored with the JV Educational Leadership Award for providing outstanding leadership within the field of higher education!

JV Educational’s nominations focus on educational and enthusiastic technique, contribution to student retention, dedication to their discipline through scholarly advancements, and more. Henry and Jenkins exemplify excellence in education.

They will receive their awards at JV Educational's 18th Annual International Males of Color Empowerment and Retention Conference later this year in October.
Kevin Henry headshot
Demarcus Jenkins headshot
Michelle Perfect accepted into SBM Leadership Institute
Congratulations to Associate Professor Michelle Perfect on being accepted into the Society of Behavioral Medicine Leadership Institute !
The purpose of the SBM Leadership Institute is to turn participant fellows into more effective leaders by fostering self-awareness and the development of leadership skills. At the conclusion of the year-long institute, both Perfect and the college will benefit from her experience in the program.

Throughout the year she will assess and deepen her inherent leadership qualities; acquire skills, such as managing collaborative teams, influencing, and mentoring; connect with other mid-career professionals who share a desire to become highly effective leaders; and learn from and be mentored by leaders in the field of behavioral medicine.

Learn more about the SBM Leadership Institute at .
Sunggye Hong selected as Fulbright Scholar

Congratulations to Associate Professor Sunggye Hong on being selected as a 2020-2021 Fulbright Scholar ! Through the program, Hong will conduct an exciting collaborative research project in South Korea that explores the education and employment of persons with visual impairments.
Nicki Kersting headshot
Nicki Kersting receives grant James S. McDonnell Foundation

Associate Professor Nicki Kersting received a significant grant from the James S. McDonnell Foundation for continuing research on teachers as learners. The grant will allow Kersting and her team to learn more about how teachers think, learn and adapt their work within the context of diverse, complex, ever-changing educational systems. The college has been working to receive a grant from the McDonnell Foundation for more than 20 years so congratulations to Nicki and her talented team for their terrific grant proposal.
Renée Clift receives Duaine C. Lang Distinguished Mentor Award

Congratulations to Professor Renée Clift on receiving the Duaine C. Lang Distinguished Mentor Award from the Association of Teacher Educators ! She was recognized at the 2020 ATE Annual Meeting in Atlantic City, New Jersey last month. 
Vanessa Perry headshot
Vanessa Perry nominated as finalist for UArizona Five Star Faculty Award

Assistant Professor of Practice Vanessa Perry was a finalist for the University of Arizona Five Star Faculty Award. Although she was not selected, she is honored that her students thought it important to honor her efforts. Her nominators especially highlighted her test preparation activities and her general care for student well-being and success. Congratulations, Vanessa, and thanks for all that you do for our students!
Woman looking at showcased art in WOW
Worlds of Words exhibit features a visual conversation between two Caldecott illustrators

Brutal honesty connects award-winning illustrators Juana Martinez-Neal and Molly Idle . A new exhibit of original illustrations and picturebooks puts this partnership front and center at the Worlds of Words . Critique to Support and Stretch: A Conversation between Juana Martinez-Neal and Molly Idle is free and open to the public who are encouraged to take in the exhibit and engage in visual critique.

“Many people connect response and revision to the writing process. This exhibit provides a demonstration of how response and revision occur within the illustration process and of the ways in which illustrators can work together in a generative partnership. The visual conversation in this exhibition is engaging and insightful,” says Kathy Short , Professor of Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies and Director of WOW.

The exhibit contains two parts. The first shows parallel works by the artists, pairing pieces together to showcase moments such as early work, most personal work and approaches to similar experiences or topics. The second part directly connects the ways in which their advice influenced specific pieces.

Critique to Support and Stretch includes hands-on activities around critique and the elements of art. It will be on display in Worlds of Words now through August with a reception including appearances by the illustrators from 4:30 to 6 p.m. on April 16. The collection is free to visit and open to the public from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday-Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays. RSVP for the reception or schedule a guided tour by emailing .
TLS Graduate Student Colloquy issues call for proposals

The Department of Teaching, Learning, and Sociocultural Studies is issuing a call for proposals for their 33 rd Graduate Student Colloquy. They are looking for proposals related to interdisciplinary approaches to research, teaching, and learning for social justice. Proposals are due by March 16. Learn more and submit your proposal at
TLS Colloquy event flyer
Yogi with sunset in the background
Head outdoors with the Cooper Campus Outreach Team

The Cooper Campus Outreach Team has several exciting events coming up. If you’re interested in sustainability and nature, these are for you!

Sunset Hike and Yoga
Join the Cooper Center for Sunset Hike and Yoga event on Saturday, March 28! Join us this Saturday at 3:30 p.m. for an hour of hiking followed by an hour of yoga.
This event is FREE to all students at The University of Arizona. Free transportation to the Cooper Center is available. RSVP at . Can't make it in March? Join them on April 18!
The Muir Trek
The Muir Trek is a sunrise-to-sunset journey on March 20-21 through a natural wild place no one knows. The trek is inspired by explorer and Sierra Club founder John Muir, who would head into the wilds of nature seeking only the richness of the day rather than a set destination. The goal of a Muir Trek is an internal one -- to be conscious and joyful in being outdoors in direct contact with the earth. The experience begins Friday evening with dinner and opening activities at Camp Cooper and then the trek itself takes place from sunrise to sunset on Saturday. Participants sleep at Camp Cooper Friday night and then wake up early for the trek. The cost is $35, which covers meals and instructor fees. There is limited space so register soon! Registration is available at .

Eco T-Shirt Design Contest and Scholarship
The Cooper Campus Outreach Team are teaming up with local sustainable apparel store Fed By Threads again to launch a 100% recycled material t-shirt design contest. Participants will create a design related to  climate change and the global apparel industry. The winning design will be printed on sustainable, ethically made t-shirts and the artist will win a $500 scholarship. The contest is open to any student at The University of Arizona and submissions are due by March 15. Email to learn more.
Educational Psychology faculty and graduate students present at 4 th Annual Conference for Academic Research in Education

Last week, Educational Psychology faculty and graduate students presented at the fourth annual CARE conference in Las Vegas. Presenters included Sergio Castro (EDP doctoral program), Lauren Pierce (EDP doctoral program), Victoria Rodriguez (EDP M.A. program), Alexander Tucci (Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences doctoral program) and EDP faculty members Assistant Professor Monica Erbacher , Assistant Professor of Practice Elizabeth Pope , and Assistant Professor of Practice Eric Smith . They presented four research projects that explore mechanisms underlying academic entitlement (the expectation of favorable academic outcomes regardless of performance), the function of entitlement behaviors and attitudes as a coping mechanism in a high pressure academic environment, the expression of academic entitlement across class years, and instructional interventions designed to address behaviors associated with academic entitlement.
Elizabeth Pope and Lauren presenting poster
Monica Victoria and Sergio presenting poster
Laura and Mariagracia with EQRC banner
Examining the work of Arizona educators working with DACAmented college students

Last week undergraduate students Laura Juarez and Mariagracia Rodriguez presented at the Ethnographic and Qualitative Research Conference . The presentation, titled Negotiating Policy and Discourse: The Daily Work of Educators Working with DACAmented College Students in Arizona , was centered around their case study that examined responses by four Arizona higher education institutions to changes in DACA legislation. Drawing on retention and graduation data across the institutions, immigration and DACA-related policies, public discourse in the media, and interviews with DACA students and educators who work with them, they found that DACA enrollment has substantially decreased after the rescinding of DACA and the passing of AZ Prop 3 due to the financial and health stress caused by these policies. They also found that educators, while often confused by the intersecting and changing policies, were still adept at connecting DACAmented students to networks of resources both in and outside of the institutions.
blaine smith
Understanding research on emergent bilinguals and digital multimodal composition in secondary classrooms

Associate Professor Blaine Smith recently published an article titled Emergent bilingual students and digital multimodal composition: A systematic review of research in secondary classrooms in Reading Research Quarterly. In the article, which was co-authored with University of Florida Assistant Professor Mark Pacheco and TLS doctoral candidate Mariia Khorosheva, they analyzed 70 studies to understand key findings and characteristics of the existing research. They also discuss critical new directions for future research examining how teachers can support emergent bilingual students to effectively communicate and learn with digital technology.

Smith, B. E., Pacheco, M. B., & Khorosheva, M. (2020). Emergent Bilingual Students and Digital Multimodal Composition: A Systematic Review of Research in Secondary Classrooms. Reading Research Quarterly.
Evaluating findings from new mental health counseling program

Assistant Professor Lia Falco ’s article titled Process Evaluation of a Training Model for School-Based Mental Health , which was co-authored with her UROC AWARDSS mentee, Valeria Chavez German, was accepted for publication in the Journal for Social Action in Counseling and Psychology. The article presents findings from the early phase program evaluation of Talk it Out , a partnership between the college’s counseling program and TUSD that provides free mental health counseling services to any enrolled student or family member using a practicum training model. To prepare future counselors for social justice roles, it is important for graduate training programs to assist students in developing competencies to intervene at broader levels. By implementing a program within the community that is being served, the training model described in this article provides graduate students in counseling with an opportunity to translate their academic knowledge into real-world contexts.
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Olivia Morris headshot

Name : Olivia Morris
Major : Mild to Moderate Special Education
Expected graduation : May 2020
Hometown : Eden Prairie, MN
What led you to the University of Arizona to study mild to moderate disabilities in the College of Education?
I have wanted to be a special ed teacher since third grade and was very interested in the University of Arizona’s Mild to Moderate program because of how much practicum experience students get. I came for a campus tour my junior year of high school and met with Dr. Toni Sparks . Hearing her talk about the program immediately made me visualize myself at the U of A and after that, I couldn't see myself going to college anywhere else.

Tell us about something you're involved with in the College of Education (or at the university) and how it's impacted your life.
I am president of Best Buddies inclusion club , a leader for college Young Life, help run a bible study and work part time as a tutor for the athletic department as well as was the philanthropy chair for Delta Gamma . All of the activities I've been involved with on campus and within the College of Education have greatly benefited my ability to time manage, my personable skills, and my ability to work with a team. Overall, they have all positively impacted my teaching ability and will help me impact the lives of others to a greater degree, which is my main goal in life.

What are your post-graduation plans as of now?
I plan on spending one more summer working at a camp for individuals with disabilities and diagnosed differences before I begin teaching. After that, my hope is to teach high school special ed in either a life skills classroom or a transition program. I have a fantastic teaching opportunity in Scottsdale, so there is a high chance I will end up there!

What advice do you have for students just getting started in the college?
College is a time for astronomical growth- if you allow it! Get out of your comfort zone, get involved in every way you can, get to know your professors (the COE faculty are INCREDIBLE!), and try as many new things as you can. For the COE specifically, ask for help and know there really is not a 'dumb' question, 9.9 times out of 10, more than one other person has the same question. Regardless though, everyone is there to learn and you should take advantage of the resources the College of Education provides.

What is your favorite spot on campus and why?
My favorite spot on campus is the mall, especially on sunny days. I think the University itself is stunning and being surrounded by both mountains and palm trees is wonderful. It's a great place to study, hang out with friends, or eat lunch and just take a break! I love how it can go from incredibly busy to quiet and peaceful in less than 15 minutes.