College of Education
Undergraduate mentors in the education fields:
Research Interests: Writing, identity, language learning, PreK-12 grade, learning sciences, coding and multiliteracies.
Bio: Lori Czop Assaf, Ph.D. is a professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She directs the study abroad program to South Africa and conducts research on writing instruction, identity, language learning, computational thinking and literacy coding, and multiliteracies. She teaches reading masters courses and is the program coordinator for the Undergraduate Early Childhood - 6 ESL.
Research Interests: Environmental citizenship, moral and ethical education, sustainability and environmental education, democratic education, citizenship education, social studies education.
Bio: Dr. Chan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Texas State University. Her research focus on teaching and learning about environmental citizenship, and moral and ethical education. She has closely worked with scholars, teachers and students in Taiwan, China and Texas about deliberations of sustainability challenges and controversial issues.
Research Interests: Social Science research in the following areas within an educational psychology framework:
STEM Identity Development (Model Development) specifically in underrepresented students;
Action Research in STEM education across the STEM pipeline;
Social, Emotional, and Cultural Contexts of Talent Development;
Women in STEM - Imposter Syndrome & Stereotype Threat;
STEM Mentoring Across the Lifespan; vertical mentoring.
Bio: Dr. Kristina Henry Collins is the core faculty for Talent Development in Curriculum & Instruction. She completed her Ph.D. and Ed.S. in educational psychology at The University of Georgia Athens, specializing in gifted & creative education (GCE) and educational leadership. She holds a B.S. degree in engineering (The University of Alabama), a M.S.Ed. degree in mathematics (Jacksonville State University), and a military diploma in cryptology & electronic surveillance (USN). She is the President-elect (2018-19) of Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted (SENG) and At-large Board Member for National Association for Gifted Children (NACG). Dr. Collins research interests include STEM identity development in underrepresented students; social, emotional, and cultural (SEC) contexts of talent development; and mentoring across the lifespan. She serves as a peer mentor for LBJ Institute Women Faculty of Color and faculty-mentor facilitator & trainer fo r Texas State's HSI STEM Impact program. She also directs the Mentoring Matters Interdisciplinary Vertical Mentoring program designed to develop and sustain research experiences for underrepresented faculty, graduate students, and undergraduate students within the STEM pipeline. Dr. Collins teaches courses at Texas State related to multicultural gifted education and talent development. Learn more at http://mentoringmatters.wp.txstate.edu.
Research Interests: Dr. Duchaine's research interests include effective instruction for students with and without disabilities across all levels of education, inclusive classrooms, special education, learning and behavioral disabilities, teacher preparation, and how expectations affect individuals. Her current reserach involves hearing and sharing the stories of individuals who live with learning or behavioral difficulties.
Bio: Dr. Ellen L. Duchaine has been involved in special education for 30 years as a teacher, district administrator, PBIS Coach, program director, resarcher, author, international speaker, and university instructor. Dr. Duchaine promotes that:
"Teaching is a science and an art; it is quantitative and qualitative. Research provides evidence; art adds pleasure. Strategies and compassion are essential to provoke critical thinking. Learning is an active process. How we teach makes a difference to whether (or not) students learn."
Research interests: Psychosocial, motivational, and self-regulatory factors for student success, meta-analysis and research synthesis, instructional strategies and feedback, community college students and developmental math, program evaluation and intervention effectiveness, school-to-work transitions and post-secondary pathways.
Bio: Dr. Carlton J. Fong is an Assistant Professor in the Graduate Program in Developmental Education within the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. He completed his Ph.D. and M.A. in Educational Psychology at The University of Texas at Austin and his B.A. in Cognitive Science from the University of California, Berkeley. He also finished a postdoctoral research fellowship in higher education and teaching development. Dr. Fong examines the motivational, psychological, and instructional factors that influence success, achievement, and persistence in postsecondary education, primarily using research synthesis and meta-analytic techniques.
Research Interests: Literacy, language education-- Bilingual/ESL,
global education, critical pedagogy/critical literacy, service learning
Bio: Minda Morren López, PhD, is Associate Professor of Literacy in the College of Education at Texas State University. Dr. López teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in reading, writing, and language acquisition. She has worked with Study Abroad courses in South Africa and Panama and now leads an interdisciplinary Study Abroad course focused on International Human Rights, Social Justice, Education, and Social Work to the Dominican Republic.
Minda began her career in education as a bilingual teacher at Crockett Elementary in the Houston Independent School District. She went on to pilot the TWI/Dual Language program at Helms Elementary and worked in Spring Branch ISD as a bilingual teacher. After finishing her M.Ed. in Second Language Acquisition at the University of Houston, Minda taught at the Escola Pan Americana da Bahia, an international school in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil. She taught ESL at Rice University and worked as an ESL/Bilingual Specialist at the Education Service Center, Region 20. In 2008, Minda completed her Ph.D. in Culture, Literacy, and Language from the University of Texas, San Antonio. Her award winning dissertation examined language ideologies and biliteracy practices in Two-Way Immersion schools in Texas.
She continues mixed-methods research on topics such as equity, ideologies, literacies, language acquisition, multicultural/multilingual education, and teacher development and has over a dozen publications on these topics. She is a service learning fellow and works with international partners in service learning. Recently, Minda has been conducting mixed methods research around literacy leadership including reading specialists who work with diverse students in literacy development and intervention.
Research Interests: Linguistics, language acquisition, multilingualism, sociolinguistics, culturally and linguistically diverse students and pedagogy, languages and cultures of the Middle East and Former Soviet Union.
Bio: Laura Mahalingappa is an Associate Professor of ESL Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction. She earned her doctoral degree in Linguistics with a focus on language acquisition and sociolinguistics from The University of Texas at Austin. She teaches courses on language and language acquisition, multicultural education, and linguistic diversity. She has published articles on the preparation of teachers to support linguistically and culturally diverse learners, language development, and language teaching.
Research Interests: Critical Pedagogy; Race, Class, Gender, & Sexuality in Education; Democratic/Free School Educational Philosophy.
Research Interests: Immigration/Hispanics/Indigenous, Language, race, and education: How these connect and many times jeopardize the education of minoritized students. I'm interested in Hispanic speakers of Spanglish or Tex-Mex, and African American students who speak African American English.
Bio: Dr. Luz Murillo is an educational anthropologist who studies the biliteracy development of indigenous, immigrant, and Latinx children, families, and teachers. A native of Colombia, she earned her doctoral degree in Language, Reading & Culture at the University of Arizona. Professor Murillo has taught courses in reading/writing/literacy, language and culture, and ethnography for bilingual educators at universities in the United States, Mexico, and Colombia. Her research has been published in English, Spanish, and TexMex in journals like Anthropology & Education Quarterly, Language Arts, The Journal of Adult Literacy, and Lectura y Vida.
Research Interests: Culturally responsive teaching, writing and teaching writing, innovations in teaching practice/pedagogy, equity, social justice, and agency.
Bio: I was a middle and high school English, writing, and speech teacher prior to becoming a university professor. I believe that students learn best when they have well-prepared and innovative teachers who draw on technology, culture, and the world around them in their teaching. I am also an advocate for social justice at the core of our teaching, based loosely on Teaching Tolerance's framework for teaching. When teachers allow students to draw from their lived experiences while learning, students have a greater chance of holding on to those lessons and can develop agency and power.
Research Interests: Qualitative Methods, Cultural Contexts of Schooling,
Research Interests: Fine and gross motor skill acquisition in preschool children; The effects of a mastery motivational climate on the acquisition of fine motor skills in young children; School readiness in preschool children.
Bio: Dr. Jenn Ahrens holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Texas, Arlington as well as a master's and doctoral degree from Texas State University. Currently, she is a Clinical Assistant Professor in Exercise Sport Science in the Health and Human Performance Department. She teaches courses in both Motor Development and Motor Learning. In addition to teaching courses related to Motor Behavior, she also does work at Bonham Preschool revolving around motor development.
Research Interests: Outdoor recreation, nature, nature connection, virtual reality, ecological behavior, mindfulness, and place-based education.
Bio: Dr. Deringer is an Assistant Professor in the Recreation Administration division. Prior to academia, Dr. Deringer lead backpacking, climbing, and river trips and was the administrator for several outdoor recreation programs. His work experience inspired him to conduct research in the area of human interactions with nature. Recent research project topics include mindfulness in outdoor recreation, nature connection, and virtual nature experiences.
Research Interests: Sport-related concussion, Head impact biomechanics, Mood, emotion, affect alterations related to sport participation and concussion, Emergency Care of orthopaedic injuries.
Bio: Dr. Fraser is an Assistant Professor in Athletic Training at Texas State University. She completed her doctoral work in the Human Movement Science Curricula at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2016. While at UNC she studied under Dr. Kevin Guskiewicz, who is a world-renowned concussion researcher and author of the Balance Error Scoring System (BESS). Dr Fraser also was able to train with the team neuropsychologists to improve her application skills and clinical understanding of a plethora of neuropsychological tests. Prior to attending UNC-CH she was the assistant athletic trainer and undergraduate athletic training education director at Texas A&M University-Kingsville for nine years. She has experience working with youth, high school, collegiate, and current and retired professional athletes in clinical and research settings. Dr Fraser’s research interests include emergency care in athletic settings and the associations between sport-related repeated subconcussive and concussive head impacts, neuropsychology, and head impact biomechanics.
Research Interests: Outdoor/Adventure Education as a means of teaching adolescents how to modify behavior (adolescent development). Mindfulness in Outdoor settings. Motivation in outdoor/adventure education. Cross-discipline teaching in Outdoor/Adventure Education.
Bio: Translational Health Researcher Profile
Name: Kent Griffin, Ph.D.
Title: Associate Professor
Department: Health and Human Performance
Area(s) of Health Research Expertise
• Adolescent Development through Outdoor/Adventure Education
• Physical Education Teacher Education
• Motivation in Adolescents
General Topics of Recent Research
Physical Activity; Youth leadership; Academic advancement;
Character Education; Self-determinated motivations; At Risk (behaviorally, academically, financially)
Preferred Research Methods
• Quantitative: Survey research. Actilife physical activity assessment; FITNESSGRAM fitness assessment. Structural Equation Modeling.
• Qualitative: Interviews, Focus Groups; Surveys; Content Analysis.
Research Interests: My primary research interest is to evaluate individuals’ post-injury and post-operative functional performance using innovative approaches. I’m also interested in identifying biomechanics risk factors that potentially relate to lower extremity injuries.
Research Interests: My research has explored the health and wellness experiences, as well as the recreation and sports experiences, of college students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) by engaging with various stakeholders at universities and colleges with inclusive postsecondary education (IPSE) programs across the country. My current research is also focused on the generation of best practices for therapeutic recreation service delivery with college students with IDD in IPSE programs, with the long-term goal of establishing the college setting as a new worksite for certified therapeutic recreation specialists (CTRS). With my background in public health, I am interested in the potential impacts CTRS can make at various levels of the socio-ecological model.
Methodologically, I have the most experience with qualitative and mixed methods research. I also have a lot of experience with community-based participatory action research (CBPAR), including the use of photovoice with individuals with IDD, their families, and their communities to explore social inclusion and lack there of, along with the use of Design Thinking and Rapid Prototyping with college students with IDD to explore and build innovations focused on the health and wellness needs of college students with IDD.
I also have research experiences working on large groups of researchers. Through my experiences working within the Institute to Promote Athlete Health and Wellness at the University of North Carolina Greensboro as a doctoral level, graduate research assistant, I gained valuable experiences and skills in regards to collaborating with other researchers and funders (e.g. National Football League Foundation) from all over the country.
Bio: I am currently a tenure-track, Assistant Professor of Therapeutic Recreation in the Department of Health and Human Performance at Texas State University. In May 2020, I completed a doctoral program in the Department of Public Health Education at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. I received my Bachelor's of Science from the University of Florida in recreation programming (2010), and went on to receive my Master's from the University of North Carolina Greensboro in therapeutic recreation (2012).
I served as the Student Support Coordinator at Beyond Academics at the University of North Carolina Greensboro from August 2012 to August 2016. In this position, I supported college students with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD) through the four year Integrative Community Studies certificate program at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. I have served as the Program Coordinator of InFocus Advocacy®, an advocacy organization that works with self-advocates, families, and community partners to enhance the image of people living with a disability, since the organization's inception. Self-advocates with disabilities help InFocus Advocacy® prepare businesses and organizations on how to serve and accommodate people of all abilities, creating inclusive communities where everyone is welcome and valued.
Research interests: Food security, geospatial applications in social justice research, place of geography in STEM education, gender equity in education, and Latin America.
Bio: Dr. Laura Rodriguez Amaya serves as research faculty at the LBJ Institute for STEM Education and Research. In addition she is the Co-I and Assistant Site Director of the NASA Future Aerospace-engineers and Mathematicians Academy project. She has worked in several research projects and publications with undergraduate and graduate students. Her research interests include applications of geospatial technologies in issues of social justice, women in science with a focus on access and equity, and Latin America. She earned her Ph.D. in Environmental Geography in 2014 from Texas State University.