2021 News

Faculty and Staff Notes: Spring 2021

The College of Education's faculty members are actively engaged in research and other scholarly activities, including service to the University, the community and the field of education. Learn about the accomplishments and achievements of our faculty and staff during the Spring 2021 semester.

To submit information for a future issue of College of Education Faculty and Staff Notes, please contact Elizabeth Engasser at eengasser@usf.edu.

Vonzell Agosto

Associate Professor Vonzell Agosto, PhD, served as an expert in news stories published by Fox 13 Tampa Bay and WUSF that discuss the role of Critical Race Theory in civics education. In each article, Dr. Agosto discusses what Critical Race Theory is, its role in education and how the theory connects with the concept of intersectionality.

Ilene Berson

Professor Ilene Berson, PhD, served on the Pedagogy for Constitutional Democracy Task Force of the Educating for American Democracy, which recently published the “Educating for American Democracy Roadmap and Report.” The publication is an inquiry-based framework that provides guidance about best practices for teaching integrated K-12 history and civics for today’s learners.

Marie Byrd

Associate Professor Marie Byrd, EdD, received a USF Interdisciplinary Research Grant for the research project “Artfully Inclusive Manatee (AIM) Project: Addressing Racial Disparities in Elementary School Suspensions by Teaching Arts Integrated Social Awareness and Conflict Resolution Skills to Children.” The grant was awarded to Dr. Byrd and research team members Sandra Stone, PhD, and Denise Davis-Cotton, EdD.

Dr. Byrd was also the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus’s recipient of the USF Foundation’s 2021 Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Dr. Kathleen Moore Faculty Excellence Award. Established in 2007, the WLP Faculty Excellence Award Program provides annual grants to USF faculty whose research and creative efforts focus on women and issues affecting women. Dr. Byrd received the award in recognition of her research topic, the social and emotional Learning of Black girls.

Ann Cranston-Gingras

Professor Ann Cranston-Gingras, PhD, was featured in an article published by Florida Public Media/WUSF titled “Finding the Lost Children of Migrant Farmworkers.” In the article, Dr. Cranston-Gingras discusses the United States’ Migrant Education Program and the challenges that children of migrant farmworker families face when trying to get their education.

Darlene DeMarie

Associate Professor Darlene DeMarie, PhD, was appointed to serve on the Committee on Children, Youth and Families by the Board for the Advancement of Psychology in the Public Interest of the American Psychological Association.

Dr. DeMarie is also USF’s Fulbright Faculty Advisor. In this role, Dr. DeMarie helped USF maintain its status as a top 10 producer of Fulbright scholars for the 2020-21 academic year. This is the sixth year in a row USF has received this recognition.

Sara Flory

Associate Professor Sara Flory, PhD, was awarded a Fulbright Scholar award to Malta. Faculty who receive Fulbright awards are given the opportunity to travel abroad, explore new perspectives, establish new international collaborations and potentially discover new breakthroughs that can have a global impact. Dr. Flory will leave for her Fulbright program this Fall.

Lisa Lopez

Associate Professor Lisa Lopez, PhD, was appointed to the Steering Committee of Providing Opportunities for Women in Education Research (POWER). The mission of POWER is to connect, support and advocate for those researchers who identify as women or non-binary in the fields of education and child development.

In addition to this role, Dr. Lopez is also completing a two-year term as chair of the Society for Research in Child Development’s Latinx Caucus and was appointed to a four-year term on the Society for Research in Child Development’s Ethnic and Racial Issues Committee.

Dr. Lisa Lopez was also the lead author on an article published in the Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology titled “Examining Heterogeneity Among Latino Dual Language Learners' School Readiness Profiles of English and Spanish at the End of Head Start.

LaSonya Moore

Assistant Professor LaSonya Moore, EdD, received a mini service grant from the Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg for a project focused on building equitable learning and literacy in the St. Petersburg community. As part of the project, the research team is helping broaden students’ literacy skills through family involvement, developing a network for parents and assisting in the development of partnerships between local families and the community.

Terry Osborn

Professor Terry Osborn, PhD, co-authored a new book titled “The Art and Science of Teaching: An Introduction to American Education.” The book, co-authored by Timothy J. Reagan, provides students with a broad introduction to teaching and education in contemporary U.S. society and was published by Kendall Hunt Publishing Company.

Ruthmae Sears

Associate Professor Ruthmae Sears, PhD, published an article that was featured on the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s website for Advancing Research & Innovation in the STEM Education of Preservice Teachers in High-Need School Districts (ARISE). The article, “Reimagining the STEM Education Pipeline for Teachers of Color,” was co-authored by Naomi Jessup, PhD, and Lou Matthews, PhD, and provides recommendations for rethinking the STEM teacher pipeline.

Dana Thompson Dorsey
Ruthmae Sears

Associate Professor Ruthmae Sears, PhD, and Dana Thompson Dorsey, PhD, endowed chair of Education Innovation and director of the David C. Anchin Center, are part of an interdisciplinary research team that will assist the city of St. Petersburg in identifying structural racism and making recommendations on how to address the multi-faceted issue.

The study will help identify which specific areas may require additional emphasis, such as to curriculum changes in poor performing schools, eliminating biases to imprisoning Black individuals and addressing fair housing issues, salary inequity and increased morbidity and mortality rates. The team is expected to present their findings to the St. Peterburg City Council this summer and hope their results can be used as a national model for eliminating systemic racism.

Patriann Smith

Assistant Professor Patriann Smith, PhD, was invited to sit on the panel of an invited speaker session during an AERA Presidential Session at the American Educational Research Association’s Annual Meeting in April. The panel will discuss mechanisms for disrupting stagnancy in bilingual teachers.

Dr. Smith was also featured in an episode of “In Conversation with Stephen Hurley,” a podcast that explores trends and issues throughout the education ecosystem. The episode, “A (Trans)Raciolinguistic Approach for Literacy Classrooms,” previews a presentation she will give at the 2021 Shifting Linguistic Landscapes Conference hosted by the University of Calgary on April 26.

Dr. Smith is also a co-principal investigator on a research team that recently received a United States Agency for International Development (USAID) grant for the project “Caribbean Education Research Initiative (CERI).” The project, led by Principal Investigator Joel Warrican from the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Barbados, will focus on research and capacity-building activities to expand research in curricular areas such as literacy, mathematics and science while emphasizing decolonizing pedagogies and methodologies in and for students in the Caribbean region. The project will be housed in the David C. Anchin Center for the Advancement of Teaching at USF’s Tampa campus.

Sara Smith

Assistant Professor Sara Smith, PhD, was selected to receive the Excellence in Innovation Award, an annual award that recognizes USF faculty for their efforts in taking inventions to market through the creation of new startups, commercialization to their new technologies and advancing the research and development process through publishing their work in prestigious journals and securing competitive grants to support their projects. Dr. Smith was recognized for her invention “Multimedia Augmented Reality Vocabulary Learning” (MARVL), an application that aims to reduce literacy barriers and improve vocabulary instruction for English language and dual-language learners.

Jennifer Wolgemuth

Associate Professor Jennifer Wolgemuth, PhD, was appointed as President of the Florida Educational Research Association (FERA). FERA is a professional association that promotes the investigation, research and discussion of educational problems and issues impacting the state of Florida. FERA is an affiliated member of the American Educational Research Association through the Consortium of State and Regional Educational Research Associations.