Our Students

What Being a High School Dropout Taught Me About Teaching

Editor’s Note: The following piece — written by Neag School doctoral student Kristi Kaeppel — originally appeared on the UConn Graduate Certificate in College Instruction blog

Kristi Kaeppel
Kristi Kaeppel is a doctoral student in the Neag School’s Learning, Leadership, and Educational Policy program with a concentration in Adult Learning.

I recently began working on a project that looks at how teachers form their beliefs and conceptions of teaching. Like so much of learning, it seems teachers’ beliefs develop incidentally through experience and observation. Perhaps we model our beloved high school science teacher or we imagine ourselves rousing students from boredom a la Robin Williams in “Dead Poets Society.”

When I got reflecting on my own conceptions of teaching, it struck me that so much of how I conduct myself as a teacher comes from having been a failing, disengaged student in high school. When I stepped into my first teaching role in Adult Basic Education, my main objective was to avoid creating the kind of educational environment I so loathed as a teenager.

“I spent a long time hiding the fact that I dropped out of high school. … I think I have finally overcome the stigma and can instead turn my early experiences failing in school into a strength.”
— Kristi Kaeppel, Doctoral Student

Two anecdotes illustrate my loss of faith in schooling that led, along with a slew of other factors, to my eventual dropping out of high school. Looking back on them now, they also make good case studies of what NOT to do as an instructor (especially the first):

  • It was sophomore year, and I was just starting to check out of school, but finally, we were reading a book that captivated me: Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. I hadn’t done many of the assignments all year, but I applied myself to an essay assigned on the book with rare enthusiasm and concentration. I was proud of my work and eager for feedback. When I got my paper back, I had failed with a note saying that it was “very, very, well-written” and that I must’ve plagiarized. And like that, I checked back out beyond return.
  • It was senior year. By this time I was merely a seat warmer in school on the rare occasion that I showed up. Again, there was a glimmer of hope in my high school English class as the teacher held up two books — Go Ask Alice, a (in my opinion) poorly written piece of anti-drug propaganda and The Bell Jar, by Sylvia Plath, a masterpiece and (sadly for me since it features a depressed teenager) one of the books I most identified with. The teacher asked the class which one we should read. I think I was the only one who voted for The Bell Jar. This confirmed that I did indeed have nothing in common with my classmates and that I would be better off staying home and reading.
Empty Classroom
“I had curiosity and a love of learning. I just didn’t find a home for it in school,” says Kaeppel. (Thinkstock Photo)

Adolescent angst and arrogance aside, these two stories illustrate some teaching approaches I was determined not to replicate:

First, I would trust my students and give them the benefit of the doubt. I would not make accusations; I would listen and approach them with compassion. Even if someone does cheat, why are they cheating? What is going on with them that cheating is a viable option and how can I make authentic learning more attractive to them?

While the teacher in the second story did at least try to have a democratic classroom and allow student choice, I think one could go a step further by allowing even more autonomy and choice in assignments. If some people were drawn to one book and others to another, why not have book groups?

The larger point I took away from both of these stories was to always look for those signs of student interest and curiosity and try to kindle, not extinguish, them.

This is easier said than done. It was much easier to be the failing student with my head down in class who muttered insults about the class under my breath than to become a teacher and have one of the most important responsibilities in society.

“My goal as a teacher is to try and create those conditions where … natural-born, inherent curiosity can thrive.”

I spent a long time hiding the fact that I dropped out of high school. Now that I am in a Ph.D. program, I think I have finally overcome the stigma and can instead turn my early experiences failing in school into a strength.

Perhaps one difficulty for many instructors is that they were model students, and so it’s hard to conceive of the mindset of those students who appear lazy, disengaged, and unmotivated.

I was that person. But I had curiosity and a love of learning. I just didn’t find a home for it in school. My goal as a teacher is to try and create those conditions where that natural-born, inherent curiosity can thrive. If hadn’t been for my own experiences failing out of school, I may not have appreciated just how much potential and dormant academic interest can be concealed under the guise of an apathetic student.

Kristi Kaeppel is a doctoral student in the Neag School’s Learning, Leadership, and Educational Policy program with a concentration in Adult Learning. She works as a graduate assistant for the UConn Graduate Certificate in College Instruction (GCCI) program. GCCI is a nine-credit program for individuals interested in expanding their preparation in and understanding of college teaching. 

Superintendent of Hartford Public Schools Visits EDLR Students

“Leaders must be close enough to relate to others, but far enough ahead to motivate them.”- John C. Maxwell


On April 24, 2017 students in Professor Joshua Hyman’s class, EDLR 6322: Economics of Education Reform were able to learn about and discuss the characteristics of this kind of servant leadership in education from the first hand account of Superintendent of Hartford Public ScEDLR students engaged in classhools, Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, who was recently appointed after having served as interim superintendent since December 9, 2016, and her leadership abilities embody this quote.

Torres-Rodriguez was an ELL, English Language Learner, student in Hartford Public Schools and having worked in the Greater Hartford Area for the past 22 years, has a strong connection with the community. Student Michael Corral commented, “She is invested in the city of Hartford, and is not trying to use it as a stepping stone to some other position or district.” The Superintendent herself expressed how important the success of the Hartford school district is to her personally, and not just as a job. She understands the families and students as she once felt she was a “disenfranchised” student of the school district, and now strives to be an agent for positive change and open ear for the concerns of the community.

Dr. Torres-Rodriguez maintains her relations with her constituents by being transparent, honest, accountable, and using feedback to focus on how policy and school leadership can improve. With an increasing number of ELL students and 20% of students being special education; she is mindful that change for the district is moving towards a more diverse population, and therefore requires policy to accommodate student needs. The superintendent brings an important humanistic element and strong academic qualifications into the field with her background in Human Development (B.S, University of Connecticut), Social Work (M.S., University of Connecticut), and Educational Leadership (Ed.D Central Connecticut State University). She believes that her less traditional path has furthered her skills as a leader in education as she brings an anthropological background to her passion for education.

During her visit, the superintendent gave insight into many of the challenges of her position as well as how she is managing these new challenges. Students in Professor Hyman’s class benefited from this discussion, as they were able to listen to her first hand experiences and see a glimpse of how a large local school district superintendent operates.

Student, Sarah Redlich, commented,

“I found her discussion of the different stakeholders she works with and how she considers the implications of decisions for the operation of the Hartford school system to be very interesting. The perspectives Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez shared helped me explore the important decisions and considerations that are involved with being a school leader.”

This comes from a discussion about the multifaceted nature of being a superintendent. Dr. Torres-Rodriguez, does not just service Hartford Public schools, but she is in charge of overseeing the placement of Hartford students in other districts, a transition that Hartford funds, as well as some oversight over the cities’ magnet and charter schools. Because of this she must have strong community ties and an eye for good policy. She enlightened the class on managing funding, ensuring good relations with these other schools, and how to insure the academic and emotional well-being for a diverse population of students in the cities’ schools. Student. Michael Corral, particularly benefited from her discussion about the complexities of acquiring funding and developing a budget as he noted, Michael Corral engaged in discussion

“It was nice to listen about the application of funding models and how they are formulated with the best of intentions but can - at times - perpetuate many of the injustices they are supposed to address.”

It is key to note that the formula for a successful school district is not always easy, but Dr. Torres-Rodriguez shed light on how to weigh issues, remain transparent, and work with other stakeholders to develop good policy, and leave it adaptable as the nature of education is not static.

The class was highly engaged as they asked Dr. Torres-Rodriguez questions about her approach towards fiscal policy, diversifying student needs, maintaining enrollment in schools while respecting parent-school choice, and interacting with key stakeholders, such as the board, school leadership and her constituents. After these in-depth questions about her experience, student, Daron Cyr, asked a very important question, ‘How does she do it all?’

Dr. Torres-Rodriguez said that it was a combination of self-care, having a network of other educational leaders, who see things from the same systemic viewpoints, and her drive to help Hartford schools and students succeed. She emphasized her passion by saying, “If there was a hill I would die on, it would be this.”  Meaning she is ready to do everything she can to work for this community. As a product of the system, and as someone, who has worked in Hartford for a long time she admits she has seen the city’s failures, but she also sees great potential, and this is what she is working towards.

This was a high-energy and inspiring conversation that the students actively benefited from. It brought life to the issues and policies the Ph.D students have learned about in professor Hyman’s class, and throughout their education. Professor Hyman commented on this experience,

“While my hope is that my students learn a lot about education policy from the course readings, discussion, and lecture, there is really no substitute for engaging with and learning from a long-time teacher and district administrator serving in disadvantaged communities.”

The Department of Educational Leadership extends a warm thank you to Dr. Torres-Rodriguez for providing insight into the inner workings of developing a budget, editing and adding policies all while maintaining a relationship with the community. This type of hands on experience offers our students an opportunity to engage with a local, yet high profile professional which contributes to their interactive classroom experience that Dr. Hyman works to create.

10 Questions With Student-Athlete and Current Sport Management Student, Marisa Maccario

Editor’s Note: This story, written by Neag School's Stefanie Dion-Jones, originally appeared on the Neag School’s website.

In our recurring 10 Questions series, the Neag School catches up with students, alumni, faculty, and others throughout the year to give you a glimpse into their Neag School experience and their current career, research, or community activities.

Marisa Maccario is a junior forward on the UConn women’s ice hockey team and a sport management major in the Neag School. (Photo courtesy of Marisa Maccario)

UConn women’s ice hockey forward Marisa Maccario ’18 (ED), a native of Marblehead, Mass., has been playing on a hockey team since the age of 5. Currently a sport management major in the Neag School, Maccario created a video this past fall for what she describes as her favorite class at UConn: Sport in Society, led by assistant professor Joseph Cooper. The video she co-produced has since been featured on youcanplayproject.org, an initiative dedicated to ensuring equality, respect, and safety for all those who participate in sports, regardless of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Here, Maccario talks about her experience as a student-athlete, about the video project, and more.

What kind of time commitment does the ice hockey training and traveling schedule demand? How do you balance that with coursework and free time? The ice hockey season sits between both the fall and spring semesters, so our school year is very busy. We get started within the very first weeks of school and go all the way until March. We are on campus training over Thanksgiving, most of Christmas break, and sometimes spring break.

Once classes start back up, most of our team manages time very well with classes in the morning, a break in the afternoon for hockey, and classes at night. Mostly after classes is when we have study hall, tutors, and time to get all of our work done for the weeks ahead. The good part about the league we are in (Hockey East) is that all the schools are relatively close (for example, Boston College, Boston University, Northeastern, Providence, University of Vermont, and University of Maine). Seeing that we play schools that are close by, we are able to do day trips and do not have to travel Thursday through Sunday. Instead, we do day trips, which in turn helps our study schedule.

“Never use a busy schedule as an excuse. You can always make time to do something you love. Here at UConn, they give the option to play a sport you love — and enter into a very competitive program that will help you be successful once your sport it over.”

What made you decide to major in sport management? It just felt right. I can never see myself leaving the sports world. Seeing that I have been an athlete my whole life and got the chance to further my athletic commitment into college, once I am done competing, I want to be able to see what goes on behind the scenes — [something] that, typically, athletes don’t get a chance to see. I want to be part of someone else’s experience, not as a teammate or a competitor.

What about the sport management program at the Neag School have you found most valuable so far? Sport management not only is in a field related to sports, but it’s also in a school that has an educational leadership program. … Having a sport management program in the same school as educational leadership, for example, shows how leadership is important not only on the field or ice, but also in the classroom.

Tell me about the video project you created for Joseph Cooper’s Sport in Society course last semester. The guidelines were very open to whatever you wanted: pictures, PowerPoints, paintings, or videos. You just needed to talk about how society impacts sports and what you have learned throughout the semester.

We decided to put together this video in particular because we thought that not only was it a topic we talked about in class, but also something that impacts athletics at UConn greatly. We are a campus and athletic culture that accepts everyone and anyone for who they are, and not what society tells them to be. Student-athletes need to show their openness in these matters to make sure they and their teammates feel comfortable competing for a school that doesn’t care about your gender, race, or sexual orientation. If you can play the sport, that’s all that matters!

In your own words, why is inclusiveness in sports so important? With a sport like ice hockey, you have six players on the ice at a time: one in the net and five skaters. To be a team, you need to have skills from each player to win and, with hockey, everyone brings something different. If we didn’t have inclusiveness in sports, we wouldn’t have teams; we would have individuals playing sports.

The whole point of sports is to win, and with winning comes a group effort. You need to have different abilities with the same goal in mind. You need to be able to have open arms to new people because you never know who will be leading you to a national championship. If you can play, you can play. It shouldn’t matter about anything else as long as you want to win.

Marisa Maccario and UConn Women's Ice Hockey Team “The rink is not just for hockey, but a safe place where I can always go when I’m stressed,” says Maccario, No. 13. (Photo courtesy of Marisa Maccario)

How can coaches and teammates ensure that the team they lead or play on is as inclusive as possible? I think the best attitude that any player or coach can have is to look at work ethic, skills, and technique because that’s what makes an athlete an athlete. I believe at UConn we have a lot of student-athletes and coaches that judge off those rules and nothing else. … We bring each other up. Positive attitude and inclusiveness are key especially on our team, because your team is your family away from home. With 500+ athletes at a top university, everyone has to be on the same page and know that discrimination is something that doesn’t mix well with a winning culture. So that is left at the door the second you set foot on our campus.

What kind of reaction have you received from those who have seen the video? I have experienced a lot of positive feedback from the video — way more than I thought. I had someone tell me that when they attended the university, an article was released stating that UConn was ranked by the Princeton Review as No. 12 among the 20 most homophobic campuses in the country. Today, we have a video stating that we support our teammates that identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender. How times have changed — and will continue to change for the better. When doing this video we, the UConn student-athletes, pledged to keep our campus safe for all, and I think that, in itself, has touched a lot of people, both current and alumni student-athletes.

What’s your advice for those students who may be interested in checking out either the Neag School’s sport management program — or the sport of ice hockey? Never be afraid to do too much. By this I mean: Do everything you want to do and more. Never use a busy schedule as an excuse. You can always make time to do something you love. Here at UConn, they give the option to play a sport you love — and enter into a very competitive program that will help you be successful once your sport it over.

Always ask questions because you never know who you might be talking to and where they can lead you in the future. That’s what is great about the sport management program; the professors are great connections for down the road when you’re looking for jobs.

What’s your favorite spot on campus? My favorite spot on campus would have to be the rink, not only because I spend most of my time there on and off the ice, but also because it is home. The rink is not just for hockey, but a safe place where I can always go when I’m stressed and have a lot of work.

What’s something most people don’t know about you? I am second-generation Italian- American; my grandmother was a refugee during War World ll and traveled to America.

Read other installments of the Neag School’s 10 Questions series here.

Students, Donors Celebrate at Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony

Editor’s Note: This story, written by Neag School's Stefanie Dion-Jones, originally appeared on the Neag School’s website.

The Neag School of Education honored more than 100 of its students last night at its Annual Scholarship Awards Ceremony.

Formerly known as the Honors Day Celebration, the event — held at the Jorgensen Center for Performing Arts on the UConn Storrs campus — brought together current students receiving Neag School-affiliated scholarships in the coming academic year; their guests; and the donors whose contributions to the Neag School make these sources of financial support possible.Jennie McGarry with Neag Scholarship receipients

Support for scholarships comes from numerous sources, including Neag School benefactors Ray and Carole Neag; Neag School and UConn alumni; current University faculty and administrators; and families of former Neag School staff and alumni, among others.

During the reception preceding the formal ceremony, student recipients had an opportunity to connect personally with the donors responsible for providing their scholarship support.

View photos from the Scholarship Awards Ceremony.

Student scholarships were awarded in the following departments or categories: Teacher Education; the Department of Curriculum and Instruction; the Department of Educational Leadership; the Department of Educational Psychology; and School-wide Scholarships.

In addition to the student awards, Erin McGurk, director of educational services for Ellington (Conn.) Public Schools, received the UCEA Educational Leadership Award.

HESA professor, students and alumni in a group shot from Neag Scholarship Awards Ceremony, 4/17

Congratulations to this year’s award recipients:


The University Council for Educational Administration (UCEA) is a membership association of higher education institutions that promotes excellence in continuing higher education. This award is in recognition of practicing school administrators who have made significant contributions to the improvement of administrator preparation.

Erin McGurk, Director of Educational Services, Ellington Public Schools




Friends & Colleagues of Francis X. Archambault Jr. Fellowship

Established by friends and colleagues to honor Dr. Francis X. Archambault, professor emeritus. This scholarship provides support to a Ph.D. candidate in the field of measurement, evaluation and assessment, who demonstrates academic excellence.

David Alexandro

Sarah Newton


Arminio/Effron Scholarship

Established by Carmen Effron in memory of her father, Kenneth Arminio. This scholarship is awarded to students with a demonstrated interest in teaching as a profession and with a proven track record of academic excellence.

Anne Denerville

Joseph Leslie Jr.


Fuller Scholarship for Social Justice in Education

This scholarship was established by Ms. Katie G. Fuller to provide scholarship support for University students enrolled in the Neag School of Education’s Integrated Bachelor’s/Master’s Program, with priority consideration to students who are also enrolled in the University’s Stamps Leadership Scholars Program.

Julia Eldridge


The Herbert and Sarah M. Gibor Charitable Foundation Scholarship

This scholarship provides financial support for students enrolled in the University’s Neag School of Education and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The recipient must demonstrate an interest in teaching as a profession and have a proven track record of academic excellence.

Tala Adawiya

Amy Hetherington-Coy

Asfia Qutub

Elaina Rampolla


Robert H. Hart Fellowship

This fellowship was established in memory of Dr. Ronald P. Hart’s father and UConn alumnus, Robert H. Hart, in order to provide financial support for students enrolled in UConn’s Neag School of Education with priority consideration given to those who are from, student teach or plan to teach in Meriden, Conn.

Sarah Mangiafico

Rex Sturdevant


Lodewick TNE Alumni Scholarship

Established by Philip H. and Christine Lodewick. This scholarship provides support for students enrolled in the IB/M program with a demonstrated intention to pursue a career as a K-12 teacher.

Matthew Miller

Heather Vasquez


Ora Lee Morrison Scholarship

Established by Michael and Monique Watson in memory of Ora Lee Morrison. This scholarship provides support to students enrolled in the IB/M or TCPCG program with a demonstrated interest in teaching as a profession.

Lindsay Kahoe


Paula Riggi Singer Endowed Scholarship

This scholarship was established by Ms. Paula R. Singer to provide scholarship support for University students enrolled in the Neag School of Education, with priority consideration to those students who are also enrolled in the University’s Honors Program.

Mindy Fan



Andrews International Education Award

The fund was established by Dr. Frank Andrews Stone in honor of his mother, Ruth, and her five siblings, originally of Pasadena, Calif., whose careers demonstrated concern for international awareness and understanding.

Francisco Ahumada

Kennedy Martin


David Blick Science Education Award

In recognition and encouragement of innovative and/or collaborative efforts in science education, this award is given to a Neag School student, faculty member, alumnus/alumna of the School, or a member of the faculty of another School or College of the University.

Dr. Catherine Koehler


The Betty Bussman Education Fund

This scholarship was established through the generosity of Mrs. Betty Bussman and is awarded to undergraduate or graduate students who are planning careers in elementary education. The award is based on financial need, academic excellence, and a demonstrated interest in and concern for the needs of children.

Abigail Nagy

Emily Sebesky


Thomas & Francine DeFranco Scholarship

This scholarship was established by Thomas, professor and former Dean of the Neag School, and his wife Francine, Associate University Librarian, to provide support to an academically outstanding incoming or continuing student enrolled full time in the IB/M program, with priority consideration given to a math education major.

Amanda MacDonald

Marinela Maxhari


Degnan Family Scholarship

This scholarship was established by James and Elizabeth Degnan to provide support to an academically outstanding incoming or continuing undergraduate student enrolled full time in the IB/M program, with priority consideration given to a resident of the State of Connecticut.

Kimberly Duhart


Shannon Leigh Closter Driscoll Memorial Scholarship

This scholarship was established in memory of Shannon Leigh Closter Driscoll, an alumna of the Neag School of Education, by her family and friends. This scholarship is based on financial need, academic achievement, and a demonstrated interest in gifted and talented education.

Bryan Kirby

Jennifer Zaffetti


Eva Eaton Scholarship in Elementary Education

This scholarship, established in honor of Eva Eaton by her family, is based on financial need, academic achievement, and is given to students pursuing a major in elementary education.

Cheyenne Clark

Briana DiCicco


Marjory C. Gelfenbien Scholarship

This scholarship was established by Roger Gelfenbien, former UConn Board of Trustees Chairman to honor his wife, Marjory C. Gelfenbien. It is awarded based on academic excellence and outstanding achievement in the areas of teacher education and educational leadership.

Kathleen Bradway

Emily Burstein

Jennifer Couture

Rachel Crowder

Anthony Dolcimascolo

Julianna Fusco

Jesse Hegener

Alyssa Hughes

Shaelyn Killoh

Anika Koerfer

Rachael Orbe

Micaela Orpheus

Nichole Pitruzzello

Taylor Schultz

Heather Vasquez


George C. and Jane F. Goodale Memorial Scholarship

Established in Jane Goodale’s memory by her husband, George, and her family. This permanently endowed fund is designated for outstanding graduate students in educational anthropology.

Manqian Zhao


Hamilton Sundstrand Challenger 7 Science Education Scholarship

Hamilton Sundstrand employees established this award in memory of the Challenger 7 astronauts. It is designated for students in elementary and secondary science education. Among the criteria considered are past academic achievement and demonstration of potential for future academic and professional accomplishments.

Emma Chassagnoux

Alexander DeBrizzi

Amy Hetherington-Coy


Neag Math and Science Scholarship

Established by Dr. Philip E. Austin, president emeritus. This scholarship provides financial support to a student enrolled in the Neag School who is pursuing a degree in education with a focus on either Math or Science.

Kathleen Gorman


Judith A. Meagher Undergraduate Scholarship

Established by the Beta Sigma Chapter of Pi Lambda Theta Honor Society as a tribute to the many contributions and leadership of Judith Meagher, professor emeritus and former Associate Dean of the Neag School.

Joseph Leslie Jr.


Daniel Thomas Perley Scholarship

Established in memory of Daniel Thomas Perley by his wife, this scholarship is awarded to incoming fifth-year students in the IB/M Program who have demonstrated academic achievement in the area of elementary education.

Kelsey Iwanicki

Taylor Schultz


Philo T. Pritzkau Scholarship

Established to provide an award to outstanding minority Neag School graduate students who have shown exemplary scholarship and leadership in research and teaching. This award was established by the students and friends of Dr. Philo T. Pritzkau, professor emeritus of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction.

Kara Patterson

Alissa Velazquez


Sidney Skolnick Scholarship

Established through the generosity of Dr. Sidney Skolnick, this scholarship is awarded annually to Neag School students based on financial need and academic excellence.

Tala Adawiya

Carly Bernheimer

Devon Castiello

Anne Denerville

Mindy Fan

Matthew Ferraro

Kelsey Hammerman

Rachel Haze

Mikayla Hood

Jordyn Meyenberg

Griffin Michalek

Asfia Qutub

Kevin Smaglis

Laura Veilleux

Thomas P. Weinland Scholarship

Established by students, colleagues, and family to honor Dr. Thomas P. Weinland, professor emeritus of the Department of Curriculum & Instruction, this scholarship is awarded to a deserving student who is preparing to teach secondary history and social studies.

Chelsea Constantino



Earle G. Bidwell Educational Leadership Scholarship

This scholarship was established by a cohort of Earle G. Bidwell to provide scholarship support for a graduate student, with priority consideration given to a University of Connecticut Administrator Preparation Program (UCAPP) student.

Lauren Poppe


Peter J. Nicholls Scholarship in Educational Leadership

This scholarship was established by friends, family, and colleagues of Dr. Peter J. Nicholls, former Provost of the University of Connecticut. This scholarship provides support to a graduate student(s) enrolled in the Higher Education and Student Affairs (HESA) program.

Emily Daher


Karen L. Parizeau Memorial Scholarship

Established to honor the memory and work of Karen Parizeau, a beloved teacher, this scholarship was created by donations from her husband, Philip, their children, Lauren and Philip, and her friends and colleagues. It is intended for experienced teachers pursuing careers in education administration, particularly at the middle-school level.

Caitlin Bexley

Gregory Miska


The Steven J. Smith Scholarship

This scholarship has been established in honor of Dr. Steven J. Smith, UConn alumnus and retired Assistant Dean from the Neag School of Education, to support students enrolled in the Neag School’s Department of Educational Leadership with demonstrated academic achievement and an interest or association with athletics.

Faith McCarthy




Vernon and Elizabeth Brown Family Scholarship

Made possible by a generous gift from Vernon and Elizabeth Brown, this award is designated for graduate students of the Department of Educational Psychology.

Lindsay Morales

Meaghann Revis


Robert K. Gable Scholarship

Made possible by a gift from Dr. Robert K. Gable, professor emeritus, this scholarship is designated for a graduate student in the Department of Educational Psychology who is enrolled in the Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment Program.

Anthony Gambino


Raymond and Augusta Gerberich Scholarship

In memory of J. Raymond Gerberich, professor emeritus, and his wife, Augusta, this award is presented to doctoral students in the foundation areas (educational psychology, educational evaluation and measurement, statistical methods, or educational philosophy). Basis for this award includes superior academic achievement and financial need.

David Alexandro

Maria Avitia

Xiaochen Liu

Daniel Volk


Lisa Pappanikou Glidden Scholarship

Established in memory of former Neag School staff member Lisa Pappanikou Glidden – and, more recently, in memory of her parents, Lucette Pappanikou and Dr. A.J. Pappanikou, professor emeritus – this fund is intended to enhance the field of special education by providing financial support for graduate students engaged in the study of educating and/or training special-needs youngsters with severe and profound disabilities.

Morgan Recore

Julia Vitti

Max Wittstein


Vivienne Dean Litt Memorial Scholarship

Established in memory of Vivienne Dean Litt, former Assistant Director of the University Program for Learning Disabilities, by her sons, Martin and Matthew Litt, and her colleagues and friends, this award is designed to promote and encourage the success of a student whose interests and character continue Vivienne’s spirit and professional work with children and/or adults with special needs.

Maria Avitia


Jessie Carew Moreland Endowment Scholarship

This scholarship was established by Wallace S. Moreland in memory of his first wife, Jessie Carew Moreland. It is presented to students majoring in Special Education who have demonstrated intellectual curiosity, personal integrity, academic achievement, and a serious interest in pursuing a career in the field of developmental disabilities.

Jillian Bucciero

Sean Curvelo


Wallace S. Moreland Memorial Scholarship

Established in memory of Wallace S. Moreland by his four children – Lucy Wistreich, David, Wallace Jr., and John Moreland – this scholarship is presented to graduate students majoring in special education who have worked with persons with developmental disabilities and who demonstrate promise of becoming a leader in the field.

Jamila Champier


Joseph Renzulli and Sally Reis Renzulli Fund for Graduate Studies in Gifted Education

Made possible by a gift from Drs. Joseph Renzulli and Sally Reis Renzulli, this scholarship provides support to a student pursuing an MA or Ph.D. in gifted education and talent development with demonstrated academic achievement.

Ashley Carpenter

Sarah Luria

Pamela Peters


Susan Hope Sherman Scholarship

This scholarship is awarded to graduate or undergraduate students majoring in special education, particularly those working with persons with developmental disabilities.

Matthew Miller



Valerie J. Pichette Scholarship

This scholarship was established with the support of Valerie J. Pichette’s family, friends, colleagues across the Neag School and the larger University, as well as students past and present, in honor of her 30 years of service to the state of Connecticut and will offer financial assistance to students enrolled in the Neag School’s teacher education program.

Lindsay Kahoe

Chelcee Schroll


Gloria A. Murray Scholarship

This scholarship is in memory of Brandon Murray’s grandmother and James Murray’s mother, Gloria A. Murray, and was established to provide scholarship support for University students enrolled in the Neag School of Education.

Shannon Bollard


Juros Scholarship for the Neag School of Education

This scholarship is given to Neag School undergraduate students with demonstrated academic achievement. This scholarship is made possible by the generosity of Thomas S. Juros.

Kamola Rabbimova

Taylor Schultz


Irene P. and Emanuel A. Makiaris Scholarship in the Neag School of Education

This scholarship is given to Neag School students preparing to be teachers through either the IB/M or TCPCG program. This scholarship is made possible by the generosity of Irene P. and Emanuel A. Makiaris.

Dominique Grello

Matthew Miller


Yaoxin and Ethel W. Rong International Education Scholarship

Established in memory of Dr. Yuhang Rong’s grandparents, Yaoxin and Ethel Rong, this scholarship is awarded to a Neag School student with demonstrated academic achievement and an interest in international education.

Katherine Holden


Neag Scholarship

This scholarship has been established for the purpose of supporting outstanding academic achievement, contribution to the University and the community, and participation in extracurricular activities. Financial support comes from the generous contribution of Raymond and Carole Neag, as well as contributions from the faculty and staff of the Neag School of Education.

Marianna Bedoya

Rebecca Joseph

Hana Picorelli

Rex Sturdevant


Neag School of Education Undergraduate Scholarship

Established thanks to the generosity of numerous faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the Neag School of Education, this scholarship is awarded to undergraduate students who were identified by nomination in their programs as having strong academic performance and having gone above and beyond by contributing significantly to the Neag School.

Jessica Guo

Taylor Hudak

Marinela Maxhari

Thu-Anh Nguyen


Neag School of Education Graduate Fellowship

Established thanks to the generosity of numerous faculty, staff, alumni, and friends of the Neag School of Education, this scholarship is awarded to a graduate student identified by nomination in his or her program as having a strong academic performance and having gone above and beyond by contributing significantly to the Neag School.

Ricardo Destinvil


Neag School Veterans Fund Scholarship

This scholarship was established for students who are either U.S. service members or veterans who have served in Afghanistan or Iraq. The funds, which may be used for tuition, course materials, and other educational expenses, are also available to the children of a veteran enrolled in the Neag School.

Jesse Mala


Learn more about additional scholarships and giving opportunities related to the Neag School here; or, contact Heather McDonald at hmcdonald@foundation.uconn.edu for more information. 

EDLR’s Joshua Abreu Speaks at TEDx UConn

The mission of TED (technology, entertainment, design) events is to spread ideas that demand to be heard. At UConn, the fourth annual TEDx event is taking place on April 9, and has the theme of “Catalysts in Context.” Joshua Abreu, a second year doctoral student in Educational Leadership and Policy, has been selected as one of the speakers, hoping to be a catalyst himself for change in the criminal justice system.Joshua Abreu

Abreu has a strong background in criminal justice: he obtained a B.A. and an M.A. in Criminal Justice from the University of Massachusetts-Lowell, and has worked as a sworn police officer in New Hampshire and as a social worker in Massachusetts. He is specifically interested in classroom discourse in Criminal Justice programs, and specifically how the identities and backgrounds of the students and instructors shape and influence that discourse.

At the TEDx event, Abreu will be speaking on Critical Criminology, or how criminal justice can be reformed by using Liberal Education: putting students at the center of the learning experience, and by investigating how identity and power can impact criminality and crime control. It was during his time in EDLR that Abreu was introduced to the concept of Liberal Education, by his advisor, Dr. Castillo-Montoya, among others. As a past Criminal Justice student and instructor himself, Abreu has seen how this perspective, our intersecting identities along with the political, economic, and social dynamics can positively influence a student’s development; however, this critical perspective remains limited in Criminal Justice programs.

“The topic is relevant and extremely important,” Abreu says. “The criminal justice system faces serious reform, so it’ll be interesting to hear people’s opinion [at TEDx] on such a polarizing topic.”

TED events are designed for sharing ideas, especially those about how the world can be or needs to be changed. The topic of criminal justice is a critically important one in the United States, and other TED Talks in the past have challenged audiences to consider it before. One, given by a civil rights attorney by Bryan Stevenson, is Abreu’s personal favorite TED Talk. Abreu’s favorite quote from it eloquently describes one of the greatest problems facing the justice system, and is very much in line with Abreu’s own TEDx topic: “We have a system of justice in this country that treats you much better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent. Wealth, not culpability, shapes outcomes. And yet, we seem to be very comfortable.” This complacency with the criminal justice system is part of what Abreu, along with Stevenson, is challenging. Abreu’s talk, well-suited for the theme of catalyzing, engages with very real, very serious, and hopefully very fixable problems with criminal justice and specifically criminal justice education.

TEDxUConn is scheduled for April 9, 2017. If you would like to watch Abreu’s talk live, there will be a live stream on the day of the event. To learn more about TEDxUConn, or to access recorded versions of this year’s talks at a later date, go to tedxuconn.com.