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Education Students Making Waves at FERA

Dec 5, 2023

The 67th Annual Meeting of the Florida Educational Research Association (FERA) took place in Hollywood Beach, Fla., last month. The conference, which brings educators, researchers, graduate students, and policymakers together from across the state, hosted several Florida Southern School of Education members, showcasing the department's dedication to advancing education research.

Assistant Professor and Coordinator of the Educational Leadership Masters Program, Dr. Jill Freedman, presented her research on "Crisis Communication Considerations for School Leaders to Help Support School-Family Partnerships: A Case Study of the COVID-19 Pandemic." Her work shed light on the critical role that effective communication plays in maintaining solid relationships between schools and families during crises.

Doctor of Education Program Coordinator Dr. Melanie Fowler and Associate Professor of Education Dr. Lori Rakes co-presented a paper titled "Qualitative Data Coding and Academic Writing: Teaching and Assessment of Graduate Student Synthesis Skills." They were joined by Laura Hutson, a dedicated doctoral student, who contributed to presenting the recently completed study on academic writing skills.  

Susan Happel-Hoch, another talented doctoral student from FSC, made a presentation on her paper, "An Analysis of Teachers' Entrepreneurial Attributes and Their Evaluation Scores for Teacher Leadership and Collaboration." Her research delved into the attributes that make teachers influential leaders and collaborators, shedding light on ways to support and enhance teacher leadership in educational settings.  

Melanie Fowler also played a significant role in co-planning and moderating the first Undergraduate Research session at FERA, where seven undergraduate students had their research posters displayed as exemplars during an invited panel discussion session.  Kaylee Padar and James Houle, from the School of Education, shared research on the "Impact on Student Learning" and the "Impact on P-12 Learning," respectively.  

Two groups of undergraduates from FSC's Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences also participated in the poster session. Jaqueline Del Castillo and Briana Lopez presented their poster titled "Coco," and Annabelle White, Cameron Jefferys, and Carlo Giuffre's poster focused on the "Impact on Student Learning: King Richard and the Princesses of Power Serves."  

Additionally, three doctoral students participated in the graduate student poster session. Van Ngyuyen's research focused on "Exploring College Students' Post-COVID-19 Perceptions of Online Learning," providing a unique perspective on the impact of the pandemic on higher education. Elizabeth Kuba's poster, "Addressing Mental Health in Graduate Students," underscored the importance of prioritizing mental health in graduate education. Lastly, Susanna Albright examined "The Impact on Mental Health in the LGBTQ College Student Population." Her work explored the challenges faced by LGBTQ college students. It offered insights into how educational institutions could better support their mental health.

1200x800-Kuba.jpgElizabeth Kuba's poster, "Addressing Mental Health in Graduate Students," tied for first place in the Graduate Student Poster category. She is the fourth student from FSC to take home the top prize.

The Graduate Student Poster Awards recipients were revealed at the closing ceremony, and this year's results brought about a noteworthy three-way tie. Elizabeth Kuba emerged among the winners, marking the fourth consecutive year that a student from Florida Southern earned the honor. Sarah Zeinemann clinched the award in 2022, Clair Harris was the recipient in 2021, no award was bestowed in 2020 due to the impact of COVID, and Mary Ann Murdoch and George Matisz triumphed in 2019.  

The FSC community's strong presence and contributions to the Florida Educational Research Association's 67th Annual Meeting are a testament to their commitment to advancing educational research and improving the quality of education for all. Their diverse topics and approaches demonstrate the depth of expertise and dedication FSC members bring to the field.