Current Ph.D. Students

Khalilah Arrington Khalilah Arrington
Advisor: James Kaufman
Quinn Austermann Quinn Austermann is a PhD student in Educational Psychology. She was a 2014 Neag School of Education graduate from the IB/M program with Bachelor's in History and Education and a Master's in Curriculum and Instruction. Quinn taught high school Social Studies for 6 years before beginning her PhD program. She is working as a graduate assistant conducting research on college readiness for academically talented students with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Advisor: Sally Reis
Emma Bloomfield Emma Bloomfield received her BA in Mathematics from Smith College (2003) and her MS in Educational Leadership from Central Connecticut State University (2007). For the past 17 years she has been teaching high school mathematics in Connecticut, first at New Britain High School for 2 years and then 14 years at Windsor High School, and she most recently transferred to Sport and Medical Sciences Academy in Hartford. Emma is now working with the Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development to pursue her interests in underachievement. Advisor: Del Siegle
Gregory Boldt Gregory Boldt is a first-year doctoral student in the Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development program. He received his B.A. (Hons) from the University of Winnipeg before completing his M.Ed. through the University of Calgary. He has worked in various educational and healthcare settings assessing and supporting children with developmental disabilities and behavioural exceptionalities. His research focuses predominantly on the creative process, but also includes broader elements of 21st century learning.  Advisor: James Kaufman.
Rachael Cody Rachael Cody is a Ph.D. student in the Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development program and serves as a graduate research assistant for Project LIFT and Thinking Like Mathematicians: Challenging All Grade 3 Students. She graduated with her BA in Secondary Education and English (2018) from Whitworth University. She received her Master's degree in Special Education (2019) from Whitworth as well. Rachael worked as a substitute teacher and a long-term substitute for the Spokane Public Schools while she completed her Master's degree. Her research interests involve underserved populations, with an emphasis on the twice-exceptional population and students from lower socio-economic backgrounds. Advisor: Catherine Little
Julie Delgado Julie Delgado is a Ph.D. student in Educational Psychology. She received her B.A. from the University of Montana in Elementary Education with areas of emphasis in Mathematics and Psychology (2005) and her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction Mathematics Major (2013) from the University of Texas Arlington. Julie taught elementary general education for 15 years as well as coaching middle school volleyball for 13 years. She is currently working as a graduate assistant on Project 2E-ASD. Advisor: Sally Reis
Stacy Hayden Stacy Hayden, M.A., is a doctoral candidate in the Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development program. Stacy received her B.S. in Elementary Education from Radford University (2012). She is a graduate of the UConn Three Summers Program where she received her M.A. in Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development (2016). Prior to coming to UConn, Stacy taught gifted students and coordinated the Young Scholars Program in Alexandria City Public Schools, Virginia. Stacy was recognized as a Javits-Frasier Scholar in 2014 by the National Association for Gifted Children and was named Outstanding Teacher of the Gifted for Region IV-E by the Virginia Association for the Gifted in 2017.  Stacy serves as a Graduate Research Associate and Site Coordinator for Thinking Like Mathematicians: Challenging All Grade 3 Students, a research study funded by the Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program. Her research interests include equity, pre-identification programs, and college honors programs. Advisor: E. Jean Gubbins
Talbot Hook Talbot Hook is a first-year doctoral student in the Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development program. He received his BA in History and East Asian Studies and his Master of Arts in Teaching with endorsements in World History, Chinese, and English as a Second Language. He worked for six years at a rural Iowan school, teaching courses in technology, Spanish, and ESL, prior to matriculating at UCONN. He currently splits his GA hours between Project BUMP-UP and Confratute. Advisor: Del Siegle
Sarah Luria Sarah R. Luria is a PhD candidate in Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on the relationship between creativity and equitable thinking with a particular interest in human rights education. Prior to beginning her PhD program, Sarah taught secondary mathematics Durham, North Carolina where she created and piloted elective courses in human rights. She also led service learning projects, designed professional development opportunities, and served as a new teacher mentor. Sarah completed graduate programs in special education at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and gifted education at Duke University and graduated with honors from Smith college with a B.A. She recently received the PEO Scholar Award and a research grant from the Human Rights Institute at the University of Connecticut for work focusing on equity mindset and human rights orientations. Sarah hopes to become a professor in an education department dedicated to student learning and a culture of social justice and equity. Advisor: James Kaufman
Shana Lusk Shana Lusk, M.A., is a doctoral student in the University of Connecticut's Neag School of Education. Prior to arriving in Connecticut, Shana worked as a speaker for a non-profit organization called notMYkid about Safe Dating and Healthy Relationships to middle school and high school students. She also taught English in China and Ecuador. Shana received her B.A. in Elementary Education from Arizona State University (2014). From there she taught 3rd-8th grade Gifted, General Education and Structured English Immersion in Arizona. During that time she received her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction English Second Language from Arizona State University (2019). Shana was named an NAGC Javits-Frasier Scholar during her time as a educator of the gifted. She currently works on Project LIFT as a Graduate Assistant. Her research interests involve equity, underserved populations, lower socio-economic backgrounds, English learners, and trauma-informed teaching. Advisor: Catherine Little
Luis Ferreira Luis Ferreira is a PhD student of University of Connecticut's Neag School of Education. The psychologist obtained a Master's degree in Human Development and Health at the University of Brasília, focused on talent development studies. The researcher is centrally interested in comprehending the role of psychosocial factors in the trajectories of talented people. He investigates possible psychosocial and technical impacts of the use of Psychological Support Training. Luis has experience researching and applying the interfaces between elite performance, psychology, motor learning and human development. Advisor: Del Siegle
Pam Peters Pam Peters is a sixth-year doctoral student focusing both on Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development and Research Methods, Measurement, and Evaluation. She is interested in issues of equity in both general and gifted education, including equitable identification in gifted education. Pam is also the chair of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Parent and Community Network. Advisors: E. Jean Gubbins and D. Betsy McCoach
Kenneth Wright Kenneth Wright is a first-year doctoral student in the Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development program He has an undergraduate degree in secondary education social science teaching, a master's degree in school counseling, and an endorsement in gifted and talented education. He has 17 years of experience teaching history, geography, and psychology at both the junior high and high school levels. He is currently a GA on project BUMP-UP. Advisor: Del Siegle
Lihong Xie Lihong Xie is a doctoral student in the Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development program. She obtained her M.A. in Social Studies Education from the University of Connecticut. She is currently working as a teaching assistant for Introduction to Creativity. Her research focuses on creativity and humor as coping skills, investigating how they correlate with each other and one's self-efficacy and identity. Her research interest also lies in the development of creative problem-solving skills in the computational thinking curriculum. Advisor: James Kaufman
Mei Zheng Mei Zheng is a first- year doctoral student in the Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development program. She obtained her Master’s degree in General Psychology from Pace University, focused on Behavior and Science. Her research interests include cross-cultural differences in creativity performance, music training and creativity development, and acceleration in gifted programs. Advisor: James Kaufman