People

 
Affiliated
Faculty
Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli
Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli
Dr. Del Siegle
Dr. Del Siegle
Dr. Sally M. Reis
Dr. Sally M. Reis

Dr. E. Jean Gubbins
Dr. E. Jean Gubbins
Dr. Catherine A. Little
Dr. Catherine A. Little
Dr. James C. Kaufman
Dr. James C. Kaufman
Dr. Aarti P. Bellara
Dr. Aarti P. Bellara

Dr. Tutita Casa
Dr. Tutita Casa
Dr. Rebecca D. Eckert
Dr. Rebecca D. Eckert
Dr. Nicholas Gelbar
Dr. Nicholas Gelbar
Dr. Joseph Madaus
Dr. Joseph Madaus

Dr. Betsy McCoach
Dr. Betsy McCoach
Dr. Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead
Dr. Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead
Dr. Christopher Rhoads
Dr. Christopher Rhoads
 

 

 
 
Staff
Stephanie Huntington
Stephanie Huntington
Lisa Muller
Lisa Muller
Nicole Waicunas
Nicole Waicunas

Siamak Vahidi
Siamak Vahidi
 
 
 

 

Affiliated
Research
Scientists
Dr. Kelly Kearney
Dr. Kelly Kearney
Dr. Susan Dulong Langley
Dr. Susan Dulong Langley
Dr. Daneil Long
Dr. Daniel Long

Dr. Allison Kenney
Dr. Allison W. Kenney
 
 
 

 

Affiliated
Graduate
Assistants
Quinn Austermann
Quinn Austermann
Alexandra Cascio
Alexandra Cascio
Sarah Charbonneau
Sarah Charbonneau

Rachael Cody
Rachael Cody
Julie Delgado
Julie Delgado
Anthony Gambino
Anthony Gambino
Stacy Hayden
Stacy Hayden

Shannon Holder
Shannon Holder
Shelby Masse
Shelby Masse
Lawrence Miller
Lawrence Miller
Sarah Newton
Sarah Newton

Luis Orione
Luis Orione
Clarisa Rodrigues
Clarisa Rodrigues
Kenneth Wright
Kenneth Wright
Lihong Xie
Lihong Xie


 

 

 

Dr. Joseph S. Renzulli is a leader and pioneer in gifted education and applying the pedagogy of gifted education teaching strategies to all students. The American Psychological Association named him among the 25 most influential psychologists in the world. He received the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Award for Innovation in Education, considered by many to be “the Nobel” for educators, and was a consultant to the White House Task Force on Education of the Gifted and Talented. His work on the Three Ring Conception of Giftedness, the Enrichment Triad Model and curriculum compacting and differentiation were pioneering efforts in the 1970s, and he has contributed hundreds of books, book chapters, articles, and monographs to the professional literature, many of which have been translated to other languages. Dr. has received more than $50 million in research grants and several million dollars of additional funding for professional development and service projects.

Dr. Renzulli established UConn’s annual Confratute Program with fellow Educational Psychology Professor Sally Reis. This summer institute on enrichment-based differentiated teaching has served more than 35,000 teachers from around the world since 1978. Dr. Renzulli also established the UConn Mentor Connection, a summer program that enables high-potential high school students to work side by side with leading scientists, historians, and artists and other leading edge university researchers. He is also the founder along with Dr. Reis of the Joseph S. Renzulli Gifted and Talented Academy in Hartford, Connecticut which has become a model for local and national urban school reform for high potential/low income students.

His most recent work is an online personalized learning program that provides profiles of each student’s academic strengths, interests, learning styles, and preferred modes of expression. This unique program also has a search engine that matches multiply coded resources with student profiles. Teachers also use the program to select and infuse high engagement enrichment activities into any and all standardized curriculum topics.

 

Dr. Del Siegle serves as director of the Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development. He holds the Lynn and Ray Neag Endowed Chair for Talent Development in the Neag School of Education at UConn, where he was honored as a teaching fellow. Prior to earning his Ph.D., Del worked as a gifted and talented coordinator in Montana. He is past president of the National Association of Gifted Children and has served on the board of directors of The Association for the Gifted. He is also past chair of the AERA Research on Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent SIG. He has been co-editor of the Journal of Advanced Academics and Gifted Child Quarterly. He writes a technology column for Gifted Child Today. Del’s research interests include web-based instruction, motivation of gifted students, and teacher bias in the identification of students for gifted programs. Along with Gary Davis and Sylvia Rimm, he is an author of the popular textbook, Education of the Gifted and Talented (6th and 7th ed.). He is the Director of the National Center for Research on Gifted Education (NCRGE), which replaces the former National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT).

 

Dr. Sally M. Reis is the co-Principal Investigator and co-Project Director of the Project 2e-ASD: Strategies for Gifted Students with ASD. She is an Endowed and Board of Trustees Professor in Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut. She oversees the project, coordinating all activities in support of the project objectives and supervising the project team. She previously worked on several other Javits grants, including serving as a principal investigator for the SEM-R and the SEM-R in the Middle Grades Project (reading project, awarded 2008). She holds the Letitia Neag Morgan Chair in the Neag School of Education where she also served as Principal Investigator of The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (1990-2013). She has authored and co-authored more than 250 articles, books, book chapters, and monographs and technical reports. She is a past President of the National Association for Gifted Children and received the Distinguished Scholar and Service Award from that organization.

 

Dr. E. Jean Gubbins is the Principal Investigator and Director of the Thinking Like Mathematicians: Challenging All Grade 3 Students Project. She is a Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut. Through grant funding from the United States Department of Education for The National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NRC/GT, 1990-2013), Dr. Gubbins implemented quantitative and qualitative research studies in CLED communities on curricular strategies in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) high schools, reading and mathematics in elementary schools, professional development, and gifted education pedagogy for all students. Currently, she is Associate Director and co-PI of the National Center for Research on Gifted Education. She is involved in implementing initial, multi-year studies (2014-2017) focusing on exemplary practices in identification and programming for gifted students as well as identification practices of gifted English learners. Dr. Gubbins has conducted over 50 program evaluations for schools and organizations around the country. Research, evaluation, and teaching interests stem from prior experiences as a classroom teacher, teacher of gifted and talented students, Connecticut State Department of Education program evaluator, evaluation consultant, and professional developer. She teaches graduate courses in gifted education and talent development related to identification, programming, curriculum development, and program evaluation.

 

Dr. Catherine A. Little is a Professor in Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership with emphasis in Gifted Education Administration from The College of William and Mary in 2001. She is currently the Project Director for Project SPARK, which was funded by the Javits program in the 2014 competition, and Project LIFT, which was funded by the Javits program in the 2018 competition. In addition Dr. Little previously worked on several other Javits grants, including serving as curriculum coordinator for Project Phoenix (social studies project, awarded 1998) and as co-PI for the SEM-R in the Middle project (reading project, awarded 2008). She was also involved as a curriculum specialist in the early stages of Project Athena (language arts project, awarded 2003).

 

Dr. James C. Kaufman is a Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut. He is the author/editor of more than 35 books, including Creativity 101 (2nd ed., 2016) and the Cambridge Handbook of Creativity (2nd ed., 2019; with Robert Sternberg). He has published more than 300 papers, including the study that spawned the “Sylvia Plath Effect,” and three well-known theories of creativity, including (with Ron Beghetto) the Four-C Model of Creativity. He is a past president of Division 10 of the American Psychological Association. James has won many awards, including Mensa’s research award, the Torrance Award from the National Association for Gifted Children, and APA’s Berlyne and Farnsworth awards. He co-founded two major journals (Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts and Psychology of Popular Media Culture). He has tested Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s creativity on CNN, appeared in the hit Australia show Redesign Your Brain, and narrated the comic book documentary Independents. He wrote the book and lyrics to Discovering Magenta, which had its NYC premiere in 2015.

 

Dr. Aarti P. Bellara is the co-Principal Investigator of the Thinking Like Mathematicians: Challenging All Grade 3 Students Project. She is an Assistant Professor in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut with expertise in statistical analysis for educational research and assessment. Her research focuses on exploring quasi-experimental methods in educational studies, and developing and validating assessments. Dr. Bellara teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in assessment and measurement. Her research interests include applying propensity score methods to evaluate the effect of educational programs, studying the impact of measurement error on various statistical analyses and educational assessment.

 

Dr. Tutita Casa is the co-Principal Investigator of the Thinking Like Mathematicians: Challenging All Grade 3 Students Project. She is an Associate Professor in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut with expertise in elementary mathematics education. She has extensive experience developing and researching the efficacy of advanced mathematics units for grades K–5 students, including those from underrepresented groups. She was the co-Principal Investigator for Project M: Mentoring Young Mathematicians, funded by the National Science Foundation, that applied gifted education principles to units designed for heterogeneous K–2 students. She also served as a Postdoctoral Fellow and Assistant Professor in Residence for the Javits-funded Project M: Mentoring Mathematical Minds. Numerous units from both series have been awarded the Curriculum Studies Award from the National Association for Gifted Children.

 

Dr. Rebecca D. Eckert is an Investigator on Project LIFT. Dr. Eckert is currently an Associate Clinical Professor in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut, supporting teacher preparation programs and facilitating partnerships with local schools. She received her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with emphasis in Gifted and Talented Education from the University of Connecticut in 2004. With her expertise in gifted education and teacher practice, in addition to recent work on discourse in culturally and linguistically diverse mathematics classrooms, she will add support to the development and review of lesson clusters and will support the implementation of the preservice teacher component of the project in Years 4–5. She will also support the project through writing and presentations.

 

Dr. Nicholas Gelbar is a Senior Investigator on the Project 2e-ASD: Strategies for Gifted Students with ASD. Dr. Gelbar is an Associate Research Professor at the University of Connecticut in the Department of Educational Psychology. Previously, he was an assistant professor at the University of Connecticut Health Center (School of Medicine) and the research director for the UConn University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (with concentrations in School Psychology, Special Education, and Gifted/Talented Education) from the University of Connecticut in 2013. He is a licensed psychologist and has served as the internal evaluator for several OSEP-funded projects including the Early Childhood Personnel Center. His post-doctoral research has focused on the experiences of college students with disabilities, especially those with ASD, and has authored two seminal publications in this area (Gelbar, Smith, & Reichow, 2014; Gelbar et al., 2015). In addition, he edited a book for Oxford University Press entitled Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Clinical Handbook. Dr. Gelbar has authored 31 peer-reviewed articles and six book chapters.

 

Dr. Joseph Madaus is a co-Principal Investigator and co-Project Director on the Project 2e-ASD: Strategies for Gifted Students with ASD. He is also the Director of the Collaborative on Postsecondary Education and Disability and is a professor in the Department of Educational Psychology in the Special Education program. He coordinates the annual Postsecondary Disability Training Institute, which provides intensive professional development to over 300 college disability service professionals from across the United States and Canada. He was the Principal Investigator or co-Principal Investigator on grants through the Office for Postsecondary Education, Office for Special Education Programs, the Institute of Education Sciences, and the State of Connecticut. He currently serves on the editorial board of nine journals, including the Journal of Postsecondary Education and Disability, TEACHING Exceptional Children, and Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals. He was the co-editor of Preparing Students with Disabilities for College: A Practical Guide for Transition, published in 2018.

 

Dr. Betsy McCoach is co-Principal Investigator and Associate Director for the National Center for Research on Gifted Education. She has extensive experience in multilevel modeling, instrument design, and latent variable modeling. She is the founder and Program Chair of the annual Modern Modeling Methods conference. Dr. McCoach has co-authored over 100 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters, and books, including Instrument Design in the Affective Domain and Multilevel Modeling of Educational Data. She was editor of Gifted Child Quarterly (2012-2017). Dr. McCoach has served as co-Principal Investigator and research methodologist for several federally-funded IES and NSF projects. Dr. McCoach is a member of the IES Stats/Methods review panel.

 

Dr. Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead is the co-Principal Investigator of the Thinking Like Mathematicians: Challenging All Grade 3 Students Project. She is an Assistant Professor in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut with expertise in program and policy evaluation. She has extensive experience leading PreK–12 educational evaluations aimed both at improving the process of implementation of educational interventions, and also assessing the impact of these interventions. She has also played a key role on evaluation and research projects of major federal investments for exceptional (gifted and special education) students. For example, she served as co-principal Investigator the “Exploring What Works: A Systematic Study of the Effectiveness and Power of Gifted Programs” (IES, U.S. DoE PR/Award # R305C140018) in which she helped design and successfully execute a case study aimed at identification of factors that would provide insights into reasons why historically underrepresented populations of students identified as gifted were successful in mathematics and/or reading achievement in selected schools. In 2014, she was awarded the American Evaluation Association Marcia Guttentag Award, the association’s only early career award for contributions to the scholarship and practice of evaluation. For this project, she will lead the evaluation of the project (Years 2–4); and prepare articles and reports to disseminate the project’s results (Year 5).

 

Dr. Christopher Rhoads is a co-Principal Investigator for the National Center for Research on Gifted Education. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut. His research interests focus on methods for improving causal inference in educational research, particularly in the areas of experimental design and the analysis of multi-level data structures. Dr. Rhoads has been a member of research teams conducting evaluation and efficacy grants in the areas of educational technology (Institute for Education Sciences Goal 3), and housing and child welfare (Administration for Children and Families) and serves on the advisory boards for several IES and NSF funded projects. He is co-PI for the National Center for Research on Gifted Education. He is also currently co-PI for an IES Goal 1 development grant and co-PI for a Javits grant. He is also a regular presenter at the IES funded Summer Research Training Institute for Cluster Randomized Trials. He has published articles in Journal of Educational and Behavioral Statistics, Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness, and British Journal of Mathematical and Statistical Psychology and is acknowledged as an outstanding peer reviewer for two scholarly journals.

 

 

Stephanie Huntington

 

Lisa Muller

 

Nicole Waicunas is the Schoolwide Enrichment Model Outreach Coordinator at the Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development. Nicole completed her undergraduate work at Columbia University in World Literature, simultaneously completing her coursework in secondary education at Barnard College. Prior to her work with UConn, she was a teacher for fifteen years, during which time she learned about the Schoolwide Enrichment Model and completed the 3Summers Program to achieve her master’s degree in Education in 2007. Prior to becoming the recipient of the Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Award in 2012, Nicole began her work with Dr. Joseph Renzulli as the SEM Coordinator. She now works to inspire educators around the world, conducting training, collaboration, and opportunities to infuse the SEM into g/t classrooms, regular classrooms, and for twice-exceptional students.

 

Siamak Vahidi is an Administrative Program Support staff for the Renzulli Center. He has been working for the Center since 1993.

 

 

Dr. Kelly Kearney is a Research Associate with Project LIFT. Dr. Kearney completed her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology with emphasis in Gifted and Talented Education at the University of Connecticut in 2014. Dr. Kearney’s background includes working with teachers and students in school-based and out-of-school programs, and her research has included focus on resilience in advanced learners from underserved populations. She was a Research Associate with Project SPARK, coordinating the efforts of multiple schools in project implementation, facilitating PD and data collection efforts, and supporting dissemination and writing. Dr. Kearney will coordinate project management and implementation for Project LIFT, including recruiting and communicating with school personnel, supervising graduate assistants, and reporting project progress and findings.

 

Dr. Susan Dulong Langley

 

Dr. Daniel Long is a Research Scientist with the National Center for Research on Gifted Education at the University of Connecticut. He earned his Ph.D. from University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining the NCRGE research team, he worked for the Philadelphia Education Research Consortium.

 

Dr. Allison W. Kenney is a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the National Center for Research on Gifted Education at the University of Connecticut. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University where her work examined how local leaders and stakeholders navigate and negotiate urban education reform. Previously, she worked with the Distributed Leadership Study at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy and was a Fulbright Germany Research Fellow. Her research interests span the fields of education and educational leadership, organizational sociology, and public policy.

 

 

Quinn Austermann is a Ph.D. 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 Ph.D. program. She is working as a graduate assistant conducting research on college readiness for academically talented students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

 

Alexandra Cascio

 

Sarah Charbonneau is a Graduate Research Assistant for Project LIFT. She is a full-time doctoral student in Educational Psychology with a concentration in School Psychology. She also conducts assessments and works with teachers to identify gifted behaviors for Project SPARK. Previously, she worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator in Neuropathology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. For Project LIFT, her responsibilities include teacher observations and interviews.

 

Rachael Cody

 

Julie Delgado

 

Anthony Gambino

 

Stacy Hayden is a doctoral student 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-Fraiser 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 of the Gifted in 2017. Stacy is a Graduate Research Assistant for Thinking Like Mathematicians: Challenging All Grade 3 Students, a research study funded by the funded by the Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program. Her research interests include equity, pre-identification programs, and college honors programs.

 

Shannon Holder

 

Shelby Masse is Project LIFT’s Graduate Research Assistant. She is a full-time doctoral student in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Sport Management. She obtained her Master’s from the University of Connecticut in 2017. Previously, Shelby worked as a Graduate Research Assistant on a project funded by the National Science Foundation, which looked at School Organization and Science Achievement (SOSA). For Project LIFT her responsibilities include scheduling, coordination, observations, and interviews.

 

Lawrence Miller

 

Sarah Newton

 

Luis Orione is a Ph.D. 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.

 

Clarisa Rodrigues is a Graduate Assistant for Project LIFT. She is a full-time Master’s student in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Special Education. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from Southern Connecticut State University and was a special educator for two years. For Project LIFT, her responsibilities include interviewing teachers and observing classrooms.

 

Kenneth Wright is a 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.

 

Lihong Xie obtained her M.A. in Social Studies Education from University of Connecticut. She was a high school history teacher in China for over ten years. She is currently a first-year doctoral student and works as a graduate assistant in the Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development program. Her research interest lies in teaching creativity in the classroom, gifted women, and creativity in cross-cultural settings.