Click names to see the biography.
Click names to see the biography.
Click names to see the biography.
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 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 (1990–2013), Dr. Gubbins implemented quantitative and qualitative research studies in culturally, linguistically, and economically diverse communities focusing on the curricular strategies and practices in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) high schools, reading and mathematics education in elementary schools, professional development, and gifted education pedagogy for all students. She is Co-Director of the Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development and Associate Director and Co-Principal Investigator of the National Center for Research on Gifted Education. She is involved in implementing multi-year studies focusing on exemplary practices in identification and programming for gifted and talented students.
Dr. Gubbins is Principal Investigator of a grant funded by the Javits Gifted and Talented Students Education Program entitled Thinking Like Mathematicians: Challenging All Grade 3 Students. The team developed a unit on algebraic thinking, multiplication, and division for students in general education classrooms that will support and challenge their current and future mathematical understandings. Currently, the team is focusing on providing professional learning opportunities for research participants on how to develop pre-differentiated and enrichment curriculum on fractions for grade 3 students. In addition, she is Co-Principal Investigator for the Javits grant entitled Project BUMP UP Building Up Mathematics Proficiency Utilizing Push-in with students in grades 4–5.
Dr. Gubbins has conducted over 50 program evaluations for school and organizations around the country. Research, evaluation, and teaching interests stem from prior experiences as a classroom teacher, teacher of gifted and talented students, 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 45 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. Tutita M. 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 M2: 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 M3: 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 is now, or has been in the past, a member of research teams conducting evaluation, development and efficacy grants in the areas of educational technology, math education, gifted education, community college persistence rates, and housing and child welfare. These projects have been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Institute of Education Sciences and the Federal Administration for Children and Families. Dr. Rhoads also serves on the advisory boards for several IES and NSF funded projects. He is 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 joined the Renzulli Center as a Program Assistant in 2019. Prior to joining the Renzulli Center team she graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2006 with a degree in psychology. She earned her teaching certificate in elementary education from Southern Connecticut State University and taught 6th grade for many years. Stephanie currently works on a variety of projects including Confratute and other Center events.
Lisa M. Muller is the Executive Program Director for the Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development. Lisa earned a Master’s degree in forensic psychology, and she has worked at the University of Connecticut since completing her undergraduate degree there. She joined the team at the Renzulli Center in 1999. Lisa is responsible for a wide range of duties within the Renzulli Center and associated projects, including grant projects, outreach activities, and office management. Lisa also holds the primary responsibility for implementing a grant program from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation focused on a summer residential learning experience for talented high school students from across the country.
Siamak Vahidi is an Administrative Program Support staff for the Renzulli Center. He has been working for the Center since 1993.
Anthony Gambino is a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the National Center for Research on Gifted Education at the University of Connecticut. He earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (Research Methods, Measurement, and Evaluation program) at UConn. His areas of expertise/research include causal inference, research and evaluation methodology, multilevel and structural equation modeling, and measurement theory.
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 is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Connecticut for Project BUMP UP. She is a former teacher of the gifted in Massachusetts. She served as president of the Massachusetts Association for Gifted Education, and as the parent representative and governance secretary for the National Association for Gifted Children. Susan’s research interests include identification, services, and program retention for culturally and linguistically diverse gifted learners.
Dr. Daniel Long is a Research Scientist with the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented (NCRGE) at the University of Connecticut. He has twenty-five years of experience conducting quantitative analyses of educational policy with a focus on gifted identification policies, racial/ethnic inequalities, program evaluation, multilevel modeling, and quasi-experimental methods. Before working at NCRGE, he led research and evaluation teams as Research Director at Connecticut Voices for Children and Director of Quantitative Research at Research for Action. From 2006 to 2014, he was an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Wesleyan University. Dr. Long received a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He began his career as a bilingual math and science middle-school teacher in South Central Los Angeles.
Dr. Sarah D. Newton is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the University of Connecticut’s Department of Educational Psychology. She provides data management, statistical analysis/modeling, and methodological support for various projects, including Project BUMP UP. In addition, Sarah serves as the Associate Director of Online Programs in Research Methods, Measurement, & Evaluation (RMME). She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in Educational Psychology (RMME concentration) at UConn and her M.S. in Criminal Justice and B.A. in Criminology, with completed course requirements in Psychology, from Central Connecticut State University. Her research focuses on: model/data fit and model adequacy as complementary tools for multilevel model evaluation and selection; information criteria performance in multilevel modeling contexts; latent variable modeling; instrument design; reliability and validity theory; and quantitative research methodology.
Gregory Boldt is a third-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 and talent development.
John Burrell is a second-year doctoral student in the Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development program. He received his BA in Psychology and Sociology with a minor in GLBT studies from the University of Minnesota. John earned his Master of Arts in Teaching from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota, with endorsements in high school physics and middle school science. He taught math and science for seven years before coming to UCONN. John has continued to serve on the faculty of the Phillips Academy Andover Summer program. As a Graduate Assistant, John is working on Project EAGLE, which explores dynamic approaches to identifying gifted English Learners (ELs) in the math classroom. John also spends ten hours per week on independent research as an educational psychology fellow. John’s research interests include mathematical education, executive functions, and the evolution of academic and cultural conceptions of giftedness and talent development.
Sarah Charbonneau is a doctoral student in Educational Psychology with a concentration in School Psychology. Sarah received her B.A. in Psychology from Mount Holyoke College (2014). Prior to coming to UConn, she worked as a Clinical Research Coordinator in Neuropathology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Sarah is a Graduate Assistant for Project LIFT and previously worked as a Graduate Assistant for Project SPARK. Her research interests include treatment fidelity, school-based supports for students managing grief or trauma, and identifying and supporting high potential in the early grades.
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 a B.A. in Secondary Education and English (2018) from Whitworth University in Spokane, WA. 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.
Julie Delgado is a Ph.D. candidate in Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut dual majoring in Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development and Special Education. She is currently serving as a graduate research assistant on Project 2e-ASD, conducting research on the impacts of professional learning for secondary educators working with academically talented students with autism spectrum disorder. Delgado received her BA from the University of Montana in Elementary Education with areas of emphasis in Mathematics and Psychology (2005) and her MA in Curriculum and Instruction with a Mathematics Major (2013) from the University of Texas, Arlington. She taught elementary general education in Montana for 15 years before beginning her Ph.D. programs. Her research interests involve underserved populations, emphasizing in students who are twice-exceptional and from lower socioeconomic backgrounds.
Christopher Esposito is a full-time doctoral student in the Educational Psychology program with a concentration in Special Education. He recently received his M.A. in Higher Education and Student Affairs from New York University and previously received his B.S. in Psychology from Stony Brook University. He worked in the field of college access and advising for three years, as well as the field of ASD research for four years. Currently, he works as a Graduate Assistant for Project 2e-ASD and his research interests include examining and improving the postsecondary outcomes for individuals with disabilities, particularly those with ASD.
Luis Ferreira 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.
Talbot Hook is a third-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 previously worked on Project Bump Up, but now currently splits his GA hours between the Center’s acceleration study and TA work for EPSY 5710: Introduction to Gifted Education and Talent Development. His research interests are in mindfulness, technology, and conceptual issues in gifted education.
Shana Lusk, M.A. is a doctoral student serving as a research assistant on Project Focus and Project LIFT (Learning Informs Focused Teaching). She received her M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction with a concentration in English as a Second Language from Arizona State University. Shana has worked as a speaker for the non-profit notMYkid educating students about Safe Dating and Healthy Relationships. She is a former classroom teacher with experience meeting the diverse needs of general education students and English learners as well as serving as a site coordinator for gifted pull-out services. She has worked to ensure that the strengths of English learners are recognized and accounted for. During her time as a teacher, she was selected as a Javits-Frasier Scholar (National Association for Gifted Children) to advocate for and develop the gifts and talents of culturally and linguistically diverse students. Shana’s research interests include text analytics and sentiment analysis, culture, indigenous populations, gifted English learners, perceptions, teacher preparation, and longitudinal outcomes.
Shannon McDonald Prior to enrolling in UConn’s Educational Psychology: Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development doctoral program, Shannon McDonald was both a middle and high school English/Language Arts educator. She received her B.A. in English Literature and M.A.T. in Gifted Education & Equitable Instruction. Shannon’s research interests center around the talent development process and the desire to explore avenues for which parents and educators can best support children’s acquisition of cognitive and psychosocial skills. She is also interested in exploring the intersection of media literacy and talent development.
Pamela Peters is a sixth-year doctoral student focusing both on Gifted Education, 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.
Shuyu Wang is a first-year Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development Program doctoral student. She received her M.A. from Hainan Normal University in Curriculum and Instruction and her M.S. from Missouri State University in Educational Technology. She had one and a half years of work experience in ICT-supported instructional design and teacher training programs. Her research focuses on educational equity and creativity.
Kenneth Wright is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development program. For his dissertation he is exploring how to meet the academic needs of advanced students in mixed ability classrooms. He has a BA in social science teaching, a masters in school counseling, an endorsement in gifted education, and an extensive background in performing arts. He taught at the secondary level for 16 years. His research interests include differentiating content for advanced learners, co-teaching, and how curiosity and interest impact learning. He is a graduate assistant on project BUMP-UP.
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.
Mei Zheng is a third-year doctoral student in the Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development program. She received her M.A. from Pace University in General Psychology. She is a research assistant for the center’s Integrated Subject Acceleration study and currently works collecting information about subject acceleration practices across various districts. Her research focuses on people’s beliefs about creativity and cross-cultural differences. She is also interested in the relationship between meaning and creativity.