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Reading Center Doctoral Students

Jennifer Lubke earned a BA in English with a minor in journalism from the University of Texas, Austin. She also holds secondary certification in English education and has 11 years experience working as a high school language arts teacher in both Texas and Tennessee. Jennifer is a member of the first cohort of Urban Specialists at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and earned the Urban Specialist certificate in 2003. Later, she completed a master’s degree in Instructional Technology at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and is now a doctoral candidate in the Literacy Studies program within the Department of Theory and Practice in Teacher Education. Her research interests include web-based applications and online content sharing, virtual learning communities, media education, media literacy, multiliteracies, and adolescent literacy. Jennifer is a member of the National Council of Teachers of English and the International Society of Technology in Education.

 

Karen Rice earned her BA in English and a MS in Education from the University of Tennessee. Her research interests include middle school and adolescent literacy, adolescent literature, teacher preparation, vocabulary acquisition, teaching reading in the content areas, and writing instruction. Currently, Karen is beginning her seventh year teaching language arts and reading at Heritage Middle School in Blount County; in previous years, she has taught ninth, tenth, and eleventh grade English in summer school for Blount County. In the past few years, she has designed and implemented the Reading Intervention curriculum at her school, authored a quarterly school newsletter entitled Learning about Literacy, and chaired the Reading Incentive Plan committee. She has led school wide in-service on Teaching Reading in the Content Area, Implementing Writing Across the Curriculum, and Vocabulary Instruction. In addition, she has presented on Reading and Writing Workshops for Middle School at the Blount County Reading Conference. Karen is a member of the International Reading Association and the National Council of Teachers of English.
Kandy Smith is a doctoral student in Reading and Literacy at the University of Tennessee. She has a B.A. in English and an M.A. in Administration and Supervision. An elementary school principal for 10 years (grades K-6), a middle school language arts and high school English and Spanish teacher, her educational work experiences encompass grades K-12. Kandy is currently working as a school consultant with the Tennessee State Improvement Grant. Kandy is a member of the International Reading Association, the National Council of Teachers of English, and the National Reading Conference.Rhonda DeJournett earned a BA in English from Manchester University in North Manchester, Indiana, and a master’s degree in Special Education/Mild Interventions with a K-12 license from the University of Saint Francis in Fort Wayne, Indiana. She also has a K-12 license and a Reading Specialist certificate. Rhonda is highly qualified in English and taught sophomore English, Reading, and Basic Skills at a Title I school for Fort Wayne Community Schools, which is the second largest district in Indiana. Rhonda worked at the Fort Wayne Center for Learning where she was clinically trained on Lindamood-Bell programs and provided one-on-one, intense interventions to students with learning difficulties. After graduating with her MS, she co-taught a master’s level course titled Literacy Issues at the University of Saint Francis. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education with a concentration in Literacy. Additionally, she is working as a graduate assistant co-teaching courses and supervising interns in the elementary education cohort in Knox County. Her research interests are in course design for pre-service teachers and in preventing reading difficulties.Ann Bennett is a doctoral student in Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee. She is licensed in History, Government, and English (7-12), as well as Latin (K-12), and she has 5 years teaching experience at the secondary level in Tennessee. She completed a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and History, a Bachelor of Arts in Classics, and Master of Science in Education in her tenure at the university. She is currently the Qualitative Research Consultant in Research Computing Support in the Office of Information Technology supporting students, faculty, and staff in qualitative and mixed methods research design, methodology, data collection, and analysis. She is also a member of the IRA, AERA, and LRA. Her research interests include race, racism, and raciality in literacy education, culture and literacy, Critical Race Theory, cultural/societal/environmental/historical influences on learning, struggling adolescent readers, remedial reading programs, summer setback, curriculum and instruction in reading, Young Adult Fiction, educational policy, and accountability theories and models.

Monica Billen is a doctoral candidate in Literacy Studies at The University of Tennessee within the Theory and Practice in Teacher Education department. As a former elementary school teacher, her research interests include elementary literacy instruction, pre-service teacher development, and international literacy comparisons. She holds a B.S. in Elementary Education, an M.A. in Teacher Education, and a certificate in Evaluation, Statistics, and Measurement. Monica is a member of the International Reading Association, American Educational Research Association, and is co-president elect of the Smoky Mountain Reading Council. She teaches reading methodology courses, co-teaches teacher development courses, and mentors elementary interns. She is currently conducting a year-long study on the reflective development of intern teachers for her dissertation.

Christy Evans is a doctoral student in the Literacy Studies program at the University of Tennessee with a concentration in Reading. She has a B.S. in Multicultural Studies K-8, a M.S. in Reading Education, and an Ed.S. in Reading Education. She has a teaching license for Elementary Education K-8, English as a Second Language PreK-12, Early Childhood PreK-4, and Reading Specialist PreK-12. Christy is currently working as a K-4 English as a Second Language teacher. She is a member of Tennessee Teachers of Speakers of Other Languages, the International Reading Association, the National Education Association, and the National Council of Teachers of English.

Kim McCuiston is a PhD candidate in Literacy Studies at The University of Tennessee. Kim earned a B.A. in English with licensure from Maryville College in Maryville, Tennessee, and a M.A. from Tusculum College in Curriculum and Instruction. She has 13 years of experience teaching reading/language arts in middle schools. Kim’s research interests include factors that can influence reading motivation in students, effects of voluntary reading on student achievement, and effects of education policy on teacher attrition. Kim is a member of the International Reading Association, Literacy Research Association, and the National Council of Teachers of English.

Amanda Vining is a doctoral student in Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee. She has a B.S. in Geography with minors in History, Elementary Education, and Secondary Education from the University of Tennessee. Also from UTK, Amanda gained an M.S. in Teacher Education. Her teaching experience is in the middle grades. Amanda taught 7th grade geography for several years before moving into 8th grade American history. Most recently, Amanda has worked as a 7th grade English language arts teacher and is currently the TOP Coach in charge of curriculum at Clinton Middle School in Clinton, TN. Amanda is a member and regular presenter at the National Council for the Social Studies. She is also a member of the International Reading Association. Her research interests include using children’s books in the middle school setting, student thinking, and questioning techniques used in the classroom.

Natalia Ward is a doctoral student in Literacy Studies at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She earned her BA in English as a Foreign Language Education from Kaluga State Pedagogical University, Kaluga, Russia and her MS in English as a Second Language Education from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Natalia has taught ESL in an elementary school setting. Her research interests include bilingual and biliteracy practices, policy, equity in education, discursive psychology, and multiliteracies. Natalia is a member of the American Educational Research Association, the Literacy Research Association and TESOL International Association.

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