Education Honors Community

Here is Goeun Grace Park after successfully defending her Honors Capstone Project. Committee members included Dr. Erik Byker and Dr. Daniel Alston (Fall 2021). 

Amori Smith successfully defended. Comittee members included Dr. Kelly Anderson and Dr. Shawnee Wakeman (Fall 2021)

photo of roberson
Sarah Roberson (Spring 2018 Honors Cohort)


Education Honors Program ~ 2021-2022

Honors Student

Title of Project and Mentors

Goeun Grace Park

Practices in Elementary Schools to Reduce Racial Stereotypes that Impact Students' Academic Performance

Dr. Erik Byker & Dr. Daniel Alston

Dara Kinkopf

An Approach to the Gender Gap in STEM Education: Increasing STEM Self-efficacy in Female Students

Dr. Hilary Dack and Dr. Lenora Crabtree

Canaan Eident

The Unintended Social and Emotional Consequences of the Gifted Program on Students

Dr. Michael Matthews & Dr. Cindy Gilson

Tara Gabriel

Administrative Leadership Efforts in School-Wide Reform

Dr. Adriana Medina & Dr. Anita Blanchard

Tracy Griffiths

Bridging the Gap: Challenges Kindergarten Teachers Face 

Dr. Ann Mickelson & Dr. Sloan Storie

Selebrity Hill

Technology Integration in Mathematics Classrooms for Gifted Education

Dr. Madelyn Williams-Colonnese & Dr. Drew Polly

Amori Smith

Reducing the School-to-Prison Pipeline

Dr. Kelly Anderson & Dr. Shawnee Wakeman

Education Honors Program ~ 2020-2021
Honors Student Title of Project and Mentors

Erin Cheney

A Study of Section 504 Resources Available to Educators in a Southeastern State

Dr. Donna Sacco, Dr. Holly Johnson, & Dr. Michael Matthews

Nicole Cook

In-Service Elementary Teachers' Beliefs About Scientists

Dr. Ian Binns & Dr. Daniel Alston

Faith Frayman

Practice What They Preach? How Pre-Service Teachers' Self-Efficacy in Using Culturally Relevant Teaching Practices Aligns with Their Perceptions of Diversity

Dr. Erin FitzPatrick & Dr. Tehia Starker Glass

Lesli Kathman

Offering Novelty: Summer Enrichment Programs as a Way to Expand Course Options for Gifted Adolescents

Dr. Cindy Gilson & Dr. Michael Matthews

Logan Mangum

Autoethnography: Hear My Voice: Advocacy for Change for Students with Dyslexia

Dr. Cindy Gilson & Mr. William Jamison

Olymbia Palamaris


Culturally Diverse Classroom Libraries and Their Effect on Culturally Inclusive Teaching

Dr. Erin Miller & Dr. Jean Vintinner

Spencer Reece

Transition to Adulthood for Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Dr. Leslie Bross & Dr. Kelly Anderson

Education Honors Program ~ 2019-2020
Honors Student Title of Project and Mentors

Zina Abualeinan 

Stakeholders’ Perception of Occupational Therapy for Handwriting at One Specialized School
Mentors: Dr. Wakeman & Dr. Sacco

Calysta Castillo 

The Effect of Personalized Learning on Elementary Students’ and Teachers’ Perceptions in Mathematics

Mentors: Dr. Polly & Dr. Eisner

Anna Corrado

A Qualitative Study Looking at the Long-Term Impact of Head Start on Adults

Mentors: Dr. Rebich & Dr. Coffey

Parks Drake

Conducting Teacher-Led Think Alouds for Modeling Reading Comprehension

Mentors: Dr. Polly & Dr. Whittingham

Jessica Foster

Teachers’ Perceptions of Teaching and Assessing Tested and Non-Tested Subjects

Mentors: Dr. Polly & Dr. Eisner

Hayley McNeill

An Investigation of Advanced Kindergarten Students' Mathematical Self-efficacy on Single Digit Addition and Subtraction Word Problems

Mentors: Dr. Polly & Dr. Alston

Natalia Mejia

Investigating and Comparing Universal Design for Learning in South Africa and the United States

Mentors: Dr. Byker & Dr. O’Brien

Education Honors Program ~ Spring 2018

Honors Students

Honors Project Title/Mentor

Cameron Brophy

Factors That Influence Student and Family Perspectives on the Social Interactions of Elementary Aged Students who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

Mentor: Dr. Shawnee Wakeman

Heather Rhodes

What Challenges Do First Grade Teachers Encounter in Terms of Identifying Young Gifted Children?

Mentor: Dr. Michael Matthews

My’Asia Jaaber

Adolescents’ Perceptions of Incarcerated Parents

Mentor: Dr. Erin FitzPatrick

Mykayla Perry

Presence of Multicultural Children’s Literature in Elementary School Classroom Libraries

Mentor: Dr. Erin Miller

Nafis Muhammad

Why do Men Choose to Become Elementary School Teachers?

Mentor: Dr. Erik Byker

Samantha Horne

Use of Technology in  the Elementary Classroom

Mentor: Dr. Drew Polly

Sarah Roberson

Preparation of Special Education Teachers to Teach Communication Skills to Students With  Moderate to Severe Disabilities

Mentor: Dr. Shawnee Wakeman

Taylor Auble

Growth Mindset in the Elementary Classroom

Mentor: Dr. Daniel Alston

Education Honors Program ~ 2017-2018

August Howerton

Technology Usage for Students’ in an Elementary Mathematics Classroom

Mentor: Dr. Drew Polly

Emily Hoban

Writing Into the Day

Mentor: Dr. Brian Kissel

Kaytlen Thrift

Stimulating Their Drive: Motivation in Mathematics of Students from Low Socioeconomic Status Backgrounds

Mentor: Dr. Susan Hardin


Co-Directors of Education Honors Program

Dr. Amy Good and Dr. Cindy Gilson (2018-present)


Education Honors Committee

Dr. Amy Good, Chair (2016-present)

Dr. Bettie Ray Butler – MDSK  

Dr. Cindy Gilson – SPCD  

Dr. Madelyn W. Colonnese - REEL

Dr. Rebecca Shore – EDLD  

Dr. Matt Eastin (Geography & Earth Sciences)  


Past Directors of the Education Honors Program

Dr. Michael Matthews (2010-2015)

Dr. Michael Green (2008-2010)

Program general email,

To view a complete list of all Honors Faculty Members, please click here.


Honors in Education Program:  Brief History

by Dr. Michael Green

In the fall of 2006, Dean Mary Lynne Calhoun appointed an ad hoc Honors Task Force.  Its members were

  • Dr. Michael Green, Chair (Reading & Elementary Education)

  • Dr. Janet Baxter (Special Education and Child Development)

  • Dr. Misty Cowan-Hathcock (Teaching Fellows)

  • Dr. Charles Hutchison (Middle, Secondary, and K-12 Education)

The committee was charged with preparing a comprehensive proposal for an Honors in Education Program to be presented to college faculty council early in the spring 2007 semester in order to facilitate passage through the college and the University Honors Council.  The proposal was to contain the following minimal components:

  1. Program goal(s) and expectation(s)
  2. Departmental representation and faculty governance
  3. Student admission requirements
  4. Program requirements
  5. Elements of continued program improvement
  6. Faithful adherence to programmatic values of the University Honors Council

A proposal was presented to college faculty in early spring 2007. With minor revisions, the proposal was approved for implementation in the fall 2007 semester. The Honors in Education Program was later approved by the University Honors Council too late for fall 2007 implementation.  Fall semester was used to recruit the first class of students to begin in Spring 2008.