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Current Ph.D. Students

Ph.D. Students


Kathryn (Katy) Field graduated with a B.A. in history and completion of a secondary teacher certification program from Dartmouth College in 2001. She then went on to teach at both public and private high schools in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and North Carolina for the next 12 years. During that time, she earned her M.Ed. in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership with a concentration in Global Studies in Education through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In the fall of 2013, she matriculated into the Educational Psychology PhD program at UConn. As of the fall of 2016, Katy is collecting data for her qualitative dissertation study on student engagement in a 9th grade science classroom.

Advisor: Catherine Little


Susan Dulong Langley is a hybrid PhD student and an adjunct faculty member teaching the Talent Development in the Arts course. She is a teacher of the gifted in Framingham, MA, focusing on direct services to identified students and classroom integration with an emphasis on identifying and meeting the needs of English Learners. She is the past president of the Massachusetts Association for Gifted Education and Governance Secretary for the National Association for Gifted Children. Susan’s research interests include identification, services, and program retention for diverse gifted learners.

Advisor: Del Siegle


Rebecca O’Brien received her bachelor’s degree in Biology from Centenary College of Louisiana. Following her undergraduate studies, she worked as a middle school teacher in Baton Rouge, LA. Rebecca taught and received certification in science, math, and robotics. While teaching and coaching after school science programs, Rebecca earned her M.Ed in Special Education with a concentration in Gifted Education. Rebecca serves as a Graduate Research Assistant for Project SPARK (Supporting and Promoting Advanced Readiness in Kids), a research study funded by the Javits grant program. Her research interests include gifted education, assessment, statistical modeling, instrument development, and the development of potential in the early grades.

Advisor: Catherine Little

ka Khalilah Arrington

Advisor: James Kaufman

karen Karen Cross, M.A., is a third-year Educational Psychology doctoral student with emphases in School Psychology and Giftedness, Creativity and Talent Development. She is also pursuing a certificate in Postsecondary Disability Services. Cross holds a credential as an Education Specialist for students with mild/moderate disabilities in California. Her research interests are in the areas of high ability students with disabilities and mind body health interventions. She has published or has in press 5 articles in the professional literature and has presented 6 scholarly papers at national conventions. She received a blue ribbon at the APA convention, Division 16 for her poster entitled “Students with Giftedness and Learning Disabilities: Unique Academic Strengths and Weaknesses.” Cross’ dissertation focuses on whether intelligence is a protective or risk factor in high ability students with emotional behavior disorders.

As a hybrid PhD candidate, Paula Feynman studies the K-8 Excellence Gap in context at the Cambridge Public Schools in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Believing that equity in achievement for historically underrepresented subgroups can only be reached through a multifaceted approach, Feynman incorporates creative instructional practices with teacher training to ameliorate opportunity gaps while addressing stereotype threat, scholar identity, and family engagement.

Feynman received a BA in Science from the University of Pennsylvania, an MBA from the University of Chicago, and a Masters in the Art of Teaching (MAT) from Simmons College. She taught 6th grade Math and Science in the Sudbury Public Schools for 8 years, winning an Award for Excellence in Environmental Education from the State of Massachusetts, before moving to Cambridge Public Schools in the Fall of 2012.

Advisor: James Kaufman


Sarah Luria earned her Bachelor’s Degree from Smith College in Middle East Anthropology (2006), and graduate degrees in Gifted Education (Duke University, 2012) and Special Education (University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill, 2014).  She taught secondary mathematics, science, and human rights in North Carolina from 2006 until she began her studies in Giftedness and Creativity in 2014.  Sarah began the PhD program with the goal of becoming a professor of teaching practice.  Her research interests include creativity and social justice, equity in gifted programming, and human rights education.  

Advisor: James Kaufman


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 12 years she has been teaching high school mathematics in Connecticut, first at New Britain High School for 2 years and then 10 years at Windsor High School. Emma is now working with the Renzulli Center for Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development to pursue her interests in underachievement.

Advisor: Del Siegle


Laurel Brandon is a third-year doctoral student in the Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development program under the advisement of Sally Reis and works as a graduate research assistant under Joe Renzulli and Ron Beghetto on the Imagination, Creativity, and Innovation Index and Portfolio project. She is also a graduate teaching assistant working with Ron Beghetto in the Innovation House Learning Community. She also serves as a student on-site coordinator for Confratute, and as an Innovation Fellow with First Year Programs and Learning Communities she developed curriculum during the opening year of the Innovation Zone Makerspace. Prior to beginning doctoral studies, Laurel taught gifted cluster, pull-out, and self-contained classes (grades 3-6) for 6 years. Her research interests include enrichment pedagogy, interest and talent development, and positive psychology.

Advisor: Sally Reis


Ashley Carpenter is a mother, a wife, and has been a middle school science teacher for almost 15 years.  She has taught science in Exceptional Student Education (ESE), Drop–out prevention and full-time Gifted programs. She taught at one of three Centers for Gifted Studies in Pinellas County, Florida for the last 6 years.  She has her Bachelor’s of Science degree in Marine Science from Eckerd College, her Master’s of Arts degree in Science Education from the University of South Florida and is working on a Doctoral degree in Educational Psychology in the Creativity, Gifted Education, and Talent Development department under Del Siegle.  Her interests include underachievement of gifted adolescents and twice exceptional students.

Advisor: Del Siegle

Patricia O’Rourke has been exploring the domains of creativity and gifted education for over 10 years through designing and facilitating classes and programs for students of all ages. The themes of equity, cultural diversity, and social justice have always been important to her work, and she is now pursuing a graduate certificate from UConn’s Human Rights Institute and serving as a teaching assistant for multicultural education to deepen her knowledge in these areas.  Patricia is a graduate research assistant working on the National Center for Research on Gifted Education’s (NCRGE) study of promising practices with an emphasis on outcomes for underrepresented groups.  Her research interests include culturally sustaining pedagogy, interdisciplinary approaches to change in education, sociocultural theories of creativity, participatory research, and democracy and education. In addition to her studies at UConn, Patricia continues to manage a community performing arts program for youth and facilitates group classes for young people throughout the year.

Advisor: E. Jean Gubbins

holinger_molly_0001_e Molly Holinger, M.S., has a Master’s of Science in Creative Studies from the International Center for Studies in Creativity. She is a former graduate assistant of the International Center for Studies in Creativity and a former creativity teaching assistant and research assistant at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is currently a first-year doctoral student and graduate assistant under Dr. James Kaufman. Her research interests include creativity and well-being and improving best practices in problem-solving facilitation.

Advisor: James Kaufman

pam Pam Peters is interested in issues of equity in both general and gifted education.  She currently works as a Research Assistant with the National Center for Research on Gifted Education (NCRGE).  She holds a BA in Psychology from the University of St. Joseph and worked as a community based social worker for many years.  She has two children and enjoys boogie boarding and building sandcastles with them whenever possible.

Advisor: E. Jean Gubbins

anne-roberts Anne Roberts, M.Ed., received her B.A. in Linguistics (2010), and her M.Ed. (2015) from the University of Mary Washington. She also attended the University of Virginia to study Speech-Language Pathology (2011). She is certified to teach English, as well as Gifted Education, in Virginia. She worked as a gifted education specialist and Advanced English teacher in Spotsylvania County Public Schools, Virginia. While teaching, she implemented a MakerSpace in her school system, started the county’s Destination Imagination program and served as the county coordinator. Anne has taught multiple summer enrichment programs in Robotics and Programming. She has also presented at local, regional, and national conferences on STEM, gifted, and literacy topics. Her research interests include underachievement, creativity, twice-exceptional learners (2e), and girls in STEM.

Advisor: Catherine Little