Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dr. Guler Boyraz Selected as the COE's Outstanding Researcher of the Year!

Pictured are Psychology Department Chair, Dr. Donna Thomas,
Dr. Guler Boyraz, and Dean Don Schillinger of the COE
Congratulations are in order for Dr. Guler Boyraz for her well-deserved selection as the College of Education's Outstanding Researcher of the year! Dr. Boyraz serves in the COE's Department of Psychology and was recognized at the Davison Athletics Complex today along with awardees from the Colleges of Engineering and Sciences, Applied and Natural Sciences, Business, and Liberal Arts. In attendance were President Guice, Vice President Napper, each of the Deans, family and friends of the awardees, as well as representatives from the University Research Growth Team and University Research Council. Dr. Boyraz's biography is below:

Guler Boyraz, Ph.D. is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology and Behavioral Sciences at Louisiana Tech University. She received her doctoral degree in counseling psychology from the University of Memphis. Her research focuses on understanding the personal, social, and cultural factors that affect individuals’ responses adversity, with a particular emphasis on traumatic life experiences, such as exposure to violence, childhood maltreatment, bereavement, and life-threatening illnesses. She is interested in exploring the risk factors that contribute to negative psychological outcomes following adverse life events. In addition, she is exploring the protective factors (e.g., personal, social, or cultural resources, or coping mechanisms) that promote resilience in the face of adversity to inform prevention and intervention efforts that are aimed at fostering resilience and positive psychological outcomes in vulnerable populations.  Dr. Boyraz’s research in this area has resulted in numerous publications and presentations, many of which are co-authored with students.

Congratulations, Dr. Boyraz, on this noteworthy accomplishment!

Monday, April 25, 2016

COE and PDRIB's Sheena Manuel Selected as Educator of the Year for the National Federation of the Blind for Louisiana

Recently, Ms. Sheena Manuel was recognized at the 2016 National Federation of the Blind of Louisiana, our state's affiliate of the NFB, Conference as the Outstanding Educator of the Year! Ms. Manuel is a member of the COE family and serves with Dr. Eddie Bell in the PDRIB office. Below is an excerpt from her acceptance speech and images from the celebration, Congratulations on the great work you are doing in our region, state, and nation, Sheena! We are grateful to have the opportunity to work with and learn from you!

Look at God! This has been the most challenging year of my career so far but this award lets me know that the people who matter the most appreciate my time, talent, and efforts to change what it means to be blind, to ensure that kids know blindness is a nuisance and not a defining characteristic, and any blind person can live the life they want! I am only the educator I am with the help of my team at the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness, Dr. Ruby Ryles, all the blind people I have met here and at National convention who continue to tell me their stories and dreams for blind children, my students and their families for allowing me to fight for their rights to a free and appropriate public education, and my family and friends who continue to support my dreams and believe that I can change the world! I humbly accept this award and know that even the Educator of the Year still has room to grow!

Monday, April 18, 2016

COE Partners with Jacksonville State University to Validate the Collaborative Regional Education Model: Technology in Rural Classrooms

In 2013, the highly competitive U.S. Department of Education, Investing in Innovation (i3) Grant Program, funded Jacksonville State University’s Validating the Collaborative Regional Education (CORE) Initiative. Jacksonville State University is partnering with eight regional universities, including Louisiana Tech University to participate in a national study to expand the CORE model and implement a rigorous study of approximately 40 control and treatment classrooms in 8th-12th grades across the nation. The initial grant awarded by the USDOE was 12.5 million. 

On Thursday, April 14, 2016, Louisiana public school partners (grades 8-12) and participating teachers met to have their project roles “revealed” as part of the national study, Validating the Collaborative Regional Education Model: Technology in Rural Classrooms (CORE), a project conducted by Jacksonville State University in collaboration with Louisiana Tech University's SciTEC Center in the College of Education.

The mission of CORE is “To fuel transformation in K-12 and higher education classrooms through professional development, project-/challenge-based learning, technology, classroom support, change management and partnership building, evaluation and research, dual enrollment, and innovative teacher preparation.”
The goals of CORE are:
    1. To prepare students for college and career through increases in 21st Century skills.
    2. To expand methodologies and technologies in the classroom.
    3. To create sustainable support for system-wide change management.


COE Students help with the Big Event!

On  Saturday, April 16, students from the Counseling Psychology doctoral program, as well as ESPE and PEK from Kinesiology, and the FETCH student from UTeachTech participated in the 2016 Big Event.  Faculty advisors helping with the groups included Dr. lore Dickey, Ms. Jessica Szymanski, and Ms. Rhonda Boyd. The event, organized by the Louisiana Tech SGA as an extension of a national Big Event clean up day, allows students and faculty to engage in their communities and help others with yard work, community beautification, and more! This service event is national in scope. After meeting in Joe Aillett stadium on Saturday morning, the students took off into Lincoln Parish to make a big difference, and they did. Thanks to the Departments of Psychology and Kinesiology for your hard work on this special day!  Check out our COE facebook for more great pictures from the Big Event!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Arkansas STEM Education Schools Connect to LA Tech

Last Friday was a very enjoyable and personally fulfilling day due to having the privilege of visiting two innovative STEM-focused schools, eSTEM Middle Charter (enrollment, 900 students) and eSTEM High School Charter (enrollment, 600 students) in Little Rock, Arkansas. Coming from a rural environment, it is a bit different to visit schools located in the midst of the business and busyness of a city. This aspect made the visit educational while the teachers and students I met made it extremely enjoyable and very fulfilling.

If you are wondering about the reason for this visit, it begins with the COE’s connection to Ms. Danni Stuckey, COE alumnus and former teacher at Dubach Elementary School. During her association with the COE, Ms. Stuckey also participated in the SciTEC Scholars program where she learned of innovative methods to integrate STEM concepts, demos, and experiments into a reading curriculum to heighten student engagement. Prompted by this professional development, she developed a series of STEM/literacy lessons including activities such as how design and use pinhole cameras to discuss light and color, concepts while connecting directly to texts such as Lois Lowery's 1994 Newberry Medal recipient, The Giver. While the book was available on the students' Kindles and iPADs, they were unable to take them home, annotate, or otherwise physically engage with the text, and they seems to especially enjoy interacting with one that has a hard cover. Ms. Stuckey submitted a request outlining her vision and her need (40 hard cover texts), which the COE was able to meet due to the generosity of funding made available through the Pipes Foundation. 

Ms. Lindsey Keith-Vincent, Director of Outreach and External for the COE, who played a primary role in this collaborative event, joined me in “welcoming” the eSTEM students to the Tech traditions of excellence and in distributing copies of The Giver.  We had the pleasure of speaking with some engaging students from two high school classes who asked many insightful and interesting questions about Tech, Ruston, and University life in general. I am very thankful to the wonderful students of Ms. Craig’s AP English class and Mr. Pursley’s AP Chemistry class who asked thoughtful questions and who seemed genuinely engaged and interested in the process of learning and achieving. To Ms. Craig and Mr. Pursley, thank you for your kindness and consideration in allowing us to use some of your valuable instructional time to meet and chat with your exceptional students.
In summary, the visit to the eSTEM Charter Schools saw the establishment of a new competitive grant program offered through the Office of Outreach and External Funding for the College of Education, the initiation of a new relationship with some exceptional students and teachers from a stellar school, and a view of the P-12 education thriving in city environment.
- A BIG thank you goes out to Ms. Debra, Mr. Sarper, and Ms. Stuckey for a great visit and a wonderful start to what we hope is a long-term partnership

*Enrollment numbers are approximations provided by eSTEM Charter School faculty.

Visit for more information about the eSTEM Charter Schools.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Psychology Faculty and Staff Present Across North America

Dr. Jerry Tobacyck and Dr. Mary Margaret Livingston recently delivered a poster presentation titled Paranormal Beliefs of Latvian and American Students: Support for Motivational-Control. Other authors included Arturs Utinans ,  Gunta Ancane, Vinita Cauce, from Riga Stradins University; Elizabeth Dixon, and Quinn Warner, presented at Southeastern Psychological Association in New Orleans on March 31. Pictured is Dr. Tobacyck with two of the presenting students, Quinn Warner and Elizabeth Dixon.

In addition, COE IT Coordiantor, Chris Coleman also had a poster there presented in conjunction with Livingston, M., Boyraz, G., Hindman, M., and Tobacyk, J. titled Self-Stigma Toward Counseling: Internet Online and Office Settings. This presentation was also delivered at the New Orleans event on March 31.

A third poster presentation was also accepted and delivered at the American Counseling Association and Canadian Counseling Association in Montreal, Canada. The proposal was titled, Willingness to Participate in Online Counseling and Computer Security Concerns. Co-Authors included Livingston, M., Hindman, M., and Coleman, C. The presentation was delivered on April 2, 2016.

Congratulations to these outstanding COE faculty, staff, and students on great work related to Psychology!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

The COE helps host WiSTEM Session for Parents while students engage with COES SWE!

The goal of the Women Influencing Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (WiSTEM) organization is to provide opportunities for our youth to experience STEM related activities with institutional, industry, and community support. On Saturday, March 19th, as the Society of Women Engineers (SWE) hosted Future Engineer's Day on Louisiana Tech's campus. Simultaneously, the WiSTEM group hosted a special informative event in SciTEC in Woodard Hall in the College of Education for parents which included information about engaging young women in STEM learning opportunities such as camps and competitions. Team leaders also discussed ideas submitted by parents about bringing STEM to activities and events across the region. There were 15 people in attendance, and informational sessions were hosted by COE Dean Don Schillinger, COES Associate Dean Heath Tims, and WiSTEM founding Directors, Ms. Amanda Sutherland of Murphy Oil, Dr. Mary Colderera-Moore and Dr. Katie Evans of COES, and Mrs. Lindsey Keith-Vincent of COE. Lunch was  provided for the parents, siblings, and presenters by COES. STEM-focused activities were also available to the young siblings of the aspiring engineers through SciTEC's IDEA Place. Sarah Wages with Bricks-4-Kidz also contributed and helped engage students with Lego building. Volunteers from SciTEC, Dr. Julie Rutledge's class in CANS's Human Ecology, and UTeachTech worked with the young ones as they explored rocketry, engineering, and enjoyed time in Louisiana Tech's Planetarium!   If you have interest in engaging in STEM opportunities and promoting women pursuing educational opportunities and career paths, please feel free to contact the group through facebook at or by email at Those interested in summer STEM learning opportunities through SciTEC can contact Lindsey Keith-Vincent at Scheduled WiSTEM events for the spring include demonstrations with COES and COE STEM groups at the Ruston Farmer's Market. The market will reopen May 7.  There will also be many summer learning camp opportunities highlighted on the facebook site by mid April should you be looking for exciting educational activities for your students during the summer. Pictured are some of the participating students and parents from the event!

New Adventures with the New Frontiers Series!

On Monday, April 4, 2016, Dr. Joseph Bass of Northwestern University, delivered a community lecture at 5:30 in the COE's Memorial Gymnasium. The event was funded by the Lincoln Health Foundation.  Kinesiology, SciTEC, the Department of Nursing, the Department of Human Ecology, LSUAg Center, Gibson's Natural Grocer, the Boys and Girls Club, the Lincoln Health Foundation, as well as COE, CANS, and COES  collaborated to host this extension event of the already wildly successful New Frontiers Seminars hosted by Drs. Jamie Newman and Mary Colderera-Moore.

Before the lecture, The Boys and Girls Club enjoyed interactive activities, lessons, door prizes, and refreshments all led by team members Dr. Tammy Schilling, Dr. Jean Chen, Ms. Dewanna Blake, Ms. Patti McFadden, Dr. Braden Roemer, Ms. Dawn Erickson, Ms. Cathy Judd, Ms. Lindsey Keith-Vincent, and their excellent students and colleagues. About 100 students from the Boys and Girls Club from grades 1-12 took part in making this community extension of the New Frontiers Series a great success.

There was standing room only for Dr. Joseph Bass's presentation that followed the activities with the Boys and Girls Club.  We wish to extend great thanks to Gibson's Natural Grocer and Ruston's Farmer's Market for the awesome smoothie supplies and door prizes. Journalist, Derek Amaya, from the Ruston Daily Leader, also joined in the festivities to capture the great event!

Monday, April 4, 2016

CIL Represents the COE well at CAEP Meeting in Baton Rouge

Dr. Randy Parker and Dr. Pam Morgan participated in the Board of Regents CAEP - Educational Leadership Leadership Institute in Baton Rouge.
Higher Education Faculty from throughout Louisiana developed a deeper understanding of the new Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) Standards and Assessment Expectations. The Session was chaired by Dr. Stevie Chepko - CAEP Sr VP for Accreditation- Washington DC. Thanks to Dr.Parker for submitting the story!