Program Alumni

Doctoral Program

Jill Adelson, Ph.D., earned her doctorate in Educational Psychology from UConn in May, 2009. She has a joint degree in Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment and in Gifted Education, and her cognate was in mathematics education. She also earned the Certificate in Quantitative Research Methods in Psychology from the UConn Department of Psychology in August, 2008. Jill currently is an Assistant Professor at the University of Louisville in the Educational Psychology, Measurement, and Evaluation program. Her research focuses on the application of advanced quantitative methods such as multilevel modeling, structural equation modeling, propensity score analysis, instrument design, and secondary data analysis. Her substantive research interests are the effects of gifted programming, mathematical talent development, and elementary students’ attitudes towards mathematics. Jill appreciates the mentoring and experiences she received in the UConn MEA program, which has helped her develop strong methodological teaching skills, an understanding of advanced quantitative research including the skills to both apply the methods and to learn and extend the methods she knows, and an involvement in the field.

Gilbert Andrada, Ph.D., completed his doctorate in Educational Psychology, with a concentration in Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment in 2011. He earned a Master of Science in Psychology at Purdue University and has been working at the Connecticut State Department Bureau of Student Assessment in the Research, Program Evaluation and Psychometric Units. His duties include applied research, program evaluation, psychometric analysis, and test development. He is currently engaged in research involving– vertical scales, score drift, accommodations, alternate assessments, automated scoring, modified assessments, accountability, and interim assessments. Gil holds a professional-level Connecticut administrator’s license (092).Gil is the project leader for the Connecticut Benchmark Assessment System (CBAS), a computerized interim assessment system designed to benchmark student achievement against the Connecticut Curriculum in Grades 3 – 8 Mathematics and Reading Comprehension and Grades 3 – 12 Writing samples. He is a state member of the Council of Chief State School Officers TILSA (Technical Issues in Large Scale Assessment) Group. He was the coordinator of the 2010 and 2011 Connecticut Assessment Forums and continues in that role for 2012. Gil is a program chair for the 2012 Northeast Educational Research Association Annual Meeting. Gil is currently teaching a graduate course in Educational Tests and Measurement.

Anne C. Black earned her doctoral degree in 2008. She is currently a member of the Research Faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine where she works with a research team in studying the efficacy of specific behavioral interventions for individuals with substance use issues and dual diagnoses. Anne also currently teaches as an adjunct faculty member for the Research, Statistics, and Measurement Department at Southern Connecticut State University. Her doctoral dissertation involved a Monte Carlo comparison of modern missing data techniques for incomplete multilevel data. Her research interests include the effects of missing data on parameter estimation and statistical inference, non-parametric statistical methods, and applied behavior analysis.

Paul R. Hernandez completed the MEA program in the summer of 2011. After finishing his Ph.D., he accepted a position as a Postdoctoral research fellow in the Department of Education at Colorado State University. In his new position, Paul has turned his attention to both substantive and methodological research interests. As a research methodologist, his goal is to make sophisticated quantitative methods accessible for students and practicing researchers to maximize the potential impact of the behavioral and social sciences. Paul’s methodological research interests include quasi-experimental and longitudinal research designs, psychometrics, and meta-analysis. His research agenda also includes substantive areas related to motivation, social influences processes, identity, and academic persistence among members of underrepresented minority groups.

The MEA program offered Paul a wealth of opportunities and experiences. Some of the best and most valuable experiences included working closely with faculty members to conduct and present research at local, national, and international scientific conferences. Further, the faculty provided invaluable support through vetting his research ideas and designs, implementing research projects, providing constructive and critical feedback on written work, and generally providing a supportive, but intensive, research environment. What more could any graduate student ask for?

Burcu Kaniskan joined the MEA program in 2007 right after earning her Master of Arts degree in Measurement and Evaluation from Kent State University. Her research interests include psychometric models such as IRT, SEM, factor analysis, and longitudinal designs. Burcu defended her dissertation in September, 2011. In her dissertation, Burcu investigated the projection accuracy of different growth models using reading and mathematics statewide assessment program. Burcu is currently working as an associate research scientist at Pearson in San Antonio, TX. She believes that the most valuable aspect of the MEA program at UCONN is its strong emphasis on teaching the fundamentals of measurement and applied statistics in conjunction with research design. She is grateful for her training, the strong support of the MEA faculty and her advisor, and for the various research opportunities she experienced throughout this graduate program.

Karen Rambo-Hernandez graduated from the program at UConn in 2011 with an additional Graduate Certificate in Program Evaluation in the summer of 2011. She is currently an Assistant Professor at Colorado State University in the School of Education & School of Teacher Education and Principal Preparation (STEPP). Prior to her arrival at UConn, she was a mathematics teacher in Texas where she worked primarily with gifted middle school students, who inspired her current research line. Her substantive research interests include academic acceleration, mathematics/STEM education- particularly in middle school, and assessment. Her methodological research interests include multilevel longitudinal growth modeling and latent variable modeling. In her opinion, the most valuable part of the MEA program was the direct mentorship that she received from some of the top names in the field, particularly from her advisor Betsy McCoach. Also, she appreciated the access to high caliber curriculum, the flexibility to pursue some of her own research interests, and the support to apply for funding related to her research line.

Kate Jiarong Zhao earned her doctoral degree in 2008. She is currently working in the Connecticut Department of Education as education consultant. She received her B.A. and M.A. in English from Nanjing University, China. Her research interests include evaluation of teacher professional development, statistics education, survey research, and special education

Master’s Program

Aizhi Lu joined the program in fall 2006 as a master student and graduated in 2008. Prior to UConn, with a master degree in English language and literature, she had been a College English teacher for 3 years in China. Her research interests mainly focus on comparative assessment in test development via IRT and SEM. Specifically, the study of DIF in cross-cultural/lingual context; scaling, equating, and evaluating issues in adaptive tests; trace student’s achievement growth via longitudinal data studies, and study the effect of variables in different levels of hierarchical linear models; Also, she is interested in philosophical issues in education, knowledge of which helps to increase the sensitivity of statistical conclusions.