Hi2LD Scholars

Cohort 3

Jenny Chen is a student in the School Psychology Ed.S. program. Jenny is originally from Maryland and received her bachelor’s in psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. Jenny says, “I hope to become a nationally certified school psychologist who supports students’ learning, growth, and development through high-quality school-based services so that they can thrive in all areas of their lives—at school, at home, and throughout life. Specifically, I aim to integrate culturally responsive practices into advocating for the mental health and well-being of diverse students so that all students can feel supported and empowered to reach their fullest potential.”

Grace Eberts is in the Special Education M.A. program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in secondary English education and TESOL from Michigan State University. She currently teaches middle school Language Arts in Plymouth-Canton Community Schools in Plymouth, Michigan where she works with a wide range of diverse needs in her 6th grade ELA classroom. Grace’s current professional goals are to continue to build relationships and foster a successful and positive learning environment for middle school students of all backgrounds and abilities. She hopes that all students leave her classroom feeling like they were successful, like they experienced growth, and that they are prepared and ready for the next step in their educational journey. Throughout the program, Grace is eager to continue learning about how to best meet the needs of students with learning disabilities who spend time in her general education classroom environment each day.

Dana Garcia is a student in the School Psychology Ed.S. program. Dana is originally from Argentina, was raised in Florida, and received her Bachelor of Science in psychology, with honors, from Sewanee: The University of the South. Dana says, “I aim to become a nationally certified school psychologist to promote the equitable education, mental health, and resilience of all students in collaboration with parents, teachers, and communities. As a Latina and immigrant, I am particularly passionate about becoming a certified bilingual school psychologist in high-need, urban schools to help advance culturally responsive practices, promote cultural humility, and support the educational, behavioral, social-emotional, and cultural needs of culturally and linguistically diverse students and families.

Joe Meston is in the M.A. in Special Education program and is originally from Grand Rapids, MI. He received a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education and Mathematics from the University of Michigan. He is currently working with students with disabilities as an aide for a Mod/Severe classroom in Costa Mesa, CA.  Joe adds, “I hope to use my education to better support all students in building fundamental mathematics skills, especially number literacy and analytical reasoning. I believe there is an intersection between the best practices for literacy and mathematical development. I am excited to learn more about evidence-based literacy developmental techniques and to leverage these practices to better equip young mathematicians. In my free time, I love crocheting, running, making delicious food, bird watching and coaching track and field!”

Cohort 2

Grace Gadwood is a student in the school psychology Ed.S. program. She is originally from Hillsdale, Michigan and holds a B.A. in psychology and sociology from Hope College. Grace says, “I plan to become a School Psychologist to continue adding to the effort of advocating for and with children. I hope to help create a space where they feel seen, heard, and known. Within a K-12 setting, I hope to help families, teachers, and students feel connected and strive for the same goal of helping a child understand their potential.” 

Kristina Hedrick is a student in the special education M.A. program. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Special Education and Elementary Education from Grand Valley State University and currently teaches in Muskegon, Michigan. Kristina says, “My goal is to continue to work with students with Learning Disabilities, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Cognitive Impairments. I would like to continue to work in a resource room setting or a self-contained classroom for students with special needs. I hope that by obtaining my Master’s in Special Ed degree, I can help more students and help them become their best self.” 

Jenna Jodts is a student in the school psychology Ed.S. program. She received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kentucky and is originally from Ottawa, Illinois.  Jenna says, “After graduating I hope to become a nationally certified school psychologist in order to best support the academic, behavior, and social-emotional needs of K-12 students. I am specifically interested in implementing social-emotional and behavioral interventions to promote positive academic and mental health outcomes in schools.” 

Cohort 1

Grace Gimesky is in the special education M.A. program originally from Dundee, Michigan. She has a B.S. degree in special education (cognitive impairments endorsement) and secondary education for history from Central Michigan University. Grace’s current professional goals are to continue to serve and teach students with disabilities in underserved communities. Her specific interests include incorporating community based instruction and service learning into resource room programs. Grace is also interested in enhancing her knowledge base of reading, writing and math assessments and intervention at the secondary level for students with disabilities on a diploma track.  

James Kessel is a student in the school psychology Ed.S. program originally from Byron Center, Michigan. James has a bachelor’s degree in psychology, with honors, from Calvin University. As a school psychologist in a K-12 setting, his goal is to serve as a bridge between students, families, and educators. James hopes to create positive school environments and put the puzzle pieces of student strengths and challenges together in a way that enables students to thrive academically, behaviorally, socially, and emotionally.

Lindsay Pennala is in the school psychology Ed.S. program originally from Ishpeming, Michigan. She has a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Albion College and currently lives in Grand Rapids, MI. As a school psychologist, Lindsay hopes to return to her rural roots in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. She would love to focus specifically on the social-emotional impacts of trauma and support schools in designing and implementing responsive, high quality, and holistic SEL programs.

Nicole Shipley is a student in the special education M.A. program. Nicole is originally from Novi, Michigan and holds a bachelor’s in elementary education with a major in cognitive impairments from Central Michigan University. As a current special education teacher in Thornapple Kellogg Schools, Nicole has been dedicated to improving the quality of education for children with disabilities. She is eager to expand on evidence-based interventions with students in her district. Nicole’s goal is to be a leader in her community while improving the reading, writing, and social emotional intervention process.

Kirsten VanEvery is in the M.A. in special education program and is originally from Brownstown, Michigan and holds a bachelor’s in special education with an endorsement in cognitive impairments from Wayne State University. She is currently a resource teacher in Flat Rock, Michigan working with a wide variety of students with disabilities. Kirsten hopes to continue to teacher special education for a large part of her career. Kirsten’s goals are to improve her instruction abilities and to facilitate a positive learning environment where students experience success, growth, and achievement. She is especially interested in implementing evidence-based practices with students with learning disabilities.