MSU at AERA 2022: At a Glance

April 21, 2022

Faculty, graduate students and alumni from the Michigan State University College of Education are sharing research throughout the American Educational Research Association’s (AERA) annual meeting. Several are also being recognized for their exemplary work. Below, learn about some of the honorees during the 2022 conference, held this year in a dual-format, both online and in-person in San Diego, CA:

Faculty recognitions

Peter De Costa smiles toward the camera. The background is a blurred gray. De Costa wears a blue and white stripped shirt and a dark tie along with a dark blazer. He wears glasses with dark rims.
Peter De Costa

Peter De Costa, associate professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Teacher Education and the Department of Linguistics and Languages, is the recipient of the Mid-Career Award from the Second Language Research Special Interest Group (SIG). The award celebrates an individual who has advanced knowledge, encouraged others and promoted use of research to improve teaching and learning related to second language education. De Costa’s nominators include Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education alumna Christina Ponzio, who wrote: [De Costa] is very purposeful in supporting new scholars, like myself, to pursue our own lines of inquiry while offering his expertise and extensive network to support our own work.” Read more about De Costa and the award in a story from the MSU College of Arts & Letters.

Tasminda Dhaliwal sits on a bench outside of Erickson Hall. She wears a dark green button-down shirt, and big hoop earings in a golden hue. Her long brown hair is half pulled up.
Tasminda Dhaliwal

Tasminda Dhaliwal is the recipient of the AERA Division L Outstanding Dissertation Award for her work on “No Place Like Home: A Three Paper Dissertation on K-12 Student Homelessness and Housing Affordability.” Noting how previous research has stressed how out-of-school factors, such as housing, has an impact on students and their schooling, Dhaliwal’s dissertation focused on the intersection of housing affordability and education. She analyzed data from the Los Angeles Unified School District and the state of Michigan, and provided “insights about the contexts and trajectories of students experiencing housing loss, which school and neighborhood resources matter for [students’] educational outcomes, and the educational implications of a large-scale affordable housing program.” Dhaliwal joined the College of Education in 2021.

Jungmin Kwon smiles for the camera, foliage in bright green behind her. She wears a white blouse. Her dark hair falls just past her shoulders.
Jungmin Kwon

Jungmin Kwon is the recipient of the Early Career Award from the Critical Perspectives in Early Childhood Education SIG. Kwon joined the College of Education in 2020 as an assistant professor of teacher education. The honor uplifts scholars who graduated within the past five years and whose work shows contributions and commitments to critical perspectives on early childhood education.

Katharine Strunk Photo
Katharine O. Strunk

Katharine O. Strunk is co-author of “Challenging the One Best System: The Portfolio Management Model and Urban School Governance” (Harvard Education Press, 2020), which won the Outstanding Publication Award from the Districts in Research and Reform SIG. The book, written by leading education scholars is a comparative analysis “of the set of urban education governance reforms collectively known as the ‘portfolio management model.'” The book explores the design and enactment of the model across three cities, and offers considerations of its impact. Strunk is professor of education policy and, by courtesy, economics, and the Clifford E. Erickson Distinguished Chair in Education and the faculty director of the Michigan State University Education Policy Innovation Collaborative (EPIC). MSU Associate Professor Chris Torres and Assistant Professor Tasminda Dhaliwal are among the contributors to the book.

Chris Torres

Strunk and Torres are also co-awardees of the Division L Outstanding Policy Report (Long). Their report, “Partnership Turnaround: Year Three Report,” was written with EPIC’s Erica Harbatkin (post-doctoral researcher) and Aliyah Mcilwain, Samantha Callum and Chanteliese Griskell (research assistants). Released in September 2021, the report was released as part of EPIC’s evaluation of the Partnership Model and “includes analyses of student academic outcomes, educator outcomes, surveys of teachers and principals in Partnership districts … and interviews with Partnership district system leaders.”

Sara Witmer headshot
Sara Witmer

Sara Witmer was named an AERA Research Grant Awardee. Awardees are chosen for their research that impacts educational contexts such as policy, equity and inclusion, and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The awardees, chosen from a highly competitive pool, are supported by the AERA-National Science Foundation Grants Program (of which Barbara Schneider, John A. Hannah University Distinguished Professor, is the chair). As part of the honor, Witmer, associate professor of school psychology, will receive up to $35,000 for a maximum two-year study and participate in professional development and other related opportunities. Witmer will also present the awarded research—”Exploring the Role of Meaningful Accessibility Tool Use for Addressing Math Test Score Validity Concerns”—in a poster session during the conference.

Student Honor

Brittany Jones, a doctoral student in the college’s Curriculum, Instruction and Teacher Education (CITE) program, received the Outstanding Graduate Paper Award from the Teaching History SIG. The paper—”‘Difficult-ish’: Amplifying Black Social Studies Teachers’ Pedagogies to Reimagine What We Mean by Difficult Histories”—examined Black teachers’ attitudes toward “difficult histories” and the ways in which they taught about them in the classroom. Jones is presenting the paper at AERA on Sunday, April 24.

Alumni Awards

Joshua Rosenberg, Ph.D. ’18 (Educational Psychology and Educational Technology), received the Early Career Scholar Award from the Technology as an Agent of Change in Teaching and Learning SIG. Rosenberg is an assistant professor of STEM education at the University of Tennessee Knoxville College of Education and a faculty fellow in the college’s Center for Enhancing Education in Mathematics and Sciences. Learn more about Rosenberg and the award in a story from the University of Tennessee.

Add your accolade to this list so we may celebrate you, too! Reach out to to learn more.