The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

School of Education - Educational Research Methodology

Our Alumni: Overview & Profiles

Our alumni are elite members of the disciplines of research methodology, measurement, psychometrics, program evaluation, and assessment. They are employed across the nation in a wide range of businesses and organizations, including testing companies, state boards of education, evaluation groups, and research organizations. They are leaders in their respective disciplines and highly effective members of their organizations.

Alumni Profiles

We are extremely proud of our alumni and the broad range of careers in which they have engaged. To showcase the range of careers held by our alumni, we have assembled a series of alumni profiles given below.

Kelly Godfrey, Ph.D.

Kelly Godfrey is a Research Scientist for the College Board and enjoys conducting research that helps students succeed in college. Kelly describes her job as an art, using skills such as flexibility, foresight, and creative problem-solving on a daily basis. Although Kelly has many opportunities to work on a variety of projects and research teams, she typically works with Advanced Placement (AP) and College Level Examination Program (CLEP) examinations.

Kelly always had a love for mathematics and discovered educational research methodology while taking an undergraduate quantitative psychology class. Kelly credits her assistantship at UNCG, as well as her internships, with helping her focus her research on psychometrics (equating). Kelly cites gaining practical experience and taking advantage of professors’ expertise as ways current students can maximize their student experience.

Qi Qin, M.S.

Qi is a testing specialist in growth modeling for the Georgia Department of Education in the Assessment and Accountability Department, where her job is to quantify K-12 student performance to inform educators and parents about the growth of the students. Qi’s position includes conducting quality control screens of the databases, retrieving student growth data, and conducting research. The most exciting aspect of her work is the research and analysis that she does to refine the student growth model.

Qi values her experiences with the ERM program because they helped her to develop a true research mindset that affords her the skills to write up high quality research reports. She also credits the department with providing her a solid knowledge foundation in general applied research methods that has made her capable of continuing to learn throughout her job. Qi encourages current ERM students to take advantage of the wide variety of courses offered by the ERM department.

Christine Meyer, M.S.

Christine Meyer is the Race-to-the-Top Grant Program Evaluator for Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools. She evaluates the effectiveness of programs funded by Race-to-the-Top and makes recommendations for program improvement. The programs that she evaluates have a range of goals, including getting high school dropouts back in the classroom to earn their degrees, improving school culture by decreasing bullying and increasing tolerance, and effectively incorporating mobile technology in the classroom. Her role as an evaluator allows her to create evaluation plans and reports, collect and analyze data, and aid in improving existing K-12 programs.

Christine started out as an elementary school teacher and is excited about interacting with teachers and students while conducting evaluations for the school system. While a graduate assistant in the ERM department, she gained valuable experience collaborating on various program evaluations involving both K-12 and higher education programs. The experience she gained as an ERM student with designing evaluations and analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data have been instrumental to the development of her career as a Program Evaluator.

Korinne Chiu, Ph.D.

Korinne Chiu is the Director of Program Evaluation for a non-profit organization called Physicians for Peace (PFP). She evaluates the efficiency and effectiveness of PFP’s initiatives that train and educate healthcare professionals in under-served countries. Korinne designs evaluation studies to assess the progress of projects in different countries and to track the impact of health care professional training. She accomplishes this task by collecting information from trainees, trainers, and host country partners on a consistent basis.

While at UNCG, Korinne served as a teaching assistant and a graduate assistant. As a graduate assistant she gained valuable experience conducting research and evaluating programs throughout North Carolina. Study design and database management are critical skills Korinne developed from ERM courses in program evaluation, survey methodology, and data presentation and reporting.

Katherine Ciccarelli, M.S.

Katherine Ciccarelli is working as a middle school teacher in Greensboro, NC during the school year where she is a member of the school’s Assessment Committee. Through her role on this committee, Katherine is involved in testing decisions and data interpretation. Her ERM M.S. coursework in testing and validation, as well as an independent research assignment on testing accommodations, provided her a rigorous preparation for serving her school in this capacity.

In the summers, Katherine works with Wake County’s Research and Evaluation Department where she analyzes data for year-long programs, edits evaluation reports, and collects and analyzes data related to summer programs. Her work in this area helps the county make decisions on how to improve their educational programs. The program evaluation training she received while completing her M.S. in ERM helped provided her with the foundations in program evaluation required to prepare her for this work. In particular, Katherine learned about the theory behind evaluation, developed skills in quantitative and qualitative analysis, and learned the important components of an evaluation report. Also, the hands-on experience she received through ERM’s Office of Assessment, Evaluation, and Research Services (OAERS) as an evaluator for a local education program was essential for her professional growth.

Zhan Shu, Ph.D.

Zhan Shu has been a psychometrician for the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) at Educational Testing Service (ETS) in Princeton New Jersey since 2010. At ETS he mainly works on assessment design, development and analysis at the operational level, and also conducts methodological and applied research. He is particularly interested in test security, techniques for educational data mining, diagnostic classification models, innovative item types, and multidimensional IRT.

About his time in the ERM program, Zhan says he learned skills that have helped him in the field in many ways. To current or prospective students his advice is to take advantage of your time in the ERM department by collaborating as much as possible with professors and other students, reading literature as much as possible (even if you do not understand it at first), and to practice communication and presentation skills as often as possible because they prove to be invaluable in the field.

Trae Brookins, M.S.

Trae is a Scholarship and Grant Manager for North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA) and works with over 100 colleges and universities on assistance programs. These publicly funded and privately endowed scholarship and grant programs provide over $250,000,000 to more than 100,000 students annually. Trae contributes to NCSEAA by providing data-driven reasons to pursue (or not pursue) various policy decisions. More specifically, he develops probabilistic models to predict the annual expenditures of financial aid programs and the effects that various policy changes will have on individual students and the institutions that they attend.

Trae worked in higher education before attending UNCG, and has a passion for supporting students’ access to college and promoting their ability to succeed once they get there. Trae credits the ERM program with providing a statistical and methodological skillset that has positively impacted his work by improving his ability to think about research questions critically. Because of the expertise he gained in the ERM program, Trae often has opportunities to assist other departments on various projects. Trae encourages current ERM students to make the most of their time in graduate school by gaining experience through collaboration with fellow students and ERM faculty.

Tiese Roxbury, Ph.D.

Tiese Roxbury is an Educational Research Scientist for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), where she has an opportunity to conduct research involving institutions, student-athletes, and NCAA policies. More specifically, Tiese’s research includes institutional performance, academics, survey development, and studies about student-athlete experience and well-being. She utilizes small and large scale surveys, as well as data collected through the Academic Performance Program to conduct her research. In addition to research, Tiese also has opportunities to assist with program evaluation.

While Tiese was an ERM student at UNCG, she worked as a graduate assistant in the Center for Educational Research and Evaluation (CERE). She credits coursework in survey methodology and statistics as critical ERM courses that helped prepare her to conduct research and data analysis at the NCAA.

Listing of Recent Alumni

Alumni of ERM are employed in a wide range of organizations. Below is a list of recent ERM alumni, along with a description of their current position.

Drew Dallas, M.S., Ph.D.

Psychometrician
National Commission on Certification of Physicians Assistants
Degree: M.S., 2009; Ph.D., 2014

John Brasfield, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor of Research Methodology
College of Education, University of Findlay (Ohio)
Degree: Ph.D., 2014

Dana Turner, M.S.

Project Manager
Wake Forest School of Medicine
ERM Ph.D. Student
Degree: M.S., 2014

Emma Sunnassee, M.S.

ERM Ph.D. Student
Degree: M.S., 2014

Xinrui Wang, M.S., Ph.D.

Psychometrician
Pearson VUE
Degree: M.S., 2010; Ph.D., 2013
Dissertation: An Investigation on Computer-Adaptive Multistage Testing Panels for Multidimensional Assessment

Christine Meyer, M.S.

Program Evaluation Specialist
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County  Schools
Degree: M.S., 2013

Katherine Ciccarelli, M.S.

Teacher, Assessment Specialist, Program Evaluator
Noble Academy & Wake County Public School System
Degree: M.S., 2013

Jonathan Rollins, M.S.

ERM Ph.D. Student
Degree: M.S., 2013

Kshawna Askew, M.S.

ERM Ph.D. Student
Degree: M.S., 2013

Keshia Martin, M.S.

ERM Ph.D. Student
Degree: M.S., 2013

Trae Brookins, M.S.

Scholarship and Grant Manager
North Carolina State Education Assistance Authority (NCSEAA)
Degree: M.S., 2013

Janet Mayer, M.S.

Nutiritionist III
Guilford County Department of Health
Degree: M.S., 2013

Xiao Luo, M.S., Ph.D.

Senior Statistician
National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN)
Degree: M.S., 2011; Ph.D., 2013
Dissertation: The Optimal Design of the Dual-Purpose Test

Teneka Steed, M.S., Ph.D.

Research & Evaluation Specialist
U.S. Department of Education
Degree: M.S., 2009; Ph.D., 2013
Dissertation: Superwoman Schema: Using Structural Equation Modeling to Investigate Measurement Invariance in a Questionnaire

Kinge Mbella, Ph.D.

Psychometrician
North Carolina Department of Public Instruction
Division of Accountability Services/Test Development Section
Degree: Ph.D., 2012
Dissertation: Equivalent Groups Equating: Using a Matrix Stratification Framework for Mixed-Format Assessment

Korinne Chiu, Ph.D.

Associate for Research and Capacity Building
Community Science
Degree: Ph.D., 2012
Dissertation: Concept Mapping for Planning and Evaluation of a Community-Based Initiative

Robbie Furter, M.S.

ERM Ph.D. Student (ABD)
Psychometrician
American Board of Pediatrics
Degree: M.S., 2012

Matt Burke, Ph.D.

Associate Psychometrician
The College Board
Degree: Ph.D., 2011
Dissertation: The Development of a Convergence Diagnostic for Markov Chain Monte Carlo Estimation

Rob Springer, Ph.D.

Director of Institutional Research
Elon University
Degree: Ph.D., 2011
Dissertation: Applying the Use, Methods, and Values Branches of Evaluations’ Theory Tree to Institutional Research

Devdass Sunnassee, Ph.D.

Clinical Assistant Professor of Educational Research Methodology
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Degree: Ph.D., 2011
Dissertation: Conditions Affecting The Accuracy of Classical Equating Methods For Small Samples Under The Neat Design: A Simulation Study

Fang Chen, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
East China Normal University, School of Foreign Languages
Degree: Ph.D., 2010
Dissertation: Differential Language Influence on Math Achievement

James Masters, Ph.D.

Senior Psychometrician
Pearson VUE
Degree: Ph.D., 2010
Dissertation: A Comparison of Traditional Test Blueprinting and Item Development to Assessment Engineering in a Licensure Context

Tiese Roxbury, Ph.D.

Associate Director of Research for Academic Performance
National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)
Degree: Ph.D., 2010
Dissertation: A Psychometric Evaluation of a State Testing Program: Accommodated Versus Non-accommodated Students

Zhan Shu, Ph.D.

Associate Psychometrician
Educational Testing Service
Degree: Ph.D., 2010
Dissertation: Using the Deterministic, Gated Item Response Theory Model for Detecting Test Cheating

Deborah Driscoll, Ph.D.

Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness and Planning
Lynchburg College
Degree: Ph.D., 2010
Dissertation: Higher Education Planning for a Strategic Goal with a Concept Mapping Process

Yingchen Wang, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
University of New Mexico
Degree: Ph.D., 2009
Dissertation: Factor Analytic Models and Cognitive Diagnostic Models: How Comparable Are They?–A Comparison of R-RUM and Compensatory MIRT Model with Respect to Cognitive Feedback

Lauren Fluegge, M.S.

Research Associate and Project Analyst
edCount, LLC
Degree: M.S., 2009 (Ph.D. expected in 2014)

Joshua Goodman, Ph.D.

Director of Measurement and Research Operations
Pacific Metrics
Degree: Ph.D., 2008
Dissertation: An Examination of the Residual Covariance Structures of Complex Performance Assessments Under Various Scaling and Scoring Methods

Kelly Godfrey, Ph.D.

Research Scientist
The College Board
Degree: Ph.D., 2007
Dissertation: A Comparison of Kernel Equating and IRT True Score Equating Methods

Kelly Hannum, Ph.D.

Director of Global Research Insights
The Center for Creative Leadership
Degree: Ph.D., 2003

The ERM Alumni Endowment

The purpose of ERM Alumni Endowment is to support learning experiences of ERM students. The support provided by the endowment will help students offset costs associated with their training in ERM, such as travel to conferences to present their research, attending workshops and other professional development activities, and the purchase of books and software vital to their training.

 

Why

With recent cuts to State support for UNCG academic units, ERM is becoming increasingly dependent on external resources to support our students. The ERM Alumni Endowment is an investment in the future of ERM and the training provided to ERM students.

 

How

The ERM Alumni Endowment is a fund that holds its principal in perpetuity, and pays out a certain amount each year based on investment income generated by its principal. The amount paid out each year is typically between 4% and 5% of the endowment principal.

 

WhoAnyone can make a gift to the ERM Alumni Endowment. The name “Alumni Endowment” honors ERM’s fantastic alumni and their valued support of ERM. However, gifts are welcome from anyone wanting to support ERM students.

 

Our Goal

Our current goal for the ERM Alumni Endowment is $15,000 in total pledged gifts by December 15, 2014. To date, we have raised $11,000 of our $15,000 goal. We need your help, and every gift helps! If you haven’t already done so, please make a pledge to help strengthen the future of ERM.

 

Arrow_1100

 

How to Make a Gift to the Endowment?

Making a gift to the ERM Alumni Endowment is simple, and we are always available to answer any questions you have about the process. Your gift begins by a making a pledge, which is accomplished by following the three steps described below.

Step 1: Determine Your Pledge

The first step to making a pledge is to determine the amount of your pledge and timeline for fulfilling your pledge. The amount you pledge is entirely up to you. The only guiding principle is to make a pledge that makes you proud. The timeline for fulfilling your pledge is also up to you, and can be a one-time contribution or broken down over multiple months or years. Here are a few example pledges:

$5 per month for three years (Total Pledge of $180)
$15 per month for five years (Total Pledge of $900)
$500 per year for four years (Total Pledge of $2000)
$1000 as a single-payment pledge

Step 2: Determine Method of Payment

Payments to the ERM Alumni Endowment can be made by check, credit card, or direct withdrawal from a bank account. Monthly automated payments can be set up for credit card and direct withdrawal payments.

Step 3: Submit Your Pledge to UNCG

The final step is to submit your pledge to UNCG. There are two methods that can be used to submit your pledge.

Method 1. You can submit your pledge online on the School of Education Giving Page. In completing the information on the School of Education Giving Page, make the following two selections to specify that your pledge is for the ERM Alumni Endowment:

  • From the Gift Designation drop-down options select “Other”
  • In the Gift Designation comment box specify “ERM Alumni Endowment”

Method 2. You can submit your pledge by completing the Pledge Form and returning the completed form to Terri Jackson, Director of Development for the UNCG School of Education, via e-mail at t_jacks2@uncg.edu.

Do You Have Questions?

If you have any questions about the process of making a gift to the ERM Alumni Endowment, we would be more than happy to assist you. Please forward any questions you have to Randy Penfield, ERM Department Chair, via e-mail at rdpenfie@uncg.edu.

The ERM Alumni Board

One of ERM’s greatest resources for informing the continuous improvement of the department is our alumni. To provide an organized mechanism to channel the insights of our alumni back to ERM, the ERM Alumni Board was created. The ERM Alumni Board consists of a group of ERM alumni who advise ERM on issues related to the functioning of ERM to help strengthen ERM, improve the training provided to our students, and continuously develop the professional opportunities available to our students.

Alumni Board Functions

The ERM Alumni Board serves as an advisory committee to the ERM Department Chair and faculty, providing insight and consultation on a range of topics related to the functioning of ERM. The specific topics addressed by the Board in a given year will vary depending on the context faced by ERM in that year. Examples of issues addressed by the Board include:

  • The curriculum of the ERM academic programs
  • Funding for ERM students
  • Identifying opportunities for applied, hands-on experiences for ERM students
  • Financial and budgetary issues of ERM
  • Connecting ERM students with potential employers
  • Competitiveness of ERM students for internship opportunities
  • Promoting and advancing the ERM Alumni Endowment
  • Strengthening the engagement of ERM alumni with current ERM activities, students, and faculty
  • Strategic planning of ERM to enhance future strengthening of the department

Alumni Board Members

As a whole, the members of the ERM Alumni Board have professional experience across the fields of measurement, program evaluation, and research methodology. The current members of the Board are:

  • Matt Burke, Ph.D., 2011 (Associate Psychometrician, The College Board)
  • Korinne Chiu, Ph.D., 2012 (Associate for Research and Capacity Building, Community Science)
  • Josh Goodman, Ph.D., 2008 (Director of Measurement and Research Operations, Pacific Metrics)
  • Kelly Hannum, Ph.D., 2003 (Director, Global Research Insights, Center for Creative Leadership)
  • Tiese Roxbury, Ph.D., 2010 (Associate Director of Research for Academic Performance, NCAA)
  • Zhan Shu, Ph.D., 2010 (Associate Psychometrician, ETS)

Connect with the School of Education!