Members from VEST participate in key roles at CRC


The 5th annual Curry Research Conference (CRC), a student-led and -organized event, is an opportunity for students to share their education research within the Curry School of Education. This year, students and faculty from the Virginia Education Science Training (VEST) pre-doctoral fellowship program held a number of key positions in the CRC program.

Chelsea DuranVEST fellow and first year graduate student at the Center for Advanced Study of Teaching and Learning (CASTL), Chelsea Duran, led a poster entitled ‘Dissecting achievement gaps in the NAEP mathematics assessment.’

“This experience was good practice for upcoming conferences, but had more personal and immediate value for me as well,” said Duran.

“Sometimes, after working on a particular problem over long periods of time, I find myself doubting whether it is really novel or important,” explained Duran. “Discussing my research at CRC refreshed my own interest in this work and reassured me of its’ importance.”

Other VEST fellows led paper presentations as well. Micela Leis discussed a paper entitled ‘Principal actions that build trust: Comparative case studies’ during a session moderated by Veronica Katz, another VEST fellow and graduate student at EdPolicyWorks. This student session centered around the topic of ‘Policies and Programs.’

Additional CRC presenters include VEST fellows: Rebecca Beeson, Amy Roberts, Mindy Adnot, Holland Banse, Manuela Jimenez, Katherine Ross, and Helyn Kim.

Micela LeisVEST fellows also provided professional service to CRC. Kelly Dietz served on the steering committee. Other fellows were volunteer reviewers for the conference proposals, including Veronica Katz, Helyn Kim, Jeff Kosovich, Amy Roberts, Katherine Ross, and Disha Venkatesan.

Volunteer service was not limited to the pre-doctoral fellows—a number of VEST faculty also participated as judges during the poster session competition, including Catherine Bradshaw, Nancy Deutsch, Chloe Gibbs, Dan Player and Bob Pianta. Other VEST faculty also led some of the workshops, such as Sara Rimm-Kaufmann and Natalia Palacios who led the “Preparing for the Job Market” panel.

The Virginia Education Sciences Training (VEST) pre-doctoral fellowship program, funded by the U.S. Department of Education Institute of Education Sciences, is an interdisciplinary program has been supporting Ph.D students across education, economics, sociology, and psychology departments at U.Va. The VEST program applies rigorous research methods and analytical techniques in the social sciences field to study school and classroom effects.