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Learning & Cognition Newsletter May 2015 Greetings Learning & Cognition Alumni, Current Students, and Friends, My name is Alysia Roehrig, and I am the L&C Program Coordinator. I have the pleasure of knowing many of you already, and I look forward to getting to know more of our alumni who graduated before my arrival in 2003. Our program has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade. With a growing alumni and current student base, we have reached a critical mass where I believe we can together make a difference in educational psychology and related fields by pooling our efforts and resources. For instance, I have been working to increase the visibility of our program, and part of that includes developing an alumni network. The newsletter you are reading right now represents a key way for us to support one another. So welcome! I am excited to be sharing with you this first issue of our brand new L&C Newsletter! I first would like to relay some changes in L&C. In 2002, there was only one faculty member, Susan Losh, and several students. We now have four faculty members (see Faculty Profiles) and 38 students. Our three newest faculty members have all earned tenure in the last several years, which has provided a great deal of stability for our program. It has also allowed us to put more energy into growing the program. One of the early additions to the program was our bi-weekly colloquium series that some of you still get emails about if you use your email account. In the last couple years, the colloquium has matured into a faculty supported and student organized opportunity for research presentations and other professional learning. We also developed an exam-track option for the MS degree a few years ago in order to serve the needs of current and future students who are not interested in pursuing a PhD or research-focused career track. To reach even more professionals around the state who are interested in completing our MS degree, I most recently developed a totally online exam-track MS program launching this fall! We are currently recruiting our first online cohort and are adding some exciting online course offerings. This new online MS program and our new and existing online courses have the potential to benefit our PhD students too. The revenue generated by online fees is funding graduate assistantships for PhD students to assist faculty with the development and management of the online program, including mentoring and teaching assistant roles in online courses. Also, we are currently the only ed psych program fully online in FL (! Please keep in touch! I hope that this Newsletter and the collaborations it fosters will help us even better prepare and support our current and future graduate students. By sharing and making connections through information submitted by members of our community, we will be able to help graduates identify career tracks, job openings, research collaborators, and even funding. The one thing that has not changed much over the last couple of decades is the scarcity of financial assistance to support our students, so I met with the College of Education Foundation officer (Kevin Derryberry, We secured some initial donations from faculty and staff to be able to open our first foundation account for scholarships to support our L&C students’ research and conference expenses. We also have received a generous pledge to match contributions up to a total of $5,000. Once we have at least $1000 in the account, we will begin to administer scholarships on a limited basis. After we have achieved $20,000 (a goal we would hope to meet by 2020) we will convert this to an endowment account that grows itself. Then we will be able to offer multiple annual scholarships paid off the interest! If you are interested in giving, please let me ( or Kevin know (see more details about how to give at the end of this newsletter). Every little bit helps! Till next time, Alysia



I am an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at Florida State University. My research interests include Social Psychology with a focus on shared cognition (attitudes, beliefs, reasoning) with a special emphasis on adult civic science literacy. I also specialize in group dynamics and intergroup relations. My book, “Group Behavior in Organizations,” was published in 2011. I have also published in publications such as Public Understanding of Science and The Encyclopedia of Research Design. I was elected as Program Chair (2011-2013) and Chair Elect (2013-2015) for the AERA SIG Advanced Studies of National Databases. I currently teach graduate and undergraduate courses in Educational Psychology, Social Psychology, Data Collection and Methodology, and Data Analysis. I was the recipient of the National Science Foundation/American Statistical Association Research Fellow Award in 2003. I received both an Honors B.A. in Psychology and my Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Beth Phillips, PhD

In addition to being an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems at Florida State, I am also a faculty associate of the Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR). My current research interests include the overlap between early literacy and behavioral development, particularly self-regulation and approaches to learning, preschool curriculum and instruction, professional development of early childhood educators, and parental influences on learning. I’m the principal investigator on a project recently funded by Institute of Education Sciences (IES) to develop a new vocabulary intervention for at-risk preschool children. In addition, I’m a co-investigator on four federally funded (IES, National Institute of Child Health and Human Development), large-scale randomized preschool intervention projects that are investigating the benefits of evidence-based early childhood curricula and instruction geared toward improving children’s school readiness in areas of literacy, language and mathematics. Also, I’m a co-investigator on the recently funded Southeast Regional Education Lab at FSU and on the recently renewed Learning Disabilities Research Center. Both are five year, large-scale projects. I am also the principal investigator or co-principal investigator on other projects investigating children’s approaches to learning and professional development for early childhood educators. Previously, I was the principal investigator of FCRR’s Florida Voluntary Pre-K (VPK) Technical Assistance Project, concerned with the development of standards, curricular policy and professional development for VPK providers, and co-investigator on a project to develop assessment measures for the VPK program. I continue to consult with the state regarding the VPK and other early childhood education programs. I have authored and co-authored many articles for academic journals such as the Scientific Studies of Reading, and the Journal of Learning Disabilities. As a professor at FSU, I teach a course titled Methods in Educational Research and a seminar titled Family Involvement in Education. In addition, I’m also a faculty associate of the Pre-doctoral Interdisciplinary Research Training graduate fellowship program at FCRR. I also was the recipient of a Head Start Scholars Graduate Fellowship and an IES/American Psychological Associate Postdoctoral Fellowship. I received my Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from FSU in 2003.



I am most proud of the facts that I earned tenure in 2011 and that I won a Graduate Faculty Mentoring Award from FSU in 2014. This semester I am thrilled to be on sabbatical working in high-poverty rural schools outside of Tallahassee, where I am committed to making research accessible to teachers. As Co-founder and Executive Director of the recently launched SSPERO (School Success Partners: Educational Research and Outreach) initiative, I am dedicated to the following: • providing opportunities for teachers to pose their own research questions and learn to conduct action research, and • supporting teachers’ inquiry and autonomy to choose the academic research opportunities in which they want to participate. My research interests focus on issues related to effective teaching. I primarily focus on the professional development of teachers and the literacy learning of students. My latest book, “No More Sharpening Pencils During Work Period and Other Time Wasters,” is co-authored with my most recent PhD graduate, Beth Brinkerhoff, who is also a veteran teacher. We wrote the book to empower teachers to employ the time they have to enhance their students’ cognitive engagement using evidence-based strategies. I received both my M.A. and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from the University of Notre Dame.

Jeannine Turner, PhD

I am an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology and Learning Systems in the College of Education at Florida State. I joined the faculty in Fall 2004. My research focuses on issues of motivation, emotions, instruction, and learning. My current research interests include motivation, learning and “transfer of knowledge” of pre-service teachers; motivation and emotions of teachers with respect to professional development and implementation; and engineering students’ motivation and knowledge transfer. One prominent area of research for me is on students’ experiences of academic shame. I’ve authored several articles for academic journals such as Journal of Educational Psychology, Educational Psychology, Educational Psychology Review, and Journal of Advanced Academics. I also published book chapters in Emotions in Education and Advances in Teacher Emotion Research: The impact on teachers’ lives. My students have conducted research in the areas of teachers’ motivation for whole-school reform; pre-service teachers’ motivation and learning; students’ motivation and beliefs about learning; students’ motivation and anxiety about learning a second language, and individuals’ perceptions and beliefs about climate change. As a professor at FSU, I teach courses in Motivation and Emotions, Educational Psychology, Classroom Assessment, and Lifespan Development. I am one of the faculty members who teaches courses for FSU’s Master of Science in Teaching programs. I earned both my M.A. and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin.


My name is Connie Barroso and I am a second year Master’s Student in the Learning and Cognition program. My primary research interest focuses on investigating motivational variables that affect gender and minority diversity in science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM) college majors, particularly in the field of engineering where the gap is most prevalent. I am also interested in implicit theories of intelligence, instrumentality, and students’ goals as they relate to attrition in STEM college majors. Parallel to my STEM motivation interest, another research interest of mine is examining second-language learners’ vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension. I am currently working on the beginning stages of writing my thesis proposal, with the intention that it will examine change over time of implicit theories of intelligence in students throughout an engineering course.



My name is Holly Hunt and I come from the great state of Alabama where I received my bachelor’s degree at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Shortly after, I moved to Tallahassee to pursue a master’s degree in Higher Education – Student Affairs at Florida State University. Upon completing my master’s degree, I took a position at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) where I worked for three years as an academic advisor for exploratory students. I returned to Tallahassee to continue my work with advising exploratory students. In the summer of 2012 I transitioned into a teaching faculty role with the Academic Center for Excellence (ACE) where I now spend my time working individually and with groups of students trying to improve on both their academic strategies and personal success habits. On top of my full-time position with the Academic Center for Excellence, I am completing my third year of doctoral study in Learning and Cognition program. My field of interest is in the goal-setting and academic transition of veterans moving from military to college. I am particularly interested in exploring the decision-making process of student veterans in regards to maximizing academic opportunities, goal-setting for their educational future post-military, and selecting institutions of higher education. I look forward to learning more about this increasing college student population and I hope my research can not only add to the literature in the field but also give insight to the individuals working with and supporting the student veterans transitioning to post-secondary education. My name is Guillermo Farfan. I am a first year doctoral student in the Learning and Cognition program at Florida State University. Before FSU, I worked as a teacher in secondary education, and I also had the pleasure to teach at the college level for a handful of years in the Tampa Bay area. Because of my experience, I’m very interested to study what influences human learning and behavior inside and outside the classroom. My academic interests include cognition, knowledge transfer, and the philosophical and cultural aspects of formal education and scientific knowledge.


Recently, I’ve been studying how individuals acquire and organize knowledge through the use of epistemic beliefs, mental categories, and cultural artifacts (e.g. language, writing, etc.), and how these in turn affect cognition and human behavior. I’m currently working on a pilot study to investigate the relationship between epistemic beliefs and pre-service teachers’ preference on type of mathematical instruction, which I hope to conduct this fall.



My name is Kirsten Harvey and I am pursuing my master’s degree in Learning and Cognition. Over 16 million children in the United States live below the poverty line. Education is a powerful tool that offers an escape from the cycle of poverty; however, the achievement gap is a well-documented and prevalent issue illustrating the influence of background on academic success. I hope to contribute to research that will impact educational policy, effectively leveling the playing field for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Ultimately, I would like to develop interventions for these children. I want to help children cultivate their self-regulation and emotion regulation skills, which are shown to be predictors of success in the classroom and beyond. My thesis will focus on the impact of socioeconomic status on parents’ emotion regulation socialization behaviors.

My name is Courtney Barry and I am a doctoral candidate pursuing my Ph.D. in Learning & Cognition. I have thirteen years of University administrative experience, including but not limited to Residence Life, Student Activities, and Greek Life. I also have taught both undergraduate and graduate courses for over a decade. I currently serve as an instructor teaching undergraduates about learning and motivational theories for classroom instruction at Florida State University. My research interests include motivation, failure, retention, and learning strategies.



My name is Meagan C. Arrastia and I am a doctoral candidate currently collecting data for my dissertation entitled, “The Validation of the Teacher Self-regulation Scale (TSRS) for U.S. K-12 Teachers.” The field of education still has much to understand about the self-regulation of teachers’ own learning and how that relates to their motivations and beliefs, and ultimately to their implementation of what they learn in professional development and the outcomes of their students. The validation of such measures, like the Teacher SelfRegulation Scale (TSRS), is the first step in enhancing our understanding of this social-cognitive phenomenon. This understanding will enable teachers to improve instruction, as well as to promote self-regulation among students, which manifests in many different forms, including behavioral regulation and self-regulated learning strategies. Without a measure of teacher self-regulation, the strength of its relationship to student outcomes is unknown. Through a series of confirmatory factor analyses, I hope to validate an English version of the TSRS with a sample of American pre-service and inservice teachers and compare the findings to studies from Turkey and Iran. My current goal is to collect responses from 830 U.S. K-12 teachers. In order to recruit teachers, I would like to offer Amazon gift cards as incentives through a weekly raffle. Any contributions for incentives would be greatly appreciated.


I am currently a 4th year doctoral candidate working on collecting data for my dissertation. My interests focus around teaching motivation, instruction in the classroom, and the value-added model (VAM). I am currently recruiting third, fourth, and fifth grade teachers in Florida to learn more about their perspective on VAM and the impact it has on their instruction in the classroom. Along with talking with them about VAM, I am asking them how merit pay may impact the school community and teacher collaboration. The biggest challenge I have had so far has been finding teachers to participate as well as finding funding for my research. I am providing a gift card as an incentive for teachers who participate in the two interviews and two surveys of my study.


My name is Jeff Bray and I am a doctoral candidate in Learning and Cognition, with interests in the areas of perception, metacognition, and self-regulation. I defended my preliminary exam in May 2014, and I am currently developing my dissertation proposal. Specifically, my research focuses on the variables that influence the formation of subjective judgments of learning in reading comprehension, as well as the variables affecting self-regulatory decision-making in reading comprehension tasks. My major findings suggest that personal beliefs about the nature of human intelligence influence neither judgments of learning nor self-regulatory decision-making in reading comprehension tasks involving text that is relatively difficult to process. Although judgments of learning tend to be fairly accurate indicators of likely performance on tests of comprehension, these judgments do not form the basis of self-regulatory decision-making in these tasks. Evidence from my research does, however, suggest that personal beliefs concerning self-perceived skill level in reading may indeed form the basis of such decisions. My continuing research will attempt to more thoroughly explore the basis of self-regulatory decision-making in reading, and more specifically, the extent to which perceived ease-of-processing may contribute to the utilization of either situational self-assessments of learning or personal beliefs concerning self-perceived skill level as the basis for these decisions.


I am currently a second year master’s student in the Learning & Cognition program. I am interested in a number of educational research topics including neuroscience in educational psychology and teacher education, effective applications of technology in the classroom, inquiry based pedagogy and student mental health. I am currently working on looking at how students with bipolar disorder self-regulate through their college experience for my thesis but I would like to turn to more teaching-oriented research in the future. Upon graduation, I plan to gain some experience teaching in a high school classroom before returning to seek a PhD in the field so that I can eventually be a teaching focused professor in educational psychology or teacher education. Some of my best experiences in graduate school have been attending conferences, both as a contributing researcher and as a learner, and my hope is that the L&C program at FSU might one day have their own funds to help send students to these wonderful opportunities.


ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT Margareta Maria Thomson, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Educational Psychology North Carolina State University College of Education

Any particular research or professional work you are currently pursuing?

Teacher development: Co-PI on Project ATOMS: Accomplished Elementary Teachers of Mathematics and Science. NSF Program, (5 year, $3,200,000 Research project). This longitudinal study investigated the development of STEM elementary teachers examining their growth/change in mathematics and science content knowledge, teaching efficacy, pedagogical knowledge and STEM teaching practices.

Any personal news you would like to share (e.g., promotion)?

Personal news: I had a baby boy, Daniel, in Nov 2013! Professional: Awarded tenure and promotion to Associate Professor in Fall 2014

Any opportunities or requests for our current students/faculty in terms of collaboration/research?

I will be interested in working with anyone is interested in work related to: • Teacher efficacy, epistemological beliefs and how these constructs are related to teacher content knowledge and classroom practice. • Teacher motivation in the context of their professional development.

Any other academic or personal interests you’d like others to know?

I am interested in international collaborations, e.g., collaborative international research projects or teaching abroad study programs. In the past, I have taught summer study abroad classes in Educational Psychology in Prague. I know FSU has a study abroad program in London (an FSU campus actually in London)--I would like to collaborate with anyone interested in developing/teaching study abroad courses in London or research projects.

Anthony S. Chow, Ph.D.

Associate Professor, Department of Library and Information Studies Director of Online Learning, School of Education The University of North Carolina at Greensboro School of Education Any particular research or professional work you are currently pursuing? My two primary areas of research are information seeking behavior in digital environments and systems design and organizational management (strategic planning and technology integration in educational and library settings). I also have a part-time assignment as Director of Online Learning for the School of Education and own my own consulting firm Strategic Performance Systems. I recently released a MOOC for UNCG Web Design and Usability-only the second MOOC ever released by UNCG. Any personal news you would like to share (e.g., promotion, etc.)? I am married with three kids and three dogs, and earned tenure effective this academic year (2014-2015). Any other academic or personal interests you’d like others to know? We absolutely love North Carolina. The article I published with Dr. Anastasia Kitsantas, former faculty member at LC, based on our research together as master’s student remains my highest cited publication to date! For more information about me you can look me up at or my personal site


ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT Kamau Oginga Siwatu, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Educational Psychology College of Education Texas Tech University I am an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology in the College of Education at Texas Tech University. During my tenure at the university, I have taught a range of courses which include Educational Psychology, Cognition and Instruction, and the Foundations of Mixed Methods Research. My research interests overlap both educational psychology and teacher education. In particular, I am interested in issues related to teaching, learning, and diversity in K-12 educational settings. My research includes studying the nature of preservice teachers’ culturally responsive teaching self-efficacy beliefs and the factors that influence the formation of self-efficacy beliefs, and examining the role of educational psychology in preparing culturally responsive teachers. Since 2007, my research has been cited more than 200 times and has received numerous inquiries about his research. While maintaining a highly visible research agenda, I have served on a number of thesis and dissertation committees. I am also dedicating myself to working more closely with K-12 teachers and students. In addition to being on the board of directors for the Lubbock (TX) Boys and Girls Club, I currently volunteer each week at an elementary school where the kids affectionately refer to me as “The Professor.”

Please share photos, personal & professional updates, and more! Alumni: title/current position, major/degree, major professor/year of graduation, contact info, any particular research or professional interests you would like to share/get assistance with, any personal news, any opportunities or requests for current students or faculty in terms of collaboration, etc. (Send to: Current students: major/degree, major professor, ongoing or future research projects, assistance needed, etc.

(Send to:

Giving Back to L&C Please consider making a donation to support current and future Learning & Cognition graduate students’ research and conference travel! You can make a check out to the “Learning & Cognition Student Support Fund # F08101”, or to the “FSU Foundation” with “Learning & Cognition Student Support Fund # F08101” in the memo line. Checks may be mailed to the College or the University Foundation Office. Explore other ways to give online at You can also contact our foundation officer, Kevin Derryberry, at 850-228-5021 or


Profile for Florida State University College of Education

Learning & Cognition Newsletter May 2015  

Learning & Cognition Newsletter (May 2015)

Learning & Cognition Newsletter May 2015  

Learning & Cognition Newsletter (May 2015)