Graduate Scholar Awards

For each conference, a small number of Graduate Scholar Awards are given to outstanding graduate students who have an active academic interest in the conference area. Graduate Scholars perform a critical role in the conference by chairing the parallel sessions, providing technical assistance in the sessions, participating in Talking Circles, and presenting their own research papers. The Award with its accompanying responsibilities provides a strong professional development opportunity for graduate students at this stage in their academic careers. Meeting experts in the field, interacting with colleagues from other parts of the world, and creating networks and friendships are all additional benefits of this Award.

Graduate Scholars are entitled to free registration and are given special recognition during the conference proceedings. Applicants must be currently enrolled in a graduate studies program. Awardees must be available on-site the day prior to the conference (for orientation and training) and throughout the conference.

The deadline for graduate scholar applications has passed!


2014 Graduate Scholar Testimonies

"At The Learner conference of 2014, once again I learned and more about the work, scholarship, and experiences, from many familiar and new Learner Scholars, involved with my research interests During the conference I was able to continue developing strong alliances with researchers and educators at different location. Included in this network development I met two scholars who are located in the area where I will be conducting my dissertation this year. I was pleased to be further introduced to the Learner Scholar tools and hope to utilize them more going forward. I also learned more about Common Ground and The Learner publishing processes which I hope to utilize soon." - Tatzia Langlo

"My favorite part of the conference was the discussion section. I liked its format since the whole conference was very insightful but in an informal style. Additionally, I liked when I had to present my work and my colleague graduate scholar had to chair my session. It was just a memorable experience."  - Julien

"Attending an international conference has made me more aware that educational research is being conducted worldwide and that we have colleagues from many different countries and universities with whom we can confer and collaborate, to our mutual benefit." - Rosemary Carolan


Noraishiyah Abdullah


Noraishiyah Abdullah is a Senior Lecturer at the Universiti Kuala Lumpur Malaysia France Institute. She has been involved in the teaching and learning Mathematics for engineering undergraduate students for the past 20 years.
She obtained her first degree in BSc from the University of New South Wales, Sydney Australia in 1989, Diploma In Education from International Islamic University Malaysia in 1991 and Master in Education in from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in 2002 and pursuing her PhD journey to University of Manchester, UK.
Her research interest is understanding mathematics at higher learning institution particularly the application of mathematics in engineering field. She had attended previous conference held under the Common Ground Publishing since 2012. It has always been her interest to contribute, participate in the learning mathematics for understanding community.

Amy Austin

Amy Austin has lived and taught in India, the UK, Bali, and her home, New Zealand. Her educational interests lie in literacy, inquiry learning, democratic classrooms, critical thinking, philosophy for children, sustainable assessment, refugee education, and English as an Additional Language learning. For the last few years she has been the Literacy Coordinator and a Team Leader at Island Bay School, Wellington, New Zealand; this year she has returned to full-time study, starting a PhD investigating how Philosophy for Children can develop critical thinking for students of all abilities.






Charles Bell

Charles Bell is currently pursuing his PhD in Sociology with a specialization in social inequality at Wayne State University. He earned his B.A. in psychology in 2008 from Wayne State and his master’s degree in school psychology in 2009 from Michigan State. He is the winner of the Wayne State promotion of diversity scholarship and a recipient of the Initiative for Maximizing Student Development (IMSD) graduate assistantship. He is deeply interested in urban social issues such as zero tolerance policies, improving educational outcomes in urban communities, and school personnel training efforts in child psychopharmacology. In an effort to further his pursuit of solutions to Detroit’s social problems, he founded the Detroit Change organization, which highlights the positive accomplishments of Detroiters and increases political activism in the Detroit community.

Raymond Galang

Raymond Galang is Assistant Professor and Chair of the Department of Communication of the University of the East – Manila, Philippines. He has over 9 years of experience teaching English and Communication courses at different academic and corporate settings. In his free time, he promotes the love and habit of reading in Filipino children by working with NGOs in motivating students to make reading a part of their daily lives. His research interests include language learning, language assessment and education policy.





Shaohua Hong

Shaohua Hong is originally from China. She did her master in Hospitality and Business management at the University of Birmingham. After graduating, she had been working at an educational group and was assigned to be a teacher and then promoted to be program manager. In 2010, she started her PhD in Education at the University of Manchester, UK, specifying at Chinese Parental Choice of Early Years Education. She is interested in how parents experience with their choice of ECE and what influences are involved in their choice making process. The main method used to do her research is narrative. After conducting a series of interviews and analyzing the data chronologically, she is aware that narrative is naturally significant to people when making choices regard to ECE as a life experience.



Mária Laczkó

Mária Laczkó is a university associate professor and researcher in Hungary. She teaches linguistic subjects like psycholinguistics, phonetics, communication, and some special subjects child language development, reading and writing disability, and language disorders. Her research is focused on the mother tongue acquistion process of children, including teenagers, the second language acquistion process, and applied linguistic and phonetic research like the speech understanding pocess, reading comprehension and reading difficulties. Her interests include the analysis of spontaneous speech of teenagers both in their mother tongue and in foreign language in phonetic aspects and in semantic aspects including the size and operation of their mental lexicon in spontaneous speech. She has studied at the Medical College and the University of Philosophy.  In her PhD studies she examined the interrelation of the reading process and spontaneous speech in semantic aspects both in mother tongue and in foreign language. She has written about and presented her results in a several English publications and at international conferences.

Lucía Pumares Lavandeira

Lucía Pumares Lavandeira is a PhD researcher in the doctoral program in Education, Sport and Health at the University of Vigo, Galicia, in Spain. She has a degree in Education and she has a Master´s degree in theater and the performing arts from the University of Vigo. She has organized and participated in numerous courses about new education methodologies at the University of Vigo. In addition, she took different courses in the English Language at Trinity College, London and at the Universidad Internacional Menéndez Pelayo. In the past few years, she has been working as a theater teacher with different groups of children and as a therapist with victims of gender violence.


Caley Mikesell

Caley Mikesell is seeking her degree in Public Health at Elon University in North Carolina, USA. She has worked with The Village Project, an educational enrichment program for children, for three years as a tutor and translator. With the support of her institution’s prestigious Numen Lumen prize, she directs an interdisciplinary study which seeks to encourage local education. By using skills acquired in her studies in Ecuador and fellowship in India, she explores ways to activate the community’s power to stimulate its own learning cultures. She is presenting her study at the conference in Spanish under the title Metodologías inclusivas: herramientas éticas para activar el poder comunitario. She intends to continue her interests in community mobilization and education in her future studies.


Kevin Noiroux

Kevin Noiroux is currently a PhD student working in the field of second language acquisition at the University of Liège, Belgium. He holds a Master’s degree in teaching English, Dutch and French as a foreign language. In 2009 and 2010, he worked as a foreign language teacher in Belgium’s secondary school and university. In 2011, he obtained a 4-year scholarship to pursue a doctoral degree in the field of second and foreign language acquisition. His doctoral dissertation deals with written corrective feedback, foreign language writing and acquisition. He is also interested in curriculum design and development, its impact on teachers’ practices, and in teachers’ practices and their impact on equity.


Lucía Lomba Portela

Lucía Lomba Portela is a PhD researcher in the Doctoral program of Education, Sport, and Health at the University of Vigo in Galicia, Spain. She has a degree in Education and she has a Master's degree in quality and improvement of education from the Autonomous University of Madrid. She has also participated in courses on new methodologies in education organized by the University of Vigo. Currently she is researching about the difficulties to implement innovative educational projects that are based in an analysis of healthy and educational cities and the influence of learning communities.



Sarah Quinn

Sarah Quinn is a PhD candidate under the supervision of Dr Barbara Spears and Dr Susanne Owen at the University of South Australia. Sarah is also a registered teacher in South Australia and has taught at all levels of education, from early childhood to University. Sarah completed a Bachelor of Education with First Class Honours in 2012, receiving the Jane Harper Honours Research Prize. From 2012 to 2014, Sarah had the opportunity to be involved in collaborative action research projects with a number of schools in South Australia through the DECD Innovative Learning Environments initiative. Sarah is now working on writing her PhD thesis, which is another collaborative research project focusing on collaborative learning design and educational technology in middle schools.  Her research interests include participatory design, learning design, student engagement, student voice and participation, adolescence, transformative education, teacher’s professional identity and critical pedagogy.





Karen D. Sacdalan

Karen D. Sacdalan is a licensed Psychologist and a professional teacher with major in Values Education.  She obtained both her bachelor and master’s degree in Psychology from the University of the City of Manila. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. studies specializing in Special Education at the University of the Philippines. She has contributed an international research journal in Social Sciences and Education. In the Philippines she regularly writes for a local magazine at People Management Association of the Philippines, a professional organization of human resource practitioners, a member of Psychological Association of the Philippines and Autism Society. She has seventeen years of combined work experience in human resource management and university teaching from various industries such as HR consulting and non-profit organizations. Over the years, she has been an advocate of children with special needs devoting research studies to expand knowledge and increase awareness  of various disabilities particularly Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Sureetha De Silva

Sureetha De Silva works at Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. She has taught Information Communication Technology in secondary schools, and worked as an academic and a Librarian in higher education environments in different countries, including Australia, New Zealand, Zimbabwe and Sri Lanka.  For her doctoral research project she is exploring ways of building a strong research culture for the enhancement of research in higher education institutions.





Cameron Sublett

Cameron Sublett is a Ph.D student in Education Policy, Leadership and Research Methods at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Cameron's research interests include STEM coursetaking, high school to college transition, online learning and community colleges.