Graduate Student Research Spotlight

Highlighting research focused on technology-enabled learning and also underrepresented groups in higher ed and STEM

The Graduate School, in collaboration with the Division of Research & Innovation, continues to showcase graduate students' research each month. As part of this recognition, the students selected will have their research featured in the University of Memphis Research + Innovation newsletter, on the UofM Graduate School website and on their respective social media platforms. Congratulations to the students featured in this month's spotlight!

June 2021 Student Research Spotlights

Jessica Herring and Jaclyn Joy Gish-Lieberman



Jessica Herring is a doctoral student pursing a degree with an Instructional Design and Technology concentration in the College of Education. Her pursuit of this degree at the UofM has enabled her to develop as a scholar and pursue her academic and research goals. As a faculty member at a public institution, she works with future PreK-12 educators (i.e., preservice teachers), teaching them how to meaningfully enhance teaching and learning with technology in a collaborative, student-centered manner. Her research interest focuses on these future educators’ perceptions and uses of technology-enabled learning. During her doctoral journey at the UofM, Herring has had the opportunity to hone her research skills and collaborate on several research projects and publications. In particular, she has collaborated with her advisor, Dr. Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw, to design, develop, and validate a survey instrument measuring preservice teachers’ intentions to use technology-enabled learning. Her dissertation will use a case study design to examine preservice teachers' use of technology-enabled learning during their student teaching and first-year teaching experiences. We celebrate Herring’s scholarly efforts and look forward to her future contributions to the educational landscape and the UofM as she continues to engage in her educational goals.



Jaclyn Joy Gish-Lieberman is a pursing a degree with an Instructional Design and Technology concentration in the College of Education at the University of Memphis, pursuing her academic goals. Working with her advisor Dr. Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw, Gish-Lieberman has developed a research agenda focused on the use of learning design and technology to promote the success of all learners and broaden the participation of women and other racially and ethnically underrepresented groups in higher education and in STEM. She has in press and published ten peer reviewed articles during her academic journey at the UofM. For her dissertation, she is focusing international and domestic graduate teaching associates (GTA) as they serve as instructors to more than 400 students in English composition courses at a large Midwestern institution. The GTAs are often unprepared for the GTA role, especially when little to no opportunity for professional development exists. Moreover, international GTAs face linguistic and cultural challenges. They may feel insecure about their own command of the language and may not be familiar with the common teaching approaches of Western and United States universities. Professional development may mitigate these challenges and prepare GTAs for their roles. Participation in professional development may also assist with increased self-efficacy and ultimately, identity development. Gish-Lieberman will examine how, if at all, an online community of practice professional development promotes GTAs’ competencies, self-efficacy, and ultimately, identity development as educators. In a community of practice, new and veteran GTAs work together to build solutions and best practices for the classroom while strengthening their professional voice. We appreciate and applaud Gish-Lieberman’s research focus. We look forward to her future contributions to the educational space and the UofM as she continues to engage in her scholarly work.