NCRGE 2014-2020 Researchers



NCRGE 2014-2020 Research Team
Del Siegle

Dr. Del Siegle, PI
Center Director
Professor, University of Connecticut


Del Siegle is a professor in gifted and talented education and Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Affairs in the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut. He recently completed his term as Head of the Department of Educational Psychology at UConn. He serves as PI and Director of the NCRGE. He is a past president of the Montana Association of Gifted and Talented Education (Montana AGATE), past president of the National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC), and past chair of the Research on Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent SIG of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Along with Betsy McCoach, he is co-editor of Gifted Child Quarterly (founding co-editor of the Journal of Advanced Academics). He writes a technology column for Gifted Child Today. Dr. Siegle is coauthor with Gary Davis and Sylvia Rimm of the popular textbook, Education of the Gifted and Talented. He is also author of a recent book, The Underachieving Gifted Child: Recognizing, Understanding, & Reversing Underachievement.  Prior to earning his Ph.D., he was a gifted and talented teacher in Montana.
Dr. E. Jean Gubbins
Associate Director
Professor in Residence, University of Connecticut2014-2020
E. Jean Gubbins is a former classroom teacher and teacher of the gifted. In addition to her teaching experiences with elementary and secondary students, she has been an instructor at the college level, a consultant on gifted and talented education throughout the country, and an evaluator for the state department. Presently, Jean is Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut and associate director of The National Center for Research on Gifted Education funded by the Institute of Education Sciences, U.S. Department of Education PR/Award # R305C140018.
Betsy McCoach
Dr. D. Betsy McCoach
Professor, University of Connecticut2014-2020
D. Betsy McCoach is a professor in the Measurement, Evaluation and Assessment program at the University of Connecticut. She has extensive experience in structural equation modeling, longitudinal data analysis, hierarchical linear modeling, instrument design, and factor analysis. Betsy has published over 80 journal articles, book chapters, and books, including Multilevel Modeling of Educational Data with Ann O’Connell. Her newest book, Instrument Development in the Affective Domain (3rd edition), co-authored with Robert K. Gable and John P. Madura was released in 2013. Betsy served as the founding co-editor for the Journal of Advanced Academics, and she is the current co-editor of Gifted Child Quarterly. She is also an associate editor of Frontiers in Measurement and Quantitative Psychology. Betsy is the current Director of DATIC, where she teaches summer workshops in Hierarchical Linear Modeling and Structural Equation Modeling, and she is the founder and conference chair of the Modern Modeling Methods conference, held at UCONN every May. She served as the Research Methodologist for the National Research Center on the Gifted and Talented for 7 years. She has served as Chair of the AERA Hierarchical Linear Modeling SIG; the Educational Statisticians SIG; the Research on Giftedness, Creativity, and Talent Development SIG; and program chair of the Structural Equation Modeling SIG.

Dr. Carolyn M. Callahan
Professor, University of Virginia


Carolyn M. Callahan is Commonwealth Professor of Education at the University of Virginia. Dr. Callahan served as Site Director of the NRC/GT and, in this role, as PI of more than 10 large-scale studies over the past 23 years. The research of the NRC/GT has ranged from the study of strategies for evaluating programs for the gifted, to the assessment of student outcomes, to the development and assessment of curriculum for gifted students. Nearly every project required coordination with multiple school sites. Her most recent project involved implementation of curriculum for gifted students in 114 experimental classrooms and 58 control classrooms in 15 states, resulting in a manuscript accepted for publication in American Educational Research Journal. Dr. Callahan has also been PI for three projects funded by the Javits Act: a collaborative project with the Charlotte, NC, public schools focusing on curriculum development for primary school children and assessment of talent; LOGgED ON, a project that focused on developing on-line advanced science courses for secondary school students; and AP Challenge, working with students and teachers in Advanced Placement courses. Dr. Callahan has been recognized as Outstanding Professor of the Commonwealth of Virginia and Distinguished Scholar of the National Association for Gifted Children, and she received the Certificate of Merit for scholarly contributions from CEC-TAG.

Dr. Christopher Rhoads
Associate Professor, University of Connecticut


Chris Rhoads received his Ph.D. in Statistics from Northwestern University in 2008. From 2008-2011 he was an Institute of Education Sciences postdoctoral fellow in policy research at the Institute of Policy Research at Northwestern University, under the mentorship Dr. Larry Hedges. His research interests focus on methods for improving causal inference in educational research, particularly in the areas of experimental design and the analysis of multi-level data structures. Rhoads’ current work involves:
Photo of Daniel Long

Dr. Daniel Long
Research Scientist, University of Connecticut


Dr. Daniel Long received his B.A. in Economics from Swarthmore College, his M.S. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and his Ph.D. in Sociology of Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Prior to joining the NCRGE research team, he worked for the Philadelphia Education Research Consortium.
Photo of Vonna Hemmler

Dr. Vonna Hemmler
Post Doc, University of Virginia


Vonna Hemmler received her Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Virginia in 2018. Her research interests pertain broadly to the equitable education of culturally and linguistically diverse students, particularly English learners, in K-12 schools. She is currently involved in work examining teachers’ instructional practices and English learners’ participatory practices in more and less linguistically integrated general education classrooms. Her other current work probes teacher and student practices behind the identity incorporation of this population of students in K-12 classrooms.

Dr. Allison W. Kenney
Post Doc, University of Connecticut


Allison W. Kenney, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Research Associate with the National Center for Research on Gifted Education at the University of Connecticut. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University where her work examined how local leaders and stakeholders navigate and negotiate urban education reform. Previously, she worked with the Distributed Leadership Study at Northwestern University’s School of Education and Social Policy and was a Fulbright Germany Research Fellow. Her research interests span the fields of education and educational leadership, organizational sociology, and public policy.
Previous Research Team Members

Dr. Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead
Associate Professor, University of Connecticut
Year 2014-16

Bianca Montrosse-Moorhead, Measurement, Evaluation, and Assessment program, joined the University of Connecticut in 2013. At the university, she also serves as the program coordinator for the Graduate Certificate Program in Program Evaluation, a research scientist with the newly formed cross-departmental Collaborative on Strategic Education Reform, and teaches coursework in evaluation, research methods, and classroom assessment. Motivated by a desire to bridge gaps between the academic and practical domains of Evaluation and to contribute evaluative knowledge that promotes program and policy reform, her scholarship is guided by three primary goals: (i) to develop stronger evidence-based evaluation practices, models, and theories; (ii) to advance valid and actionable evaluative knowledge to the policy community; and (iii) to examine the inputs, process, and impact of preK-12 policies, practices, and programs designed to promote social betterment and educational equity.Dr. Montrosse-Moorhead is the 2014 recipient of the American Evaluation Association (AEA) Marcia Guttentag Award, the association’s only early career award which recognizes evaluation scholars who demonstrate early career promise (within 5 years of earning their graduate degree), and whose work is consistent with the AEA Guiding Principles for Evaluators.
Rashea Hamilton

Dr. Rashea Hamilton
Research Associate I, University of Connecticut
Year 2015-18

Rashea Hamilton is a researcher whose work focuses on issues addressing access and equity across the educational pipeline.  She has over 10 years of research experience related to at-risk populations.  Her primary areas of expertise include social inequality, parental engagement and quantitative methodology.  Previously, she served as a researcher for the John Glenn School of Public Affairs at the Ohio State University where she worked on a state-level research initiative to enhance the quality and value of higher education.  She also served as an instructor for Ohio State’s Quantitative Research, Evaluation and Methodology program and as an evaluator for Education Northwest in Portland Oregon.
Photo of Jeb Puryear

Dr. Jeb Puryear
University of Connecticut
Year 2016-17

Dr. Jeb Puryear is research associate for the NCRGE. Before earning his doctorate, he was a secondary educator – primarily teaching and leading in advanced academics settings. He is an active member of national educational and psychological organizations including leadership roles. His broader research interests include paradigms in gifted education and their influence on stakeholder actions, the interactions and overlaps of giftedness and creativity research, underrepresentation and excellence gaps based on rurality, socioeconomic status, and race, and the practical applications of STEM research to gifted education.

Dr. Annalissa Brodersen
University of Virginia
Year 2014-18

Annalissa V. Brodersen, Ph.D., is a Research Associate with the National Center for Research on Gifted Education and Project PLACE at the University of Virginia. Prior to her graduate work, she served as a Research Project Assistant on the Family Transitions Project at Iowa State University. Her research interests include p-12 gifted education policies and practices, rural education, and intersections between p-12 gifted education and higher education. More specifically, her current work examines challenges to implementing gifted education policy in a variety of school settings, including rural, low-income schools.

Dr. M. Shane Tutwiler
University of Connecticut
Year 2015-17

Shane Tutwiler’s research focuses on modeling student behavior in complex learning environments, such as multi user virtual environments (MUVEs), and using those behaviors as predictors for future student learning.  His work has appeared in journals such as Computers & Education, Bioscience, and Contemporary Educational Psychology, as well as in the proceedings of various international conferences. Shane was a high school math and science teacher, and radiological engineer and nuclear water chemist in the United States Navy. He is currently an officer in the United States Navy Reserves. Shane has earned an Ed.M. in Technology, Innovation, & Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and B.S. in Science Education from Temple University. Shane earned his Ed.D. in Human Development & Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2014.
joe renzulli 2

Dr. Joseph Renzulli
Professor, University of Connecticut
Year 2014-17

Joseph S. Renzulli is a long-time faculty member of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut and was selected by the university as one of its Distinguished Professors. He is director of the Neag Center for Gifted Education and Talent Development. Dr. Renzulli founded the gifted and talented program at the University of Connecticut and is recognized nationally and internationally for his work in the field.
Rachel Chung photo

Dr. Rachel Mun
Research Associate I, University of Connecticut

Rachel U. Mun received her Ph.D. in Education from the University of Washington where she spent three years as a pre-doctoral research associate at the UW Robinson Center for Young Scholars. She is currently a postdoctoral research scientist for the National Center for Research on Gifted Education (NCRGE) at the University of Connecticut. She is certified in the State of Washington as a school counselor and has over ten years of combined experience teaching, tutoring, and advising K-12 and postsecondary students. Her research interests are best described as an intersection between gifted education, mental health, and immigrant issues. More specifically, she is interested in the use of acceleration as an educational intervention, psychological wellbeing, the influence of parental expectations on decision-making, program evaluation, and impacting educational policy related to serving needs of diverse gifted populations.

Dr. Yaacov Petscher
Research Associate, Florida State University
Year 2014-17

Yaacov Petscher is a Senior Research Associate at the Regional Educational Laboratory-Southeast and Director of Research at the Florida Center for Reading Research at Florida State University.

Dr. Frank Worrell
Professor, University of California, Berkeley

Frank C. Worrell is a Professor in the Graduate School of Education at the University of California, Berkeley, and holds affilate appointments in the Psychology Department (Social and Personality area), and with the Center for Child and Youth Policy, the Center for Race and Gender, and the Center for Latino Policy Research. His current appointments include Director of the School Psychology program, Faculty Director of the Academic Talent Development Program, and Faculty Director of the California College Preparatory Academy. Dr. Worrell’s areas of research include academic talent development/gifted education, the education of at-risk youth, ethnic identity, racial identity, scale development and validation, teacher effectiveness, time perspective, and the translation of psychological research findings into school-based practice. Dr. Worrell is an active member of several professional organizations, and is currently one of the Division 16 (School Psychology) representatives in the Council of the American Psychological Association (APA) and co-editor of the Review of Educational Research. Dr. Worrell has served on the Committee for Psychological Tests and Assessment (APA), the Board of Educational Affairs (APA), and the Joint Committee of AERA, APA, and NCME appointed to revise the Standards for Educational and Psychological Testing. He is currently a member of theBoard of Scientific Affairs of APA. Dr. Worrell is a Fellow of Divisions 5 (Evaluation, Measurement, and Statistics), 16, 45 (Society for the Psychological Study of Ethnic Minority Issues) and 52 (International Psychology) of APA, an elected member in the Society for the Study of School Psychology, and a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science. In 2011, Dr. Worrell received a Presidential citation from the American Psychological Association and the Chancellor’s Award for Advancing Institutional Excellence from UC Berkeley. He has ongoing collaborations in Germany, Italy, New Zealand, Nigeria, Peru, and the United Kingdom. In 2013, Dr. Worrell was awarded the Jack Bardon Distingushed Service Award from Division 16 of APA and a Distingusihed Scholar Award from the National Association of Gifted Children.
Catherine Little
Dr. Catherine A. Little
Associate Professor, University of Connecticut
Catherine Little is an Associate Professor in Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut. She teaches courses in gifted and talented education in the undergraduate honors program in education, and she serves as program advisor to UConn Mentor Connection. She previously served as Visiting Assistant Professor in Gifted Education and Curriculum Coordinator at the Center for Gifted Education at the College of William and Mary. Catherine received her Ph.D. in Educational Policy, Planning, and Leadership from William and Mary. Her research interests include professional development, teacher talent development, curriculum differentiation, and perfectionism. She presents regularly at state and national conferences and in local school districts, and she has written or co-written several curriculum units, as well as book chapters and journal articles related to curriculum implementation and other issues in gifted education.
Dr. Jonathan Plucker
Professor, University of Connecticut
Jonathan A. Plucker was the Raymond Neag Endowed Professor of Education at the University of Connecticut during the first year of our project.  He currently is a professor at Johns Hopkins University. His research focuses on reducing excellence gaps.

Dr. Tawnya Knupp
Research Associate II, University of Connecticut

Tawnya Knupp is a research associate II and an adjunct professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Connecticut. She taught middle school for 10 years, 7 years in Maine and 3 years in Missouri. After receiving her master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at the University of Central Missouri, she moved to Iowa to earn her doctorate in Educational Measurement and Statistics at the University of Iowa. Most recently, she worked as a psychometrician for 3 years at ACT and a year at Pearson before moving to Connecticut. She brings experience in large scale datasets, item response theory, classical test theory, estimating decision indices across measurement models, equating, scaling, planning and conducting quantitative research, and writing technical documentation for a variety of audiences.