UF student in early child-special education receives DEC’s doctoral student award
Post Dec. 14, 2010
The Division for Early Childhood, part of the national Council for Exceptional Children, has named Tara McLaughlin, a UF doctoral candidate in early childhood-special special education, as the 2010 recipient of the J. David Sexton Doctoral Student Award.
McLaughlin (right) was cited for making contributions to young children with special needs and their families through research, higher education, publications, policy and information dissemination. Her research interests include early intervention with a focus on inclusion, embedded instruction and posiitive behavioral supports.
While pursuing her doctorate, she has served as a research assistant on several funded projects and is the research coordinator on a federal Institute of Education Sciences (USDOE) grant investigating the impact of professional development on early childhood teachers’ use of embedded instruction and outcomes for young children with disabilities.
McLaughlin completed her master’s in special education in 2003 and was an early primary special education teacher in New Zealand for two years, before enrolling in UF’s doctoral program in 2006. She is lead author on a manuscript accepted for publication, a contributing author on a published book chapter and a submitted manuscript, and has served as a guest reviewer for the Journal of Early Intervention. She was selected last year from a highly competitive applicant pool to participate in the Pre-Elementary Education Longitudinal Study (PEELS) Data Training Seminar sponsored by the National Center for Special Education Reearch. She has already conducted one pilot study from the data and is using the data for her dissertation.
Her doctoral adviser is Professor Patrica Snyder, the David Lawrence Jr. Endowed Chair in Early Childhood Studies at UF.
UF has previous ties to DEC’s prestigious Sexton award. EduGator alum Brian Boyd (PhD ’05, early childhood-special education), now on the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill occupational science faculty, received the honor in 2005; Snyder, though, was the very first recipient, selected in 1992 while a doctoral student at the University of New Orleans. Her adviser? None other than Professor J. David Sexton, the award’s namesake, who was revered as an outstanding mentor and leader in his field.
McLaughlin is the latest EduGator to add to UF’s legacy in DEC’s Sexton awards program.