The University of Maryland College of Education welcomes a diverse cohort of new faculty members for the 2022-2023 academic year. These scholars and educators bring a wealth of knowledge and skills in a wide range of topics and will contribute greatly to the college’s diverse and dynamic community.
Meet the college’s newest faculty members:
Department of Counseling, Higher Education, and Special Education (CHSE)
Angeliki Altani, Postdoctoral Associate
Research Interests: Altani’s research centers on the cognitive mechanisms involved in reading fluency and comprehension efficiency across development. She has extensive experience conducting school-based research using eye-tracking and experimental behavioral design. Her current work in the Reading, Engagement, and Diversity (READ) Lab includes studying the role of executive functions and linguistic factors in reading comprehension development among bilingual children.
Biography: Before joining the University of Maryland, Altani worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Oslo, Norway. She earned a Ph.D. in educational psychology from the University of Alberta, Canada, and a MSc in cognitive science and a B.A. in linguistics from the University of Athens, Greece.
Colby Beré ’22, Intake Specialist, Maryland State Department of Education Division of Rehabilitation Services Pre-Employment Transition Services Intake Unit
Biography: As an undergraduate student at the University of Maryland, Beré served as an academic lead peer mentor with the TerpsEXCEED program during its pilot year. She holds a B.A in psychology from UMD.
Mary Pat Dye, Faculty Specialist
Biography: Dye has spent over 35 years leading the Transition Connections Academy, a collective of five school-to-work transition programs in Carroll County for students ages 18 to 21. She previously served as a coordinator for Carroll County, providing professional development and support for all aspects of Secondary Transition. She has also provided leadership for several Carroll County initiatives designed to promote post school success and improve college and career readiness for youth with disabilities, including the Maryland Seamless Transition Collaborative, Maryland PROMISE, and Way2Work. She received an administrative certificate from Towson University, a M.S. from The Johns Hopkins University, and a B.S. in education from Millersville University.
Beatrice Hammett ’22, Faculty Assistant, Center for Transition and Career Innovation
Biography: As an undergraduate at the University of Maryland, Hammett held positions as a resident assistant in the Department of Resident Life and an administrative assistant at the Institute for Physical Science and Technology. She also worked with the first cohort of TerpsEXCEED students as a lead peer mentor. Hammett earned her bachelor’s degree in community health with minors in disabilities studies and professional writing from the University of Maryland.
Veronica Kang, Assistant Professor, Special Education
Research Interests: Kang’s research is focused on family-led, naturalistic, and culturally adapted instruction to support language and social communication development in early intervention and early childhood education. Kang has worked with children from underrepresented backgrounds, including immigrant families, who have autism, language delays, Down syndrome, and other developmental delays.
Biography: In addition to her role as an assistant professor, Kang is a board-certified behavior analyst. She previously worked with autistic students and their families as a behavior interventionist in university-based clinics, schools, and families’ homes in Seattle, Washington. She earned her Ph.D. in special education from the University of Illinois Chicago.
Jeongeun Kim, Associate Professor, Higher Education
Research Interests: Kim’s research focuses on how institutions of higher education use their autonomy to organize strategies for revenue generation and resource allocation to remain competitive. Her research examines how policies related to the financing of postsecondary education affect access, affordability, and quality. Her research also addresses how changes in organizational policies and practices can impact stakeholders, including students and faculty.
Alexandra Kuvaeva Ph.D. ’19, Postdoctoral Associate
Research Interests: Kuvaeva has over 10 years of experience in research, quantitative and qualitative data collection and analysis, measurement, statistics and evaluation.
Biography: Kuvaeva gained hands-on experience conducting research in the Global Research Department at IB Global Centre, Washington DC. As a graduate research assistant at the University of Maryland, she worked for the ADVANCE Program for Inclusive Excellence, a campus-wide initiative that supports the retention and advancement of women faculty in STEM. Her graduate work deepened her interest in higher education policies and practices and shaped her career trajectory as a researcher focusing on issues affecting faculty careers. She holds an M.A. in education leadership and policy studies as a Fulbright Program participant and a Ph.D. in international education policy from the University of Maryland.
Mercedes Peterman, Intake Specialist, Center for Transition and Career Innovation
Biography: Peterman is passionate about helping individuals with disabilities gain access to the support and services they need to obtain independence and economic self-sufficiency. She has several years of experience working with youth with mental health disorders and providing addictions counseling services to adults. She previously served as a human resources generalist at Phillips Corporation, and worked for the Maryland State Department of Education Division of Rehabilitation for six years, delivering vocational rehabilitation services to youth and adults with disabilities across the state of Maryland. She has a M.A in counseling from The Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in psychology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
Awilda Rodriguez, Associate Professor
Research Interests: Rodriguez’s research is at the intersection of higher education policy, college access and choice, and the representation of Black, Latinx, low-income and first-generation students in postsecondary education. One of her most recent projects examines inequitable access to rigorous high school coursework.
Biography: Rodriguez was named a 2017 William T. Grant Scholar, and along with many policy reports and contributions to edited volumes, her work has been published in Research in Higher Education, The Review of Higher Education, The Journal of Higher Education, Diverse Issues in Higher Education, and The Chronicle of Higher Education. She received her doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education and previously worked as a research fellow at American Enterprise Institute’s Center for Higher Education Reform and as a research associate at The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education.
Elizabeth Tornquist M.A. ’97, Faculty Specialist, Center for Transition and Career Innovation
Biography: Tornquist spent nine years as a transition specialist, working in two school districts in the D.C. area. She became a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Maryland before joining the faculty in the College of Education where she was a grant coordinator, university supervisor and professional development school coordinator. Before returning to the University this summer, she spent nine years as the secondary transition project manager for the Maryland Coalition for Inclusive Education. Tornquist received a Ph.D. in special education from George Mason University, an M.A. in secondary/transition special education from the University of Maryland and a B.A. in special education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
Taylor Woodman Ph.D. ’19, Assistant Clinical Professor, International Education Policy
Research Interests: Woodman is a critical internationalization scholar that uses his research, teaching, and practice to challenge dominant assumptions of international education exchange. His research interests include global learning, academic diplomacy, internationalization of higher education, digital internationalization, qualitative methodology, and Cuban education.
Biography: Woodman has taught undergraduate and graduate courses for the last decade at institutions in the D.C. area. In addition to his research and teaching, he has almost 15 years of experience as an administrator in international education programming on college campuses. He currently has a joint appointment with the Office of International Affairs where he serves as the associate director for Global Faculty Learning. Woodman leads the College’s study abroad fieldwork program, which has taken over 100 UMD students to Cuba. He currently serves on the editorial board for the Journal of International Students and Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad. Outside of the university, he enjoys road tripping to explore the cultural communities within the U.S. and serving the D.C. community as a resource parent for D.C. foster youth. Woodman holds a Ph.D. in international education policy from the University of Maryland, an M.A. in educational leadership and policy studies and a B.A. in public and urban affairs from Virginia Tech.
Department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology (HDQM)
Chantel Alexander, Community Research Associate
Research Interests: Alexander is interested in the impact of adverse childhood experiences on development and behavior among individuals that live in urban settings.
Biography: Alexander received her MSW at the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s School of Social Work where she focused on Clinical Social Work with Families and Children. As Alexander emerges into the field of social work, she brings with her a plethora of experiences as a middle and high school educator in New Jersey and Maryland.
Danielle Burns, Community Research Assistant
Research Interests: Burns’ research interests focus on children’s neurodevelopment and the possible effects of genetic, environmental, or socioeconomic factors.
Biography: A Prince George’s County native, Burns received her MPH from George Washington University and her B.S. in health sciences from Pennsylvania West University (previously California University of Pennsylvania).
Rachel Romeo, Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Romeo uses interdisciplinary methods from education, developmental psychology, and cognitive neuroscience (structural and functional brain imaging) to study how the developing brain adapts to varying environments and how this leads to unique developmental paths for children.
Biography: Romeo directs the Language, Experience, and Development (LEAD) lab at the College and also holds a courtesy appointment in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences and the interdisciplinary program in Neuroscience and Cognitive Science. Romeo received her Ph.D. from the joint Harvard/MIT Program in Speech and Hearing Bioscience and Technology, her clinical licensure in Speech-Language Pathology from the MGH Institute of Health Professions, and completed the Translational Postdoctoral Training in Neurodevelopment program at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School.
Olga Walker, Lecturer and Internship Coordinator
Biography: Walker received her Ph.D. in applied developmental psychology from the University of Miami and completed a postdoctoral research position at the University of Maryland.
Heather Carnaghan, Faculty Specialist
Frieda Greenthal, Faculty Assistant
Department of Teaching and Learning, Policy and Leadership (TLPL)
Shannon Kane, Assistant Clinical Professor
Research Interests: Kane’s research interests include literacy pedagogies, the influence of teacher identity on pedagogy, and teacher voice in understanding the relationships between theory and practice. Her work is focused on working with teachers to explore literacy practices and the assessment of those practices in classrooms in an effort to balance the important relationship between theory and practice. Her work also explores how identity and personal learning shape literacy practices and learning in the classroom for both teachers and students.
Biography: Kane began her career working in international development, focusing on women and education, before joining the inaugural cohort of DC Teaching Fellows. Since then, Kane has been a classroom teacher in public and public charter schools in Washington D.C. She has also worked as an instructional coach, curriculum writer, literacy consultant, school principal, and adjunct professor. She holds an Ed.D in reading, writing, and literacy from the University of Pennsylvania, an M.A. in international affairs from George Washington University, and a B.A. in world politics and modern languages from the Catholic University of America. She also earned a TESOL/Bilingual elementary education certificate from American University.
Rossina Zamora Liu, Assistant Professor, Urban Education Specialization
Research Interests: Liu’s research interrogates systems of white supremacy and anti-Blackness in education, employs counter-storytelling, and cultivates cross-racial solidarity and coalition building among.
Biography: Liu is a 1.5-generation, multi-ethnic Asian American woman and a non-Black Critical Race educator and scholar. She has worked with artists, film-makers, and b-boys of Color on community-based projects, first-generation college student-athletes, middle/high-school students in urban/rural communities, and veterans at homeless shelters, the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and community settings. She is co-author of Systems of White Supremacy and White Privilege: A Racial-Spatial Framework for Psychology, co-author of Understanding Systemic Racism: Anti-Blackness, White Supremacy, Racial Capitalism, and the Re/Creation of White Space and Time, and guest co-editor of two journal special issues on anti Blackness in education and Black/Latinx youth futurity. Liu holds a Ph.D. and MFA from the University of Iowa.
Laura Mahalingappa, Associate Professor
Research Interests: Mahalingappa’s research focuses on linguistically responsive instruction for teachers, and more specifically, infusing critical language awareness and critical language pedagogies into teacher preparation coursework.
Biography: Mahalingappa has published widely on issues related to language acquisition and teacher preparation for linguistically and culturally diverse learners. She recently published “Supporting Muslim students: A guide to understanding the diverse issues of today’s classroom” and an edited volume on international English teacher education, “Preparation of Teachers of English as an Additional Language (EAL) around the World: Research, Policy, Curriculum, and Practice.” She holds a Ph.D. in linguistics and M.A. in linguistics from the University of Texas at Austin, and a B.A. in international studies from American University.
Farhaana Nyamekye-Frazier Ph.D. ’10, Clinical Assistant Professor
Research Interests: Nyamekye-Frazier’s research interests lie in equity and diversity in mathematics education and the intersections of racial and mathematics identity.
Biography: Over the past 15 years, Nyamekye-Frazier has taught at Montgomery College, Trinity Washington University, University of Maryland Global Campus, the College of Southern Maryland, and Prince George’s Community College. In her role as PDS coordinator, Nyamekye-Frazier serves Secondary Math and Computer Science pre-service teacher candidates and university supervisors, as well as mentor teachers and administrative staff at secondary grades Professional Development Schools. Additionally, Farhaana teaches Professional Seminar in Education and Field Experiences in Education for MCERT and Undergraduate students. Nyamekye-Frazier earned a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a concentration in mathematics education from the University of Maryland, a M.A. in mathematics education at the University of Texas in Austin, and a B.S. in mathematics from the University of Miami with a minor in secondary education.