Tuesday News Brief Archive

Nationwide, school lessons in personal growth and job skills have taken a backseat to preparation for standardized tests, according to new research led by Jaekyung Lee, PhD, professor of counseling, school and educational psychology in the Graduate School of Education.
Jiayou China! Jiayou Buffalo! Jiayou children artists! The Chinese “jiayou” cheer means “Keep going!” It is the message that GSE PhD student Qinghua Chen first sent to her home country in a video produced soon after news of the pandemic broke. She gave aid of a different kind to her Buffalo-area home last month when she donated 3,600 face masks to the Amherst Police and the Pediatric & Adolescent Urgent Care of WNY. This month she debuted her latest effort: an online exhibit of children’s art she’s collected in the months since the pandemic closed UB’s campus.
Within days of the pandemic shutdown, GSE PhD student Raven Baxter produced an educational rap music video about the virus, posted it to YouTube and it went, well, viral. In the months since, newscasters from New York City to Hawaii broadcast her video and the infectious song and lyrics — “Get some soap, scrub it down and show me how you do it!” — inspired Buffalo’s mayor’s office to ask for her help.  
The news that most students at Williamsville East High School don’t like bullying and sexual harassment­­ — yet almost half of them don’t know what to say to stop it — didn’t surprise Principal Brian Swatland. The fall survey findings he was analyzing were part of an anti-bullying training and pilot project in the Williamsville Central School District. The three-year grant project called “Norms and Bystander Intervention Training” or NAB IT! aims to better equip students to navigate the bullying and sexual harassment situations they witness. This initiative is being led by Amanda Nickerson, director of GSE’s Alberti Center for Bullying Abuse Prevention and professor in the Department of Counseling, School and Educational Psychology.
What children think about bending the rules, telling the truth and the futures they imagine can be mysterious to the grownups in their lives. A new series of playful research-based experiments will reveal answers and shed light on how kids learn. “Living Lab to Living Room,” a new collaboration between UB’s Fisher-Price Endowed Early Childhood Research Center (ECRC) and Buffalo’s Explore & More, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Children’s Museum, will share knowledge with families curious to know more.
Joelle Formato, EdM ’15, planned on an accounting career until curiosity inspired her to sign up for two years teaching math in a public school outside Washington, D.C. She was interested in service to others. It seemed like the right opportunity. “Five days into teaching I knew I had found my life’s work,” said Formato.
Jessica Jones chatted in the hallway reception with a fellow teacher resident and pondered the consequences of disjointed lessons about how to make an argument. Different disciplines take different approaches. This could confuse students. How could teaching be improved? That was a message from Okhee Lee, a visiting NYU scholar who came to campus last month to give the penultimate talk in the Dean’s Lecture Series.
Associate Professor Alexa Schindel started planning this semester’s ocean sabbatical work when she applied to join the S.V. TravelEdge sailboat a year ago — as soon as she got the email notice about “eXXpedition Round the World” research journey. She wrote an essay, did a video interview and won a spot on the nine-member team of volunteers who joined the crew on the women-only TravelEdge.
Valerie Nesset’s innovative approach to help people with different backgrounds collaborate led her to win a $451,667 grant to address a current problem at libraries and leave an enduring legacy: Help retirees create library programming they want. And, train librarians and their patrons to get good results together.
Tiffany Karalis Noel, clinical assistant professor from the Department of Learning and Instruction, is exploring how to reduce gender bias against women in STEM education. “Despite progress with recruitment, as women in the United States continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields, it is imperative to understand the factors that may influence women’s feelings of belonging and motivation to remain in STEM fields,” Karalis Noel writes in a commentary article, “Exploring Non-Retention of Women in STEM,” for Teachers College Record.
Herbert Foster, a professor emeritus from the Department of Learning and Instruction, was completely caught off guard on a Friday afternoon. While visiting Edgartown Public Library (EPL) in Massachusetts, of which Foster serves as a trustee, former United States first lady Michelle Obama surprised students, patrons and staff members with an unannounced visit. “Everybody was overwhelmed with joy and we are really hoping our former first lady will become a regular to the library and read more often to the kids,” Foster said.
Lilliam Malavé Lopez, associate professor from the Department of Learning and Instruction (LAI), received her second Fulbright-Hays Program grant to start an 18-month project for language and culture content training along with research through immersion in Mandarin language and Chinese culture. “The purpose of this project is to contribute to the improvement of modern foreign languages and area studies in the U.S. by providing opportunities for faculty, students and teachers to study in a foreign country,” says Malavé Lopez. “We want to increase the Mandarin language capacity and Chinese culture knowledge of the participants.”

Tuesday News Briefs feature the stories of the Graduate School of Education faculty, students and alumni who are engaged in their communities and making an impact through their hard work, dedication and research initiatives. If you have a story to share, please email us with the details for consideration as a future news feature.