2021-22 Division G Graduate Student Executive Committee

Meet our dedicated team of graduate student executive committee (GSEC) members who volunteer their time and work hard to meet the needs of Division G graduate students across the country and around the world.


Headshot_Symone GylesSymone Gyles | symone.gyles@gmail.com
University of California, Los Angeles
Senior Graduate Student Representative

Symone Gyles (she/her) is a 5th year PhD Candidate in the Department of Urban Schooling at the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies. She earned her B.S. in Marine and Environmental Science from Hampton University, and went on to teach 7th grade science in Hampton, VA. As a Black scientist, science educator, and community researcher, the foundation of Symone’s work is based on her belief that science should reflect the lives of those who are learning it. Her research uses community-based methods to locally contextualize scientific phenomena, and utilizes the community and cultural wealth of students and their families as sources of knowledge in science learning. Using place-based methods, her work seeks to increase meaningfulness and relevance in science learning for Black and Brown students by re-defining ideas of who holds scientific knowledge, what is considered scientific knowledge, and who is seen as a science expert.

Sarah Mae Olivar - HeadshotSarah Mae Olivar | solivar@fordham.edu
Fordham University
Junior Graduate Student Representative

Sarah Mae Olivar (she/her/siyá) recognizes that research in education can enable significant progress to be made in addressing the structural and procedural roots of educational inequity. For this reason, she enrolled at Fordham Graduate School of Education’s Contemporary Learning and Interdisciplinary Research doctoral program, which prepares its graduates to find holistic solutions to issues in education. As a Filipinx immigrant, Sarah Mae is interested in examining the perceptions of culturally, linguistically, and socioeconomically diverse immigrant families regarding their role in their children’s education using critical community-based participatory research. She earned a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University and is currently a researcher at American Institutes for Research—a not-for-profit behavioral and social science research and evaluation organization.

The GSEC comprises two subcommittees: (a) Mentoring and Student Outreach (MSO) as well as (b) Social Media and Technology (SMT). You can find a brief description of each subcommittee’s goals and information about its members below.

 Mentorship and Student Outreach (MSO)

Meet our wonderful MSO subcommittee members! In addition to planning the Division G Pre-conference seminar, MSO organizes different events and engagement opportunities to support graduate students such as self-care and wellness workshops as well as reading groups.

Koeun Park PicKoeun Park | koeun.park@utah.edu
University of Utah
Subcommittee Chairperson

Koeun Park (she/her) is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Education, Culture and Society at the University of Utah. Using critical and social justice grounded theories and pedagogies such as raciolingusitic ideologies, translanguaging, culturally sustaining pedagogy, and critical race theory, she examines educational inequalities within bilingual education that persistently impact culturally and linguistically minoritized students, families, and communities.


headshot_abbieAbbie Cohen | abbiecohen@g.ucla.edu
University of California, Los Angeles
Subcommittee Secretary

Abbie Cohen (she/her) is a Ph.D. student in the Urban Schooling division at UCLA’s School of Education & Information Studies. Abbie’s research interests explore the complex and interwoven relationships between philanthropy, education nonprofits, and urban schools. She investigates the way race, power, and capital intersect to affect public schooling. Previously, Abbie has worked as a teacher in Medellín, Colombia as a Fulbright Scholar, a non-profit administrator in Denver, Colorado, and as a community partnerships director at the Harvard Radcliffe Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Throughout her differing roles, and ranging geographic locations, Abbie works to build bridges between people, organizations, and communities. She received her master’s degree in Education Policy & Management from the Harvard Graduate School of Education, and her bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Tufts University. 

Turea Hutson - HeadshotTurea M. Hutson |  tmh52@drexel.edu
Drexel University

Turea M. Hutson (she/her), MEd is a second-year student in the Drexel University PhD program on the Education Leadership and Policy track. She currently serves as the co-editor of the Emerging Voices in Education (EViE) Journal. She is a Cum Laude and Distinguished Dean’s List graduate of Arcadia University, where she received her BA in Elementary Education and her MEd in Literacy Studies and TESOL. Social justice and equity were a primary focus of Hutson’s undergraduate and graduate studies, and she spent much of her time researching ways to make schools a more equitable space for marginalized students to learn. Hutson’s interest in education policy led her to run for school board in her hometown. She served for seven years. She served as president of the board for three years. Hutson’s research interests include equity, education policy, racial trauma, intersectionality, autism spectrum disorder in diverse communities, and student identity.

m zarnetske headshotMeghan Zarnetske | meghan.zarnetske@gmail.com
University of Utah

Meghan (she/her) has been working in public school as a teacher and instructional coach for 15 years. She loves learning so she’s attended most higher ed institutions in Utah for two masters as well as a school administration license. Currently she is a second year PhD student at the University of Utah in the department of Education, Culture, and Society. Meghan is constantly agitated by systems of oppression and she strives to disrupt them through words, actions, and ways of being, though she recognizes how her own whiteness may complicate those actions. Meghan’s research centers around queering K12 pedagogy and finding ways to decenter whiteness in school spaces. A former science teacher, Meghan also seeks ways to undo the settler colonial constructs inherent in teaching and learning science. She often uses scientific processes to examine and attempt to disrupt white colonial constructs in education.  

Rosie Ojeda headshotRosie Ojeda | rosie.ojeda@utah.edu
University of Utah

Rosie Ojeda is a third-year PhD student and Teaching Assistant in the Department of Education, Culture, and Society at the University of Utah. She is from Nipomo, California and has worked as an English teacher, teacher trainer, and as an educational consultant. She has an MA in TESOL from the University of San Francisco and a BA in English Education from BYU-Idaho. Before beginning her doctoral program, she was an English Language Fellow (a U.S. Department of State Program) in Guadalajara, México. Rosie served as President of the Graduate Student Diversity Council Executive Board during the 20-21 academic year. Currently she serves as Assembly Representative for the College of Education at the University of Utah, is a member of AERA’s Division G, and a board member for Corazon del Pueblo in Santa Maria, California.



Meet our brilliant SMT team! This subcommittee connects Division G graduate students using a variety of social media platforms and provides them with technical assistance during  GSEC-planned events and other virtual networking engagements.

Harrianna ThompsonHarrianna Thompson | hdthomps@iu.edu
Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis
Subcommittee Chairperson

Harrianna Thompson (she/her/hers) is a 3rd year PhD student in Urban Education Studies focusing on policy and Student Affairs at Indiana University Purdue University-Indianapolis (IUPUI). She currently works full time as the Residence Life Specialist for Equity Initiatives in Housing and Residence Life at IUPUI. Her passion is engaging students of color in their college experience beyond what the classroom can provide. She also works to hold the structure of whiteness accountable in her role.  She obtained her B.A. in Liberal Arts emphasizing in American Studies and Psychology from Marymount California University (MCU). She earned her MEd in Post-Secondary Administration and Student Affairs (PASA) from the University of Southern California (USC). Harrianna’s research interests are primarily focused on Black student experiences on college campuses through policy development and enforcement as well as external support systems, such as the division of Student Affairs. Harrianna hopes to enhance Black students and other students of color on college campuses and change policy that prevents positive outcomes.

KyungjinKyungjin Hwang | khwang@email.sc.edu 
University of South Carolina 
Subcommittee Secretary

Kyungjin Hwang (she/her)  is a PhD student in Language and Literacy at the University of South Carolina. Kyungjin is a former English teacher at middle and high schools in South Korea, and currently works as a research assistant at the Bilingualism Matters Center @ UofSC. She supports research to promote awareness about bilingualism and develop sound instructional practices. She also works to disseminate research findings in ways that promote communication and collaboration among families, schools, and the public sector. Her primary research focus is bilingual/multilingual/multinational learners. She believes that drawing on students’ home language and cultures in classroom teaching engages diverse learners, fosters their positive identities, and provides a positive attitude towards their culture and language. Thus, her current research is focused on emergent bilingual learners, immigrant students and families, and transnational learners. Her research interests include ESOL/bilingual education, language ideology, translanguaging, multimodality, and teaching reading and writing for emergent bilinguals.

Pitzel_Allyson_HeadshotAllyson Pitzel  | aapitzel@crismon.ua.edu 
University of Alabama 
GSEC Secretary and SMT Representative

Allyson Pitzel (she/her) is a doctoral student in the Special Education Ph.D. program at the University of Alabama (UA) and is federally-funded on a U.S. Department of Education leadership grant, Project INSPIRE. Along with this, she is enrolled in the Qualitative Research Certificate Program at UA. Prior to pursuing her Ph.D., Allyson earned a Bachelor of Science in Elementary/Special Education, as well as a Master of Arts in Special Education from UA. After obtaining her masters, Allyson taught fourth grade for two years in Alabama. Given her current role as a Project INSPIRE fellow, Allyson strives to inspire researchers to focus on youth in residential/juvenile justice facilities. Her research interests include emotional/behavioral disorders, multi-tiered systems of support, adapted tiered supports (e.g., academic, behavioral), and systems change in juvenile justice settings. Allyson is interested in examining the sociocultural contexts of educational policy using a critical/multicultural lens to promote systems change.

Qiu HeadshotTairan Qiu | tqiu19@uga.edu 
The University of Georgia

Tairan Qiu (she/her/她) is a doctoral candidate in the Language and Literacy Education Department at the University of Georgia. As a transnational migrant and a native to Yunnan, China, Tairan navigates her life, identities, and literacies across national borders and across time. As such, her research agenda is oriented around exploring the myriad literacy practices of transnational youths and centering their stories and experiences, for the purpose of advocating for more opportunities in their schools, communities, and homes to sustain their entire cultural, linguistic, and literacies repertoires. Her scholarship has appeared in Written Communication, Journal of Language and Literacy Education, and The Qualitative Report. In her free time, she likes swimming, hiking, and spending time with her husband and dog.

For more information about Division G and for updates on events, follow us:

Twitter: @AERADivision G
Facebook: AERA Division G Students: Social Context of Education
Instagram: @aera_divg

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