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JamilFaiza Jamil

Dr. Jamil (Ph.D., University of Virginia) is an assistant professor of child development at Clemson University and the founder of the CLAD Lab. Her research follows two complementary strands: 1) understanding the underlying psychological processes – cognitive, social, and emotional – that influence teachers’ classroom behaviors and career decisions, and 2) understanding the ways in which teacher-child interactions influence children’s learning and development. More specifically, Dr. Jamil conducts research that leverages her expertise in measurement, assessment, and professional development to better understand and improve the educational experiences of teachers and students within these two broad strands. Dr. Jamil is an affiliate faculty member of Clemson’s Learning Sciences Doctoral Program and Undergraduate Teacher Education Program, to which she brings her own experiences as a K-12 teacher in three countries.

Luke RapaLuke Rapa

Dr. Rapa (Ph.D., Michigan State University) is an assistant professor of adolescent development at Clemson University. Rapa's research rests at the intersection of developmental and educational psychologies. Broadly, Rapa studies how contextual, sociocultural, and sociopolitical factors—including socioeconomic disadvantage, structural constraints, and societal inequality—shape key developmental and psychological processes and promote or constrain adolescents’ development and academic success. More specifically, Rapa's program of research examines (1) how adolescents critically analyze societal inequities and develop the motivation and agency to redress such inequities, or develop “critical consciousness”; (2) how youth navigate structural constraints or marginalizing systems (e.g., institutional racism, discrimination, stereotypes in school) to achieve academic success and well-being; and (3) how social identity threats shape development and how and social-psychological interventions can bolster academic performance and promote well-being.

Graduate Students

Amanda Bennettbennett

Amanda is a doctoral student in the learning sciences program with a focus on early childhood learning and development. Amanda’s research interests include the role of parents and family in young children’s development of social/emotional skills in order to aid in school readiness and school success. Amanda’s current work as a research assistant addresses early childhood teachers’ professional learning and parent/teacher involvement in preschool children’s development. Amanda has five years prior experience as an early childhood teacher in Virginia and Pennsylvania.

Cari Allyn BrooksCari Allyn Brooks

Cari is a doctoral student in learning sciences, interested in literacy, access to higher education, and the role of games and technology in learning. Cari has over twenty years of experience teaching general education English courses, with a focus on first-year composition curriculum design. She also has served students as a writing center director, academic coach, and academic advisor. She currently works supporting student learning and career development in Clemson University’s College of Architecture, Arts and Humanities. As a new student in the learning sciences program, Cari looks to develop research focused on increasing both access to and the quality of college education for student populations historically marginalized by higher education.

DeOnte Brownbrown

DeOnte is a doctoral student in the learning sciences with an emphasis on human development through schooling. DeOnte’s research interests are the academic skill development and learning experiences of adolescents and emerging adults that identify as a person of color. Primarily this research is in the context of social learning environments at the collegiate level. DeOnte’s current work focuses on understanding the use of peer groups as academic support spaces for the development of self-regulated learning skills in black college students. Additionally, he works with peer mentoring programs that aide in the college transition for students of color which also supports his research agenda. DeOnte has prior experience working with adolescents through a high school college access program.

Georgia McKownGeorgia McGown

Georgia is a doctoral student in the learning sciences program with an emphasis on the development of military-connected students. Primarily, her research is concentrated on military-connected K-12 students and their literacy development. Georgia currently works as a research assistant for the Special Education department helping with research in supporting K-12 and pre-service teachers in inclusive classrooms. Prior to graduate school, Georgia was an elementary school teacher in Virginia Beach and a reading teacher with the Institute of Reading Development.

Robert O'HaraRobert O'Hara

Robert is a doctoral student in the Learning Sciences program, with research interests in understanding how pedagogy, learning design, and curriculum impact development and students' ability to make meaning of the world around them. Robert currently works as a graduate assistant for the department of Education and Human Development. Robert holds a Masters degree in Higher Education Administration. Prior to starting the program, Robert worked as a Housing and Residence Life professional focusing on residential curriculum, social justice advocacy and awareness, and Intergroup Dialogue.

Abby StephanAbby Stephan

Abby is a doctoral student in the learning sciences program. Broadly, her research interests include intergenerational learning in informal settings, self-directed learning, and cultural influences on the learning process. Abby currently works as a graduate assistant for the General Engineering Learning Community (GELC), a program that supports first-year engineering students in their development of self-regulation and time management skills, effective learning strategies, and positive habits of mind. Prior to graduate school, Abby worked at Clemson's Academic Success Center as a student employee in course support programs while obtaining a B.A. in language and international trade with a minor in cultural anthropology.   

Samuel WilkesSamuel Wilkes

Samuel is a doctoral student in the learning sciences program with a focus on critical pedagogy. His research interests include educational linguistics, particularly as it relates to developing critical language awareness in marginalized language students, culturally sustaining pedagogies, and conceptualizations of democracy in education. Samuel's current work looks at the ways writing centers can orient themselves to promote critical language awareness in students and tutors through student-led, tutor-scaffolded participation. Prior to graduate school, Samuel served as a writing fellow for four semesters at his undergraduate university's writing center.