JOHNSON CITY – East Tennessee State University students Katherine Madison and Guillermo Ibarra Mendoza were recently selected by the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) as SREB-State Doctoral Scholars.
Created in 1993, the SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program is designed to produce more minority Ph.D. students who seek careers as faculty on college campuses. It provides multiple layers of support, including financial assistance, academic/research funding, career counseling and access to job postings, mentoring and advocacy, a scholar directory for networking and recruiting, invitation to the annual Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, and continued early career support.
This is the second consecutive year as a SREB-State Doctoral Scholar for Madison, a native of Johnson City. She holds a bachelor of science degree in criminal justice from ETSU and a master of education degree in early childhood and elementary education from Milligan College, and previously spent 15 years as an elementary school teacher in Louisburg, North Carolina.
Now in her third year as a doctoral candidate in early childhood education in ETSU’s Clemmer College of Education, Madison is currently researching preschool suspensions and expulsions in the state of Tennessee.
“Many people are unaware of this practice, and my hope is to find out what teachers’ perceptions are on suspending children at such young ages,” she said, “and to continue to research practices that will help teachers in order to lower the rates of these suspensions.”
Madison’s previous research focused on student behavior and the types of behavioral and academic interventions that would help students perform well. She has also studied the graduation success rates of college students with dependents.
Mendoza is also in the ETSU doctoral program in early childhood education at ETSU after completing his M.A. in early childhood education in August and his B.S. in psychology with a minor in sociology in May.
Mendoza’s family migrated to the U.S. from his native Mexico when he was 7 and settled in Erwin, where he has lived ever since. He has become a U.S. citizen, and his wife, Estrella, is also from Mexico.
At ETSU, he is a graduate assistant in the Alumni Office and has been a recipient of the university’s James H. Quillen Scholarship and Dissertation/Thesis Summer Scholarship. His master’s thesis was titled “Exploring Gesturing as a Natural Approach to Impact Stages of Second Language Development: A Multiple Baseline, Single Case Study of a Head Start Child.”
“My passion is research in education, specifically in teaching methods for English language learners (ELLs),” Mendoza says. “Having been an ELL, I know the difficulties and challenges that teachers, parents and students face. I love working with children and when possible, I work with Telamon, a Head Start for children whose parents are migrant and seasonal workers in Unicoi County.”
The SREB, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization headquartered in Atlanta, works with 16 member states to improve public education at every level, from pre-K through Ph.D. Its work is funded by member appropriations and by grants and contracts from foundations and local, state and federal agencies.
To date, the SREB-State Doctoral Scholars Program has more than 800 graduates, over 100 of whom have earned tenure. It enjoys a high faculty employment rate, with most graduates serving on campuses as faculty, administrators and post-doctoral researchers. Most of these are employed in the SREB states of Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.