Three UCR School of Education doctoral students, Giselle Salinas (Special Education), Aya Shhub (Special Education), and Elissa Monteiro (School Psychology) served as co-chairs for this year’s annual University of California Special Education, Disabilities, and Development Risk conference, held at UCR. Established in 2005, UC SPEDDR is a graduate student-led conference dedicated to research on special education, disabilities, and developmental risk needs in California schools.
This year’s conference marked the first in-person event since Covid, and welcomed students from UCR, UCLA, UC Irvine, and UC Davis for a two-day event comprised of graduate student presentations, keynotes, and workshops, on the UC Riverside campus.
Asha Jitendra, Professor and Peloy Chair in Learning Disabilities, UCR School of Education, kicked off the conference with her keynote “Using Visual Schematic Diagrams to Promote Proportional Reasoning: Seventh-Grade Struggling Students ‘Get the Math!” followed by oral presentations, roundtables, and an elevator pitch workshop where students had the opportunity to share their research and dissertations among peers and faculty.
Beth Burt, executive director of the Autism Society Inland Empire, delivered the keynote the following day, and SOE Assistant Professor Stephanie Moore, alum Elina Veytsman, and Teacher Education Supervisor Paul Rosenzweig presented on “Exploring Academic and Non-Academic Career Pathways.”
“One of the highlights of this year’s conference was welcoming Dr. Rollanda O’Connor and several other SOE doctoral students who recently graduated,” said Shhub. “It was great to hear how their post-grad careers are going, and their recommendations for current students on how to apply for post-graduation opportunities.”
In addition to the work of the chairs, the conference was made possible by the Doctoral Student Advisory Council (DSAC), who helped with blind conference abstract reviews and communications across campuses, and the Faculty Steering Committee, chaired by Rollanda O’Connor.