News and Accolades


Young women short carrotsSupporting families during the pandemic

Early childhood education students and faculty reached out to serve the Cedar Valley this spring. As part of the Child, Family, School and Community Relationships course with instructor Brandy Smith, students volunteered at the Northeast Iowa Food Bank and partnered with Cedar Valley Preschool and Childcare Center. They supported the preschool by planting grass, making blankets and creating promotional flyers. The semester was interrupted by COVID-19, but students were still able to complete some of their projects, learning how to navigate group work electronically.  

Associate professor of early childhood education Mary Donegan-Ritter, has also cared for families this year, helping them cope while local libraries and other activities were closed.  As a volunteer with the biweekly food pantry at St. Luke's Episcopal Church in Cedar Falls, she helped distribute children’s books which had been donated by Quota Club of Waterloo and church members.  Families were offered age appropriate books for toddlers, preschools and elementary students as they picked up food and other essentials.

News archive




The following tabs list awards (including grants), presentations and publications related to Curriculum and Instruction students, alumni, faculty and staff.  To find items involving C&I faculty, look on both tabs: collaborations that involve students and faculty are listed on the first tab, while items that only involve faculty or staff are listed on the second tab.

A presentation by Dessy Stoycheva (Ed.D. curriculum and instruction), instructor in educational psychology, Denise Tallakson, instructor in elementary education, Audrey Rule, emeritus professor, and Mahjabeen Hussain (Ed.D. curriculum and instruction), ESL instructor at Kirkwood Community College, was accepted by the 2020 American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference. Their roundtable presentation, "Exploring Creative and Scientific Aspects in Preservice Teachers’ Still-Life Paintings of Animal Skulls,” was based on research conducted when Stoycheva and Hussain were pursuing their doctoral degrees at UNI.   The conference was canceled due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

A presentation by Mason Kuhn, assistant professor of elementary education, Denise Tallakson, instructor in elementary education, Marine Pepanyan, a doctoral student and adjunct instructor, and Marissa Schweinfurth (B.A. elementary education) of Irving Elementary School in Waterloo, was accepted by the 2020 American Educational Research Association (AERA) conference which was canceled due to the COVID 19 pandemic.  Their work is titled "Measuring Executive Function Skills of Students With High Adverse Childhood Experiences After an Art-Integration Program.”     

Marine Pepanyan, a doctoral student and adjunct instructor in curriculum and instruction, along with Sohyun Meacham, associate professor of literacy education, and Stephanie Logan, former assistant professor of elementary education, published an article on "International Students' Alienation in a U.S. Higher Ed Institution" in the Journal of Multicultural Education
Citation: Pepanyan, M., Meacham, S., & Logan, S. (2019). International Students’ Alienation in a U.S. Higher Ed Institution. Journal of Multicultural Education.  June 10, 2019.

Shaylyn Trenkamp, elementary education major, has won second Prize for the 2020 Rod Library Mary Ann Bolton Undergraduate Research Award competition for her honors thesis titled, "Breathe In, Breathe Out: An Exploration of the Impacts of Yoga on Self-Regulation and Classroom Community." She conducted research on teaching yoga and mindfulness in local kindergarten classrooms and Sarah Montgomery, associate professor of elementary education, served as her advisor for the project.  

Grace Brady, elementary and middle level education dual major, and Eleanor Grond, elementary education major, and Curtis Nielsen, assistant professor of teaching, presented at the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education (AACTE) conference in Atlanta, Georgia on February 29, 2020.  Their presentation was titled "Instructional Rounds: A Way to Strengthen the Early Field Experience."   

Abby Weiland, a doctoral student in curriculum and instruction, had the opportunity to present her research, “Teacher Well-Being: The Quest to Do What’s Best for Kids Without Losing Yourself," at the Texas Association of Literacy Educators Annual Conference in Waco, Texas on March 1, 2019. She was honored with one of two Graduate Student Research Poster Awards. Her research explored the experiences of practicing elementary teachers as they navigated the demands of the teaching profession, and how these experiences contributed to their conceptualization of teacher well-being. 

Doctoral student Brooke Becker's journal article entitled “Addressing Common Misconceptions with Informal Arguments” was published in The Mathematics Teacher in April 2019. This article reflects upon the implementation of a high school mathematics activity that provides the opportunity to address misconceptions about triangle congruence conjectures as they naturally develop through the formation of informal proof schemes.

Marine Pepanyan, a doctoral student in the curriculum and instruction program (B.A. linguistics, English and Spanish, M.A. TESOL/Spanish), presented her research with Sohyun Meacham, assistant professor of literacy education, at the 2019 The Association for the Study of Play (TASP) conference in Harrisonburg, Virginia. Pepanyan is a graduate assistant at UNI and her presentation was based on her research interests which include play and playfulness in adult second language (L2) teaching, integration of play in cross-cultural teaching with the emphasis of implementation of robotics in L2 Communicative Language Teaching classroom. The research presentation was titled "Play Element and Dynamics of Interaction in an Adult Second Language (L2) CLT Classroom." 

Beth VanMeeteren, associate professor of literacy education and director of the Iowa Regents' Center for Early Developmental Education, and North Tama County Community School District (NTCCSD) educators Vonna Watson, Brenda Kaufmann, and Lisa Chizek were active at the Annual National Science Teachers Association in St. Louis April 11-14, 2019. All worked together to deliver a short course on the Ramps & Pathways curriculum. VanMeeteren and the teachers from NTCCSD manned tables featuring classroom implementation of collaborative work involving early STEM. Vonna Watson featured Ramps & Pathways: Integrated STEM in the Elementary Classrooms; Brenda Kaufman, Matter Matters: Investigations and Literacy Connections; Lisa Chizek, Light & Shadow; and Beth VanMeeteren, Tinkering with Tops. In addition, Lisa Chizek, also a UNI doctoral student and Beth VanMeeteren presented two conference sessions: "Learning About Light and Shadows with Shadow Stories" and "Engineering a Pancake Recipe: Connecting Chemistry to Everyday Life." 

Mason Kuhn, assistant professor of elementary education, and Denise Tallakson, instructor in elementary education, along with Kylee Wilson, Bryce Cox, Hailey Buzynski and Jenny Pedersen (undergraduate elementary education majors) presented at the National Association of Professional Development School Conference in Atlanta on Feb. 15, 2019. Their presentation was entitled, "A Unique PDS Model: Using Arts Integration with Elementary Students Who Have High Adverse Childhood Experiences."

Carolyn Weber, assistant professor in elementary and middle level education, in collaboration with Heather Hagan of Coastal Carolina University, published an article about teaching elementary students to evaluate sources and participate in an inquiry lesson in Social Studies and the Young Learner, a publication of the National Council for the Social Studies.
Citation: Weber, C. A and Hagan, H.N. (2020). Is the right to clean water fake news? An elementary inquiry lesson exploring media literacy and human rights. Social Studies and the Young Learner, 33(1), p. 3-9.

Mason Kuhn, assistant professor of elementary education, along with Ron Rinehart, assistant professor of educational psychology, and Todd Milford, a colleague from University of Victoria, examined how teachers guide students in using evidence-based argumentation to understand science concepts. "The Relationship Between Epistemic Cognition and Dialogic Feedback in Elementary and Middle School Science Classrooms" was published in Research in Science & Technological Education in July 2020. 

Sarah Bryans-Bongey, associate professor of instructional technology, presented a session at the Teaching Professor Virtual Conference, which runs from May to September 2020. Her presentation was entitled "Getting it Right: Exploring Student Success Strategies Through Web-enhanced Instruction."

Dana Atwood-Blaine, assistant professor of elementary education and Jacobson Elementary Science Fellow, published an article in Science Scope  titled " After-School Steam Club Connects Botany, Art, and Gaming." The article was based on her experience leading a five-week after-school program for middle school students in conjunction with Communities in Schools.
Citation: Atwood-Blaine, D. L. (2020). After-school steam club connects botany, art, and gaming. Science Scope, 43(7), 26. 

Dana Atwood-Blaine, assistant professor of elementary education and Jacobson Elementary Science Fellow, presented at the Association of Science Teacher Education conference in San Antonio, Texas in January 2020. Her presentation was titled "Pilot Study: Teaching Elementary Science Methods within a PDS Approach."

Dana Atwood-Blaine, assistant professor of elementary education and Jacobson Elementary Science Fellow, led a workshop at the Association of Science and Teaching Center conference in September 2019 in Toronto, California. Her workshop was titled "Designing a Situated Mobile Game to Enhance Informal Science Learning."

Tarenah Matloob Haghanikar, assistant professor of literacy education, published an article in Children's Literature in English Language Education.  The article was titled "Multicultural Children's Literature: The Ethnicity of the Implied Author and the Implied Reader."
Citation: Matloob Haghanikar, T. (2020). Multicultural children’s literature: The ethnicity of the implied author and the implied reader. Children’s Literature in English Language Education (CLELE), 8(1). 10-30.

Karla Krueger, associate professor of school library studies, was a panelist for the Better Together: Collaborative Conversations Webinar Series on February 6, 2020 focusing on the Iowa School Library Program Standards. The webinar was organized by Iowa's Area Education Agencies, and the topic was "Standard 3: Information literacy."

Mason Kuhn, assistant professor of elementary education, was honored with the College of Education Teaching Award for 2019-2020.

Tarenah Matloob Haghanikar, assistant professor of literacy education, was honored with the College of Education Dean’s Diversity and Equity Award for 2019-2020.

C&I faculty and students: Submit your Accolades

If you have questions about the accolade form (see link above) or need to submit additional information, email or