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HGSE Community Celebrates Honors

This academic year, a number of Harvard Graduate School of Education faculty, students, and alumni were recognized for their hard work and achievements with awards and fellowships.

Below is a look at a small portion of the prestigious honors awarded to members of the HGSE community:



  • Ph.D. candidate Sarah Surrain, Ed.M.’14, received a 2020 National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship. She also received a research grant from the Observatory of the Spanish Language and Hispanic Cultures in the United States to help fund her dissertation work on bilingual development during the transition to preschool for dual language learners.
  • Ph.D. candidate Sarah Rendón-García, Ed.M.12, also received a 2020 National Academy of Education/Spencer Dissertation Fellowship. Her research focuses on the relationships between child development, the caregiver-child relationship, and children’s understanding of immigration status.
  • Ph.D. student Avriel Epps-Darling was awarded a Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship. She was also a Facebook Emerging Scholars Fellowship Finalist and the recipient of a GSAS Graduate Society Summer Predissertation Fellowship.
  • Ford Foundation Predoctoral Fellowship Honorable Mentions were given to Ph.D. students Orelia Jonathan and Garry Mitchell.
  • Ph.D. student Shelby Carvalho was selected for a Fulbright grant for research on the political economy of refugee education in low- and middle-income countries. Her dissertation research will be conducted in Ethiopia and other African countries. She was also awarded a Harvard Center for African Studies grant and a Weatherhead Center pre-dissertation grant, and was selected as Weatherhead Center Comparative Inequality and Inclusion Fellow for 2020–2021 and a Frederick Sheldon Traveling Fellow.
  • Ph.D. students Jorge Cuartas and Rosa Guzman Turco were selected as 2020-21 Science and Innovation Fellows by the Center on the Developing Child. Cuartas' research focuses on disparities in child development and parenting practices in global contexts, and the effects of corporal punishment on children's neural, cognitive, and socioemotional development. Turco looks at how technology is shaping children’s literacy and language development in order to help parents and practitioners make better decisions about the use of technological devices, especially in disadvantaged communities.
  • Ed.M. student Dustin Liu was named UNA-USA Youth Observer to the United Nations, a role appointed by the United Nations Association of the USA (UNA-USA) that connects young Americans to the United Nations and mobilizes youth to take action on the global issues they care about most.
  • Ph.D. student Becca Bassett received a Ruth Landes Memorial Research Fund grant to support her dissertation research project, an ethnographic study of two universities who graduate their first-generation, low-income students at unusually high rates.
  • Ed.L.D. students Charlie Kemp, Lin Johnson, Alpachino Hogue, and April Finlayson were runners up in the 2020 Presidential Innovation Challenge with their endeavor Change the Tune: The Studio, a summer program model providing impactful learning opportunities for youth and educators.
  • Ph.D. students Christopher Cleveland and Wendy Wei received the Rennie Center Research Fellowship. Cleveland's work centers on issues in special education, school accountability, and school finance; Wei's research focuses on early child development and policy. Wei was also awarded the SRCD State Policy Predoctoral Fellowship.
  • Krinsky Entrepreneurship and Innovation Fellowships were awarded to Ed.L.D. students Yefei Jin, Danny Rojas, Alpachino Hogue, April Finlayson, and Jared Fox. Fox was also awarded a AMBACH-State Education Fellowship, along with Ed.L.D. cohortmates Andrew Benitez, Simone Wright, Sarah King, and Lin Johnson.
  • Ph.D. student Kristia Wantchekon, Ed.M.'17, received the APA/APF Kenneth and Mamie Clark Grant to support her dissertation data collection. Her research explores how culturally responsive teaching positively impacts the reading growth and engagement of struggling adolescent students. She was also a semifinalist for the Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship.
  • An AERA dissertation grant was awarded to Ph.D. student Kirsten Slungaard Mumma, Ed.M.'15, for her lottery-based study on the effects of attending a publicly-funded English language program on the economic and civic outcomes of adult immigrants in Massachusetts. Ph.D. student Jeraul Mackey, Ed.M.'12, also was awarded an AERA dissertation grant.
  • Ph.D. student Matthew Lenard and his co-authors Angel Harris and Darryl Hill won the AERA Division H best paper award in the program evaluation category for their paper on gifted education, "Nurturing for a Bright Tomorrow: Experimental Evidence for Two Kindergarten Cohorts.”
  • Ed.L.D. student Jessica Ball received the 2020 Presidential Public Service Fellowship Award.
  • Ph.D. students Virginia Lovison was awarded the GSAS Merit Fellowship for the 2020–2021 school year for her work on racial equity in U.S. schools. Ph.D. student Sarah Bruhn, Ed.M.'13, was awarded the GSAS Merit Fellowship for the 2019–2020 school year.
  • Bruhn and Rendón-García, along with Daphne Penn, Ed.M.'17, Ph.D.'20, were awarded the the Immigration Initiative at Harvard Research Fellowship for 2019–2020.
  • Ph.D. student Celia Reddick, Ed.M.'15, received a Boston University Course Enhancement Grant for 2019–2020. She also received a Graduate Society Merit/Term-Time Fellowship for the 2020–2021 academic year, as well as a Weatherhead Mid-Dissertation Fellowship for 2020–2021, and will be a Weatherhead Center Graduate Student Affiliate.


If you are a member of the HGSE community and recently have won an award or achieved a special honor, please email