Several graduate students from the NIU College of Education – mostly members of the ETRA-GSA – traveled to and presented at professional conferences that began Oct. 25.
First, however, many of them gathered Oct. 22 in Gabel 222 to rehearse their presentations in front of their peers and their professors.
Beyond the chance to practice with their PowerPoints, each student also received valuable constructive criticism, including from Todd Reeves, assistant professor in the Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment.
“Professor Reeves mentioned it would be great idea,” says Chris Kraner, a graduate student in the department and president of the GSA. “Dr. Wei-Chen Hung was instantly on board and gave us whatever we needed.”
After Wilson Hernandez-Parraci presented his work “ESL Students’ Epistemological Beliefs about Learning English,” for example, Reeves encouraged him to better define his own concepts of the notion epistemological beliefs.
Reeves also advised Hernandez-Parraci to provide more examples. “When you’re in a conference,” Reeves told him, “you’re going to have people asking you these questions.”
When it soon came time to travel to the fall meetings of MWERA (the Mid-Western Educational Research Association) in Cincinnati and AECT (the Association for Educational Communications and Technology) in Kansas City, the Huskies were ready.
MWERA student-attendees were Charmaine Bruce-Kotey, Hsiang-Ting (Tina) Chen, Sheila Coli (Department of Curriculum and Instruction), Valerie Hamilton, Hernandez-Parraci, Ellen Lawrence and Kraner. ETRA alum Tawanda Gibson also made the trip.
AECT student-attendees were Max Anderson, Beheshteh Abdi, Rakez Al-Ararah, Dalal Alfageh, Juling (Raye) Chiang and Fortunato Msilu.
“The weekend went great; Wilson mentioned he felt much more comfortable. All of our presenters had a wonderful time and had great, positive feedback from the audiences,” Kraner says.
“Most of our members going to MWERA were first-time presenters, so it was especially beneficial for Wilson and Charmaine,” he adds. “Many other countries do not have as many research presentation opportunities as us, so it is a great venue for them to begin.”
Leaders of the conferences would agree; Reeves received a special recognition for bringing many graduate students to present, Kraner says.