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School of Education Well Represented at AERA 2024

School of Education students at the 2024 American Educational Research Association annual meeting. From left to right: Monet Harbison, Tryphaena Hooper, and Karena Escalante.

April 19, 2024

When the largest conference on educational research in the world comes to your hometown, you need to make the most of it. That’s exactly what the School of Education did at the 2024 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association (AERA). AERA, founded in 1916, brings together scholars in education from all parts of the country to share groundbreaking research, innovative programs and provide a platform for researchers and students to connect and collaborate.

The theme for the 2024 annual meeting was, “Dismantling Racial Injustice and Constructing Educational Possibilities: A Call to Action.” Thousands of faculty members, students, researchers, and practitioners descended on the Pennsylvania Convention Center in center city Philadelphia for the four-day event that featured lectures and speeches from notable scholars including Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, Gloria J. Ladson-Billings, Delores Delgado Bernal, and Tyrone C. Howard.

The School of Education was well represented at the meeting as 75 faculty members and students delivered 51 presentations on innovative research and promising educational programs across a wide array of topics in education. Many of the presentations featured collaborative research from experienced School of Education faculty with doctoral students and young alumni.

Neisha Terry Young, a PhD in Education student who will graduate this June, attended AERA for the fourth time this year. She presented her research titled, “Supporting Black Immigrant Youth Identity by Amplifying their Voices Through Multiliteracy Practices and Platforms.” She says AERA has had a profound impact on her as she grows in her career.

“It has been life changing,” Young said. “I am also able to connect with my professors on a different level at the conference and learn from the sessions, hear the ideas, and say, ‘oh I didn’t know that, can I try that out in my own work.’ It has really been very instrumental in helping me to develop my identity as a scholar and helping me to think about who I wish to become as a professor moving forward.”

On the second night of the meeting, the School of Education shined bright as it welcomed all AERA attendees to Drexel’s Kline Institute of Trial Advocacy for an evening reception. This event gave attendees the chance to connect informally with School of Education faculty, and students. It also gave SoE alumni the chance to return to Drexel for a night and catch up with their former professors and classmates. President John Fry and Provost Paul Jensen, PhD, also attended the event and greeted attendees.

“It was very inspiring to see the work of many of our faculty and students on full display at AERA this year,” said Aroutis Foster, PhD, Interim Dean and Professor. “Everywhere you looked, whether it was at the convention center and around the corner at the Marriott, you saw the School of Education leading presentations and interacting with their peers. I am so proud of the passion, dedication, and hard work our faculty and students bring to SoE and the impact they are making in all fields of education.”

The School of Education’s presence at AERA was felt before AERA even began. In the week leading up to AERA, the school hosted a pair of events on Drexel’s university city campus. The first event, led by Christopher Wright, PhD, associate dean for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion and associate professor hosted the Black Epistemologies Research Collaborative. The collaborative, funded through a National Science Foundation Racial Equity in STEM Education grant, brought together faculty, staff, and post-doctoral researchers from the University of Illinois-Chicago, University of Texas-Arlington, Tennessee State University, North Carolina A&T University, and Georgia State University. The collaborative seeks to develop theories, research methods and tools, and forms of knowledge that expand the field of STEM education’s conceptual understandings of and implications for racial equity in STEM for Black Students. Dr. Wright also hosted an informal gathering of researchers and teachers to discuss and brainstorm ideas and approaches to fostering culturally sustaining science and learning environments for teachers.

On the day before AERA, SoE hosted the Asa G. Hilliard III and Barbara A. Sizemore Research Course on African Americans in Education. The course pairs early career scholars and advanced graduate students directly with established researchers to explore questions and methods related to the experiences of African Americans in education. Interim Dean Foster, and Ayana Allen-Handy, PhD, department chair for Policy Organization and Leadership and associate professor led the welcome remarks for 50 attendees from several universities.

All in all, AERA gave the School of Education a valuable opportunity to showcase Drexel to the education research community. Through innovative research led by accomplished faculty and promising students, Drexel’s School of Education met the moment and made a lasting impression on the organization’s membership. SoE is already looking forward to the next AERA annual meeting that will take place in Denver, Colorado on April 23-27, 2025.