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EPOL Department - Student Spotlight
Learning Design & Leadership

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  • Alicia L. Ross, ABD (She/hers)

    I am a doctoral candidate excited about the experiences I have had at UIUC. My research focuses on DEI in international education and leadership. I have presented at several conferences including NAFSA (Nat&Reg), IEI, HEI Butterfly, LINKS Incorporated. My volunteer experiences include AERA, NAFSA, IEI, UNDP, UIUC-GSC, and Alumni Club(s) of University of Chicago.

    Teaching Assistant: Communications Department-Public Speaking

    Publication: "Digital Divide In Developing Countries". GIMPA Journal, Ghana.

    Certifications: Learning Design Leadership (LDL)

    LinkedIn Profile

    Inspiring Others

  • Billy Green, M.Ed. (he/him/his)

    Billy is a doctoral student in the Department of Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership with a concentration in Learning Design and Leadership. His research interests include effective professional development for teachers in educational technology, effective staff support in K-12 educational technology implementation and game-based technologies.

    Billy currently works as the Director of Technology at Liberty Local Schools in Youngstown, Ohio. Prior to the Director of Technology position, he was a fourth grade teacher, also at Liberty Local Schools. 

    Graduate Advisor: Dr. Bill Cope

    Expected Graduation Year: 2024

    Academic Background:

    B.S., Early Childhood Education, Youngstown State University, 2017

    M.Ed., Learning and Technology, Western Governors University, 2018

    M.S., Special Education (K-12), Western Governors University, 2019

    LinkedIn: Profile


  • Christian Holmes

    Christian is currently pursuing his Ed.D. in the Learning Design and Leadership concentration with a focus on how Self-Determination Theory can be leveraged to improve student engagement with their studies. 

    Christian is currently employed in Denver, Colorado as the Director of Innovation and Technology at The STEAD School, an innovative Project-Based Learning school housed in next-gen agriculture and CTE. 

  • Elena Sharafutdinova, Ed.D. Student

    Elena Sharafutdinova is an online doctoral student in Education Policy, Organization and Leadership program, with concentration in Learning Design and Leadership. Elena holds two Master’s degrees, one in teaching Italian as a second language and one in Linguistics. Her primary research interest is in SLA and pedagogy with a focus on Italian and e-learning. She has a book chapter (May 2022) in “Mind and second language acquisition: Experimental Approaches”. Currently, Elena teaches Italian at California State University and serves as a CSU QLT Systemwide online/hybrid course reviewer.

    Advisor: Dr. Mary Kalantzis

    Anticipated Graduation: 2024

    LinkedIn: Elena S.

    CV: Elena S.

  • Lauren Purcell, Ed.D. Student

    Lauren Purcell is a doctoral student in Education Policy, Organization, and Leadership program, with a concentration in Learning Design and Leadership. Lauren holds a master's degree in Art and Design Education from Pratt Institute. Her area of focus is New Media, Learning, and Assessment Technologies. For the past 10 years, she has been an Instructional Designer (ID). Lauren's career goal is to become a Learning Experience Designer (LXD). 

  • Wendy Mockler Giles

    Wendy is an expert teacher and university lecturer and tutor with a demonstrated history of working in schools and higher education. Skilled in interdisciplinary approaches, student-centred pedagogy, data analysis, and innovative assessment with an accent on building self-efficacy through challenge and engagement with a strong emphasis on building relationships. 

    Program of Study: Doctor of Education

    Research interests: The future of learning with e-learning ecologies; sustainable assessment and the new social contract with education; building teachers’ self-efficacy through identity work; integrated approaches to teaching and learning in the humanities, especially economics.

    Advisor: Professor William Cope

    Expected Year of Graduation: 2025

    LinkedIn profile