GSE Ph.D. Students Keep Busy Over The Summer

It’s easy to see why many people want to pursue a Ph.D.— it’s a life filled with research and learning focused on an individual’s passion. Over the summer, Ph.D. students from Rutgers Graduate School of Education dedicated their time to teach at universities while others left New Jersey to intern at various research facilities. Opportunities like these are molding Ph.D. students to become the researchers and professors of tomorrow. We caught up with five students to learn more about their exciting summer experiences.
Stephen Coffin
Concentration: Theory, Organization, and Policy
As an Adjunct Professor of School Finance atwith Montclair State University’s Graduate School of Education, Coffin taught administrators, teachers, and students who are making a career transition into the Educational Leadership program. He taught students how to develop, manage, and present a school and district budget. 
Coffin believes that among all the concepts he taught, the most fundamental lesson was teaching that the school or district budget is the financial representation of the educational plan.
"Understanding school finance is essential for school personnel, particularly teachers,” said Coffin. “They learn that the provision of a quality education stems from the proper and equitable acquisition and allocation of resources and how well a school or district’s resources are managed to achieve the goals of the educational plan."
Charles Iaconangelo
Concentration: Learning, Cognition, Instruction, and Development 
Iaconangelo had the opportunity to intern at Educational Testing Service (ETS) under Dr. Dan McCaffrey, J.R. Lockwood, and Elizabeth Stone. He worked on a project focused on optimizing the use of assessment data to support educational inferences. He presented a whitepaper on his work at the National Science Foundation Data Science Workshop at the University of Washington on August 6th. 

Wenchao Ma
Concentration: Learning, Cognition, Instruction, and Development
Ma did a psychometric internship at the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME) in Chicago. Apart from operational work, he completed a research project on the comparisons between pre-equating and post-equating under various item parameter drift conditions, which has been submitted to the 2016 National Council on Measurement in Education (NCME) Conference. Ma also helped the NBOME assemble test forms using automated test assembly techniques.
Nathan Minchen
Concentration: Learning, Cognition, Instruction, and Development
Minchen spent eight weeks as a research and development intern at ETS, where he worked with well-known researchers on a project in which they investigated the performance of several item discrimination indices. Specifically, they compared two methods of estimating the item-total correlation over a range of conditions. These methods, which are based on different mathematical models, make different assumptions. They found that the two methods perform similarly while one method is computationally faster. Minchenpresented his work to the research and development staff at ETS and has submitted a proposal to present his research at the 2016 NCME Conference.

"Their advice was invaluable,“” said Minchen. "It was a great experience, both in terms of a challenge to my technical skill set and also in terms of understanding how my skills will be used in the workplace."
Atiya Strothers
Concentration: Theory, Organization, and Policy
Strothers interned at the Center for Minority Serving Institutions (MSI) at the University of Pennsylvania. MSI serves as a repository for research, data, best practices, emerging innovations, and ideas on and within the center. At MSI, Strothers was trained professionally in writing literature reviews, grant writing, and using databases to conduct quantitative research in higher education. She helped generate programmatic ideas for the center and helped identify potential grants for funding. She also contributed to their weekly "Monday Morning MSI Lineup,", discussing important topics relevant to minority serving institutions.
To learn more about the Ph.D. program, please visit the program webpage.