UCEDD Trainee Receives TASH Emerging Scholar Award

By: Courtney Taylor

Samantha Goldman, a current doctoral student in Special Education and a trainee with the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (VKC UCEDD), has received the Alice H. Hayden Emerging Scholar Award from TASH. The award was presented to Goldman on December 3 at the disability advocacy organization’s annual conference in Washington, D.C. It is given each year to a student who demonstrates strong potential for leadership in teaching, scholarship, and service on behalf of people with significant disabilities.

At Vanderbilt, Goldman works with advisor Robert Hodapp, Ph.D., professor of Special Education and director of research for the VKC UCEDD. Goldman’s research interests include family studies for diverse children with severe special needs in home, school, and community settings. She received her master’s degree in Severe Disabilities in 2009 from Vanderbilt and has worked in the field of special education since 2005 in Massachusetts and Tennessee.

In addition to accepting the Emerging Scholar Award, Goldman presented alongside former VKC UCEDD trainee Meghan Burke, Ph.D., at a concurrent session titled “The Experiences of Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Special Education Advocates.” The session focused on culturally and linguistically diverse graduates of special education advocacy trainings across two states, who were interviewed about their perceptions of the barriers and supports to advocacy. Goldman and Burke highlighted commonalities among respondent perspectives, as well as differences in their perceptions of barriers and supports across different races, cultures, and locations.

Recently, Goldman co-directed and facilitated the Fall 2014 session of the Volunteer Advocacy Project (VAP), which has trained over 250 advocates about disabilities, law, IEPs, rights, and procedures since the program’s beginning. She, herself, graduated from VAP when she was a master’s student.

“Samantha has been instrumental in examining the VAP’s effects on participants and, more recently, in examining which aspects of the participants and program itself might foster graduates to embark on longer-term advocacy for children within the schools,” said Hodapp. “She excels in her coursework, in her work on research projects, and in her teaching. In every interaction, Samantha shows herself to be dedicated, bright, hardworking, and inquisitive, always with the aim of improving the lives of children with disabilities and their families. She is an exceptionally worthy recipient of the Alice H. Hayden Emerging Scholar Award.”

Last Updated: 12/5/2014 10:02:05 AM

Go to the news and video index