Screen Shot 2024-02-19 at 4.13.27 PM

CIDDL Webinar Highlighting the Innovative Work of Doctoral Students

Author: Samantha Goldman;

CIDDL is excited to announce our first webinar highlighting the innovative work of doctoral students across the country. In this webinar, entitled “Emerging Trends in Special Education Technology: A Doctoral Scholar Symposium,” five researchers will share their current work and future plans as they relate to special education and the impact on teacher and personnel preparation. 

The webinar will take place on February 27, 2024, at 11:30 am PST, 1:30 pm CST, and 2:30 pm EST. Be sure to mark your calendar and RSVP to attend this free webinar highlighting the future of special education research.


Kenneth Holman is a doctoral candidate at the University of Central Florida. His research is deeply rooted in Developmental Dyscalculia (DD). He is exploring the transformative potential of integrating artificial intelligence (AI) into mathematics education. His future research goals include crafting a validated and reliable screener for DD and establishing effective interventions for kindergarten through 12th-grade students. Additionally,  Before this academic pursuit, he taught Algebra 1 for eight years and Support Facilitation for Algebra 1 for two. His commitment to inclusive education led him to earn a Master's Degree in Special Education from Bethune Cookman in 2020, paving the way for his doctoral journey at UCF.

Krystle Merry is a Ph.D. student at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, AR pursuing her degree in special education curriculum and instruction with a certificate in transition. She is a Razorback-Sooner Scholar for the Teaming for Transition program, and she is also an instructor at the University of Arkansas teaching Inclusive Technology. She is a National Board-Certified Teacher (NBCT) as an Exceptional Needs Specialist and has a Masters in Gifted and Talented Education with a Bachelors in Middle Childhood Education with an emphasis in math and science. Krystle also has a teaching endorsement in special education and in English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Her current research interests include secondary transition, twice-exceptional students, instruction, educational, and assistive technology, financial literacy in the transition of special education students, and instruction of pre-service special education teacher programs.

A.J. Naatz is a a 2nd year doctoral student in special education at the University of Wisconsin. Before starting his Ph.D. program at UW, he was a special education teacher in the Minneapolis, MN area for students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities. His research focuses on the intersection of innovative technology and special education, more specifically, individuals with complex support needs. He is currently designing a project to examine how special education teachers are adopting artificial intelligence (AI) into their professional practices. As a side interest to his research, he enjoys examining structural change in special education and engaging in policy discussions.

Danielle A. Waterfield, co-advised by Drs. Michael Kennedy and Bryan Cook, is a second year Special Education Ph.D. student in the School of Education and Human Development at the University of Virginia. Her research interests include artificial intelligence (AI) and technology applications in special education, inclusive education and teaching practices, special education teacher preparation and development, and special education policy. Danielle, an OSEP scholar, has contributed to research in Kennedy’s STORMED Lab to enhance teachers’ understanding and enactment of evidence-based practices through the use of multimedia interventions and Cook’s Special Education Research Accelerator (SERA) to promote evidence-based and open science practices in special education as well as replication research. Based on Danielle’s experiences in her career as a former special education teacher and administrator, she advocates for equitable and inclusive education for all students through policy work as an active member of both CEC’s Teacher Education Division Policy Committee and the Division of Research Policy Committee.

Thai Ray Williams is a doctoral student at the University of North Carolina- Charlotte and a National Board Certified Teacher with 31 years of experience as a special education teacher. Her research interests include (a) academic instruction for students with intellectual disability and/or developmental disabilities, (b) family-centered and culturally responsive practices for Native American families and children with disabilities, and (c) the use of evidence-based practices in rural educational settings. In her spare time, Thai enjoys working on her van conversion, creating multimedia art, and random adventures.


Samantha Goldman is a third year doctoral student in special education at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Ks where she specializes in instructional design, technology, and innovation. She is a graduate research assistant for the Center for Innovation, Design, and Digital Learning (CIDDL). Her research focuses on leveraging existing, emerging, and innovative technologies and evidence-based practices with high-quality instruction to empower teacher education, pre-service special education teachers, and students with disabilities/ struggling learners to improve writing outcomes.

Yerin Seung is a first-year doctoral student in special education at the University of Kansas. She specializes in instructional design, technology, and innovation and is a graduate research assistant for the Center for Innovation, Design, and Digital Learning (CIDDL). Her research centers on leveraging technology such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) for personalized learning in inclusive education and how students’ interaction with technology, learners, and teachers influences academic achievement and engagement.

Taehyun (Teddy) Kim is a first-year doctoral student in special education at the University of Kansas. He also specializes in instructional design, technology, and innovation. He is a graduate research assistant for the Center for Innovation, Design, and Digital Learning (CIDDL) and Coaching on Learning (COOL). His research interests are focused on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) implementation and measurement for consistency of UDL. He believes UDL can be a great framework for inclusive education, education for all.

Be Part of the Conversation

Join our community to engage in conversation about the research interests of our panelists. Additionally, CIDDL is looking to hold an additional webinar highlighting the work of more doctoral students. If you or someone you know is interested in participating in future webinars, send an email with your (or their) name, institution, and a brief biography highlighting your (or their) innovative research that relates to technology, innovation, and special education to