Educational Studies’ Graduate Research Symposium Accepting Proposals

Educational Studies’ Graduate Research Symposium Accepting Proposals

Tyler Williams won a $500 research travel award at the 2016 Educational Studies Graduate Research Symposium at UA.

Tyler Williams could use the experience.

In the Spring 2016 semester, with a little over a year left in his doctoral studies in kinesiology, the Ridgeland, Mississippi native was putting the finishing touches on an exhaustive data crunch for an analysis of the effects of periodized resistance training – strategically planned periods of overload and recovery – on maximal strength.

The research was part of a meta-analysis project for a class taught by Dr. Michael Fedewa, who recommended Williams present his findings at the Educational Studies Graduate Research Symposium, an annual research showcase open to UA students from all disciplines, both on and off campus.

“The symposium wasn’t something I knew about,” Williams said. “My professor mentioned the experience and the opportunity to boost my CV and get more poster presentations. I was really eager to present the findings, and it was a great opportunity to get more practice.”

Williams had participated in poster presentations prior to last spring’s ESPRMC Symposium, but as he neared completion of his dissertation – he is set to complete his manuscript and defend later this semester – presenting on campus was convenient: he could get more reps and he wouldn’t have to travel.

Williams, along with three other graduate students, won a $500 travel award, which helped fund his presentation at the National Strength and Conditioning Association national conference in New Orleans, Louisiana last July.

“The award helped pay for all of my expenses,” Williams said.

The research Williams shared at the 2016 symposium has blossomed into something greater, as the manuscript is now in the second round of revisions for a major journal, he said. Williams plans to submit some of his dissertation data for the 2017 ESPRMC Graduate Research Symposium, to be held Thursday, April 13.

As many as five $500 travel awards will be presented to the top graduate students this year. Proposals can be submitted here by the March 17 deadline. For more information, contact Dr. Stacy Hughey Surman, clinical assistant professor in educational research and chair of the symposium, at

Faculty members who are conducting research with graduate students are encouraged to pass along information about the symposium.

The ESPRMC symposium is in its ninth year and is the largest graduate research presentation opportunity on campus, Hughey Surman said.

The symposium started as a departmental push to prepare students for the American Educational Research Association annual conference but has grown in size and scope over the last four years.

Participation increased from 43 students in 2013 to 103 in 2016, and Bama by Distance students can now participate through virtual poster sessions and remote video presentations. Additionally, graduate students who have special needs and require specific accommodations, like an interpreter, are invited to participate.

More than 100 graduate students representing five colleges and schools participated in the 2016 symposium. The UA Graduate School and the educational studies department issued more than $3,000 in travel awards last spring.

Meghan Saculla-Bankhead, who is pursuing a doctoral degree in educational psychology, won a travel award for her research on what effects diverse cultural experiences and international travel have on the moral reasoning of people who enjoy effortful thinking and those who don’t, concluding that these experiences help develop moral reasoning in the latter more than the former.

Saculla-Bankhead used her $600 travel award to attend a pair of conferences – AERA in Washington D.C. and the Association of Moral Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She’s pursuing teaching opportunities at four-year universities while she completes her dissertation.

“It was a generous award,” Saculla-Bankhead said. “These conferences are vital if you’re trying to promote your research.”


David Miller, UA Media Relations, 205/348-0825,


Dr. Stacy Hughey Surman, 205/348-7729,