Emerging Research Fellows

About the Emerging Research Fellows Program

BranchED’s commitment to diversity and quality in educator preparation extends into teacher education scholarship. The Emerging Research Fellows program seeks to increase the number of scholars of Color and to amplify scholarship by scholars of Color, especially that which highlights the assets and supports the growth of Minority Serving Institution Educator Preparation Programs. This page highlights the inaugural cohort of BranchED’s Emerging Research Fellows.


During year one of the fellowship, milestones will involve collaborating as a co-researcher on a project with a BranchED staff member, attending monthly virtual meet-ups with the cohort, and participating in a writing retreat. Year two of the fellowship will also feature a Fellow–designed and facilitated–Research Project aligned to one of BranchED’s Framework Principles.

These program milestones are designed to engage the emerging scholar in the process of research while providing scaffolded supports explicitly focused on: 1) using a critical lens to explore, critique, and leverage existing scholarship in the interests of educational equity, 2) improving their scholarly writing through developing a scholarly voice, learning how/improving their ability to adapt writing for specific audiences, and engaging in revision process strategies to refine work for publication; 3) increasing writing productivity; 4) exploring a variety of theoretical/conceptual frameworks and research methods, including workshops on quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods data analysis; 5) successfully navigating the micropolitics and career milestones for faculty in higher education.

Faculty Research Fellows for 2021-2023

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Katrieva Jones Munroe, Ph.D.
Research Interests: higher education, underserved students in higher education, online/remote education

The University of Texas

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Dr. Katrieva Jones Munroe was born in Odessa, Texas and raised in Midland, Texas, by her parents Freddie and Shirley Jones. Katrieva has served her country as a 2009 Fulbright Scholar in Russia, a U.S. Science and 2010 Technology Delegate in Libya, and 2015 U.S. Education Delegate in Cuba. Dr. Jones Munroe was the first faculty member to receive the Fulbright Scholar Award within the Lone Star College System and the first African American faculty member at Bashkir State University in Ufa, Russia. Additionally, Dr. Jones Munroe is a 2019 NISOD award recipient, 2019 nominee for the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ Patricia Cross Future Leaders Award, 2019 Carolyn Grubbs Williams Leadership Development Institute recipient, 2020 Kappa Delta Pi (KDP) Omicron-Eta Chapter member, and a 2021 Branch Alliance for Educator Diversity: Emerging Research Fellow. Dr. Jones Munroe has a Bachelor of Science degree in Science from the University of Texas Permian Basin, Masters of Science degree in Computer Science from Prairie View A&M University and a Doctor of Education degree in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. To date, her greatest loves are her husband, Presley, her son Chase, who keeps her going and her dog Ranger Danger, who keeps her cleaning.

Dissertation Title: 



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Heather Macias, Ph.D.
Research Interests: bilingual education, critical discourse analysis, professional development

California State University

After receiving her B.A., M.A.T., and teaching credential from the University of Southern California, Heather Macias, Ph.D., started her career as a secondary English/Language Arts teacher and coach in Southern California's San Fernando Valley. While teaching, she developed teaching practices to integrate and explore different literacies in interdisciplinary contexts, while also drawing from Critical Pedagogy` and culturally responsive teaching strategies. The connections she made with classroom students and student-athletes helped Heather to better understand how content area literacy can support culturally and linguistically diverse students to feel validated, engaged, and represented in schools and curricula. While completing her M.A. and Ph.D. at the University of California, Santa Barbara, Heather examined the role of professional development in supporting secondary ELA teachers to better serve multilingual students; explored the language ideologies and language socialization practices of bilingual Latina mothers; and examined STEM literacy practices with the South Coast Writing Project, a California Writing Project site. Heather’s research explores how secondary and higher education STEM instructors can integrate culturally responsive pedagogy into their courses to close the equity gap, as well as examining the role of teacher education and in-service professional development in creating strong secondary ethnic studies teachers and programs. In her free time, Heather enjoys traveling and going to the theatre with her partner, Dina, quoting Schitt's Creek and The Office, and managing her dog's Instagram account.

Dissertation Title:  
“From good policy to good teaching: How issues of equality and rigor emerge between the discourses of different stakeholders in the education of California’s multilingual students.”

Thesis Committee: Tim Dewar (co-chair), Richard Duran (co-chair), Diana Arya

Recent publications: 
Macias, H. (2021). Being an ally through podcast instruction. English Journal, 10(4), 115-117.

Macias, H. (2021). A letter to students (and myself): A reminder for transparency and reflection. California English 26(3), 23-25.

Macias, Heather. (2020) Investigating students' strengths: Using funds of knowledge and Ethnic Studies principles to engage all students. California English, 25(4), 25-17.

Macias, Heather. (2018) A threshold concept in grading: How I learned to create meaningful opportunities for collaborative peer editing in the classroom. California English, 24(1), 14-16.

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Zhongfeng Tian (田中锋), Ph.D.
Research Interests: equitable and inclusive learning environments in ESL and dual language immersion contexts, culturally and linguistically sustaining teacher preparation

University of Texas at San Antonio

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Zhongfeng Tian is an Assistant Professor of TESOL/Applied Linguistics at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Boston College. He was a former English and Mandarin teacher in China, Cambodia, and U.S. Theoretically grounded in translanguaging, his research centers on working with classroom teachers to provide bi/multilingual students with equitable and inclusive learning environment in ESL and dual language immersion contexts, and preparing culturally and linguistically competent teachers with social justice orientations. Dr. Tian has published articles in TESOL Quarterly, System, Applied Linguistics Review, Language and Education, and Translation and Translanguaging in Multilingual Contexts. He is also the co-editor of two books: “Envisioning TESOL through a Translanguaging Lens: Global Perspectives” (Springer, 2020) and “English-Medium Instruction and Translanguaging” (Multilingual Matters, 2021). His dissertation titled “Translanguaging Design in a Mandarin/English Dual Language Bilingual Education Program: A Researcher-Teacher Collaboration” won the AERA Bilingual Education Research SIG Outstanding Dissertation of the Year (2nd place; 2021).

Dissertation Title:  
Translanguaging Design in a Mandarin/English Dual Language Bilingual Education Program: A Researcher-Teacher Collaboration

Edited Volumes
Tian, Z., Aghai, L., Sayer, P., & Schissel, J. L. (Eds.) (2020). Envisioning TESOL through a Translanguaging Lens: Global Perspectives. Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Paulsrud, B., Tian, Z., & Toth, J. (Eds.) (2021). English-Medium Instruction and Translanguaging. Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Refereed Journal Articles 
Tian, Z. (2021). Translanguaging Design in a Third Grade Chinese Language Arts Class. Applied Linguistics Review. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/applirev-2021-0024

Brisk, M. E., Tian, Z., & Ballard, E. (2021). Autobiography Writing Instruction: The Journey of a Teacher Participating in a Systemic Functional Linguistics Genre Pedagogy Professional Development. System, 97, 1-13. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2020.102429

Tian, Z. & Shepard-Carey, L. (2020). (Re)imagining the Future of Translanguaging Pedagogies in TESOL through Teacher-Researcher Collaboration. TESOL Quarterly, 54(4), 1131-1143. DOI: 10.1002/tesq.614

Book Chapters  
Tian, Z., Aghai, L., Sayer, P., & Schissel, J. L. (2020). Envisioning TESOL through a Translanguaging Lens in the Era of Post-Multilingualism. In Z. Tian, L. Aghai, P. Sayer, & J. L. Schissel. (Eds.), Envisioning TESOL through a Translanguaging Lens: Global Perspectives (pp. 1-20). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Sembiante, S. F. & Tian, Z. (2020). The Need for Translanguaging in TESOL. In Z. Tian, L. Aghai, P. Sayer, & J. L. Schissel. (Eds.), Envisioning TESOL through a Translanguaging Lens: Global Perspectives (pp. 43-66). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Robinson, E., Tian, Z., Crief, E., & Lins Prado, M. (2020). Learning to Teach English for Justice from a Translanguaging Orientation. In Z. Tian, L. Aghai, P. Sayer, & J. L. Schissel. (Eds.), Envisioning TESOL through a Translanguaging Lens: Global Perspectives (pp. 135-159). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Davidoff, K. & Tian, Z. (2020). Leveraging Translanguaging in Role-Plays in a U.S. University. In P. Vinogradova & J. K. Shin (Eds.), Contemporary Foundations for Teaching English as an Additional Language: Pedagogical Approaches and Classroom Applications (pp. 133-136). London: Routledge.

Tian, Z. (2020). Faculty First: Promoting Translanguaging in TESOL Teacher Education. In S. M. C. Lau & S. Van Viegen. (Eds.), Plurilingual Pedagogies: Critical and Creative Endeavors for Equitable Language in Education (pp. 215-236), Cham: Springer International Publishing.

Emerging Research Fellows for 2021-2023

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Nardos Ghebreab, Ph.D. Candidate
Research Interests: teacher preparation for Black teachers, racial literacy development, anti-racist pedagogies

University of Maryland

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Nardos Ghebreab, Ph.D. Candidateis a scholar and researcher-practitioner who roots her work in challenging educational inequities and transforming institutional structures to center the voices and assets of Black and Brown communities. Beginning her professional career in the K-12 public school sector, she taught high school and middle school students before transitioning to the instructional leadership team. Nardos supported teachers’ pedagogical development by serving in numerous capacities such as the data coordinator and professional learning community lead. In these roles, she guided teachers to privilege their strength-based perception of their students to create and facilitate culturally responsive lessons.

Pursuing her Ph.D. at the University of Maryland, College Park in the department of Teaching, Learning, Policy, and Leadership, Nardos is concentrating on Minority and Urban Education. Specifically, her research focus lies in the intersection of teacher preparation for Black teachers, racial literacy development, and anti-racist pedagogies. Alongside her research, Nardos instructs pre-service educators on equitable classrooms and critical pedagogies. She has earned a Master of Science degree in Educational Research from Georgia State University and a Bachelors of Arts in Sociology from Georgetown University.

Dissertation Title:  
Teacher preparation and racial literacy development for Black educators

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Arturo Nevárez, Ph.D. Candidate
Research Interests: critical race studies and Latinx critical race studies (LatCrit) in education, racial literacies, K-12 Ethnic Studies pedagogies and praxis, teachers and teacher candidates of Color, healthy racial climate in teacher education

University of California Riverside

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Arturo Nevárez is a Ph.D. candidate in the Education, Society and Culture program at the University of California Riverside’s Graduate School of Education. Previously a middle-school and high-school English teacher in South Central Los Angeles and Hawthorne, Calif., Arturo’s dissertation focuses on the racial literacies of Latinx/Chicanx teachers and high school students in secondary Ethnic Studies classrooms. Arturo’s research interests include, critical race studies and Latinx critical race studies (LatCrit) in education, racial literacies, K-12 Ethnic Studies pedagogies and praxis, teachers and teacher candidates of Color and healthy racial climate in teacher education. Arturo has had the opportunity to support future and current teacher candidates at the University of California Riverside and in the Teacher Education Division at California State University Dominguez Hills. Additionally, Arturo’s organizing work supports the Institute for Teachers of Color Committed to Racial Justice (ITOC)—an annual professional development that assists the growth, success, and retention of teachers of Color who are racial-justice leaders in their schools and communities. Arturo earned his double B.A. in English and Psychology from the University of Southern California and an M.A. in English Literature from the University of Texas at Austin.

Dissertation Title:  
Reading “Racial Grammar”: Pedagogies of Latinx Racial Literacies in High School Ethnic Studies Classrooms

Recent publications:  
Kohli, R., Pizarro, M. & Nevárez, A. (2017). The ‘new racism’ of k-12 schools: Centering critical research on racism. Review of Research in Education, 2017 volume.

Kohli, R., Nevárez, A. & Arteaga, N. (2018). Public pedagogy for racial justice teaching: Supporting the racial literacy development of teachers of color. The Assembly Journal.

Rodriguez, L.F. & Nevárez, A. (2021). Reclaiming our excellence. In J. Cammarota (Ed.), Postcolonial Studies in Education: Liberatory Practices for Learning, (pp.111-138). Palgrave Macmillan, Cham.

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Shawn S. Savage, Ph.D. Candidate
Research Interests: teacher education and leadership education; justice-centered qualitative research

Boston College

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Shawn S. Savage is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Society in the Lynch School of Education and Human Development at Boston College. His specialization in the program is Leadership, Policy, and Educational Change (with Critical Perspectives). Previously, he earned a Master's degree (M.Ed.) in Educational Administration from Boston College, as well as a Post-Graduate Diploma in Education (PG.Dip.Ed.) in English Education, and a Bachelor's degree (B.A.) in English from The University of the West Indies, Mona.

He has more than 10 years of experience in K-12 and higher education. A diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice scholar-practitioner, Savage’s research investigates issues of access, equity, and justice in K-12, teacher education, and higher education. He especially investigates the experiences of racially minoritized boys, young men, and adult men across their educational and professional lives, and uses justice-centered qualitative research approaches. Savage also is a graduate student representative of the American Educational Research Association’s Critical Examination of Race, Ethnicity, Class, and Gender in Education special interest group. He is one of the University of Texas at Austin's 2020-2021 Project MALES Graduate Scholars.

Dissertation Title:  
"Tests, Tensions, and Triumphs: Black male doctoral student-instructors' teaching experiences in (historically) white institutions." It is focused on Black male doctoral students in teacher education.