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W&L’s Kathleen Roberts ’24 Earns Spot Among LIME Scholars Roberts will pursue her doctorate at Southern Methodist University through the selective leadership program.

KathleenRoberts10-600x400 W&L’s Kathleen Roberts ’24 Earns Spot Among LIME Scholars

Washington and Lee University graduate Kathleen Roberts ’24 has accepted a position in the Leaders Investigating Mathematics Evidence (LIME) Program to study education psychology as a doctoral student at Southern Methodist University (SMU). At W&L, Roberts double majored in cognitive and behavioral science and Spanish. Roberts is a native of Dallas, Texas, and graduated from The Hockaday School.

The LIME leadership program is a partnership among the University of Texas at Austin, University of Missouri and SMU, and is completed in conjunction with a Ph.D. program at one of the three universities. LIME is focused on preparing the next generation of experts in the field of special education with a focus on mathematics and fully funds four years of graduate study. LIME scholars are paired with a faculty adviser at the beginning of the program and participate in a variety of leadership activities including mentorship, networking opportunities, scholarly writing support and hands-on research experiences. Upon graduation, LIME scholars often pursue research-based careers in higher education or positions at research institutes, school districts, clinical settings and federal agencies.

“Beyond just my acceptance to the graduate program at SMU, being selected for this prestigious opportunity with the incoming doctoral student cohort is very exciting,” Roberts said. “Funding for research can often be the hardest step of a research project and knowing that funding has already been allocated for the projects I am going to be a part of is a big deal and means all of my time can be spent on working in the lab versus writing grant proposals.”

Roberts’s LIME faculty adviser will be Leanne Ketterlin Geller, a professor in SMU’s Department of Education Policy and Leadership in the Simmons School of Education and Human Development, who also serves as the director of the department’s Research in Mathematics Education unit. Ketterlin Geller’s research focuses on elementary and middle school math with an emphasis on supporting students’ readiness for algebra, and she works closely with teachers and administrators to understand the application of measurement and assessment principles for making decisions in school settings.

At SMU, Roberts will join the Measuring Early Mathematical Reasoning Skills Project, which provides early-grade teachers with assessment tools to identify gaps in understanding for students at-risk for math difficulties around numeric relational reasoning and spatial reasoning; and the Scalability, Capacity, and Learning Engagement Project, which determines the extent to which the Fraction Face-Off! approach to teaching fractions to at-risk fourth graders using small group tutoring improves fraction knowledge and math outcomes of students experiencing moderate mathematics difficulty.

As a W&L student, Roberts was a member of Kathekon, a student organization dedicated to strengthening student-alumni relations. She appreciated hearing about the various paths W&L alumni have taken and how their own experiences and connections from W&L have helped them pursue their interests and find success after graduation.

Roberts is also grateful for the research experiences she had at W&L and found her work in the child and gender development lab led by Megan Fulcher, professor of cognitive and behavioral science, to be particularly impactful. Roberts joined Fulcher’s lab her sophomore year and worked her way up to lead participant coordinator, allowing her to experience different aspects of a research lab, including scheduling and running participants, coding data, and creating and presenting a research poster at a national conference.

“My time spent in Dr. Fulcher’s lab not only helped me discover my interest in child and educational psychology research, but also gave me prior experience in a lab that I can apply to the graduate research labs at SMU,” Roberts said.

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