2023 Award Recipients
2023 School Psychologist of the Year
Jason Pedersen, PhD, NCSP
Derry Township School District, Hershey, PA
For 25 years, Jason has made extensive contributions to the students and schools he has served and to the profession of school psychology through his volunteer leadership at the local, state, and national levels.
Jason has dedicated his career to promoting social-emotional learning (SEL), problem-solving initiatives, effective use of data, and crisis management and prevention. His current work includes serving on the district's SEL Planning Team and serving as the Hershey Elementary School SEL Team Lead and a member of the Hershey Elementary School PBIS Committee. Through partnerships with colleagues, he has supported the design of professional development sessions to be offered to all staff around sound behavioral principles and research-based, highest yielding instructional strategies.
Jason was selected as the 2023 School Psychologist of the Year for his commitment to the profession as he continues to advocate for the mental and behavioral support for students to promote academic and life success.
NASP 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award Winner
Shane Jimerson, PhD, NCSP
Shane has had a multifaceted career spanning more than 25 years and focused on advancing school psychology graduate programs, promoting the profession nationally and internationally, and engaging in research and publication. Shane has been served in leadership roles in state, national, and international professional associations. He has published more than 130 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 100 book chapters, and 30 books.
One of Shane's most significant impacts has been as a trainer of school psychologists and has demonstrated a commitment to graduating doctoral students from historically minoritized and underrepresented backgrounds, with the goal of having them take on leadership roles in the future. Shane also serves as a powerful advocate for the profession.
Shane was selected as the Lifetime Achievement Award Winner for his outstanding committment to the profession, his national impact on the field and his long dedication to the development and improvement of school psychology.
2023 NASP-ERT Minority Scholarship Program Awards
Bianca Ruiz is a bilingual Latina first-year school psychology graduate student at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. With her public health background, she is committed to helping the community feel empowered and essential within the school systems. She strongly believes in working with the community and not for them, emphasizing that the community should lead the work and that their voices matter. She strives to create an inclusive and welcoming environment for students and adults.
Traviana M. Kazee is an African American woman currently pursuing an Education Specialist degree in School Psychology from San Diego State University. Through intentional analysis of culturally sound, evidence-based interventions, consultation and conversation surrounding best practice, and innovation, Traviana hopes to inspire empathy and cultural understanding, dialogue, and communication among educators to create true systems-level change.
Angela Ji is a first-generation Korean American pursuing her Education Specialist degree in School Psychology at James Madison University in hopes of becoming a culturally competent practitioner. While serving as a lab manager conducting research on neurocognitive development at the University of Maryland, she cemented her passion for working with children. Angela strives to continue building on her experiences to create a supportive school environment as an advocate for families from underserved communities.
Lar Htoo, is currently a first-year graduate student at the University of South Dakota pursuing an Education Specialist degree. His professional goal is to bridge the gap and enhance the relationship between refugee communities and the school system to ensure that all students have the support and resources they need to reach their full potential in social and academic performance. His background as a refugee has given him unique insights and experiences that allow him to connect with and understand the challenges faced by many students.
Aenya is pursuing her Education Specialist degree in School Psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. After recieving her undergraduate degree, her interest in psychology and love of children encouraged her to shift her focus to school psychology. She aims to support and advocate for students from marginalized groups, providing a safe and inclusive school environment. Aenya plans to pursue certification in drama therapy to incorporate theater’s healing qualities into her practice.
2023 Paul H. Henkin Memorial Scholarship Award
Jacqueline R. Anderson, PhD, is a second-year faculty member at the University of Northern Colorado. Her research examines the key, multilevel factors that lead to early identification of psychopathology and related sustainable and feasible school-based mental health programming. Dr. Anderson focuses on measurement development/evaluation, intervention adaption, nontraditional providers/settings, and implementation strategies to promote access to care, specifically related to internalizing disorders.
GOVERNMENT AND PROFESSIONAL RELATIONS AWARDS
2023 NASP GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH GRANTS
Lauren Marnel Shores is a specialist-level graduate student at California State University, Long Beach. Her thesis project explores how children’s participation in dog-assisted reading programs influences their reading self-efficacy. Dog-assisted reading programs provide young readers opportunities to read aloud and, thereby, increase their skills and confidence in reading. This study aims to provide greater understanding of these programs’ potential to boost children’s reading self-efficacy. Beyond this study, Lauren Marnel is interested in the implementation of innovative programs to improve children’s mental health and increase classroom engagement.
Elly Maras is a doctoral student at the University of Denver, in Denver, Colorado. She has experience working with rural school districts as a technical assistance provider for the Center for Rural School Health and Education (CRSHE) at the University of Denver since 2019. Her dissertation combines this interest with her emerging clinical expertise in childhood and complex trauma treatment. The exploratory sequential mixed methods study intends to collect the lived experiences of rural school psychologists who consult with teachers on trauma-informed practices to then develop a community-responsive virtual professional learning series that targets early career rural school psychologists who want to consult on trauma in classrooms.
Teagan Twombly is a doctoral student in the School Psychology program at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Teagan is advised by Dr. Katie Eklund, and her current research interests broadly include school-based mental health practices and how schools can adopt evidence-based prevention and early intervention strategies and programs to support students with social and emotional challenges. Additionally, she is interested how schools can use universal screening practices to connect students with mental health supports, specifically for students who have been affected by trauma.