Published on March 31, 2022 by Leighton Doores  
Ansley Reese | Mary Snyder | Sarah Howe
Ansley Reese | Mary Snyder | Sarah Howe

Three teacher education candidates had proposals accepted by the National Council for Undergraduate Research (NCUR) to present virtually at its national conference being held April 4-8.

Sarah Howe, Ansley Reese and Mary Snyder are all candidates in the Early Childhood, Special Education, Elementary, Elementary Collaborative program. They submitted their research proposals in the fall after completing the literature review in their research in special education course.

Reese, a senior, was accepted for her paper “Effects of Bullying on Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Exploring her combined interests in special education and the effects of bullying, she found that students with autism spectrum disorder experienced heightened emotions, an increased risk of mental health problems and high and early rates of school refusal when exposed to bullying.

“As future teachers, we need to learn how we can best provide differentiation to these students in the classroom as well as help them reach their fullest potential,” said Reese.

Snyder, a junior, recognized the additional challenge faced by students in special education who are also trying to learn a new language. Her research paper, “English Language Learners in Special Education,” focuses on the strategies necessary for special education teachers to meet the individual needs of each English language learner with mild to moderate disabilities.

Howe, also a junior, was interested in how social interactions affect students with autism. In her paper, “The Effects of Social Interactions on Students with Autism,” she explored both negative and positive effects and various intervention methods.

“We’ve been taught to reach every child and reach the whole child, making sure we’re equipping ourselves to ensure that we’re reaching and helping the needs of every single child whether they have disabilities or not,” said Howe.

All three candidates will present their research in breakout rooms to other students across the nation who are also presenting research.

“I think it’s such an incredible opportunity, and with it being a small program our professors are really able to celebrate our accomplishments,” said Snyder. “It’s a great opportunity to take this time at the beginning of April to hear from other students and put our work out there, and I’m just thankful for our professors taking time to support us.”

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.