COE students win honors at national gifted education conference

Professionals and students from across the country gathered at the National Association for Gifted Children conference in Florida Nov. 5 to discuss new developments in gifted and talented education. And while there, three of the 16 UNT doctoral students attending received awards.

Dianna Mullet won the Doctoral Student Award, Kendal Smith won the Doctoral-Level In-Progress Research Award, and Janessa Bower won a second-place award in the non-doctoral division of the Graduate Student Research Gala.

“UNT students have won the NAGC doctoral-level in-progress research award three out of the last four years, which is a real testament to the excellent program Dr. Rinn and Dr. Kettler have developed,” Smith said in reference to Educational Psychology faculty members Anne Rinn and Todd Kettler, who work with doctoral students.

The NAGC conference is the largest conference devoted to gifted education research and teaching in the nation.

“I saw parents who were looking for answers for their children who are gifted, teachers seeking guidance for the classroom, and researchers who were eager to learn from each other in a collaborative community,” Bower said.

According to Smith, scholars were able to present their research directly to practitioners at the conference. The practitioners gave feedback about what is best to implement in classrooms and highlighted areas in the research that could be improved.  

“Participants at the NAGC conference discussed enhancing the growth and development of gifted and talented K-12 students through advocacy, community building and research,” Mullet said.

According to the NAGC website, each state has its own definitions of gifted and talented and therefore have different programs for students on a state and even district level. The NAGC conference is a time for professionals to gather and share their techniques and ideas for finding the best ways to educate gifted and talented children nationwide.

“NAGC is the major professional organization of the gifted and talented education community. Over 3,000 gifted education researchers and specialists attended this year's conference,” Mullet said. “I hope everyone gained a sense of community and cohesiveness, both among our UNT attendees and in the larger community. I also hope that everyone learned about the many new and innovative research approaches that are emerging in our field.”

Visit for more information and a full list of award winners.