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Student Profiles

Doctoral Students

Caitlin Eley 

            Caitlin Eley was born and raised in Decatur, Georgia. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in English from Williams College, she began teaching, first as a Williams Teaching Fellow at the Pine Cobble School in western Massachusetts, and then as a 6th grade English Language Arts teacher in Mission, Texas. She was voted Teacher of the Year for her campus for the 2012-2013 school year. Caitlin was introduced to culturally relevant pedagogy at a professional development session, and became passionate about how to incorporate the cultures of diverse learners into the classroom environment. She is currently a PhD student in the Language, Literacy, and Culture program, and she is interested in supporting emerging bilinguals by leveraging their unique linguistic and cultural strengths in the classroom, as well as second language acquisition, borderland communities, and multimodal literacies. Her favorite part of Vanderbilt is the collaborative environment created by both students and faculty to support mutual learning and development.




Sam David

Sam David's current research focuses generally on issues of educational equity for linguistically and culturally diverse learners, and more specifically on literacy development for emergent bilingual students. His dissertation research is drawn from a multi-year study developing a reading intervention for bilingual students who struggle with grade level English reading comprehension. The intervention involves small group collaborative translation of text into students’ home language. Sam's dissertation looks specifically at how teachers who do not speak the home language of their students learn to leverage bilingual practices in their teaching.


Mark Pacheco 


Mark Pacheco

Mark Pacheco is currently working with MNPS teachers that are developing their instruction to support emergent bilingual students. His dissertation work focuses on elementary school teachers implementing pedagogies that leverage students’ heritage languages in instruction. Before coming to Vanderbilt, Mark taught high school in New York City.