Graduate Assistants

Margarita Jackie Arteaga

Jackie is a graduate student in the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Master's Program. She spent her undergraduate years working as a Para-educator and the last three years as a College Access Advisor. She is passionate about helping communities of color live the best lives they can. This work inspired her to pursue a career as a Child and Adolescent Therapist. In her free time, Jackie enjoys baking, riding her bike, and watching movies with her partner Andrew and little kitten Mila.

Cheri Wild Blue

Cheri Wild Blue graduated with a master’s degree in speech-language pathology from Loma Linda University in 2009. She then spent nine years working as a speech-language pathologist in public schools in California and New Mexico supporting the communication needs of students of all ages. During this time, she supported many students with complex communication needs. These students required access to augmentative and alternative communication, tools which supplement or replace a person’s natural speech, in order to communicate effectively. In the process of helping students acquire and learn to use augmentative and alternative communication, she encountered many barriers. This was the impetus which led her to pursue doctoral training in special education under the mentorship of Dr. Susan Johnston at the University of Utah.

Cheri is now a is a doctoral student in the Department of Special Education. Her area of research emphasis is identifying and addressing barriers to the successful implementation of augmentative and alternative communication in public schools. She has also piloted structured instructional methods for eye-gaze communication systems and served as a research assistant for a grant project funded by the Institute of Educational Sciences. This project aims to identify the educational factors which moderate and mitigate outcomes among students with significant disabilities. In her free time, she enjoys spending time outdoors, birding, hiking, camping, and skiing with her two children and husband.

Laurel Dias

Laurel is a graduate student the Learning Sciences PhD program in the Educational Psychology department. Her research interests focus on mathematics education, equity, and teacher learning and collaboration. Before returning to graduate school, she taught special education in Granite School District. In her free time she loves to go camping and travel.

KC Hill

K.C. is a first-year doctoral student at the University of Utah in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling Psychology. Prior to moving to Salt Lake City, she earned her B.S. in Human Development and B.A. in Psychology at UC Davis, and her M.S.Ed in Counseling and Mental Health Services at the Penn Graduate School of Education. For the last two years she has been a high school counselor in her home town in Northern California. She enjoys hiking, skiing, and trying new coffee shops.

Ana Katz

Ana Katz is a doctoral student at the University of Utah in the Department of Educational Psychology, Reading and Literacy. She earned her M.A. in Rhetoric and Composition from Brigham Young University and her B.A. in English and American History from the University of California, San Diego. She also works as adjunct faculty at Brigham Young University as a professor in Rhetoric and Composition, has taught Secondary English in West Valley City, Utah, and currently works with a Utah based non-profit on creating anti-racist literacy curriculum for local school districts.

Adrienne Lowe

Adrienne is a doctoral student in the Educational Psychology, Reading and Literacy Department at the University of Utah. She has a B.S. in Early Childhood Education from the U, and an M.Ed in Reading and Literacy, also from the U. She taught elementary school in Salt Lake City for 6 years before returning to graduate school. Being a Salt Lake native, she enjoys everything Utah has to offer, especially cycling, hiking, and skiing

McKenna Maguet

McKenna Maguet is a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Psychology, Reading and Literacy. She earned her M. Ed. in Teacher Education from Brigham Young University and her B.A. in Early Childhood Education from Brigham Young University. She worked as a first grade teacher in a Title I school for six years. She enjoys road trips, hiking, spending time at the lake, and being with her family.

Liz Thackeray Nelson

Liz is a full-time doctoral student in the Department of Educational Psychology, Reading and Literacy, at the University of Utah. She earned her M.A. in English at Georgetown University and B.A. in English Teaching from Brigham Young University. She taught high school language arts courses for six years at an alternative high school for at-risk youth in Virginia as well as East High School in Salt Lake. Liz enjoys reading to her twin daughters, going for walks, and playing with her dog, Mr. Darcy.

Margaret Osgood Opatz

Margaret Osgood Opatz is currently a doctoral student in the Educational Psychology Department. Her studies include reading and literacy and linguistics.  She is former a Language and Culture Coach, an elementary, and English Language Development teacher who worked in elementary and middle school classrooms in South Korea, Arizona, and Utah.

Tamara Young

Tamara Young is a graduate student in the Department of Physics & Astronomy and the College of Education, studying Physics Education Research with Professor Lauren Barth-Cohen.  Currently their research is focused on middle-grade students modeling magnetism.  Tamara is excited for the opportunity to write curriculumfor the FORGE project.  Prior to starting research with Prof Barth-Cohen, Tamara earned their Master's degree in Physics from the University of Utah, conducting research on planet formation using computational astrophysical fluid dynamics.  They also have a Bachelor's degree in physics from Utah State University.  Before, during and after graduate school, Tamara worked as a teacher in the public school system, teaching everything from 7th-grade integrated science to AP Physics in rural, urban and online settings.