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College of Education

College of Education to host Spark Talks on April 6

Sparking thought and conversation about education

Middle schoolers Rekha and Lata came from similar families in rural India – both are daughters of non-land owning farmers. They attended the same public school where they excelled academically and socially. But by 16, Rekha had dropped out of school and was married with a baby while Lata was finishing high school with plans to start college. How did these women end up on much different paths, and what role did their families and communities play in guiding their futures?

College of Education professor Payal Shah followed Rekha and Lata for more than eight years, studying how societal views on girls’ education drastically changes lives.

Shah is one of five College of Education faculty who will be talking about their research at the first annual Spark Talks set for Thursday, April 6 at 6:00 p.m. at Michaels’ Café and Conference Center at 1620 Main Street in downtown Columbia. Modeled after the well-known TED Talks, these brief addresses will give insight into research in a unique, fast-paced and entertaining way - each talk lasting just a few minutes.

“We want to quickly spark curiosity and get people thinking about these important issues facing education worldwide,” says Jon Pedersen, dean of the College of Education.


“The research that’s taking place within the College of Education is changing the way we teach children in our communities, state and beyond. And everyone has a stake in how well the education system works.”

Jon Pedersen, Dean


The five presenters (listed below) will touch on topics ranging from racial equity in our public schools to the qualities of a success teacher.

Christian K. Anderson, Associate Professor, Educational Leadership and Policies
“Who was Richard T. Greener and why we should remember him?”

Gloria S. Boutte, Professor, Instruction and Teacher Education

"And how are the children? Engaging in hopeful conversations about race."

G. Nathan Carnes, Associate Professor, Instruction and Teacher Education

“Messiness in preparing teacher candidates to teach”

James D. Kirylo, Associate Professor, Instruction and Teacher Education

“Teaching with Purpose"

Payal P. Shah, Assistant Professor, Educational Studies
“The burden and hope of girls’ education”

“After the presentations, we hope the conversation will continue with the guests who attend,” says Pedersen. “We want people to feel inspired by these research findings and use this information to improve education for their students or their children.”

The event is free and open to the public.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.