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Executive Director and VAMPY Teacher Honored by National Association for Gifted Children

Executive Director and VAMPY Teacher Honored by National Association for Gifted Children

Two Western Kentucky University educators recently received national recognition for their work in gifted education.

The National Association for Gifted Children honored Julia Link Roberts, WKU Mahurin Professor of Gifted Education, with its Distinguished Service Award, and Nielsen Pereira, WKU assistant professor of education, with an Outstanding Doctoral Student Award. Both accepted their recognitions at a reception Nov. 15, 2012, during the NAGC's national conference in Denver, Co.

The organization presents the Distinguished Service Award that Roberts received annually to an individual who has worked in the field for more than 10 years and made significant contributions to the field of gifted education and to the development of the NAGC.

Roberts, who is also the executive director of The Center for Gifted Studies at WKU and the Carol Martin Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science in Kentucky, has served in leadership roles and actively participated in committees, task forces, and divisions for NAGC since 1986. During her 30-plus-year career in gifted education, she has led The Center for Gifted Studies, offering summer and Saturday programs for students nationwide and beyond, workshops for parents and professional development opportunities for educators. She also spearheaded the 10-year advocacy campaign that resulted in the Gatton Academy, Kentucky's residential high school, which was named number one high school in the nation by Newsweek magazine in 2012. Roberts was the first recipient of the David W. Belin Advocacy Award from the National Association for Gifted Children in 2001, and in NAGC's 2004 "Profiles of Influence in Gifted Education," she was described as one of the 55 most influential people in the field of gifted education.

"Being honored by one's colleagues is very rewarding," Roberts said at the award ceremony in Denver. "I am most appreciative of the recognition by the National Association for Gifted Children."

The organization recognized Pereira with an Outstanding Doctoral Student Award, which honors those who have demonstrated exemplary work in research, publications, and educational service, as well as their potential for future scholarship.

Pereira received his Doctorate of educational psychology with an emphasis in gifted education from Purdue University in 2011. There, Pereira was coordinator of student programs in the Gifted Education Resource Institute. His research interests include underrepresented populations in gifted education, program evaluation, and university-based programming for gifted students. He is also involved in the STEAM™ Labs program that challenges middle and high-school students to learn and apply the engineering design process in a cooperative learning environment. He currently serves as the NAGC newsletter editor for the Special Populations Network and treasurer of the Research and Evaluation Network. 

"Receiving this award is an honor because it is a recognition of all of the work I did while I was a graduate student," Pereira said. "When you look at the list of past award winners, you see some of the current leaders in the field of gifted education, and I hope to continue contributing to the field through my research, service and work with gifted students and their teachers."

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 Last Modified 9/24/14