The perfect team

Photo Credit:  Peter Hellberg

Photo Credit: Peter Hellberg

Dean's Future Scholars (DFS) is an academic outreach program with the goal of increasing the numbers of low-income, first generation students graduating from high school, gaining access to higher education, and entering a career in the field of education. The program is housed in the College of Education at the University of Nevada, Reno. DFS was established in 2000 by Dr. William Sparkman, the Dean of the College of Education from 1998-2010, who brought the program concept from Texas Tech University. Today, Dean Kenneth Coll is committed to supporting the program's mission.

Each year students are identified in sixth grade from selected Title 1 schools throughout the Washoe County School District (WCSD) for participation in DFS. Since its inception in 2000, about 930 students in WCSD have participated in the program.   

More info here.

Photo Credit:  Mitya Ku

Photo Credit: Mitya Ku

Early Childhood Online Special Educator Education: Project ECHOSEE


Began Jan. 2014 and has funded 20 Master students in early intervention/early childhood special education

Future Aspirations

Provide support for 3 cohorts (54 scholars) over the 5 years of funding

Implementation Team Members 

  • Ann Bingham, UNR, Project Director


Photo Credit:  dimnikolov

Photo Credit: dimnikolov



Developing partnerships with K-12 schools for ESL two way-immersion internships. Increasing the linguistic diversity of the teacher candidate pool by designing a “pipeline” which utilizes and maximizes the diverse linguistic potential of Northern Nevada.


NNELI is finishing its third year. There are program graduates of every participant type - classroom teachers, pre-service teachers, and paraprofessionals. Pre-service teachers have been placed in internships with high populations of English Learners through the collaborative efforts of the UNR Field Experience Office and WCSD.


Raggio Research Center for STEM Education/WCSD- Multiple grant collaborations and professional development in STEM.  See our Current projects.

Northern Nevada English Learning Initiative (NNELI), a University of Nevada, Reno & Washoe County School District  partnership, funded in 2012.

Implementation Team Members 

  • David Crowther, UNR, Exec. Director, Raggio Research Ctr for STEM Education, Professor of Science Education
  • Shawn Pennell, UNR, Coordinator, Northern Nevada English Learning Initiative (NNELI), Paraprofessional Program & Technology
  • Sandra Prytherch, UNR, Project Coordinator, Northern Nevada English Learning Initiative (NNELI)
  • Toni Rader, WCSD, Education Support Professionals (ESP), Staff Development Services Coordinator
  • Mary Sedgwick, UNR, Director of Clinical Experiences, Assessment & Career Services

Gifted and Talented Certificate

The intent of the certificate program is to provide graduate students with a set of sequenced courses that fulfill the content that is specified by the State of Nevada Licensure Office for licensure as a gifted and talented teacher

The following are some of the Student Learning Outcomes addressed in the program:

  • As a collaborative team, students will use the backward lesson design paired with project-based learning to scaffold a curriculum guided by essential questions, meaningful content and assessment that meets the unique intellectual, academic, and social-emotional needs of gifted learners.
  • Students will collaborate with a partner or a triad to design and present an overview of a workshop and at least one structured activity that would be appropriate to share with pre-service teachers on a specific area related to helping the participants understand the needs and characteristics of gifted and talented students.
  • Students will demonstrate their understanding of data and how it relates to gifted students by structuring a data resource packet that helps parents, teachers, key stakeholders and where appropriate students understand and engage in a discussion on data findings and next steps.
  • Students will create a resource guide for parents that provides resources for meeting the unique intellectual, academic, and social-emotional needs of gifted learners in their content area.

Implementation Team Members

  • Margaret Ferrara, UNR, Coordinator, Secondary Program
  • Lisa Riggs, WCSD