College:College of Community Innovation and Education
Degree Programs:Education PhD, Elementary Education Track
K-8 Mathematics and Science Education MEd
Research Focus:Analyzing the social construction and discursive practices in elementary mathematics with a focus on culture and classroom-based languages
After graduating from Bellarmine University in Kentucky with a dual degree in K-5 Elementary Education and K-12 Learning and Behavioral Disorders, Daniel Edelen came to UCF to complete his master’s in K-8 Mathematics and Science as part of the Lockheed Martin Academy. He chose UCF for the opportunity to study under his mentor and advisor, Dr. Sarah Bush, whom he describes as having been monumental to his growth as both an educator and a scholar. “I will always be grateful for the numerous conversations, experiences, and collaborations she has provided that have truly shaped me both into the teacher I am, but also the scholar,” he says.
Currently, Edelen is working towards a PhD in Education, Elementary Education Track, and expects to graduate again from UCF in Spring of 2022. He expresses how the best part of his time at the university has been the professors who provided him with mentorship and direction along the way. “Professors here at UCF have such a passion for their research and teaching, but they also have a clear dedication to their students,” he says. He extends his gratitude to Dr. Skukauskaite for her guidance, Dr. Farshid Safi for his support, and Dr. Sherron Roberts for cheering him on through the difficult phases of his educational journey.
The support he received from his fellow students was also essential to his success. Edelen describes how he is constantly inspired by his peers. “Their work and dedication to the field of education never ceases to amaze me,” he says.
For his work, Edelen won the Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching Award, which he describes as a great privilege. “There are so many wonderful graduate student educators, any of whom would be most deserving of this honor,” he says. He considers receiving the award to be a reflection of the wonderful professors, personnel, and fellow students who all work so hard and who have made his success possible. He strives to improve the field of education and firmly believes that educators should aim to teach students and not simply content, which he sees at UCF. “It is easy to teach when we have such wonderful students who truly want to be the best future teachers they can be,” he says.
Graduate school has been a time full of growth and self-reflection for Edelen. “It has been wonderful to explore what I am really passionate about,” he says. He advises future students to be open to new opportunities and to explore concepts and ideas they are interested in. Edelen describes how his specific research focus changed many times since he began his studies at UCF, but the process of exploration allowed him to reach his current focus. “If I was not open to experiences, I would not have landed on my current dissertation topic,” he explains.
Edelen has also been involved in several research studies. Recently, he worked on an ethnographic study of elementary classrooms aimed at elucidating implications of authority within mathematics. This past summer, he began his dissertation research. His goal is to explore the social construction of discursive practices in elementary mathematics, paying close attention to the culture in the making and the classroom-based languages. However, he insists that such work and scholarship wouldn’t be possible for him without his mentors in the UCF community. “UCF is truly lucky to have such wonderful professors.”
- Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching Award recipient
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