September 16, 2022
For more information, contact:
Su Ofe, (334) 833-4515; firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Kimberly Stephenson Awarded Mensa Grant
Montgomery, Ala.—Huntingdon College assistant professor of teacher education Dr. Kimberly Stephenson has been awarded a Dissertation Mini-Grant from the Mensa Education and Research Foundation. The grant of $2,500 funded expenses related to her dissertation research and the communication of that research through presentations at professional conferences and submissions to professional journals. Dr. Stephenson completed her doctoral studies at the University of Alabama in the summer of 2022.
Mensa Foundation Dissertation Mini-Grants provide $2,500 to doctoral students for dissertation research related to intelligence and gifted education. For her dissertation, Dr. Stephenson studied pre-service and in-service teachers’ perceptions of fostering creativity in the classroom. She learned about the grant program while attending a National Association for Gifted Children conference and thought her research might fit the intent of the Mensa Foundation in establishing their mini-grant program.
Dr. Stephenson joined the Huntingdon faculty as assistant professor of teacher education and accreditation support specialist as the fall 2022 semester began. From 2006 to 2022 she was a member of faculty at Prattville Christian Academy, beginning as a music and early childhood enrichment educator and later founding and directing the school’s program for gifted students. For the past six years she has served as academic director for the school, working as the accreditation, curriculum, and professional development leader.
“When I first started teaching, I noticed that I had students who would finish their work earlier than others, or who had deeper levels of curiosity than could be addressed by the regular curriculum,” says Dr. Stephenson. “As pre-service teachers we are prepared well for students who need extra help to grasp the material but learning what to do with students who were differently abled in this way was a new challenge.” The challenge led her to learn more about working with gifted students and to establish the school’s first gifted education program.
Dr. Stephenson believes that creativity—originating from the student and from the teacher—makes a marked difference in encouraging students to be vested in what they are learning.
Now, as an instructor of pre-service teachers, she can prepare young educators as they assume control of their own classrooms and step in front of dozens of differently abled wondering minds.
“I believe every child deserves to learn something new every day, and it is our responsibility as teachers to meet them wherever they are and to encourage them to higher levels of learning,” says Dr. Stephenson. “It’s not about giving gifted students more work. It’s about deeper learning—giving students choice in what they are learning and creating a level of mystery and wonder that intrigues them to explore a topic further, venturing into different facets of understanding.”
Dr. Stephenson hopes to continue her research by looking into students’ opinions about creativity in learning; comparing teachers’ perceptions of creativity in the classroom to parents’ perceptions; and examining creative education from the administrative perspective.
Huntingdon College, founded in 1854, continues a legacy of faith, wisdom, and service through a liberal arts academic tradition grounded in the Judeo-Christian heritage of the United Methodist Church.