Program Testimonials / Endorsements

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Hi Dr. Young,

I know this is not completely related to class, but I want to share something I did recently that was influenced by my experience in this Ed.S program so far. 

I was interviewed by Kelly Clarkson, the musician/talkshow host/songwriter, on her Kelly Clarkson show about how I am influenced by Dolly Parton and how I incorporate her music in my elementary music lessons. When I was thinking about my answers to her questions, I did reflect a lot on the topics covered in your classes. I thought about diversity, bias, equality, equity, and how I can demonstrate positivity in my classes to my students. I know my answers in the interview did not directly quote these ideas, but I wanted you to know that this program has really helped me develop my  reflections into words and actions. Interacting with my classmates in the discussions, reading and learning from different resources, and writing my own ideas down formally in essays has helped me become better in advocating my ideas and philosophies. As a result, I felt much more confident  expressing my thoughts and ideas on national TV.

Thank you for your guidance!

(below is the video segment from the show aired on 12/1/2022)


Alice Asako Walle

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Dr. Young,

I wanted to say thank you for such a wonderful learning experience. Although the Specialization in Education was a 100% online degree, I felt like I got to know you on a personal level, and I felt supported all along the way. In addition, the interactive class discussion boards fostered a learning environment very similar to an onsite classroom setting. I was able to get to know several of my classmates and form ongoing friendships beyond the virtual classroom setting. We are still communicating and sharing resources and supporting each other since graduation.

The coursework was rigorous and exciting! I am much more well-rounded in terms of cultural diversity. My newly acquired knowledge about contributions of neuroscience to the field of education and classroom management have changed who I am as an educator. Course information regarding cultural issues in education and the history of multicultural education has allowed me to make lesson modifications that have enabled me to better deal with classroom diversity.

Overall, I would most definitely recommend this degree program to any educator who wishes to broaden their horizon and become a more effective educator. I truly believe the things I learned will help me make a more positive impact on my students for years to come. Thank you again, Dr. Young!

Savannah Anglin

Graduate / Ed.S. / MTSU

Special Education Teacher

Hickman County Schools

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I am a student pursuing a Doctor of Education in Assessment, Learning, and Student Success: Higher Education Concentration at Middle Tennessee State University. The classes within the Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process, Specialist in Education degree are not part of my program. I was given approval by my advisor to substitute some of the courses in this degree into my degree plan and I am very glad that I did. I am finishing up SPSE 7720 Brain-Based Teaching and Learning this semester and I have learned so much. The content of this class was challenging but deeply rewarding.

I have not taught in the K-12 setting but these classes are equally applicable to teaching in other contexts. Learning about how people learn and retain information is fascinating. Dr. Young sets up her course to be highly interactive despite it being fully online. She does an excellent job of providing substantial resources that help you engage with the content of the course. I learned so much about how the brain works and the practical ways to teach considering that. I highly recommend taking courses in this program to grow as a teacher. I plan to substitute as many courses from this degree as I can so that I am better prepared to teach wisely and effectively in the future.

Elisha Lawrence
Student / Ed.D. Program / MTSU
Career Advisor
Middle Tennessee State University
Murfreesboro, TN

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As a recent graduate, I can say with complete confidence that Middle Tennessee State University’s Online Specialist in Education, Curriculum and Instruction Major (C/I), w/Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and  Learning Process (CC/LP) graduate degree program contained the most enriching coursework that I have experienced as a college student.

From the time of my first class, it was apparent that Dr. Young has a holistic view of education regarding past, present, and future. Given the demographic trends in education, cutting edge discoveries in the the field of neuroscience, current events, and everything in between, I cannot imagine a more relevant and forward-thinking curriculum than what Dr. Young has developed for this program.

I was initially skeptical and nervous about the online learning platform, but I ended up loving it. the electronic discussion board forums were more riveting than they would have been in person because there was more time to contemplate each response and process everyone’s unique perspective spanning many diverse and professional backgrounds. Despite never meeting face2face in person, I felt / feel a special connection to my former classmates. In my opinion, the CC/LP program naturally attracts an open-minded and passionate group of graduate students. Also, Dr. Young, as instructor and advisor, motivated each of us to be reflective practitioners through assignments / feedback aligned with her pedagogical beliefs in terms of creating as many meaningful learning opportunities as possible.

The textbooks and resource materials were pragmatic, engaging to read, and very informative. As a matter of fact, I have found myself rereading portions of textbooks to incorporate into my own teaching. I cannot express my gratitude enough for how much this EdS program has accelerated my professional as well as personal development.

I would recommend the program to any life-long learner interested in increasing their content knowledge while also gaining a deeper understanding self and how to better educate via an increased sensitivity ot learners’ multifaceted needs.

Everett James
Graduate / Ed.S. / MTSU
Instructor / Expanded Core Curriculum
Band Director
Tennessee School for the Blind
Nashville, TN

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Dr. Young,

I wanted to thank you for everything.

I must say, the two classes that I completed Spring 2021 have had the biggest impact on me as a teacher!  They were more beneficial than any courses that I’ve ever taken.  As a professor, you have pushed all of us to become better educators, and I appreciate that more than you’ll ever know.

Before I began this program, I was a very factual thinker that had a mental block when it came to reflective thinking.  I still need work in that area, but I have come so far with reflective thinking due to my course work, interaction with classmates, and participation in online class assignments and activities.  This ability has changed the way that I teach.

The Human Diversity in Learning Environments and Brain-Based Teaching and Learning courses that I just completed with you as professor this semester have changed my way of thinking about a lot of things in the world.  You’ve opened my eyes to issues that were oblivious to me.  I also discovered a lot about myself as a person. I am so happy that I made the leap and began the online Educational Specialist CC/LP program last year.

Your format for our online courses is very organized and detailed with the perfect amount of challenges.  You are quick to respond to emails and grade assignments.  I am fortunate to have had the guidance and critiques from you as the knowledge gained will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Sarah Peralta
Graduate / Ed.S. / MTSU
ESL Teacher
Rutherford County School System, TN

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As an Iraqi refugee who fled Iraq in hopes of finding a better life and educational opportunities, this Ed.S. online degree with Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process has been everything I was looking for!

After completed my Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction with a Concentration in English as a Second Language from MTSU, I knew that it wasn’t the end of my learning journey. As I was exploring the various graduate programs at MTSU and other universities, I couldn’t help but read more about the Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) with Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process.

I’m currently enrolled in this degree and it has been a fascinating learning experience so far. I find myself learning many new things on daily basis and being able to apply my learning in my ESL classroom. Learning about other cultures, meeting students’ needs, brain-based teaching strategies, and many other topics have been eye opening experiences.

As a refugee who came to this country 11 years ago, every class that I have taken so far has given me the ability to reflect on my own personal, educational, and teaching experiences. I find myself reflecting with passion to many of the issues we discuss in our weekly discussion boards along with our assigned assignments. I find myself learning more about who I am as an individual who lives in the American culture. I’m constantly finding myself growing professionally and personally as I do the required readings and the other requirements.

My journey isn’t finished yet; however, the program has definitely exceeded my expectations so far. I have shared my experiences with the other ESL teachers that I work with in our district and encourage them to consider this degree option in their educational future.

As a working mother, wife, and teacher I didn’t want to pursue a degree that I wasn’t interested in. I also was looking for an online program that I would be able to do since I’m a full-time teacher. As an individual, I usually struggle to reflect and to learn with passion if the topic isn’t within my interest. I’m thankful for making the decision to enroll in this program, and it has been my passion outside of work hours.

The classes have all been so interactive and I have been able to connect with the other classmates and find myself relating to their shared experiences and knowledge. All of the classes have focused on newly-emerging research and topics that are of high interest with classroom applicability.

As an English as a Second Language teacher, I think of my English learners’ needs the entire time. I work with students who have various ethnic backgrounds and meeting their needs is a challenging task. The classes have been a resource for me. I have been able to apply my learning within my own classroom, and I’m happy to say that a lot of the strategies that I have implemented have helped my students grow academically.

Leadership is what makes an online program a success. I was hesitant at first to pursue this online degree because I wasn’t sure what type of support I would be getting from the professors. Dr. Young has been a supportive professor and supervisor since day one.  Her expectations are very clear and precise and she is always available. She never let us feel it’s an online class because she constantly communicates with us via discussions and emails. Her academic feedback is really helpful and it has given me the opportunity to grow academically as a writer and a reflector.

I’m so appreciative of her and the other professors that I have taken classes with because they have made this learning journey a joyful one. I can’t wait to see what the remaining classes have in store for me!

Zena Mohsen
Graduate /  Ed.S. / MTSU
ESL Teacher
Murfreesboro City Schools
Murfreesboro, TN

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I am currently pursuing and an Educational Specialist Degree (Ed.S.) with Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU) and enjoying the academic journey. I chose MTSU’s online Ed.S. Degree program after exploring various other degree programs at various colleges because I knew it would help me grow as an instructional librarian. This degree met all of my requirements:  a completely online program, a focus on emerging research regarding cognition and brain-based learning strategies, and an ability to be applicable to my current role which includes instruction – not held necessarily in a K12 classroom.

My experience in this program has exceeded all of my expectations. The classes are interactive and engaging, with well-chosen texts and rigorous assignments that are applicable to anyone who teaches or works in education or many other settings. The courses focus on diversity issues and newly-emerging research findings in cognitive science and educational psychology.  I happy to say I have readily been able to apply course content to my teaching situations and interactions with my students.

As a result of my studies, I have improved a professional development session I conduct by integrating newly-learned cognitive concepts into my presentation. I love learning new ideas, but learning how to apply these ideas effectively is even more important! During every course, I find myself applying newly-acquired theories and concepts into my lesson planning and everyday instruction. The reflection activities in each class also help me grow as an instructor and as a person.

One of the most impressive aspects of the program is the readily-available support from professors. Dr. Young and my other professors communicate clearly and concisely in a prompt manner, responding to questions and course emails quickly and regularly engaging with us on interactive electronic discussion boards. Assignment feedback is extensive and elicits further thinking and reflection.  I have appreciated such helpful and encouraging graduate school professors as it has made my online learning experience even better than I imagined.

Julie Lewis
Graduate / Ed.S. / MTSU
Walters State Community College, TN

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For years I had been considering going back to school and  had been searching for a program which allowed me to pursue an advanced degree but also combined  my passions and fit my schedule. When I found the Education Specialist in Curriculum and Instruction with the Specialization in Culture, Cognition and the Learning Process,  I knew I had finally found the program I was seeking.

As a music therapist with a background in neurologic music therapy working full time in the special education department of a  highly diverse school system, this program has guided me as I dug deeper into the neurologic and cultural factors that impact the learning process and the students I serve.  The understanding  that I have gained also provides additional insight for me as I work on a contract basis with a major publisher on their preschool curriculum.  The education I am receiving is preparing me for potential new avenues in the future while also guiding me to cutting edge research to use in my daily work.

While the program has been very challenging to complete as a busy, middle aged working adult, I have found that Dr. Young and my classmates have been very supportive. Although it is an online program,  I have developed friendships with some wonderful people and gained great insight while participating in online discussions due to the diverse backgrounds, experiences and age groups represented.

The classes have challenged me to dive deeper as online discussions and questions from Dr. Young and my classmates  have brought new points to light. Not only are we provided with historical and theoretical background, but also, we are challenged to apply our new knowledge to situations in our daily work.  This unique concentration has provided rigor, but also flexibility to meet my personal interests and needs.

Ann Jones
Graduate / Ed.S. / MTSU
Music Therapist-Board Certified
Nashville, TN

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The Education Specialist  Degree Program at MTSU with Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process was the perfect opportunity for me to expand my knowledge and understanding while being able to continue in my professional role in education as a School Social Worker and College Access Advisor. The population of students in our schools is becoming increasingly diverse, and I found that the course work in this specific graduate program opened my eyes to the challenges that our students face and gave me the practical tools to walk alongside my students and empower them to overcome challenges and reach their goals. This program also inspired me to take a deep look inside myself and the educational system around me to evaluate cultural bias in order to be a change agent in creating a space where all children can succeed. I also came away with a deeper understanding of the brain and how to create an optimal learning environment for my students to flourish.

I felt that the online format was not only perfect for fitting into my busy schedule of a working mother, but also afforded me the opportunity to make my learning relevant. The topics we were studying applied directly to my practice with students, and I was able to implement my learning immediately. Also, Dr. Young’s curriculum design for online class format was surprisingly interactive. I felt that I really got to know my classmates and Dr. Young through online discussion and frequent and specific feedback.

The course work was challenging and required a high level of self-determination and organization, but the insights and practical skills I gained were so worth the late nights working on course work after the kids went to bed! I have already recommended this program to many colleagues and feel confident that the experiences I’ve had in this program will serve to make me a more effective educator.

Jennifer Tedder
Graduate / Ed.S. / MTSU
College  and Career Access Advisor
The Howard School
Chattanooga, TN

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As a graduate student at Middle Tennessee State University currently enrolled in the Educational Specialist Online Degree Program, Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process, I was able to study culture and cognition in a variety of classes which have propelled my desire to research education trends. In particular, my research has evolved to focus on the impact of social media and technology on bullying.

Although the work has been challenging, my desire for knowledge inspires me nightly to continue my studies and research further into entering a doctoral program. The experiences within the EdS online classes at MTSU provided me with a solid foundation and opportunity to enhance my understanding of higher education, not only in an elementary, middle and high school administrator setting, but also in a collegial one.

This program has been especially beneficial with my work as headmaster in an extremely diverse boarding school environment. The diversity classes allowed me to develop a new empathy and deeper relationships with my students. Furthermore, Dr. Young created a program that allowed me to improve in my daily work.

She has been extremely diligent and timely in all her correspondence within the classes and as an academic advisor. I gained a tremendous amount of information from the program. I found various courses’ content and supplemental readings beneficial with regard not only to theory but also to application in my daily practice as an administrator and teacher.

Tabetha Sullens
Graduate / Ed.S. / MTSU
Adjunct Instructor / MTSU
Middle School Headmaster / Instructor
The Webb School
Bell Buckle, TN 37020
Common Sense Certified Educator: Digital Citizenship

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Teachers today walk into classrooms that parallel the demographic and cultural changes found in the world at large. In today’s educational mirror, each moment in our day is filled with reflections of new theories and norms much different from our younger surroundings.  Our classrooms are filled with a bright array of languages and expectations from many cultures. This Educational Specialist Degree with Specialization in Culture, Cognition, and the Learning Process has given me a perfect view from the past to our future.

For me, this Ed.S. degree celebrates each human being where she/he is, combining teaching methods with social and cognitive applications of how we learn. I found each course truly inspiring. I especially appreciated the Brain-Based Learning, Multicultural Education, and Human Learning curriculum emphasis of the Culture, Cognition, and Learning Process Specialization.

Each of Dr. Young’s classes helped me to see with fresh eyes. The program’s in-depth class offerings have given me tools to further my research toward equality and individual inclusion. I believe this program to be a lens, showing me many mindful opportunities to share and learn from my life’s journeys.

Rita Jane Jones
Graduate / Ed.S. / MTSU

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