Carlyn Mueller was recently selected to receive an Outstanding Dissertation Award from an American Educational Research Association (AERA) special interest group (SIG).
She is being recognized by the Special and Inclusive Education Research SIG for her dissertation, “Beyond Stigma: Disability Identity in School Contexts.”
Mueller, whose research is informed by her personal experience as a disabled scholar, will be joining the School of Education prior to the fall 2020 semester as an assistant professor with the Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education.
Mueller’s critical qualitative study that’s being honored focuses on understanding disability identity development in special education. She explains that this dissertation research was done through a two-phase design, including both adults and students with disabilities in life history interviews and a photovoice project.
Mueller notes that common shared identity experiences of the participants included: a lack of discussion of disability in curriculum and from special and general educators; attempts to distance themselves from the stigma of disability labeling in school; and participation in disability community only in adulthood.
Her study supports the need to develop schools and instructional spaces that intentionally develop positive disability identity, which would have far-reaching impact on the academic and social experiences of students with disabilities in school.
Mueller conducted this research while earning a Ph.D. in special education from the University of Washington in Seattle in August 2019. She currently is an Academic Pathways Postdoctoral Fellow at the Vanderbilt University.
Mueller will be recognized and briefly present her work during the Special and Inclusive Education SIG’s annual meeting, which takes part during the 2020 AERA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, which runs April 17-21.