Rachael Kellogg: Doctoral student in literacy education, examining humor in elementary classrooms

Rachael Kellogg is a two-time recipient of funds from the Linda N. Lancaster Professional Development Fund. The Ph.D. student in literacy education is a first grade teacher in Steuben, and her doctoral research is focused on humor in kindergarten through second grade classrooms, and how it relates to literacy. The Lancaster fund grants allowed Rachael to attend the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers conference two years in a row, where she met other scholars and presented some of her own research. Read more about Rachael below.

Milbridge, Maine.

Reading, hiking, painting, writing poetry.

Bachelor of Science in elementary education, Houghton College, Houghton, New York; Master of Science in literacy education (birth-grade 6), Binghamton University, Binghamton, New York.

What doctoral program are you in at University of Maine and when are you hoping to graduate?
Ph.D. in literacy education, with a tentative completion date of spring 2022.

In which years were you a Linda N. Lancaster Professional Development Fund awardee?
2017 and 2018.

What were you able to do with the money?
In 2017, I presented at the Association of Literacy Educators and Researchers conference in St. Petersburg, Florida on poetry for enjoyment in elementary classrooms. The presentation was based on a paper published in The Reading Teacher that I co-authored with William Nichols, Tim Rasinski, William Rupley and David Paige. I also attended the ALER conference in 2018 in Louisville, Kentucky, where I presented on the role of fluency instruction in early childhood education.

How has the fund supported and enhanced your research, professional contacts and experiences as a doctoral student?
The Lancaster Fund allowed me to travel to both ALER conferences, which I would not have been able to attend otherwise. I was able to represent UMaine by sharing current research with other literacy researchers and educators, as well as network with professionals further afield. Through these conferences, my learning was enhanced and enriched by introducing me to topics I might not have previously considered researching, and I was also able to better focus my own dissertation journey. Additionally, I was able to practice presenting to unfamiliar audiences.

Describe your doctoral research:
I am exploring humor in the elementary classroom, particularly in the kindergarten to second grade age groups, and how it relates to literacy education and its pedagogical implications in classroom contexts.

Why UMaine?
It’s relatively close to where I teach first grade in Steuben. It’s also got several excellent professors, professionals who truly embody sound pedagogical practice in their classes and in their interactions with all manner of students. These professors are also top-notch researchers, with many as forerunners in their areas of expertise. Plus, it’s in Maine—hello gorgeous accessible outdoors!

Have you worked with any mentors or advisors during your time at UMaine who have helped your grow academically and/or personally?
Many professors have bolstered my thinking and growth during this dissertation journey. Dr. Dee Nichols, my advisor, has been particularly patient and kind as I work out what exactly it means to construct a dissertation.