Leah Zimmerman, a graduate student assistant with the Iowa Reading Research Center, has been named recipient of the Hammill Institute on Disabilities Doctoral Fellowship.
The Hammill fellowship is periodically awarded to worthwhile candidates in order to further the institute’s charitable mission “to advance and improve the education and treatment of individuals with disabilities and other special needs,” according to its website.
Zimmerman is a second-year doctoral student in special education at the University of Iowa College of Education. She has worked at the Iowa Reading Research Center since 2017. Her work focus and research interest are in helping students, especially those who are vulnerable, be more successful in school. Most recently, she co-authored a report on the center’s Effective Fluency Instruction for Fourth Graders study.
She also has written blog posts on teaching students to classify and generate higher-order questions, creating an improvement plan for implementation of a literacy initiative, and implementing explicit vocabulary instruction.
Her faculty mentor, Iowa Reading Research Center Director Dr. Deborah K. Reed, says the Hammill fellowship will allow Zimmerman to get the most out of her doctoral program and achieve her goal of increasing the outcomes for students with disabilities.
“Leah’s work so far at the center has been focused on improving literacy instruction, especially for those with disabilities who may have a harder time developing literacy skills,” said Reed. “She is very deserving of this honor, and I am excited to see what she is going to accomplish as her early career as a literacy researcher continues.”
Zimmerman earned her Master of Education degree from Marymount University (Va.) in 2012. She worked as a middle school language arts teacher and literacy coach for more than six years in the Washington, D.C. area.
According to its website, the Hammill Institute on Disabilities “was founded in 2005 exclusively for charitable, scientific, and educational purposes to enhance the well-being of people with disabilities, their parents, and the professionals who are devoted to their interests.