2018 CORE Trainee Research Award

Elizabeth Biggs

November 23, 2018

This award was established by the Council on Research and Evaluation and recognizes outstanding research accomplished by a current or recent AUCD trainee.

CORE Trainee Research Award

Vanderbilt Consortium LEND
Vanderbilt University Medical Center
Nashville, TN

“Elizabeth is unwavering in her commitment to ensuring children with complex communication challenges can access the very best services and supports possible. And she is convinced every student with a severe disability ought to have the supports they need to live a good life in community with others. Her work clearly embodies what we value at our [Vanderbilt] UCEDD—undertaking rigorous, relevant research that is shared in ways that reach the practitioners who need it most. Elizabeth is firmly committed to helping young people with severe disabilities flourish in their schools and communities. After completing her undergraduate degree, she moved to rural New Mexico to serve as a special education teacher on the Navajo reservation. Seeing the deep challenges faced by children experiencing both substantial poverty and significant disability, she poured herself into her teaching and this community. At the same time, she entered the master’s program at Western New Mexico University in order to build her capacity to serve these students and families effectively. Her experiences in this community helped her see how the integration of strong research and effective practice could make such a profound difference on the learning outcomes of students who are so often overlooked or on the margins. She entered [the special education Vanderbilt] doctoral program with the goals of developing the skills and expertise she needed to (a) identify evidence-based practices that really worked for students with severe disabilities and (b) understand the best pathways for equipping educators, families, and others to implement these practices well and widely. She is passionate about—and excels at—doing work that truly ‘matters’ in the lives of members of our community who too often find themselves at the margins. This is apparent not only in her emerging scholarly record, but also in the ways she personally invests her time serving the field and our local community.”