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Online & IRL - EdTech Students Sharing Research for Change

Group of 4 women and 1 man posing

The School of Education at Loyola University Maryland shapes accomplished educators and the online Educational Technology Program had four “accomplished educators” present at the 10th Annual Common Ground Maryland 2022 Educational Conference November 17-19, 2022. Eric Hines, Cathy Stoll, Brittany Powell, and Kristen Hussey presented their research and course work shifting into technology leaders, a focus of the Educational Technology Program at Loyola.

Common Ground Maryland is a yearly conference hosted by Common Ground, Inc. which encompasses 21 different professional organizations in Maryland and beyond. This conference is “focused on creating an unforgettable learning experience rich in innovative ideas, best practices, and collaboration.” In 2020 and 2021, it was an online conference, returning face-to-face in 2022. The four Ed Tech students attended face-to-face and were able to engage with local and regional educators and leaders and attend educational technology sessions.

man in sut standing in front of a presentation screen that says: Let's GOAL Digital! Students to create their visual realitiesEric Hines and his Let’s GOAL Digital! Presentation

Eric Hines, the Teacher Coordinator for the Mathematics Department at Laurel High School in Prince George’s County Public Schools, presented a concurrent session, Let’s GOAL Digital! Students Create Their Visual Realities with Digiboards, focused on secondary student goal-setting in the classroom. During this presentation, Eric showcased why student goal-setting is needed, how to engage secondary students in setting goals, and how to leverage educational technology platforms and tools for students to create Digiboards, “a digital vision board that has links, images, videos, comments, text, virtual tours, questions, checklists, and other elements of a person’s desires” (Common Ground MD, n.d., Let’s GOAL Digital! Students Create Their Visual Realities with Digiboards description).

“What a nerve-wrecking and invigorating experience presenting at the 2022 Common Ground Maryland Conference. This was my first live presentation at a conference, and it was great to reflect on the positives and negatives from my experience. I learned that preparation is key for presenting. Practicing my presentation helped me better control my nerves and be able to engage with the audience throughout the presentation.”

Man in suit standing holding poster with the words  'Featured Speaker' and a picture of himselfEric Hines holding his Featured Speaker poster.

Eric was also a Featured Speaker at Common Ground MD, celebrating his accomplishments as a teacher and leader in Maryland.

“The best part of the Common Ground Maryland 2022 Conference was the genuine interactions with multiple professionals in education. I not only increased my professional learning network, but also collaborated with individuals who have similar goals of increasing the effectiveness of education systems,” said Eric.

Cathy Stoll presented her research, Impact of K-12 School Librarian - Classroom Teacher Collaborations, which was conducted during the Summer 2022 class, ED776: Theory and Research on Teaching in Education. Cathy presented what a school librarian-teacher collaboration is, the impact on instructional focus, and the roles of the school librarian.

“School librarians are placed in most U.S. elementary schools, but their instructional role is often unclear to classroom teachers and school administrators. One way to raise the profile of the school librarian while adding to the academic bottom line is collaboration between the school librarian and teachers” stated Cathy.

two women with conference nametags standing at a table with a research poster

Cathy Stoll and Irene Bal in front of Cathy’s research poster.

“The work for my presentation was completed during the summer research course, so I worked with Irene to submit a proposal. Once the proposal was accepted, Irene helped me review the infographics and items I created in previous courses, and we set up a poster table that was engaging and informative. I was definitely nervous, but our preparation and Irene’s support eased my anxiety. Once it was put together, I was ready to chat about my research and findings with others” added Cathy.

“The encouragement and support from Loyola and their faculty made Common Ground a great experience! I was able to share my research and ideas to a larger audience beyond my Loyola EdTech peers and faculty. It was fantastic to meet my online classmates and professor IRL [in real life] and to talk about our work. I really enjoyed myself and am looking for more opportunities to share my work. It’s clear that school librarians need to do a better job of marketing their skills and contributions. I am happy to do just that!” said Cathy.

Two women, one in a blazer and the other wearing a backpack looking at a poster presentation on a table

Cathy Stoll presenting her research to a participant


Two woman standing proudly in front of a table with a research posterBrittany Powell and Kristen Hussey in front of their research poster

Brittany Powell and Kristen Hussey presented their research, Fostering Parental Involvement to Increase Academic Success, which was conducted during the Summer 2022 class, ED776: Theory and Research on Teaching in Education. They presented the different definitions of parental involvement found in the literature, the needed cultural responsiveness when involving parents, the impact of parental involvement on student achievement, and the considerations for family types when reaching out to parents.

“I am super grateful to have been a part of such an eventful and informative educational conference. Initially, I was very nervous about attending but looking back on it I would’ve regretted not being a part of it. I was able to speak with multiple people ranging from teachers to parents to future parents, that wanted to know what they could do to better play their part. People were actually interested in what I had to say which was very mind blowing to me,” said Brittany.

Kristen reflected, “It was so exciting to see a different side of education than what I experience in my day-to-day teaching. I was anxious to present but it was a very rewarding experience to share my research. I was able to see all my hard work come to fruition. I also got to speak to so many bright minded educational leaders.”

“I valued the support and participation from students in my cohort and from Professor Bal and am truly proud of myself and thankful that MD Common Ground saw potential in me and allowed me to use my voice for change!” stated Brittany.

Two woman standing in fornt of a table with a research poster, one of the women explaining the poster to the otherBrittany Powell presenting her research to a participant

Students in the Educational Technology program are encouraged to apply and present at various opportunities while at Loyola. Faculty member, Irene A. Bal, advocates for students to present at local, national, and international conferences and works with Loyola stakeholders to financially support the students. “Our EdTech students feel a sense of accomplishment and are extremely excited and proud when the work they do in our classes is recognized and selected for presentation to a larger audience. It is so fun to watch our students step into leadership roles in larger venues and share their ideas and research,” said Irene.

“Most of all, going to Common Ground really showed me how much of a community Loyola’s EdTech program is. Everyone I met was supportive, kind, and collaborative. I am proud to be part of this program and excited to see what new opportunities it has for me in the future” stated Kristen.

“My favorite experience was talking with and discovering the ideas of my fellow Loyola Ed Tech peers. Loyola was On Fire at the conference! I am very grateful for the support of the Loyola faculty, representatives, and students. The Loyola EdTech program was the reason I developed my goal-setting program and the activities that made presenting at the conference possible. The impact of this program has provided me with the opportunity to speak at multiple conferences and help multiple teachers and students reflect and design their goals” stated Eric.

Want to know more about the online Loyola Educational Technology program? Find more information on the program at and follow the Loyola Ed Tech program on Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok  - @LoyolaET

Headshot of man in suit holding a glass trophy that says MLEA Mnority Recognition AwardEric L. Hines is graduate student in the Loyola Educational Technology program and the Teacher Coordinator for the mathematics department at Laurel High School in Prince George’s County Public Schools. Eric’s Twitter:


headshot of woman with long brown hairKristen Hussey is a graduate student in the Loyola Educational Technology program and a 3rd-grade general education teacher in Baltimore County Public Schools.  Kristen’s Twitter:


Headshot of woman with long dark hair and glassesBrittany M. Powell is a graduate student in the Loyola Education Technology program and a 7th-grade Special Education teacher ELA/Social Studies co-teacher in Maryland. Brittany’s Twitter: 


Headshot of a woman with short brown hairCathy Stoll is a graduate student in the Loyola Education Technology program and an elementary School Library Media Specialist in Montgomery County, Maryland. Cathy’s Twitter: