Student Spotlight: Deidre Gilley

This spring, we are celebrating some of our outstanding students who are graduating this semester. We wish all of our graduating students the best as they begin the next chapter of their journeys.

Deidre Gilley

Name: Deidre Gilley

Hometown: Knoxville, Tennessee

Program: Special Education Ph.D.

Why did you choose your program?

I attended FSU to get my master's degree in Special Education Curriculum and Instruction under the mentorship of Dr. Jenny Root. During my time as a master's student, I had the opportunity to assist and conduct research on teaching mathematics to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It was during my master's that I fell in love with research and had a strong desire to return to FSU to obtain my Ph.D. The reputation of FSU's Special Education department is far and wide across the United States and I knew it was where I wanted to continue my education and growth as a scholar. 

What's your favorite part of your program?

My favorite part of my Ph.D. program was the flexibility of being able to tailor my education to my interests and desired areas of expertise. I was able to take advantage of a range of opportunities that directly aligned with my strengths and interests, which were instrumental to my development. I feel that the professors at FSU, especially my lead advisor/mentor, prioritized me as a scholar and made sure I had access to all afforded opportunities that they could share. I felt supported by all my professors within the department and felt as though I could go to them at any point in my educational journey and they would support me. 

What do you want to do after you graduate?

I want to conduct research and teach pre-service teachers when I graduate. It is very important for me to have a position that prioritizes both areas alongside service, as I have a strong passion for each. Therefore, I have accepted a Tenure-Track Assistant Professor Position in Special Education at Baylor University where I will be conducting educational research and teaching pre-service special education teachers.