The Elizabeth G. Sturtevant, PhD, Center for Literacy (SCL)

The SCL is supported by the Sturtevant Endowment in Literacy Education.

Mission Statement

The mission of the Elizabeth G. Sturtevant, PhD Center for Literacy is to promote literacy outreach, scholarship, and teaching. We will honor her legacy with a lasting endeavor that represents and continues her work to promote literacy development. The Center provides organizing structure for Literacy outreach, scholarship/research, and teaching. Our outreach strand provides professional support for classroom teachers and school-based leaders while also addressing student literacy development. Our research strand explores questions about innovative ways to teach and learn literacy in diverse settings. Our teaching strand supports innovative teaching practices that promote literacy knowledge and development for all students.

Participating Faculty and Other Collaborators

Leadership Team

Dr. Allison Ward Parsons, Director

As the acting/founding Director, Dr. Ward Parsons has led efforts to develop plans and goals for the Elizabeth G. Sturtevant, PhD Center for Literacy. Dr. Ward Parsons is a former kindergarten teacher who saw firsthand the impact of generational poverty on childhood literacy, which forms the basis of her interest in research, service, and teaching via a social justice lens. She has served in reading clinics offering diagnostic and tutoring services, and has spent the last three summers supervising Literacy graduate students during their practicum coursework as they earn credentials towards Reading Specialist licensure in Virginia. Her research agenda is based on improving literacy outcomes for all students via effective instruction and teacher support through coaching and professional learning. She also studies student reading engagement and techniques to support vocabulary through interactive read-alouds.

Dr. Jennifer Drake Patrick, Associate Director

Jennifer Drake Patrick is an Associate Professor in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University with over 20 years of experience working in K-12 and university settings. Jennifer currently serves in the role of Co-Academic Program Coordinator for the Literacy program, which includes outreach and building partnerships with local schools.

Jennifer teaches courses preparing teachers to become Literacy Specialists and Coaches as well as courses to prepare Secondary Education Pre-Service teachers.  She also serves as a university facilitator in the Secondary Education program for field experiences and internships.

In addition to her work in Literacy, she serves on the George Mason Military, Veteran, and Family Initiative and leads the School of Education’s Operation Educate the Educator Initiative.

She received her Ph.D. from the University of Florida in 2009.

Mason Faculty

Mason Literacy Center and Faculty Affiliates have broad research interests and advocate for excellent classroom and clinical instruction that advances the literacy knowledge of students.

Doctoral Student Affiliates

Abby Lane Denison
Dai Gu
Hanwool Heo
Marion Taousakis

Community Collaborators

Matthew Korona is a Research Assistant on the LEAP Project. He develops and maintains the LEAP website. He earned his Ph.D. from George Mason University specializing in Literacy(ies), Culture, and Reading as well as Designing Digital Learning in Schools. His research interests include Digital and Media Literacy, Disciplinary Literacy, and Teacher Professional Development. Additionally, he works as an Instructional Facilitator, Technology for Loudoun County Public Schools.

Courtney Verbiest