Happy New Year, NERA! As I was writing this message, it gave me an opportunity to think about my NERA journey. My first introduction to NERA was as a graduate student in the Psychometric Program at Fordham University (Rose Hill campus). I was also a graduate student intern at the College Board and one of my mentors (and co-author), Jennifer Kobrin, suggested that we submit a paper based on SAT validity research that we conducted. While the original plan was for me to present the paper, the birth of my son altered those plans. It was not until a few years later, as an early career professional that I attended my first NERA and presented a paper related to my dissertation, served as a discussant on a session, and served as a discussant during the graduate student poster session. I was all in! From then onward I knew that NERA would continue to be a professional home for me. David Moss from the University of Connecticut was the discussant for my paper session, and I will always remember the feedback and words of encouragement that he provided. I soon realized that my first experience attending NERA was the embodiment of NERA; a warm, collegial and supportive environment. As we make plans to commemorate NERA’s 50th Annual Conference, we will continue in this spirit and support our new and long-standing members.

    This year’s conference theme is “Transformation by Design.” The impetus for selecting this theme is the belief that in order to enact meaningful change, we need to be intentional in our actions. Over the course of this year, we will host a lunchtime webinar series that will cover a variety of topics that will be of interest to our membership, both graduate students and professional members. The webinars will cover topics such as social emotional learning, interviewing skills, starting a business as an independent consultant, getting the most out of the NERA Annual Conference, among others. The schedule will be coming out in the coming weeks, so watch for information via email and the NERA website.

    Three amazing conference program co-chairs will support the 2019 Conference: Alejandra Garcia (University of Massachusetts Amherst), Paola Heincke (Educational Testing Service), and Bridget Thomas (Quality Information Partners). In addition to Alejandra, Paola, and Bridget, a team of individuals who have volunteered to help with planning the conference (Fred Cline, Educational Testing Service; Daniel Fishtein, Educational Testing Service; Barbara Helms, Independent Consultant; Catherine Manly, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Francis Rick O’Donnell, University of Massachusetts Amherst; and Olcay Yavuz, Southern Connecticut State University). NERA is fortunate to have these dedicated individuals ready to commemorate this milestone for NERA. Aligned with our conference theme, we are excited to have three keynote speakers who are conducting transformational work within educational research and will have lots to share with our membership during the Annual Conference.

    NERA’s leadership has started the year on a strong note with our Winter Board of Directors meeting on January 11th and 12th. We welcomed three new board of members: Jason Kopp (American Board of Surgery), Juliette Lyons-Thomas (Educational Testing Service), and Joshua Marland (Education Analytics). In addition, Ross Markle ended his term on the Board of Directors and is now serving in his new role as President-elect, and Javarro Russell moved into the illustrious role of Past-President. I look forward to working with the NERA leadership and the various committees’ chairs and their committee members.

    If someone told me that I would eventually serve as President of NERA and have the opportunity to preside over the 50th Anniversary Annual Conference, I would have laughed and thought that it was impossible. For those of you reading this who can envision saying the same thing to yourself, think again. I invite you to embark upon a journey through NERA, a Transformation by Design, where you progress through your professional career and engage in all that NERA has to offer so that the natural progression is to NERA President. I also encourage you to consider volunteering and serving NERA as a conference proposal reviewer, session chair, discussant, or joining one of NERA’s many committees, and when someone approaches you about running for one of NERA’s elected positions, respond, “I’m in!”

    I invite you to share with me your thoughts and ideas about improving NERA. You can email me at
See you in Trumbull, CT— October 16-18, 2019.

© 2019 Northeastern Educational Research Association, Inc. All Rights Reserved