The Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) is the largest international professional organization focused on high quality education for children and youth with exceptionalities with more than 22,000 members. Within CEC, the Division of Research (DR) advances research across all areas of disability and giftedness. The DR recognizes one Distinguished Early Career Research Award annually to a scholar who has made outstanding scientific contributions within 10 years following receipt of a doctoral degree. The award is co-sponsored by the Hammill Institute on Disabilities and is presented at the DR reception held during the annual CEC Convention.
Dr. Sara McDaniel has been named the recipient of the DR 2020 Distinguished Early Career Research Award. She received her doctorate in 2011 in special education from Georgia State University, and completed Internships at Vanderbilt University and the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Southeast Division. She is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Special Education and Multiple Disabilities at the University of Alabama. Dr. McDaniel is one of the most promising young scholars in the area of emotional and behavioral disorders. Her emerging focus on reducing youth violence and racism and discrimination is gaining considerable recognition in the United States. She has published extensively in journals, such as the Journal of Applied Psychology in Schools, Journal of Emotional and Behavioral Disorders, Behavioral Disorders, and Elementary School Journal. She has also published multiple book chapters, and makes numerous presentations yearly at national conferences. Additionally, she has been able to secure a highly competitive R01 grant from the National Institute of Health: Youth Violence Prevention Interventions that Incorporate Racism/Discrimination Prevention. This project is a 5-year randomized control trial of Coping Power versus Comping Power+, which includes racism and discrimination content. SWPBIS will be leveraged to include much-needed adaptations. Dr. McDaniel’s scholarly accomplishments are particularly impressive in light of the service she provides to the fields of special and general education.