Ph.D. in Education, 2017
School of Education
December 1, 2013
Research Interest Focuses on Students in Special Education
Sara Young is a third-year Ph.D. student in the School of Education, specializing in Educational Policy and Social Context (EPSC). Her research interest is focused on students in special education. Later this academic year, Sara will be presenting a poster at the Council for Exceptional Children’s (CEC) Annual Convention in Philadelphia.
“I am excited that my second year paper topic, considering the relationship between special education placement and a student’s social emotional status, has been selected for a poster presentation at CEC. I think there is a great opportunity for additional research and development in this area.”
Sara’s interest in special education began while she was an undergraduate student at Peabody College at Vanderbilt University (Go ‘Dores!). She graduated with a degree in the special education for the deaf and for the blind. While working on her M.S. Ed. in special education for the deaf from the University of Kansas, Sara worked as a preschool teacher of the visually impaired and an assistive technology consultant for a large suburban school district in Kansas. Later, her interest in special education took her to law school where she obtain a J.D. from the J. Reuben Clark Law School at Brigham Young University while acting Managing Editor of the Education and Law Journal.
Upon her return to Southern California, Sara obtained employment as a private attorney representing Orange County school districts in special education disputes. Recently, Sara became the Director of Informal Dispute Resolution and Compliance for one of California’s largest school districts. Here she mediates disputes with families in an attempt to avoid litigation, develops internal district policies that are legally compliant and work to promote positive student outcomes, and problem-solves difficult situations with school teams and community organizations.
In the area of special education, Sara has been published and consulted as an expert. She a frequent contributor to Special Education Connections. Later this year, she will be speaking at the Association of California School Administrator’s (ACSA) annual Every Child Counts symposium.
It is an honor to have been chosen to speak at ACSA. I will be speaking to and networking with some of the state’s top administrators and have an opportunity to hear other dynamic speakers share positive changes in California’s school districts.
Sara has also been published in legal publications in the area of athletics (collegiate coach-student relationships; high school student-athlete drug testing). She recently joined the Associated Doctoral Students in Education as the cohort representative.
Outside of school, Sara loves volunteering and is a current member of the Board of Directors of the Junior League of Orange County California (JLOCC). Past positions with the JLOCC have included chairing the League’s Down Syndrome Foundation Project, and the JLOCC’s involvement with the Orange County Marathon. Additionally, Sara loves reading with her book club, spending time with her friends at Disneyland, playing with her dog Wilhelm, and visiting her parents who recently moved to Michigan.