Meet the Team

Selcuk Acar

Selcuk Acar is an associate professor of educational psychology at the University of North Texas. He received his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology (with an emphasis in Gifted and Creative Education) from the University of Georgia. His primary area of research interest includes divergent thinking, assessment of creativity, and the education of the gifted and talented. Dr. Acar has worked or studied at two different creativity centers: Torrance Center for Creativity and Talent Development of University of Georgia, and the International Center for Studies in Creativity (ICSC) of SUNY Buffalo State. For the MOTES project, he is coordinating the data collection and instrument development efforts. He is serving on the editorial board of Journal of Creative Education.





Denis Dumas

Denis Dumas is an associate professor in the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Georgia’s Mary Frances Early College of Education. In general, his work focuses on understanding student learning, cognition, and creativity through the application and refinement of latent variable methods, especially multidimensional item response theory and non-linear growth models. He completed his doctoral work in Educational Psychology, and Master’s degree in Educational Measurement and Statistics, at the University of Maryland-College Park, and was a post-doctoral researcher at the American Educational Research Association. His work has also been previously funded by the National Academy of Education, Spencer Foundation, Institute of Educational Sciences, and the Hewlett Foundation. Denis was among the first researchers to apply text-mining based methodologies to the measurement of creative thinking, and is excited to refine and improve these processes in the context of elementary education as a member of the MOTES project.





Peter Organisciak

Peter Organisciak is an information scientist, with a focus on computation text analysis in the context of human factors and digital library research. Beyond MOTES, his recent work deals with machine learning methods for relationship extraction in archival collections. Dr. Organisciak holds a PhD in Library and Information Science (UIUC) and previously worked on scholarly access to millions of digitized books at the HathiTrust Research Center. His work has been funded by the Institute for Library and Museum Services, National Endowment for the Humanities, and The Institute of Education Sciences, has received paper awards from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T), and the iSchools Consortium.






Kelly Berthiaume

Kelly Berthiaume is a postdoctoral research associate at the University of North Texas. She received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Science from Florida State University. Her primary area of research interest focuses on how children’s development of beliefs about the nature of learning-related cognitions and creativity are influenced by parents’ socialization practices and contextual factors such as community type. As a Certified Family Life Educator, Kelly approaches research through the lens of translational science by utilizing evidence and theory as a foundation to inform the design, implementation, and evaluation of an effective evidence-based parent education program that educates parents about influential parenting practices and behavior that positively impact children’s motivational framework and cognitive development as well as the parent-child relationship quality.




Research Assistants




Jawhara (Hara) Edwards

Jawhara (Hara) Edwards is a MLIS student with a concentration in research and data management at University of Denver in Colorado. She received her Bachelor of Science in music from Towson University in Baltimore, Maryland and is a certified ESL teacher. While working towards her masters, Hara is currently the Library Assistant for the Frank Ritchel Ames Memorial Library, which services Rocky Vista University College of Osteopathic Medicine. When she is not working hard at her masters or working to help students become doctors, Hara enjoys circus activities that include flying trapeze, static trapeze, and silks.





headshot of Melanie Carrera-Flores


Melanie Carrera-Flores

Melanie Carrera-Flores is an undergraduate student at the University of North Texas. She is currently working on her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and minors in Counseling and Human Development and Family Science. Melanie is part of the McNair Scholar’s Program, having Kelly Berthiaume as her mentor. For the MOTES project, she is working as an assistant, finding correlations between data sets. Her interests include child development and psychology, as well as reading and writing.







Picture of Jacob Turner

Jacob Turner

Jacob Turner is a Master of Library and Information Science student at the University of Denver. He received his Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies from Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. Jacob also serves as a Research Center Assistant for the University of Denver Libraries. In all of his "spare time", he enjoys going to concerts, cheering on the Colorado Avalanche, and sampling every pizza place in the known universe.






Nimet Karadag

Nimet Karadag earned her B.A. and M.A. in English Literature, and her PhD in Comparative Literature. She worked as a college level ESL teacher for 10 years in Turkey. Currently, she is a PhD candidate and Research Assistant at the University of North Texas, Educational Psychology, Human Development and Family Science.






Past Members


Rebecca Johnson

Rebecca Johnson is currently a doctoral student and Research Assistant at the University of North Texas in Educational Psychology, Gifted & Talented Education. She received her Ed.S. in Educational Psychology, Gifted & Creative Education from the University of Georgia and an M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of West Florida. Her research interests include the social-emotional development of gifted students, barriers which may impede sustainable access to academic opportunities for students who are gifted and from diverse backgrounds, and the intersection of giftedness and creativity.






Katalin Grajzel

Katalin Grajzel is a PhD student at the University of Denver completing her degree in Research Methods and Statistics with focus on psychometrics. She holds a Master’s degree in Psychology and in Counseling. She has worked for the U.S. Government supporting research on psychological well-being and recovery of military personnel and worked as a counselor with underprivileged populations. Katalin is a research assistant for the MOTES project focusing on measurement related tasks such as item development, reliability, validity, modeling etc.






Michele Newman

Michele Newman is a second-year Master of Library and Information Science student at University of Denver. Previously, she completed a Master of Music from Indiana University-Bloomington where she taught courses in Music Theory. Her research interest lie in representations of interactive media, digital preservation, and music information retrieval. On the MOTES project she is part of the I-Science team and maintains the website. When not working, she can be found playing video games, reading, or playing with her dog Missy.






Tedd Flemister

Theadora “Tedd” Vlaamster is a PhD student at the University of North Texas. Tedd is currently pursuing her PhD in Educational Psychology with a concentration in Gifted and Talented education. Previously, she received her Master’s in Education and Teaching certificate in Secondary Social Studies at the University of North Texas. For the MOTES project, Tedd was a research assistant working primarily with assessment design and illustration as well as data collection.






David Eby

David has a bachelor’s degree in Biology and Secondary Education from Drury University in Springfield, Missouri. He has worked in various positions at public libraries and schools in Missouri. David resides in Denver, Colorado and attends University of Denver. David is also currently a graduate assistant on the Collaborative Liaison Librarianship grant at University of Denver. David’s interests include making library spaces a relevant space for conversations of equitability and inclusion as well as understanding bias within data and coding.