Skip to Main Content

Graduate Research Assistants

The College of Education and Human Services has awarded several graduate research assistantship (GRA) packages for the 2020-21 academic year. Graduate Research Assistants collaborate with faculty on research in a variety of ways - from helping with literature reviews to analyzing data. In addition to a graduate research orientation, GRAs receive training and the opportunity to earn research badges which can be used to provide evidence of the research skills you will gain as a GRA for future applications as well as resumes and vitas. Faculty work with GRAs to ensure that this opportunity provides a place to grow and develop your skills as well as participate in interesting and groundbreaking research.

Amanda Hovanian headshot

Amanda Hovanian

Amanda Hovnanian is pursuing a Master's degree in Special Education with a concentration in Applied Behavior Analysis. She is originally from California where she completed her undergraduate studies at UC Davis.

Amanda is excited to start assisting with research projects and getting to learn from faculty and staff about the field of research and all that happens behind the scenes in order to make it happen. Her previous experience with research includes developing research topics and questions, designing research surveys using Qualtrics, formatting data into tables and graphs using Excel and R-Studio, as well as compiling data into coherent final reports. She's eager to gain more experience conducting research across various disciplines, though her hope is to someday participate in research focused in behavioral science.

HwanHee Song headshot

HwanHee Song

HwanHee Song is an international student from South Korea. She left her home country at 17 and attended Rain Forest International School located in Cameroon, Africa, where she first learned English and French simultaneously. She then came to the United States to continue her academic journey.

In 2018, Hwan Hee received her undergraduate degrees in B.S. in Psychology and B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Professional Education from the University of North Florida. She then began pursuing her master's in Elementary Education with a concentration in TESOL. She is currently in her last semester.

She worked as a graduate assistant for the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Curriculum for an academic year and now works as a graduate research assistant for the College of Education and Human Services. Her research interests include ESOL-infused instruction, teacher candidates & in-service teachers' attitudes towards ELLs, teacher self-efficacy in teaching ELLs, and Teacher training/education.

Hwan Hee teaches Korean (language and culture) and English virtually to a wide range of students. She also serves as the president of the TESOL club and the public relations chair of a non-profit organization, EdjusticeJax.
Kii Cash headshot

Kii Cash

Kii Cash is in the first year of her Master's program in Special Education, with a concentration in Disability Services. She graduated in spring 2020 with her undergraduate degree in Special Education. While in her undergraduate program, she worked in Student Affairs as well as the On Campus Transition program.

After obtaining her degree, she hopes to work for a nonprofit organization that caters toward young adults with disabilities, such as a transition program or career preparedness program. During her undergraduate experience, she had the opportunity to complete two inquiry projects, in the areas of teacher retention and motivation in students with Autism.

She enjoys learning new techniques and research in the area of special education and would like to have the experience of seeing a project through from the beginning stages until the end. Kii works best in environments with open communication, but also enjoys independent work. Outside of work, Kii enjoys spending time with her cat as well as sewing and making crafts.

Lily Exantus headshot

Lily Exantus

Lily Exantus was born in Newark, New Jersey, and raised in Wellington, Florida. She studied early childhood education and worked at a local preschool as a high school student. She moved to Jacksonville to attend the University of North Florida. While a student, she taught conversational English and worked at the UNF Preschool as a teaching assistant. She graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor's degree in Secondary Social Science Education and taught U.S. History and U.S. Government for seven years.

Lily is currently pursuing her Master's degree in S.T.E.M. Curriculum and Instruction. She is interested in integrating social studies with STEM in elementary and middle school classrooms. Her research interests are Culturally Responsive Teaching, Multicultural Education, School Culture/Climate, and Social Studies Curriculum.

She is busy outside of the classroom as well. She holds a position as the treasurer of the TESOL club and is a conversational English partner for secondary students in Ukraine. Lily is also the founder of EdJusticeJax, a local nonprofit. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, listening to, and creating music, watching hockey, and movies.

Lori Kuhn-Hancock headshot

Lori Kuhn-Hancock

Lori Kuhn-Hancock never stops learning. She has received her B.A. in Speech, an M.A. in Theater, an M.S. in Healthcare Management, and a post-graduate study in Leadership and Employment Law. Lori is currently an Ed.D. Educational Leadership student.

She has taught a myriad of courses, including but not limited to Public Speaking, Communication Skills, Business Ethics, Theater History, Advanced Stagecraft, Introduction to Business, Legal Environment of Business, and Introduction to Human Relations.

Teaching has always been Lori's primary professional interest. She has spent much of her career as a teaching assistant, Instructor, Assistant Professor, Director, Academic Director and an Associate Academic Dean. Her research tends to focus on how to better support at-risk students. Tracking recruiting, retention, graduation, placement, and professional growth data to provide a picture of areas missed in giving students what they need for success.

Teaching may be Lori's primary passion, but Theater is an enduring interest of hers. She sees opportunity at UNF for production of and live streaming multicultural theater.

Morgan Green headshot

Morgan Green

Morgan Green has been a Registered Behavioral Technician for almost two years, stumbling upon the field of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) through a job opportunity originally meant for her knowledge in American Sign Language. That opportunity sparked her love and deep interest in the world of ABA.

She is currently pursuing a Master of the Arts in Special Education with a Concentration in Applied Behavioral Analysis from the UNF. Morgan received her Associate of Arts from Florida State University, followed by a Bachelor of Science in Deaf Education with a minor in American Sign Language from UNF.

Morgan has lived in the Jacksonville area for the majority of her life and currently resides in Jacksonville Beach. Her hobbies include going to the beach, enjoying music, doing yoga, being outdoors, and playing with her dog (Marley) and her cat (Mary).

Shae Hammack headshot

Shae Hammack

Shae Hammack is a Master's student in the Counselor Education program. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelor's degree in English Literature and a minor in Education. Her background in English makes her uniquely qualified to assist with Literature reviews and research papers. Shae hopes to build on those strengths through qualitative research, as well as gain experience working on quantitative projects as well.

As a school counselor, Shae knows she'll be using data to inform what kind of services and support her students need, as well as using that data to justify those services to administration. She is looking forward to using the quantitative skills that she learns as a research assistant to help meet the needs of her future students.

Shae has always been passionate about education and has worked with children in many different capacities. She is especially interested in girls' empowerment and leadership research. Shae's research focuses on the ways in which community, leadership, and advocacy can influence the educational experiences and outcomes of students. Equality and social justice are also, now more than ever, important to the success of students and the educational system as a whole.

Shae sees the Graduate Research Assistantship as a unique opportunity to be a part of the work that will inform her profession. Not many people get to say that they worked on projects that become a blueprint for themselves and their colleagues in the field of education.

Tendai Ushendibaba headshot

Tendai Ushendibaba

Tendai Ushendibaba is a GRA in the College of Education and Human Services. Tendai is an international student from Zimbabwe who moved to the U.S. in 2010 to attend college at Fairmont State University in West Virginia, where she attained a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Tendai has a Master of Education in College Student Affairs Administration from the University of West Florida and another Master of Education in Adult Learning and Development from Cleveland State University.

She is now a first year student in the Ed.D program for Educational Leadership at UNF. Tendai is excited to expand her interests in social justice, student achievement gaps, equity and access in higher education and English language learner retention and success. In her spare time, Tendai loves to cook, watch Netflix and listen to podcasts.

Valentina Bongiovanni headshot

Valentina Bongiovanni

Valentina Bongiovanni a first year student in the Ed.D program for Educational Leadership at UNF. She recently graduated from UNF's Master's in Educational Leadership with a concentration in Educational Technology. She also holds a M.A. in Computer Animation, from the Pompeu Frabra University in Barcelona, Spain, and a B.S. in Communication, in the Marketing track, from Blas Pascal University in Córdoba, Argentina.

Her knowledge of computer animation and visual communication theories was what eventually brought her to the education arena. For more than 15 years she has worked with educational publishers, schools and universities. Her career has taken her to Spain, designing and developing multimedia learning materials for publishers. Since then she's worked as the school venue manager for a Musical Theatre College in London. And up until recently, she was the Vice Principal for Latam Global School, a K-12 bilingual virtual school for students in Latin America. From her international jobs to her freelance consultant and volunteer roles, she's been able to explore several areas of interest regarding education, from curriculum development, universal instructional design, technology, distance learning, project and staff management, international education, diversity, to college readiness. Valentina has co-authored and developed distance learning courses and produced online learning prototypes and storyboards.

Her research interests are aligned with virtual learning environments including the transfer of the benefits of extracurricular activities in traditional educational settings to those in virtual learning environments, and the development of regulations for the classification of educational applications.

Graduate Assistantship Packages

The College of Education and Human Services has several available graduate research assistantship (GRA) packages for the 2021-22 academic year. The priority deadline for applications is March 21st with any remaining positions to be filled out on a a rolling basis.


These packages include a stipend and tuition waiver depending on the hours worked (see table below) for master's students enrolled in at least 9 credit hours per semester and for doctoral students at least 6 credit hours per semester. All of these packages are for students enrolled in UNF graduate programs and priority will be given to students enrolled in College of Educations and Human Services programs. Eligible students may reapply each year.


Waiver Eligibility
Weekly Hours Worked Required Stipend Minimum Waiver Percentage Max Waiver* (9 credit hours)
10-14 $2,500 50% $1,836
15-19 $3,750 75% $2,755
20+ $5,000 100% $3,673


Graduate assistants may work from 5-20 hours per week for a maximum of 300 hours total for each semester. 20 hours per week or more is preferred. The work is compensated at a rate of $16.67 per hour. A GRA that works 20 hour per work would earn a total of $5,000 over the course of the semester and receive a 100% tuition waiver worth up to $3,673.


*Those receiving the discounted rate will receive less waiver.  


We have two primary types of assistantships- Graduate Research Assistantships (GRAs) and Graduate Teaching Assistantships (GTAs). Master's students are eligible to apply for GRA positions while doctoral students are eligible for either GRA or GTA positions and are welcome to apply for both.

Graduate Assistant Duties

Graduate Research Assistants (GRAs) for those pursuing a master's or doctoral program

GRAs collaborate with faculty on research in a variety of ways - from helping with literature reviews to analyzing data. In addition to a graduate research orientation, GRAs will receive training and the opportunity to earn research badges which can be used to provide evidence of the research skills you will gain as a GRA for future applications as well as resumes and vitas. Faculty will work with GRAs to ensure that this opportunity provides a place to grow and develop your skills as well as participate in interesting and groundbreaking research.

Graduate Teaching Assistants (GTAs) for those in the doctoral program

GTAs collaborate with faculty on teaching primarily undergraduate courses. GTAs faculty of record with preparing a course, delivering instructions, and assisting with student assessment. These positions give the GTA training to be able to teach in higher education and if potentially become the instructor of record for a course. Faculty will work with GTAs to ensure that this opportunity provides a place for you to develop your skills as a teacher in higher education and work with talented students.

Eligibility Requirements

Eligibility requirements for all graduate assistantship packages are as follows:

  • The applicant must:
    1. Have a completed application to a UNF graduate program that is either pending or accepted;
    2. Be a full-time graduate student enrolled in a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester for master's students or 6 credit hours per semester for doctoral students;
    3. Have a minimum admission GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale;
    4. Strong preference is given for students in COEHS programs.

Requirements for continued eligibility for the remainder of the award period:

  • The award recipient must:
    1. Maintain a GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale while enrolled in the graduate program;
    2. Maintain full-time enrollment in a UNF graduate program (minimum of 9 credit hours per semester for masters students or minimum of 6 for doctoral students);
    3. Maintain satisfactory performance as a graduate assistant.

Application process

  1. Prospective students should complete an application form via Qualtrics using the links below. Priority will be given to applications received on or before March 21st each year.
  2. When submitting your application please note that you will need to upload a current resume as well as a 1-page letter of intent which describes your professional goals, skills or experience that support the research or reaching skills you have gained previously, and why you should receive a graduate research assistantship. Be sure to highlight specifically any experiences that may be valuable to the College. We highly recommend you complete these two documents prior to starting the application.
  3. Applications received by the COEHS Dean's Office will be considered and applicants will be informed of our decision via email.

Apply to be a GRA

Those participating in a doctoral or master's program can apply to be a GRA.

Apply to be a GTA

Those participating in a doctoral program can apply to be a GTA.


If you are interested and in need of more information or have questions, please contact Daniel Dinsmore, Associate Dean for Research by email at