DCDT Awards & Grad Research Grants

Annually DCDT acknowledges the outstanding contributions individuals and groups make in improving and providing transition education opportunities through research and practice. From time-to-time special or lifetime awards are also given.

Nomination Process

To nominate someone for a DCDT award, please submit the nomination or any questions to the current past president listed under the About tab. Be sure to address the award criteria outlined for each award in the nomination. 

Awards and Past Winners

Special Recognition Awards

From time-to-time DCDT acknowledges the outstanding contribution a person has made throughout their career with the Lifetime Achievement Award or for exceptional assistance to DCDT or the field.


The Oliver P. Kolstoe Award- This award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the field of career development and transition through means other than direct classroom instruction (which is recognized by the Iva Dean Cook Educator of the Year Award). The award is named in recognition of Oliver P. Kolstoe, a DCDT founding member and past president whose early research and publications significantly shaped the field of transition. 


2016 Winner - David W. Test

Professor Test’s accomplished have shaped the field of transition and career development. He has published books, over 20 book chapters, over 100 journal articles in peer reviewed journals, and has had numerous grants funded including (a) the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC), (b) National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT), (c)Project CIRCLES, (d) The PhD program in Special Education grant for preparation of Leadership personnel, and (e) the North Carolina Postschool Outcomes Project (NC PSO). He has also served as the co-editor of the Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals since 2003.  Many of his former doctoral students are now becoming the next generation of transition leaders.



Patricia L. Sitlington Research Award - This award is presented to an individual who has contributed to more positive outcomes for transition-aged youth and to the field of transition through a body of research in transition.  The award is named in honor of Patricia Sitlington, a DCDT past-president who has contributed significantly to knowledge in the field through research.


 2016 Winner - Paula Kohler

On DCDT’s 35th anniversary, a special issue of CDTEI included an article ranking the top researchers. Number one on the list of the most published authors was Dr. Kohler. Her research-based Transition Taxonomy has lasted the test of time and has defined transition education practices and services since its publication in 1996, and a recent update ensure it relevance well into the future. She has lead efforts to improve transition education services across the country – state by state. One of her articles was also the first to coin the term transition education. Dr. Kohler has also been Co-PI of NSTAC and now NTACT.


Patricia L. Sitlington Emerging Researcher Award- This award recognizes a graduate student who, through research completed during their doctoral program, shows significant promise for contributing to positive outcomes for transition-aged youth and to the field of transition through transition research. To be considered for the award, graduate students (or recent graduates whose research was completed during their doctoral program) must submit their research for the DCDT Patricia L Sitlington Emerging Researcher poster session.  Each student’s poster will be reviewed by a committee during the poster session with awards made to the top students during the DCDT annual conference.




2016 1st Place Winner - James Sinclair

James presented information on the implementation feasibility, acceptability, and potential efficacy of the Think, Be, Do curriculum (a mental health curriculum) for transition age students in special education classrooms. The Think, Be, Do curriculum is a teacher delivered, ten-session mental health curriculum, based in cognitive behavioral and ecological theory, that promotes behavior activation and cognitive reframing of negative thoughts.  Results from the pre-post feasibility trial indicate that the Think, Be, Do curriculum was feasible to implement with high fidelity, and was acceptable to the teachers who implemented the curriculum and for student participants.



2016 2nd Place Winner - Kara Hirano

Kara presented findings from her dissertation study, “Parent Involvement in Secondary Special Education & Transition: A Psychometric Study”. In 2016  Hirano et al.  provided a promising avenue for identifying malleable factors that may be future targets of interventions to increase involvement for parents of transition age youth with disabilities. To further validate the findings, Hirano (2016) replicated and extended the study with revisions to the survey based on results of pilot. Survey data were collected from a national sample of 300 parents of transition-age youth with disabilities. Results of a confirmatory factor analysis indicated the model fit the data for this sample. Analysis of regression models identified four motivators associated with parental decisions to become involved: Child invitations for involvement were associated with home, school/agency and future planning involvement. Teacher invitations and time and energy were associated with school/agency involvement, and role construction was associated with home involvement. Additional analysis on main effects for demographic differences identified age of student, disability type, and SES as variables impacting motivators for involvement.  


2016 3rd Place Winner - Carly Blustein Gilson

Carly presented "The Voices of Parents: Post-High School Expectations, Priorities, and Concerns for Students With Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities." This is a summary of a statewide survey in Tennessee of 1,065 parents of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities that examined: (1) the expectations parents hold related to employment, college, and other community outcomes; (2) the student, family, and community-level factors shaping those expectations, and (3) the avenues through which parents want to equip them to pursue inclusive experiences for their children.


Marc Gold Innovative Practices in Transition Award- This award is presented to an individual or organization that has demonstrated innovation in transition services. The award is named after Marc Gold whose innovative “Try Another Way” approach opened the door to employment for many students with severe disabilities.


2016 Winner - Wayne Fogelson

Mr. Wayne Fogelson is the principal at Miller Career and Transition Center, which is the first career center for the Los Angeles Unified School District. He has taken this special education vocational center to another level. Many years ago Wayne had a vision that many students could reach for the stars and beyond. To make this happened, he opened the doors to teachers allowing them to create the curriculum at Miller Career and Transition Center. Wayne is always open to new ideas. Wayne shares ideas with the staff on a daily basis via email. He also shares and disseminates information to staff at monthly staff meetings. His office door is always open. His efforts have results in community-based quality job experiences and paid job for Miller Center students.


Iva Dean Cook Educator of the Year Award- This practitioner honor is awarded to an educator, including a higher education professional, who has demonstrated outstanding commitment and service to the career education and transition of students with disabilities. The award is named in recognition of Iva Dean Cook, a DCDT founding member, past president and a pioneer in teacher preparation in transition.




2016 Winner - Teresa Pena

Ms. Pena offers a wide variety of options for her students’ future careers matching their personalities and abilities to what is most productive. She teaches her students about transition services to live their best possible life, and reach their post-secondary goals. She teaches them the importance of self-advocacy and self-determination skills. Teresa strives to make connections with adult service agencies in the community so that my students can be linked to providers before exiting high school. She works with parents and students to discuss long-term planning together. Teresa spends time in the community setting up tours at different places of business so that her students can gain awareness of other types of jobs. These and many other traits demonstrate why she deserves to be DCDT’s Iva Dean Cook Educator of the Year.



Andrew Halpern Early Career Practitioner AwardThis award honors a secondary teacher who is in his or her first five years of teaching. It will be awarded to an educator who has demonstrated outstanding and innovative and committed services to the career education and transition of secondary students with disabilities. The award is named in recognition of Andrew Halpern, a DCDT past president whose research and publications significantly shaped the field of transition.


2016 Winner - Amy Quebbeman

Amy is an incredible educator and passionate about her students and advocating for their success. Since Mrs. Quebbeman joined the self-contained department of our high school special education team, the students in her class have consistently scored higher than the state average on the Alternative end of year encasement. Amy Quebbeman has increased student participation in career development and transition goals by creating digital surveys in the areas of post-secondary goals, interest profilers, and life skills inventory. Amy has helped her students have more access to the community by teaching her students public transportation skills, and by bringing the community into her classroom. Mrs. Quebbeman is just starting her 4th year of teaching, she accomplished all of the above in her first 3 years as a teacher.


Donn Brolin Award for State/Province Leadership and Services- This honor is awarded to an individual who has provided significant leadership and service in transition to a state or province. Donn Brolin was a founding member and the first president of DCDT and as author of the Life Centered Career Education curriculum, was influential in the career development and early transition movement.


2016 Winner - Joy Godshall Ivester

Joy Ivester has been involved in transition since 1997 when she served our state as a transition coordinator through a transition system change grant.    She was instrumental in working with school districts to improve transition services for all students with disabilities.   After a brief hiatus to get married and raise 3 beautiful children, Joy returned to the USC Center for Disability Resources to put transition front and center in South Carolina.   Through her persistence and determination to make a difference, Joy has pulled together a working transition advisory team of state leaders to move forward with best practices in transition.   She has been instrumental in creating collaborative teams of public school teachers, agencies, parents and advocacy groups to develop strategic goals aimed at the successful transition for high school students to post-secondary settings.   She has served as President of SC DCDT and continues to work with our state subdivision.   Joy is a true leader in our state and been a positive influence for everyone in South Carolina who works in this field.


Employer of the Year-This award is presented to an employer or business that has shown remarkable commitment to promoting or providing employment opportunities to students with disabilities.



2016 Winner - Aiken Discount Tire

Aiken Discount Tire invests in students with disabilities by teaching how do to various jobs and providing them with hands-on, real world work experiences. The students worked side-by-side with employees to obtain skills in tire repair, replacement and other job related requirements.  The experience that these students had was beyond what we could have expected from a business. The boys felt they were a part of the ADT team.  After school hours, they would come by the shop or work on Saturdays on top of their assigned weekly hours. One of the young men placed at ADT was really struggling with issues at home and had difficulty finding direction for his life.  While at ADT, the student confided in other employees and would ask for advice which often led to support for decisions he was making at home.  ADT employees included the student on fishing trips they set up outside of work. Aiken Discount Tire provided job training for the students of Aiken County Public School District, and provided guidance, support, and genuine care for our students and the direction of their life.