Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbility - George Mason University
About Us

The Kellar Institute for Human DisAbilities (KIHd) is an interdisciplinary campus-based organization focusing on improving the lives and productivity of children and adults with disabilities. KIHd combines the resources of the university with local, state, regional, national, public, and private sector agencies and organizations to develop products, services, and programs for persons with disabilities.


Policy and Research Intensive Special Educators (PRISE) Doctoral Training Program

Mason’s PhD in Education with a specialization in Special Education prepares leaders in the field focused on research, teaching, and policy. Now, six doctoral candidates will have their tuition and other expenses covered through the OSEP funded PRISE program.

The PRISE Doctoral Training Program is a four-year, collaborative project between Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University and will allow doctoral students to develop skills needed to:

  • Fill faculty roles in teaching and research universities
  • Lead the preparation of the next generation of special educators to improve the integration of evidence-based teaching and instruction
  • Conduct research on factors impacting the teacher shortage using rigorous research methodology and disseminating findings through research- and policy-focused outlets
  • Advocate for the development of national, state, and local policies that will ultimately improve the lives of children, youth, and adults with disabilities

PRISE scholars will have a full-time course load and participate in an internship 20 hours per week. The internship experiences will be facilitated by faculty mentors in partnership with national organizations and government agencies. The program begins fall 2020 and requires four years to complete.

Program participants receive:

  • Full-time tuition, all student fees, and health insurance for four years
  • Stipend of $32,000 annually
  • Onboarding package that includes a computer, tablet, and supplies
  • Travel funds to support research and scholarly activities
  • Relocation support (available on an as-needed basis)


  • Reach out to Dr. Sarah A. Nagro at snagro@gmu.edu to learn more about the program and express interest.
  • Apply online for the PhD in Education program at https://education.gmu.edu/phd-in-education/phd-admissions by January 15, 2020.
  • As part of your online application, indicate your interest in the PRISE program by adding “PRISE” to the other option of the Applicant Cohort field.
  • For questions regarding the application, contact the College of Education and Human Development Office of Admissions at cehdgrad@gmu.edu or 703-993-2892.

Upon acceptance to the PhD program, candidates will be contacted by Dr. Nagro to complete the steps for consideration for this life-changing opportunity.